You don’t need a gym membership to stay fit. Bodyweight exercises, together with proper sleep and diet, are enough to keep you healthy and strong. This is an effective and simple bodyweight workout that will get you started on the journey to building more muscle mass, improving flexibility, and turbocharging your mobility.
There are many variations of body-weight fitness routines out there – the following has been carefully put together by Reddit’s Bodyweight Fitness community (which includes input from academics and other professionals in physiology). What follows is a simple, step by step guide for what to do during an example workout. This 4-part, simple bodyweight workout is commonly referred to on Reddit as the “Recommended Routine.”
- This workout should be done every other day (e.g. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and so on.) This is so the body has enough time to recover in-between. On off-days, do cardio – go for a run.
- Make sure you sleep for at least 7 hours each night (at least 8 hours after a workout day).
- If possible, try to eat healthy, balanced meals. For ideas, see this post on losing weight.
- Where possible, video links are provided for each exercise. Maintaining proper form is very important – if you can’t do an exercise without breaking form, don’t do it at all!
- Any time you see a progression (denoted by → ), it means that you advance to the next exercise in each group once you’re able to do the full set of the previous. For example, once you’re able to do 3 sets of 8 inclined push-ups, you can move on to the full push-ups. Each time you work out, you only do the exercise for level you’re at. At minimum, you should be able to do 3 sets of 5 reps of an exercise (if not, go back to the previous level). Once you can do 3 x 5, aim for 3 x 6 during the next workout, and so on.
- The full workout, with additional details for each step, can be found on Reddit.
Part 1: Stretches
- Wall Extensions for 10 repetitions (reps)
- Band dislocates (10 reps)
- Cat Camels (10 reps)
- Scapular shrugs (10 reps)
- Full body circles (10 reps – 5 in each direction)
- Front-to-back leg swings (20 reps – 10 each leg)
- Side-to-side leg swings (20 reps – 10 each leg)
- Wrist mobility exercises (2-3 minutes)
Part 2: Bodyline Exercises
- Plank for 60 seconds. Note: if you can’t do it for 60 seconds, split it up – e.g. 2 x 30s, or 4 x 15s.
- Side plank for 2 minutes (60 seconds for each side)
- Reverse plank for 60 seconds
- Hollow hold for 60 seconds
- Arch hold for 60 seconds
Part 3: Support Exercises
- Wall plank (60 seconds) → Wall Handstand → Handstand
- Parallel bar support (60 seconds) → Ring support hold → RTO support hold
Note: if you don’t have access to rings, the progression stops at the parallel bar support.
Part 4: Strength Training
Note: skip steps 1 and 2 if you are not at the diamond push-up level yet.
- Negative Pull-ups (3 sets x 8 reps) → Pull-ups → L-sit Pull-ups → Pullovers
Tip: don’t have a place to do pull-ups? No problem. Get a Pull-up bar and do them at home. Cheaper than a gym membership, that’s for sure.
- Parallel bar dips (3 x 8) → Ring dips → Ring L-sit dips (legs in L-sit position)
Take a 3-minute break
- Assisted squats (3 x 8) → Squats → Step-ups → Deep step-ups
- Foot-supported L-sits (3 x 30 seconds) → One-leg supported L-sits → Tuck L-sits → One-leg L-sits (extend one leg straight out) → L-sits
Take a 3-minute break
- Vertical push-ups (3 x 8) → Incline push-ups → Full push-ups→ Diamond push-ups → Pseudo planche push-ups → Advanced Pseudo planche push-ups (increase forward lean)
- Vertical rows (3 x 8) → Incline rows → Horizontal rows → Wide rows → Tuck front levers → Tuck ice cream makers → Tuck front lever rows → Advanced tuck front lever rows
Tip: Don’t have a place to do rows? You could use a table: video
That’s it! This entire simple bodyweight workout routine should take you about 45-60 minutes to complete. Start today.
Interested in reading more? Here are a couple great books about bodyweight fitness, written by people who know a lot more than I do:
- You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible of Bodyweight Exercises
- Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy
- 100 No-Equipment Workouts: Fitness Routines you can do anywhere, Any Time
Less excuses, more sweat
Remember to eat healthy to give your body the treatment it deserves. If you are overweight, consider following these two guidelines to start losing weight today.