Bodyweight Exercise Routine You Can Do Anywhere!

If you’re someone always on the go, we know that it can be super tricky to find gym facilities. Sticking to any sort of workout routine can seem like a chore – if you can even find somewhere to do it! But what if you had a routine that you could do almost anywhere, anytime, by using just 1 or 2 simple pieces of equipment? We’ve put together a full-body routine that you can do no matter where you are, and stay in-shape regardless of your busy lifestyle.

1. Squats: 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Squats are a great overall exercise for the lower body – perhaps even the best of them all.

Muscles worked:

A bunch of them! This includes the quads (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and glutes (butt).

How to do it:

1. Start by setting your feet slightly further apart than shoulder width.
2. Keep your head up and your chest out as you squat down, bending at the knees and hips. Go down as far as possible, while keeping your back straight – almost touching your heels with your butt if you can!
3. Come back up in a controlled motion, mirroring the movement you made on the way down.

Here is an Exercise Illustration

Note: Not everybody has the flexibility to do a full squat straight away, but over time and with a bit of stretching, you should be able to get nice and low.

Tips:

If you do your squats while looking in a mirror, you should be able to maintain eye contact with yourself throughout the whole motion.

Alternatives:

Too easy?

If you’re a real pro, give the pistol squat a go!
This is a one-legged variation of the squat, where your non-working leg stays outstretched in front of your body. You can work up to this by helping yourself up, using one hand on a chair or table.

2. Lateral raise (Resistance band): 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Lateral raises are a very good exercise for targeting the shoulders, if you do them right.

Muscles worked:

Lateral and anterior deltoids (the side and front shoulder muscles).

How to do it:

1. Stand on a resistance band, with your feet at shoulder width.
2. Hold the handles at your sides, with your palms facing your legs.
3. Slowly raise your arms up, keeping them outstretched.
4. Once your hands reach shoulder height (palms facing the floor), pause for one count, and then slowly lower your hands again to the starting position.

Click here for an Exercise Illustration

Tips:

Try to keep your head up and chest out throughout the entire motion. Don’t lock out your elbows, but keep your arms almost straight (avoid a large bend in the elbow).

Alternatives:

Too easy?

Increase the resistance.
These muscles are quite small, so it should be easy to find a weight that is challenging.

3. Standing row (Resistance band): 3 sets of 10 repetitions

Resistance band rows are an exercise that can work out almost the entire back – and there are plenty of muscles in there to hit!

Muscles worked:

Lats (outer back muscles), erector spinae (inner back muscles), rear deltoids (back of shoulders), and biceps.

How to do it:

1. Set up the door-anchor in the side of a strong door (ensure you have plenty of space), or wrap a resistance band around something like a post or small tree. This should be at about waist height.
2. Holding the handles with your arms outstretched, stand back so that the bands become tight. Your hand position should be even on both sides.
3. Get into a slight crouch position – this way when you pull, you won’t lose your balance. As usual, keep your head up and your chest out.
4. While keeping your palms facing the ground at all times, pull the handles towards yourself, as far as you can. Your hands should almost touch your torso.
5. Hold this position for one count, and then slowly let your arms back out to your starting position.

Exercise Illustration

Tips:

Try to keep your torso as still as possible throughout the movement.
It can be tempting to use a backward lean to give yourself momentum, but this will take work away from the muscles that you want to be using.

Alternatives:

Too easy?

Add an extra resistance band. If using all your bands is still too easy, you might need to find a pull-up bar!

4. Push-ups: 3 sets to failure

Everyone knows these.
A staple exercise in any bodyweight routine, push-ups are an easy exercise to tailor to your level of ability.
Doing a set “to failure” simply means that you’ll keep doing them until its physically impossible for you to do another one.

Muscles worked:

Push-ups primarily use your chest and tricep muscles, as well as some shoulder muscles. They can also give your core a bit of a workout as you keep your body braced, similar to a plank.

How to do it:

1. Start by lying face-down on the floor.
2. Place your palms on the ground, slightly below your shoulders and a little outside of shoulder width, and prop yourself up on your hands and toes.
3. Slowly lower yourself while facing the floor, and go as low as you can.
4. Hold for one count at the bottom, and push yourself back up to the propped up position.

