Minimalist Fitness: Get Lean with Little to No Equipment


Two common barriers for people who want to exercise and get in shape are a lack of time and money needed for fitness.

Who has the time to go to the gym, or buy expensive equipment, or take long bike rides?

Well, if those are the things stopping you, you’re in luck.

It takes no equipment to get a great workout and get in shape, and with one or two pieces of simple equipment, you can turn that great workout into a fantastic one, you magnificent beast, you.

And with little or no equipment required for a fantastic workout, you can do it at home, or wherever you are. Even if you’re in solitary confinement.

It’s hard not to find time for this type of workout — you can do it while watching TV, for goodness sake!

Example Workout:

What follows is a little workout I’ve been doing recently when I can’t go to the gym — it’s just a collection of exercises that use compound muscles and joints to give me a total-body workout with nothing but my bodyweight and my chinup bar.

However, this is not the only workout you can do — not by a long shot. This is a sample, but you should look at the next section for a much wider variety of challenges.

How to do this workout: do a bit of a warmup — jumping jacks, jump rope, or just jogging in place for a few minutes will get your heart rate going. Then do the exercises in order, for 30 seconds to two minutes (depending on what kind of shape you’re in), with as little rest in between as possible. If you’re new to exercise, feel free to rest fully between exercises, but if you’re in decent shape, doing them one after another is a great workout. Like me, you’ll probably have to stop to catch your breath a few times — it’s a tough workout!

  1. Pullups (palms facing away from you). Chinup bar required (here’s the one I use). (Video.)
  2. Pushups. As many as you can (video). Do modified pushups if you can’t do full pushups, with your knees on the floor (video). If those are still too hard, do wall pushups, leaning against the wall or a chair.
  3. Jump squats. Basically you squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump up as high as you can, and repeat. (Video.)
  4. Bicycle crunches. I don’t normally recommend crunches, but these use a good combination of core muscles. (Video.)
  5. Jumping lunges. (Video.)
  6. Burpees. (Video.)
  7. Hanging knee raises. Chinup bar required. (Video.)
  8. Hindu pushups. (Video.)
  9. Russian twists. (Video, but you don’t need to use the medicine ball as shown.)
  10. Diamond pushups. (Video.)
  11. Chinups (palms facing toward you). Chinup bar required. (Video.)

Read the rest at Zen Habits

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