I’m a minimalist at heart.
While I love a gym packed with the newest equipment, I enjoy the fact that I know how to get a great workout in without a single piece of it.
If the gym is closed? No problem. I can work out at home.
Gym’s too busy? You guessed it. I can work out at home.
You give yourself a lot of freedom once you learn how to work out at home without any equipment.
I’ll go in phases where I stay out of the gym for weeks at a time and just focus on working out at home.
Most people are so dependent on the gym that they’ve never taken the time to learn how to work out without equipment.
For a long time, I was that person.
I used to think that the only way I could get a quality workout in was with weights.
Then I learned about the power of calisthenics and my views on fitness drastically changed.
For those of you who can’t or don’t want to go to a gym, rest assured that it’s not mandatory to build a great physique.
There are a ton of things that you can do from home to build a physique that will rival or beat the average gym goer by miles.
To get you started on you home workout journey, I’m going to give you 5 exercises to do at home without equipment. These exercises below will work all the major muscles and give you a total body workout if you do them together.
# 1- Push-ups
The top calisthenic movement for building a big and powerful upper body.
This is one of the greatest movements you can do for your chest and shoulders.
The great thing about push-ups is that it will actually make you stronger in the gym as well.
Don’t believe me? Start a daily routine of push-ups and give it a few weeks. Then go to the gym and do a few bench presses and you will see what I’m talking about.
I used push-ups to build a big bench press when I was younger.
Just because you’re not actually using weights doesn’t mean that you can’t get stronger.
That’s a myth that many people have bought into.
I did a post a while back about the correct way to do push-up, so I won’t bore you with the details here.
For each of these movements, focus on slow and controlled movements.
It’s not how fast you do the exercise, but how effectively you can work the muscle.
# 2- Bodyweight squats
Just because this list doesn’t involve weights doesn’t mean that you can skip leg day.
The squat is known as the king of lower body movements.
It’s still the king with or without weights.
I prefer bodyweight squats over barbell squats any day of the week as the chance of getting hurt with them is so much lower.
I’ve been hurt with barbell squats over and over again. I’ve never gotten injured with bodyweight squats.
Since you won’t be using weights, you will be doing more repetitions than you are used to if you currently do weighted squats.
I have found that sets of 50 are a good number for bodyweight squats.
If you are not used to doing weighted squats of any kind than you will likely be able to do much less.
Just focus on form while smoothly moving up and down.
Everyone moves differently when it comes to squats, so find the most comfortable position for yourself.
I prefer to start with my knees about shoulder width and push my knees out slightly as I lower myself.
After a few days of doing them, you will quickly figure out what works best for you.
There are also many variations and stances you can do to hit different parts of your quadriceps.
# 3- Horizontal pull-ups
Pull-ups are one of the greatest exercises you can do, but I am going to stay true to the title of this post and leave them out since you need a piece of equipment to do them (pull-up bar).
The horizontal pull-up is a variation that can be done with you standard dining room table.
While it works the back a little differently, it still hits many of the same muscles as a pull-up, while giving you a great biceps workout as well.
To do a horizontal pull-up, you just need to find something about waist height that you can get underneath.
I’ve found that a table works the best for these.
You sit down under the table, reach up and grab it while straightening your body out and pulling yourself up until your chest touches the table.
You are basically doing a bodyweight row with these.
I love this movement.
It’s challenging and works you grip, back and biceps.
You probably won’t be able to do too many repetitions with this exercise in the beginning, especially if you are heavier.
Keep working with it and you will get there.
# 4- Sit-up
No workout program is complete without an exercise to hit your abs and core.
While there are fancier exercises out there, the sit-up is still one of the best exercises you can do for you abs.
Like most of the exercises on this list, there are a ton of different variations of sit-ups that you can do so you never have to get bored with the same one.
The key with ab exercises is to focus on contracting and working your abdominal muscles throughout the exercise.
I’ve found that I’ve done enough when my abs start seizing up.
# 5- Neck bridges
The neck is one body part that almost everyone neglects.
Most gyms don’t even have neck machines anymore.
I think that there are few things as impressive as someone with a strong, powerful neck.
If you look closely at professional bodybuilders or wrestlers, you will see that many of them have huge necks.
It’s a sign of power and is badass to see.
We used to work our neck every day in wrestling with neck bridges.
If you are involved in any type of physical sport, having a strong neck is a must.
Even if you aren’t, don’t you think it would be cool to have a powerful neck?
The way to build you neck muscles up is with neck bridges.
You will need something soft to put you head on like a towel or mat for these.
There are three types of neck bridges you can do being: back to front, front to back and side to side.
I do all three each time I do them.
If you have never worked you neck before, you will usually see results quickly with these.
Trust me. Once you see some results, you won’t want to stop.
Simple yet powerful
I put in the videos for each movement because it’s a lot easier to learn how to do them from watching someone than reading my explanation.
While they take a little practice, these movements are all basic and do not require any extreme level of athleticism.
For each movement I listed, there are many variations that you can find on you own once you get skilled with the basics.
The important thing is to focus on you form and be consistent.
You can build a powerful physique with these exercises alone if you put the time in with them.
I don’t care what anyone else says. Calisthenics are brutally effective.
This list is a great starting point for anyone looking to work out at home without equipment.
P.S. Do you work out at home without equipment? I’d love to hear how you do so using these or any other exercises below! I’d also love to hear any questions or comments you have!