Want the beach body without hitting the gym every day? When you work full-time it’s hard to fit in enough exercise, particularly if you have to add in travel time. But it’s possible to get the bikini bod you’re dreaming of without the expensive gym membership or equipment.
During 2020 when gyms closed and home gym equipment was in short supply, many gym junkies discovered it’s easy to get a great workout without a hit to the wallet. Using just your body weight, you can improve your fitness, flexibility and endurance without leaving home. Get started with these exercises then jump online to find some more to keep your interest. There are plenty of videos of individual exercises and workouts you can watch to keep you busy.
No Equipment Workout
Target: This is an easy exercise that works your leg muscles including your quadriceps and glutes.
How it’s Done: Start by standing with your feet at hip-distance apart and toes slightly pointed out. Keep your head in line with your tailbone and squat while moving your hips back. Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Drive up through your heels back to the standing position. Make sure you keep your chest up while squatting and try to get past 90 degrees as
Reps: Do as many squats as possible in 45 seconds then try the next move.
#2 Reverse Lunges
Target: Reverse lunges strengthen the thigh and hip area while working out your legs. With time, reverse lunges can improve your balance, so don’t worry if you feel a bit wobbly at first.
How it’s Done: Stand with your feet apart at hip-width. Take a long step back and bend your knee so both knees are at a 90 degree angle. Return to the standing position by using your forward leg to pull yourself back up.
Reps: Do 6 reps on each leg.
#3 Hip Bridges
Target: Ideal for strengthening and toning legs and glute muscles. Hip bridges are a great exercise for someone who has lower back tension after sitting at work all day.
How it’s Done: Lie on the floor on your back with your feet flat on the floor and your legs bent. Squeeze your glutes and push your hips. Make sure you push through your heels, not your lower back to do the work.
Reps: Do 10 reps.
#4 Alternating Side Plank
Target: Plank exercises are well known for strengthening the core. But they also engage the rest of your body and help strengthen your shoulders, arms, back, hamstrings and glutes.
How it’s Done: Start in the elbow plank position with forearms on the floor. Lift your right arm so it’s straight up towards the ceiling. Your head should move to watch your extending arm, with your weight on the resting forearm. Your feet stay resting on your toes and the balls of your feet. Return your head and arm to the starting elbow plank position. Then repeat on the other side, lifting your left arm so it’s straight up towards the ceiling with your head following the movement of your left arm.
Reps: Do as many as possible in 30 seconds.
#5 Triceps Dips
Target: This one is great if you’re wanting to work on your arms, in particular your triceps.
How it’s Done: Start in the crab position with your stomach facing up, elbows pointing backwards all the time. Bend your arms and at the same time lift your butt off the floor around 15 cm. Keep your core engaged as you bend and extend your arms.
Reps: Do as many as possible in 45 seconds.
#6 Worm Walkouts
Target: This is a great exercise if you’re looking for a total body move because it involves the shoulders, triceps, chest, glutes, hamstrings and core.
How it’s Done: In the standing position, place your hands in front of your feet close to your toes. Next move your hands forward walking away from your feet, keeping your legs straight as you move forward until you’re in the plank position. Walk your hands back towards your feet. Keep your core activated throughout the exercise.
Reps: Do 10 reps.
#7 Mountain Climber
Target: Another great full-body workout. You’ll feel the burn in your arms, shoulders, upper back, core and legs. If you’re looking for a cardio workout, this one's for you.
How it’s Done: Assume the push-up position with straight arms. Tighten your stomach muscles and then move your right knee towards your right forearm before taking your leg back to the push-up position then do the same with your left knee towards your left forearm.
Reps: Repeat as fast as possible in 20 seconds.
Target: This move strengthens your core muscles and hip flexors but also helps with balance.
How it’s Done: Begin in a seated position with hands and feet on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles and lift your legs up to an extended position so they are straight at a 45 degree angle with your torso. Your upper body and lower body should make a v shape. Hold this position for several seconds, making sure you don’t hold your breath or round your shoulders.
Reps: Do 6 reps.
Target: The Superman is a perfect move for a strong, toned back.
How it’s Done: Lie face down with your chin on the floor. Keep your ankles together and your toes pointed. Stretch your arms straight out with your palms resting flat on the floor. Engage your back, glutes and shoulders then pull your arms and feet around 15cm off the ground. Your hands and feet should be roughly the same height off the ground and hold for 5 seconds.
