No Equipment? No problem! At home workout
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
It's official, gyms in Victoria, Australia have shut down as of 23/3/20 at midday. There are so many ways to exercise that this doesn't have to mean the end of your fitness journey. This article highlights a quick and easy workout you can do if you have no equipment at your designated lockdown location and want to keep fit. There are so many things which are just out of our control right now, keeping fit is one of the few things that staying indoors can't take away from you. If you need more reasons why you should be staying fit during social isolation rules read my previous article highlighting all the important benefits here. Know that exercise is important now more than ever to keep us healthy but more importantly happy (or sane, as some people like to call it) as we spend our days in isolation. Here are 3 different full body workouts using no equipment or common household objects to achieve a challenging and adjustable resistance training effect in your own home. Add in a little bit of your own cardio and you'll be feeling as fresh as a newborn spartan.
I've filmed videos explaining how to do each exercise below (while in the comfort of my comfy trackies). The exercises should be achievable regardless of fitness levels but I'll also add in any regressions or progressions I can. I'll also be posting a new exercise you can do from home every day on my instagram account to keep giving you ideas, let's see what takes longer to reach the end: the lockdown or my creativity!
Builds lower body muscular endurance as well as letting you work on your squat depth
Squat to your full depth, then come up 1/4 and go back down. Repeat for a certain number of reps. Keep pushing your knees out. If you feel any knee pain try limiting your depth.
Remember you can add weight by using anything you can find around the house: a filled backpack, a heavy textbook or even multiple children! Keep going on this one until you get a burn.
Yoga push ups:
Challenges not only the upper body but also the core musculature, coordination and flexibility
This video shows the three different levels in increasing difficulty 1: Start in a push up position. Push your heels towards the ground and puff your chest between your legs to enter downwards dog. Rotate between the two positions.
2: From downwards dog pretend there is a fence in front of you that you want to scoop under. Lower your chest to just grazing the ground before you lift your chest to face the wall in front of you. Push straight back to downwards dog. 3: exactly the same as 2 but reverse the movement to get back to downwards dog.
Leg flutters/flutter kicks
Tuck your chin towards your chest, point your toes away from you and create tension in your abs by coughing then hold that tension the whole time. Move your whole leg in small quick movements.
Go through these first 3 movements 3 times taking <30 seconds rest between each one.
Bent Over Rows
Upper back as well as postural muscles in the back
Sometimes you just have to be creative to challenge yourself in what you lift. Here i use a chair but you can use anything: a fan, a broom with some buckets, a small child or any combination of the above. Feet shoulder-width apart. Fold from your hips, knees have a slight bend in them but do not move as you go down. Arch your lower back so it creates a straight line in your upper body. Pinch your shoulder blades together as you pull the object towards you and puff your chest towards the object as it comes closer.
Single Leg RDLs
Builds hamstring flexibility, lower back and glute strength while also chucking in a challenge to coordination, balance and single leg stability
Move from the hips - the standing knee keeps a slight bend in it but does not move throughout the exercise. Opposite leg reaches towards the wall behind you, opposite arm reaches towards the wall in front of you. Feel a stretch in your hamstring in the bottom position and feel a squeeze your glutes/lockout your hips on the way up. Try to avoid touching your other foot on the ground for balance if you can.
If you can hold something heavy in your hand instead of reaching it forwards this will make the exercise harder.
Shoulder strength and endurance
If you don't have weights you can use (chocolate) milk bottles or filled water bottles instead. If one side is slightly heavier (as it is in this video) that's fine, just swap hands after each set. BONUS! This also challenges your grip strength. Here I'm performing the movement with an isometric hold on one side to make things harder since this is a lighter weight than I would usually use. You can perform the movement with both hands moving at the same time if you choose to make things easier. Elbows have a slight bend in them but from there they don't move. Arms come up to just above shoulder height. Standing up tall the whole time.
Rear foot elevated split squat
Unilateral lower body strength
Top of the toes flat on the chair/couch/bench behind you. Hinge forward from your hips to keep the front shin almost vertical. Push hard into the ground through the front foot as you're coming up. Again, feel free to hold something heavy to make things harder. Did you notice the large thump and me saying "ow" 8 seconds in? Don't smash your back knee into the ground like I did. To avoid this you can place a cushion where it would touch the ground or limit the depth.
Chest, shoulders, core
Make sure hands stay directly underneath shoulders, put pressure back through your heels and tuck your hips under making sure not to let them sag to the floor. Elbows should not be out too far from the body or too close to the body, aim for 45° out from the body.
If you can't perform push ups from the ground DON'T use your knees. Instead raise your hands on to a higher surface until you build up enough strength to perform proper push ups from the ground. This helps keep the body in the correct plank-like position while you go through the movement. So what that looks like is you may start with your hands on the wall almost vertical, then move down to a raised bench or high bed, then progress down to a low chair before going to the floor.
