You don’t need an expensive gym membership or buy new equipment to get fit. Try these free no-equipment bodyweight workouts to exercise and get in better shape.
Bodyweight exercises can be performed anywhere. Do them in the comfort of your home, outdoors in a park, in a hotel room, or even at work. You can find beginner and advanced routines, depending on your fitness levels.
As with any exercise, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, please check with your physician before starting any activity.
1. NBC Better’s Bodyweight Schedule (Web): 30-Day Strength Training Routine
NBC Better’s fitness trainer Stephanie Mansour designed a 30-day strength training routine based on bodyweight exercises. This is among the simplest guides with clear schedules for those who are new to no-equipment workouts.
Mansour divides the workout into three categories: upper body, lower body, and core exercises. Each day focuses on one of these, with a few mixes and variations thrown in. She also recommends doing your preferred cardio exercise every once in a while, and to have rest days. Remember, these are strength-training exercises, not weight loss routines.
The workouts are also accessible to someone who isn’t in the best shape at the moment. Mansour provides multiple exercises for each category (demonstrated with videos) and suggests you repeat them as per your fitness level.
2. Learn To Muller (Web): Kafka’s Favorite Century-Old Workout
In 1904, athlete J. P. Muller wrote his book My System. In it, he described a set of 18 exercises that can be done in any home in 15 minutes. The book was a massive hit, and Franz Kafka himself recommended it to one and all.
Learn To Muller gives you the original book as well as a clear guide on how to get fit with My System. Muller doesn’t throw you into the deep end from day one. My System is a six-week course, with basic exercises that slowly build you up to the full workout routine. The final routine is a vigorous 15-minute workout of 18 exercises.
On the website, you can watch videos of instructors performing (and explaining) the full routine and its benefits. Learn To Muller also has excerpts of the core 18 exercises, so that you can quickly refer to them at any time without needing to go to the book.
Nerd Fitness is a popular choice among geeks looking to exercise and get healthy. The website has an excellent guides for those looking to get into bodyweight training, and a second guide for those already in good shape.
The Nerd Fitness Bodyweight Workout for Beginners is a 20-minute routine, with a few extra minutes to warm up. It includes squats, push-ups, walking lunges, dumbbell rows (with household items as substitutes for weights), planks, and jumping jacks. The guide includes GIFs for easier versions of the exercises to start you off, but the idea is to progress to the full version as you get stronger and fitter.
If you’re able to get through three circuits of the beginner routine, then move on to Nerd Fitness’s Advanced Bodyweight Workout. This one is all about strength-building, so it adds chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, step-ups, and one-legged squats. Again, Nerd Fitness provides simple free alternatives to workout equipment, and a range of easier exercises.
4. GymnasticBodies Project (Web): Neatly Arranged Instagram Clips
Former US national gymnastics team coach Christopher Sommer put together his own exercise regimen called GymnasticBodies. The official version is paid, but they often release short clips on Instagram. So fitness trainer and blogger Antranik Kizirian took on the job of categorizing and classifying all these exercises on his website.
The GymnasticBodies Project sifts through over 7,000 posts from the Instagram account to list the best of the calisthenics exercises, neatly organized for browsing. Antranik divides them into broad groups such as core/ab specific, fun stuff with a partner, handstand related, pushing, pulling, etc. Click any to expand it into lists and sub-lists.
There are plenty more videos on the GymnasticBodies Instagram account, as Antranik has only picked those that are a little different from what you’d find anywhere else, or show perfect posture. You should also check out the GymnasticBodies YouTube channel for similar videos, some of which are more in-depth than what you’ll find on Instagram.
5. Darebee’s Free Ebooks (Web): 300 No-Equipment Workouts
Neila Ray has been championing the cause of no-equipment workouts for years. Her website Darebee is a treasure trove of free health and fitness printables in the form of illustrated exercise guides. And now she has free ebooks too.
The No-Equipment Workout Collection is a set of three ebooks, each with 100 workouts. The visual guides also have cool names like abs of steel, the Batman workout, demolition, and so on. Each workout illustrates how to do the exercise, how many repetitions to perform, and what level of fitness you should be at before doing it.
You can download and print out the ebooks for free, and they also happen to be without any ads. If you prefer to support Darebee by buying printed books of the same, you can order them online or find them at local stores.
There’s an App for That…
With most no-equipment workouts, the idea is to get used to a certain routine which you can continue for a long time. Whether it’s Muller’s My System or a custom workout regime you set up using the other resources here, it should be sustainable and enjoyable.
If you like to change your routines regularly, then get some help from apps. There are some great bodyweight exercise and fitness apps that will send a new way to get fit on your mobile.