Click here for an Exercise Illustration

NOTE: If these are too hard, you can begin by resting your knees on the ground rather than your toes.

Tips:

Try to keep your body rigid throughout the movement like you would in a plank hold.

Alternatives:

Too easy?

Try putting your feet up on a step or chair, rather than the floor. The higher you go, the tougher it gets! You can also try out diamond pushups, or work up towards one-armed pushups.

5. Sit-ups: 3 sets to failure

Sit-ups are another exercise that everybody has tried out at some point or another.

Along with crunches, they’re probably the most famous core exercise of all!

Muscles worked:

Core (abdominals).

How to do it:

1. Lie down on your back with your feet flat on the floor, and your knees bent.
2. Cross your arms over in front of your chest.
3. Bring your torso upward until you’re sitting straight up. Hold this for a second, and then lower yourself slowly back to the starting position.

Click here for an Exercise Illustration

Tips:

Make a conscious effort to keep your head and neck somewhat neutral. This allows you to put more focus on your abs, rather than gaining momentum by swinging your head forward. Besides, who wants a sore neck?
If this variation is too hard, you can try placing your feet under a couch or other object to help you up.

Alternatives:

Too easy?

Try putting your arms behind your head rather than in front of you, or hold a weight on your chest for each repetition.

6. Skipping rope: As long as you can

Using a skipping rope is truly a killer cardio exercise!
It doesn’t take long to work up a sweat while skipping, and it’s great since it gets your whole body involved.

Muscles worked:

Almost everything; arms, shoulders, legs, calves, and most of all – your lungs!

How to do it:

1. Begin with a handle in each hand, and the rope touching the ground behind your heels.
2. Swing the rope so that it comes over your head from behind you, and travels towards the ground in front.
3. Jump over the rope as it reaches its lowest point.
4. You’ll then do another smaller “bounce”, while you wait for the rope to come back up and over your head, where you’ll repeat the movement.

It can sometimes take a little practice to get a good rhythm going – stick with it! Click here for an Exercise Illustration

Tips:

To find the right rope length for you:
Stand on the rope and pull it tight, the ends of the handles should come up to almost chest height.
Skipping, like many forms of cardio, is all in the mind. If you push yourself through, you’ll be surprised how long you can keep going.
Don’t let your mind give in before your body does!

Alternatives:

Jogging, jumping jacks (also known as star-jumps).

Too easy?

Take out the little in-between “bounce”. This makes more a more up-tempo skip.
You can also try alternating legs, or only hopping on one leg at a time.
If you’re super good, try double-unders. This variation means that the skipping rope will pass under your feet twice on each jump – very tricky!

More exercises you can do with or without weight! Source: Imgur

Frequency

Try to do the entire workout 3-5 times per week.
Rest days are also important, so take at least 2 rest days per week to enjoy your time relaxing or doing other activities.
If the workout is too intense when you are starting out, you can split it up into two halves. This allows you to complete the workout over two separate sessions. These can be done either over the same day, or over two separate days.
Just do exercises 1-3 in your first workout, and exercises 4-6 in the second workout.

Diet

To guarantee any physical changes, you’ll want to pay attention to what you eat. Eating plenty of whole foods will provide you with valuable nutrients that will not only help in improving your appearance, but assist with your physical and mental health as well. You will also want to increase your protein intake a little, to provide your body with extra muscle “building blocks” for recovery and growth.

Pain or injuries

Always make sure that you choose a manageable weight or resistance band to work with. Your form is ALWAYS more important than the weight or resistance you are using. This will ensure that you’re using the correct muscles effectively and safely, which is much better in the long run both for activating those muscles and avoiding injury. If you experience any bad pain or injury doing any of the exercises, stop that particular exercise immediately. If pain persists, see a physician.

Alejandro is a chemistry graduate who has pivoted into the world of exercise and nutrition, with a special focus on fitness supplements.
He has 8 years’ experience in the area, including coaching and writing research-based material for clients across the globe.
With the world’s quickly-growing obesity rate, his ultimate desire is to have fundamental nutrition taught in schools; an effort to ensure that the next generation grow up to be healthy, strong, and well-informed about their food and lifestyle choices.

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