If you are hitting the top of the rep range, begin raising your feet while keeping your hands on the ground in the opposite order to what is described above.
Hard plank hold
3 main cues:
1. Pressure back through the heels
2. tuck the hips under by squeezing the glutes
3. Puff the chest out while still looking between your elbows.
Use a cushion if it makes it more comfortable for your elbows.
For more on the Hard Plank Hold check out my earlier post on this awesome and often incorrectly performed exercise.
10 seconds should be plenty enough to challenge you.
^Trains the first word there
Feet hip width apart, knees bent at 90° at the bottom position. Drive your elbows into the ground. Squeeze your glutes and push your hips to the ceiling. Don't overextend the lower back, just get your body in a straight line from your knees to your shoulder blades.
Bent over T's
Shoulders and postural muscles
If you don't have weights you can use (chocolate) milk bottles or filled water bottles instead. If one side is slightly heavier (as it is in this video) that's fine, just swap hands after each set. BONUS! This also challenges your grip strength. Feet start close together, knees stay relatively still as you fold forwards using your hips. Arch your lower back so it stays in a straight line as you go down and stay in that position throughout the whole movement. Palms facing forwards, squeeze your shoulder blades together as your arms come out to the side.
Reverse nordic curls
Thigh flexibility and strength
Start in a tall kneeling position using a cushion to protect your knees. Toes can be tucked under or flat, whatever is comfortable for you. Squeeze your glutes the whole time so that your body stays in a straight line above the knees. Tuck your chin in to your chest. Only go as far as you can pull yourself back up to the top. This one is a great stretch and a challenge to the quads.
A supercharged version of the glute bridges
Shoulder blades on the couch, don't let them slide up and down as they should be the pivot point. Feet hip width and knees should be ~90° at the top position. Squeeze your bum and push your hips towards the ceiling. Eyes stay forwards. Push hard through the heels.
If this is too easy you can either do single leg hip thrusts or "Partner Resisted Hip Thrusts" which is gaining popularity on insta through Katie Sonier and more recently by Bret "The glute guy" Contreras. Just don't let little kids near this one...
Downwards dog push up Works your whole upper body
Start in a push up position, then push your heels to the ground and puff your chest between your legs to enter downwards dog. From here bend your arms at the elbow to lower your head gently towards the ground, then extend the arms to come back up. Keep an eye on the downwards dog positioning each time you push up.
Hamstring strength and flexibility
You will need a friend to hold down your ankles for this one or if you're creative enough find something heavy you can wedge your feet under. Start in a tall kneeling position using a cushion to protect your knees. Toes can be tucked under or flat, whatever is comfortable for you. Squeeze your glutes the whole time so that your body stays in a straight line above the knees. Tuck your chin in to your chest and lead with the hips. Control it as far down as you can, then catch yourself with your hands so you don't fall flat on your face. Use your hands to give you a big boost on the way up and use your hamstrings to bring your body back to vertical.
Prone YWT's 6-10
Shoulder health and strength
Lie down flat on the ground with plenty of space around you. Puff your chest into the ground so that you don't lean back too far. Pull your arms back in the shape of a Y thinking about the pinch in your shoulder blades, then back down to the ground, bend the elbows to create the shape of a W and pinch, then back down to the ground and arms straight to the side with your pinkies to the ceiling to create the T then back down to the ground. Going through all three movements then back down is one rep.
Calf raises 8-12 Well... I should hope you know what this trains
Here I show 4 increasing difficulties for this simple movement. Calf raises from flat ground, from a step, single leg then tempo (3 second lowering). Use your full range of motion when on the step. Push down hard through the big toe when coming up. It's also a very good idea to be holding onto something when doing these, it's not a good time to challenge your balance as I show when I almost fall over doing single leg raises.
Rotational core work
Tuck your chin into your chest. Bring your elbow to just below your knee. Don't stop.
Anti extension core work + Hip flexor strength
Tense your core as if you are about to cough and hold that tension throughout the whole movement. Don't let the lower back come off the ground at any point. If you feel your back lose contact with the ground don't go any lower, that's the depth you go to for every rep. Point the toes away from you. This movement is tougher the slower you go, especially near the bottom so don't just speed through the reps.
Isometric core exercise
Hold your body in the shape of a V as I do. Point your toes away from you. Continuously think about puffing your chest out towards your toes.
And there is your 3 day "No equipment? No problem!" resistance training program. Remember these exercises aren't the only ones you can do, I'll be posting new ones on my instagram daily. I hope this will inspire you to keep moving and keep happy during these tough times. Feel free to add, subtract or modify your own exercises if it means you'll complete the workout and feel better.
These times are tough and unknown for everyone so we need to try make things just a little bit easier for each other. If there is anything else I could possibly help with, be that exercises, stretches, math homework or if you just want to check in please don't hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot me a message on Instagram.
Make the most of your newfound time,
Happy (bodyweight) lifting!