Reps: Do 3 reps.
Target: The burpee is a complete body workout that builds strength and endurance.
How it’s Done: Start in the standing position then squat, placing your hands on the floor and kick out your legs into a push up position. Do a single push up then jump your legs back into the squat position. Finally jump up with your arms above your head and repeat the sequence. It should be fast and seamless when transitioning between positions.
Reps: Do 20 reps.
FAQ’s for No Equipment Workouts
Are no equipment workouts effective?
Yes, workouts that don’t involve equipment can be just a highly effective way to increase your endurance, strength and flexibility. However, the effectiveness does depend on your fitness goals. If you’re aiming for the physique of a bodybuilder, you’re going to need to use heavy weights and more strength training. But if you’re looking for a toned, lean body or to improve your cardio, no equipment workouts are a great option.
Can you build muscle without equipment?
Yes, it’s possible to build muscle without any equipment. Using your own body weight and stretching is a great way to build lean muscle and tone your body.
Are home workouts better than a gym?
Home workouts are certainly cheaper than joining a gym so they’re ideal if you’re on a budget. Staying home to exercise also makes sense if you don’t like the thought of touching the same equipment that many others have used before you!
Best of all, home workouts can be done at any time in the convenience of your own home. There’s no driving involved and worrying about arriving in time for a class, just get started when you have some time to spare. However, a gym will have more equipment and resources available for you to focus on different fitness goals.
How do people stick with doing a home workout?
It can be hard to keep doing something that requires no commitment – whether financial or a promise you’ve made to your gym buddy. So make a commitment to yourself that you will do a daily home workout. Each day you complete the workout, mark it on your calendar. Even just the task of crossing it off each day will give you a sense of accomplishment. Vary your workout so you do a day of cardio after a few days of strength training to give your muscles a break.
Find a time that works for you and complete your workout at the same time each day. Start small and build on your workout as your fitness and strength increase.
How many reps do I need to do?
The number of reps you do will depend on the type of exercise. Some movements need a higher number of reps to benefit the area it’s targeting while others need fewer. The number of reps you do will also depend on what stage you’re at with your workouts. When you’re just starting out you may not be able to do many. As your strength and endurance increases so will your capacity.
What areas of the body can I work on with no equipment?
You can target most areas of your body in a no equipment workout. You just need to find the right mix of workouts and do them consistently to see results.
How much time will I need to do a decent workout?
You can fit in a good workout in 15 or 20 minutes but even then it doesn’t need to be in one block either. If you have 10 minutes to spare at different times during the day, you can break up your workout and enjoy the same benefits.
Is it really possible to workout with zero equipment?
Yes, you can have an effective workout without any equipment. If you don’t find the floor very comfortable, you might want a towel or inexpensive yoga mat but otherwise you can benefit from a workout with no other gear.
If I want to buy some equipment on a budget, what should I invest in?
It’s possible to add some equipment to your workout to add intensity and give you more variety. You don’t need top of the line equipment to get the benefits. Discount department stores like Kmart and Target stock a range of home gym workout gear. You can buy bands that stretch over your legs or arms, various hand weights, a kettle bell, skipping rope, and a yoga mat at very affordable prices. If you’re not sure what to start with, get some hand weights as these can be easily incorporated into multiple different workouts.
If you don’t want to spend the money or don’t have room to store any equipment, you can always improvise. Instead of buying hand weights, use large cans of soup or bottles of liquid. You can use anything around the house that’s comfortable to hold and is the right weight.
Home workouts have no supervision, are you likely to hurt yourself?
It’s a good idea to speak to your GP before starting any new exercise, particularly if you’ve had any serious injuries or health problems. Most gym attendees aren’t under any guide or supervision unless they’re working one on one with a personal trainer. In fact, you’re probably safer at home with no equipment than you are using heavy weights incorrectly. Just remember, don’t push yourself too hard particularly in the early days while you get used to a new exercise.
When can I expect to see changes in my body shape?
It takes time for bodies to change their shape. Some people start a workout and notice subtle changes within days while the same workout will take weeks or months for another person to notice the benefits. If working out consistently, you can start to see results and changes in 1-2 months.