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There are many ways to work on your fitness goals.
Last week, I wrote a post about Getting Fit at Home. There were examples of how to set up your workouts at home with equipment or even home items. This post looks at setting up workouts with no equipment which can be done at home or anywhere! I have posted a brief article before about this (Deciding on a Fitness Program: Bodyweight) but this post is a little more detailed.
No-equipment workouts are an excellent way to have a little more fun and variation with your exercise, and to not worry about spending any money. Here are some things to know about no equipment workouts.
Why Should You Go No-Equipment?
When most people think about working out, they think of rigid diets, long hours at an expensive facility, or an extensive home gym. That doesn’t always have to be the case. Look around and you might meet someone that was in peak fitness condition and had never been to the gym. Working out without the aid of machines is completely possible, and it might even have some great benefits that you won’t find on any weight machine.
Effective at Any Level of Fitness
One of the best things about no equipment workouts is that they are good for both beginners and veteran gym goers. Any exercise that you choose can be beefed up or taken down based on positioning, amount of reps, and other similar factors. For example, you can do regular crunches, and then increase the resistance by elevating the lower half of your body on an incline. A similar course can be taken with push-ups. This gives you tremendous flexibility in the range of exercises as well as their level of intensity.
The main reasons people don’t get to the gym is because they might have a busy schedule, kids to raise, or the gym is too far away. Creating a routine using only your own body can free you from a lot of those constraints, and fewer tools and props will make it possible for you to exercise anywhere at a moment’s notice. The only thing you will ever need other than your own form will be a small amount of space in which to move around. These can be done in a hotel, your home, at work, or even in a parking lot if you need to work in that quick push up routine.
Exercises like planks can strengthen your core beyond what you would expect. Your core is made up of several different muscle groups including the back, arms legs, chest, and abs. Focused attention to your core will give you a healthier back, tighter abs, and better posture. Exercises using your weight like planking requires the command of multiple muscle groups working together for the desired effect instead of something like curls which only works one side of one muscle area.
Initial No-Equipment Moves
Many people in the fitness community like to use body weight as equipment. This means you don’t use kettlebells, resistance bands, or anything else. You use only your body. What this means is that you need to map out your moves and routines to get the most out of what your body can bring to the party. In other words, it’s all about your body and moves that require no equipment. Here are a few of the no-equipment moves that are easy to do and should be in your repertoire.
Planking is one of the easiest no-equipment moves that you can do. There are tons of options and methods to use depending on the goals you want to accomplish. For a basic plank, you will need to get into a push-up position. Make sure that your body lines are straight. You don’t want any sagging or curves. Your head needs to be in line with your back, and so on. Now, hold that position for 20 seconds. As you advance, you can do planks that are on one foot, one arm, shoulders, ankles and neck support and more. The basic plank will utilize your abs and core.
Yes, squats are one of the easiest things you can do that requires no equipment. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, bend your knees, and lower your hips and bottom to the floor — then stand using your butt muscles. Pretty straightforward, right? Keep in mind that there are things you can do to change up your squats. You can also place your legs further apart than normal and turn your knees and toes out — like a plie squat, do the squats lower, or add them into a circuit workout that is all body-resistance based.
Lunges come in various forms. In fact, there are so many styles of lunges that you can do a full body workout on a circuit. These lunges can be your traditional walking lunges, mixed with yoga poses, spider lunges, and side lunges. These will work your core, your abs, your legs, your thighs, and your arms and shoulders.
There are more no-equipment moves to incorporate but these are some of the basics to start.
Keeping an Equipment-less Workout Fun
No-equipment workouts are great because you save money, don’t have to go to the gym, and can do them everywhere, even while traveling. Unfortunately, this can also make it harder to keep up with them and make them a bit boring. Here are some really simple ways to make them a little more fun.
Play Some Music
The first way you can have a little more fun with your no-equipment workout is to play fun music while you do it. This can get you in the mood for the workout, plus you can time it so each workout move starts when a new song starts playing. This may help with keeping track of your workout. Choose whatever type of music really keeps you pumped and motivated, whether that is pop, hip-hop, dance, or hard rock.
Another similar method is to watch TV during your workout. Perhaps you would enjoy all those lunges and squats if you were able to watch something funny or otherwise entertaining on television.
