Today is all about the best no equipment workout for beginners. No equipment workouts are an excellent way to get started with a fitness plan.
As well, they are a little more fun and variation that you can experiment with without paying a gym membership.
You may find some of the exercises a bit on the challenging side, but that just means that you will be in better shape once you master them.
Here are some things to know about no equipment workouts.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food, getting some sunshine, and purging unhelpful thinking is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
Why No Equipment Workouts Are Great For Beginners
When I was a kid, and it is probably the same for you, we played outside all the time. And we all favored our swing-set because of how versatile it is for more than one child.
While one kid is swinging, another one (usually me) was spinning around on the support cross piece.
Or if there was no room on the swings, we tried climbing our cherry tree…at least until an adult caught us.
Children seem to naturally gravitate towards body-weight exercises…like monkey bars and swing sets. That is because being skilled in climbing was once very necessary for survival.
Kids do this for fun, without ever considering that it is building upper body strength. For kids, it is just play.
These days, people think working out means long hours at an expensive facility.
Not to mention the drive there, the drive home, and maybe you have to cook a meal once you get home. That makes for a long day.
You would probably be surprised if you met someone that was in peak fitness condition who told you that they’ve never been to the gym.
Working out without the aid of machines is completely possible using just your body weight (think chin ups), 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 thinned out 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.
It Is Very Convenient
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 less 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.
It Strengthens Your Core
Exercises like planks can strengthen your core beyond what you would expect.
Another exercise that strengthens every muscle in the upper body is the pull up. Read this post on the Mark’s Daily Apple website from Al Kavadlo.
The 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.
This is because exercises using your weight like planking or pull-ups 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.
Best No Equipment Workout Moves for Beginners To Try
There is a movement among the fitness community to use body weight as your equipment. This means you don’t use kettle bells, 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, but also what it can drop and tone as well.
In other words, it is 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 you should consider.
Planking is one of the easiest no equipment moves that you can do. There are tons of options and methods to use depending on what goals you want to accomplish with the planking.
For a basic plank, if you have never done one, you will need to get into a push-up position.
Make sure that your body lines are straight. You do not want any slacking 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 use your abs and core.
Yes, squats are one of the easiest things you can do that requires no equipment. You may think this is old hat news, but keep in mind there are things you can do to change up your squats.
For example, one of the more popular options is to find a three-minute song and do squats for that entire song.
The trick is to do your squats to the beat of that song.
Electronic dance music is popular to exercise to and many songs are not that long.
You can also place your legs further apart than normal, do the squats lower, or add them into a circuit workout that is all body resistance based.
Or, as is shown in the photo, do your squats with the aid of medicine ball for even more benefits.
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.
The basic lunge exercise, as seen in the photo, also works your core but has the added benefit of working your butt and legs, as well as improving your posture.
This allows you to stand taller as well as correct body misalignment or imbalances.
Doing different types of lunges improve various areas of the body. Reverse lunges activate your core, glutes and hamstrings.
A curtsy lunge strengthens and tones your butt while relieving back or knee pain.
The lunges you choose can be your traditional walking lunges, mixed with yoga poses, spider lunges, and side lunges.
Keeping a No Equipment Workout Fun
No equipment workouts are great because you save money, don’t have to go 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 is going to really get you in the mood for the workout, plus you can time it to where each move of the workout starts when a new song starts playing.
Choose whatever type of music really keeps you pumped and motivated, whether that is pop or hard rock. Personally I like electronic/dance music (like Rihanna or Pitbull) because the beat keeps me engaged in what I am doing.
Another similar method is to watch something on 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. Grab a friend or relative who also wants to exercise without bothering with equipment and see if they want to join you.
You can do your squats and lunges outside in a park, in your backyard, or even in the parking area where you work.
Be sure to ask your co-workers if any of them want to join you for a quick workout around your office during your lunch break, or a neighbor looking for a little extra motivation.
Mix it Up
One of the things that might be keeping you from your regular workout and making it boring is constantly doing the same thing. Another good option for you is to mix it up and try different things.
This can be the same no equipment HIIT workout with different moves, or another type of no equipment workout altogether.
Home No Equipment Workout – H.I.I.T.
When you don’t have equipment at home, one of the best things you can do is a no-equipment H.I.I.T workout.
H.I.I.T stand for high-intensity interval training. It uses bursts of intensity with short breaks (intervals) in between each move.
Think of sprinting really quickly for 10 or 15 seconds, followed by walking for a couple of minutes to return your heart rate to normal. Rinse and repeat.
This type of exercise mimics how you would behave if you were being chased by an animal, like back in our cave man days.
Sprinting allows you to have the burst of speed required to get somewhere safer, like up a tree. So of course your body likes H.I.I.T.
The great thing about H.I.I.T is that most of them also don’t use any equipment.
The important part of your H.I.I.T routine is to make sure that you are fully warmed up before you start.
Here are some different moves you can try out.
There is nothing wrong with an ordinary jumping jack during your H.I.I.T 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 H.I.I.T 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 H.I.I.T 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 good for H.I.I.T 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.
Check out this post by healthline.com for 45 variations on the basic squat…if you need some new ideas.
No Equipment Body Sculpting Workouts
The most important aspect of exercise is to build strength. The second is to tone and sculpt your body. It is great to feel good and feel healthy, but most people also want to look good.
Try some of these no-equipment exercises to create the look that you want your body to have.
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.
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.
Spider Crawl/Crab Walk
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. This is another exercise that seems perfectly suited to children, and they have good time with it.
Learn from them 🙂
If you have ever done plank or H.I.I.T workouts, you are probably accustomed to mountain climbers.
This is going to start you off with a full plank with your hands on the ground and legs reached behind you, but instead of just holding a 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. Here is a quick (1+ minute) video from Well+Good, that shows you how:
More No Equipment Workouts 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 will be easy for you to get in a good workout.
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 the extra ab work when holding the plank, while giving you even more resistance for a good arm workout when you’re doing 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.
Lunges are also commonly recommended as a no equipment workout, but you can go one step further by holding weights while you do them. This turns a lunge into a full body workout that is also increasing how much fat you burn.
When you add weights, the extra muscle power is really going to help you burn more fat.
You can hold your arms at your side while holding weights, or try lifting your arms above you while holding onto a kettlebell during the lunges.
This can also be done when you are doing squats. Substitute ankle or wrist weights for the kettlebell if you are just starting out with this type of exercise; then work up to heavier weights.
Jump squats are excellent for a H.I.I.T workout, where you want to burn fat in a shorter period of time.
You are going to combine squatting and jumping in the same movement. I seem to remember doing exercises like this when I was a kid in school.
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.
So how about that for some fun and interesting no-equipment workouts? I am a fan of no-equipment workouts but I also want to direct you to a home workout program that uses items from your home, as opposed to you having to buy free weights.
And it only takes 15 minutes to do, twice a week. Yup, you read that right. 30 minutes a week.
A number of years ago, I purchased the Slow Burn Fitness Revolution program from Fred Hahn. This is a link to the book on Amazon, but if you want the dvd’s too (helpful), then you have to buy through Fred’s website. Scroll down the page until you find SLOW BURN HOME WORKOUT.
Fred’s program is not no-equipment, but instead uses items from your home like empty milk jugs and broom handles.
I love his “door knob squat” and I used to do it at work all the time when I was on breaks. Not only did it give me rock-hard thighs, it did it quickly.
Just something to consider.
Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!