The 'No Gym' Workout That Will Get You Fit Fast

You don't need machines to get ripped - just use your bodyweight

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A big part of the training in our 10 week Amateur To Athlete experiment have been bodyweight exercises, from classic press-ups and their many variations to lunges and tricep dips. 

Even in the gym with access to machines and free weights, these have still played a major part in the program devised by trainer Pete Fraser.

"In my view, a comprehensive bodyweight circuit combined with either a run, bike or swim is better for all-over general fitness and strength than spending the equivalent time in a gym on machines," explains Pete.

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For three main reasons:

  1. They can be completed anywhere – especially good for busy people when traveling or when access to a gym isn't an option. All you need is a bit of floor space and your own body.
  2. They work the body in a functional way, replicating interactions of muscle groups beneficial for everyday movement and sport. For example, a press-up completed correctly works not just the upper body muscles (pectorals, latissimus, deltoids and arms), but also the core and lower back.
  3. They are also a useful tool to increasing core strength whilst also increasing strength-endurance – this is the area of fitness where aerobic (use of oxygen) exercise becomes anaerobic (without oxygen).

In short, a good bodyweight circuit can improve endurance, strength, tone and cardiovascular fitness. And as we inch towards spring, you can even do it outdoors, away from the confines of your gym. What's not to like about that?

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Try the one below in your bedroom/park/hotel room and find out what a proper bodyweight workout feels like.

The Ultimate Bodyweight Workout

• Workout time: 45 minutes

• Move through the reps smoothly, with control and at a 2 sec (except set 3) pace for each `side` of the movement.

• Have a 90 second rest between sets


Jog (try a combination of jumping jacks and steps etc if indoors) for 5 mins at an easy easy pace.

Set 1

Squats:                         x 15 (upper leg parallel to the floor)

Squat lunge:                x 15

Burpies:                       x 10

Chin-up:                       x 10 (wide grip)

Press-up:                     x 15

Skydives:                      x 12 (from prone – lift all limbs simultaneously)

Head-to-knee crunch  x 15

Crunch                         x 20

Set 2

Squats:                         x 15 (upper leg parallel to the floor)

Walking lunge:                        x 20 steps each leg

Burpies:                       x 10

Chin-up:                       x 10 (wide hand)

Tight hand press-up:   x 10

Skydives:                      x 12 (from prone – lift all limbs simultaneously)

Raised leg crunches    x 15 (legs raised to 80 o from floor, touch feet)

Twisting crunch           x 20

Tri dips                                    x 15 (straight legs, against a chair, step or bench)

Set 3 – Increase the speed of these sets to 1 sec pace for each `side` of the movement

Squats:                         x 20 (upper leg parallel to the floor)

Alternate step lunge:  x 20 (from shoulder side standing position take large steps into alternating lunges)

Burpies:                       x 20

Handstand press-up:    x 10 (not for the infirm – hands shoulder wide + 1/2, feet against a wall or with a partner holding ankles. Lower head down as close to the ground as possible) 

Press-up:                     x 20

Skydives:                      x 20 (from prone – lift all limbs simultaneously)

Leg lowering/lifting:    x 20 (lift/lower legs from just off the ground to 90o above it and return – keep lower back down)

Crunch:                      x 20

Cool down 

5 min easy jog


Sit and reach to toes – hold for 30 sec

Cobra – 30 sec

Kneeling quad stretch – 30 sec

Standing reach over head as high as possible

Rotate arms forwards and rear x 3 each way.

Go to Pete Fraser Fitness for more info and exercise demos.

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