Do it With a Friend
Another option available is to find a workout buddy. I bring this up a lot, right? You don’t have to go for a walk or head to the gym if you want to workout with someone else. Grab a friend or relative who also wants to exercise without bothering with equipment and see if they want to join you. You are likely to find someone, such as a co-worker who wants to join you for a quick workout in the office during lunch, or a neighbor looking for a little extra motivation.
Mix it Up
One of the things that might be making your workout boring is constantly doing the same thing. Another option is to mix it up. This can be a no-equipment HIIT workout with different moves or another type of no-equipment workout altogether.
No-Equipment HIIT Workout Moves
To avoid boredom, one of these variations is a no-equipment HIIT workout. HIIT workouts stand for high-intensity interval training. These are not long at all, but they use a lot of intensity with short breaks in between each move. The great thing about HIIT is that most of them also don’t use any equipment. Here are some different moves you can try out.
There’s nothing wrong with an ordinary jumping jack during your HIIT routine. It doesn’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere as long as you don’t have people below you who might be bothered by the noise. These are also good when you are working out outside and need a quick and easy way to burn some extra calories. Challenge yourself by either setting a number limit or a time limit for doing them consistently without any breaks.
When you start looking through HIIT workouts, one thing you will notice is that a lot of planks are involved. Sure, the traditional plank just requires you to hold your balance for 30 seconds or longer, but there are some other variations that require a bit more movement. These are a lot tougher than they look, so don’t be fooled into thinking they aren’t good for a HIIT workout.
One variation you can try is plank to pushup. You will hold the plank for several seconds, then move down into a pushup, then go back up to the plank and hold it.
Another exercise that works well for HIIT workouts is the squat. Similar to planks, the squat is excellent for your body and has some different variations to be good for a high intensity, but short workout. There is the pencil squat that is a full-body workout, where lift your arms in the air for the squat, jump up to straighten your body like a pencil, then when you land, you go down into a squat.
Other HIIT exercises include the Burpee, Jumping Lunges, and Mountain Climbers (described below).
No-Equipment Body Sculpting Moves
If you are nervous about doing no-equipment workouts because you don’t think it will build muscle, think again! Many of the moves are not only cardio based but can provide some excellent sculpting for your body.
Leg Up Sit Ups
This is another version of a sit up that is really going to sculpt your abs, while also giving you an excellent leg and arm workout at the same time. You will start by lying down on your back, with your arms extended over your head and your legs straight out in front of you. While you start to move your upper body into a sit up, you will also be bringing your legs up toward your chest as you bend your knees. Touch your toes with your hands, then go back down and try to repeat for 10 reps.
A disclaimer for this move is that you need to have strong wrists before you do this workout. It is a really good arm and shoulder workout that also uses full body muscles, but it can be hard on the wrists. For the spider crawl, start by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your arms behind you, with hands flat on the ground. Now lift your butt off the ground and start crawling backward on your hands and feet. Go a few feet back, then a few feet forward.
If you have ever done plank or HIIT workouts, you’re probably accustomed to mountain climbers. With this, you start off with a full plank with your hands on the ground and legs reached behind you. Then instead of just holding the plank, you bring one leg in toward your chest, then the other leg. Continue as if you were climbing up a mountain, but while holding the plank.
More Workouts Moves to Try
One of the perks of no-equipment workouts is that you can do it literally anywhere. Whether you are traveling and need something to do in a hotel room, or you want to spend time at the park but also get a workout, these moves may be a good option.
Plank to Push-Up
Both planks and push-ups are hard to do and excellent no-equipment workouts, but why not combine them? This gives you extra ab work while holding the plank and gives you even more resistance for a good arm workout during the push-up. The main difference is that with a plank, you are holding it for a number of seconds, while push-ups are constantly moving up and down. Try holding a plank for 10-20 seconds, doing a push-up, then holding the plank again. Continue doing this for as many reps as you can.
Jump squats are excellent for a HIIT workout, where you want to burn fat in a shorter period of time. You combine squatting and jumping in the same movement. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, then go down into a squat. When you come up, you want to do a jump to where both feet are off the ground, then back down into your squat.
There are a variety of exercises that don’t require equipment. You can create a number of routines to work on different parts of your body and avoid boredom as well. You can incorporate these exercises with other types of workouts — the opportunities are endless!
Have you used a no-equipment exercise routine? Tell us about it in the comments!
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This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.