Top 5 No Equipment Workouts
1. No equipment workout routine for beginners
Our first no equipment workout is perfect for beginners and activates most of the muscles in the body. Not only will you develop strength in your upper body, lower body and core muscles but also improve your balance and stabiliser muscles to prevent future injuries.
I suggest that all those new to exercise perform this full body workout for 2 weeks, 4 to 5 times per week, to build a solid exercise foundation.
Like all these no equipment routines this workout takes 7 minutes to complete. The exercises are performed continuously as a never ending circuit, taking as little rest as possible in between exercises.
Keep a note of how many circuits you manage to perform within the 7 minutes and then try to improve on it during every workout.
Workout 1 summary
- Single leg Deadlifts x 5 each side
- Y Squats x 10
- Shoulder Taps x 10 total
- Repeat for 7 minutes
Single Leg Deadlifts
We begin with the single leg deadlift and exercise that strengthens the legs, buttocks and core muscles without the need for any equipment. You will also develop good balance, coordination and core synchronisation by using this exercise.
Stand on one leg and bend the knee just slightly. Next, reach forwards as far as possible while extending the rear leg. Your weight should be on your heel and your rear toes point downwards, preventing the hips from opening up. Try to lengthen the body as much as possible producing a straight line from heel to shoulder.
You can use a wall or object out in front of you to aim for to increase range. With time move further and further away from the object maximising the reach.
How many? Perform 5 reps on each side
The Y squat is a full body exercise that will develop your legs, hips, buttocks, back and shoulders, while also increasing your joint mobility and cardio.
Using no equipment extend your hands overhead into a y shape. Sit your hips backwards and down as if sitting into a chair. Keep your weight back on your heels and knees inline with your feet. Your chest should be up and eyes looking forwards. Don’t allow your knees to cave inwards.
Once you reach as deep as you can pause for a second before driving from the heels back up to the top position and finish by squeezing the buttocks tight. It is important that you squat down at least until your knees bend to 90 degrees in order to fully activate your buttocks.
An easier variation: if you lack the mobility in your upper back to keep your arms extended overhead then practice with your arms out in front (3 o’clock) with practice move them to 2 o’clock, 1 o’clock and then finally straight overhead (12 o’clock).
How many? Perform 10 repetitions
The final exercise in this no equipment routine for beginners is the shoulder tap exercise. Shoulder taps will develop a solid core while strengthening the shoulders at the same time.
This no equipment exercise might look really simple but it is in fact very challenging if performed correctly.
Begin in the top position of a push up with the hands under the shoulders, feet together, core braced tight, and buttocks tight forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Keeping everything locked tight reach with one hand and touch the opposite shoulder. The movement should be slow and controlled.
Work hard to prevent the hips from falling down to the floor or from rotating up as you touch your shoulder. Everything should stay still as you touch the shoulder. If your hips start to sag towards the floor and you cannot keep them up then stop the exercise, your core has fatigued.
An easier variation: to make this exercise a little easier widen the feet. If that is still a challenge then just hold the top position without the shoulder taps for 10 seconds.
How many? Perform 10 total repetitions, alternating every rep.
2. Upper body workout no equipment
Our second routine is an upper body workout using no equipment that will condition the chest, shoulders, lats/back, and core muscles. You will also improve your joint mobility enabling better movement through your upper back.
The exercises within this workout begin to get a lot more challenging so ensure that you can first perform the beginners workout above first, especially the shoulder taps exercise. I’ve included some variations along with each exercise in order to make the exercises easier if necessary.
Just as with the workout above, perform the routine for a total of 7 minutes taking as little rest as possible in between exercises. Keep rotating through the circuit for the full 7 minutes taking note of how many circuits you manage to complete.
You can either complete this workouts on it own for 2 weeks, 4-5 times per week or alternate it with the no equipment leg workout below.
Workout 2 summary
- Dive Bomber Push Ups x 5 to 10
- Side Plank with Rotation x 5 each side
- Plank to Push Up x 10
- Repeat for 7 minutes
Dive Bomber Push Ups
The dive bomber push up is an excellent no equipment exercise for the upper body. Not only will this exercise strengthen the chest, shoulders and triceps but also help improve back and hip mobility.
Begin in a regular push up position with the hands under the shoulders and feet shoulder width apart. Push your hips back and up into a downward dog position, you can bend your knees slightly but keep your arms straight.
Slowly nose dive down aiming in between your hands. Keep your elbows in as your nose reaches first, followed by your chest and finally your navel. Squeeze your buttocks tight to protect your lower back and look upwards. Push the hips up and backwards to return to the start position again. The complete movement should be slow and controlled.
Caution: if you suffer from lower back issues be careful how deeply you arch your back and always keep your buttocks squeezed tight.
Easier variations: If you find this exercise too challenging or your lower back does not like it then use the regular push up instead. If the push up is too tough then use the shoulder taps from the previous workout.
How many? Perform 5 to 10 repetitions
The side plank with rotation will develop strong core muscles, shoulder stabilisers and improve your upper back mobility.
Begin with the elbow directly under the shoulder and the feet stacked on top of each other. If you find stacking your feet challenging then place the top foot on the floor in front of the other foot.
Raise the hips keeping your pelvis in alignment from 12 to 6 o’clock. It is very common to rock the pelvis off this alignment but don’t, focus on this constantly when in this start position.
Next with the top hand reach through and under your body with your palm facing upwards. You should allow the fingers to gentle drag along the floor. Reach as far as possible before returning back to the starting position.
An easier variation: if you are new to the side plank then practice this first without using the reach through. Practice 10 to 30 seconds of static holds on each side.
How many? Perform 5 slow repetitions on each side
Plank to Push Up
The final no equipment exercise for the upper body is the plank to push. This exercise will condition the core muscles as well as the chest, shoulders and triceps. Together with the dive bomber exercise this movement will really overload the upper body.
Keeping the core muscles and buttocks braced begin in the classic plank position with the elbows underneath the shoulders. With the hips up and body in a straight line place one hand on the floor and then the other as you move up into the top push up position.
Next place one elbow down followed by the other to return back to the front plank. Perform the movement slowly and with full control.
Easier variations: the further your elbows are in front of your shoulders the more challenging the exercise. If you really struggle with this exercise then use the shoulder taps mentioned in the first workout instead.
How many? Perform 10 total repetitions changing which arm begins the movement each time.
3. No equipment back workout
Our third routine is a no equipment back workout that strengthens and conditions the upper and lower back muscles. When using no equipment back exercises it is difficult to achieve any real muscle mass unless you use some degree of exercise equipment like a pull up bar, TRX or gym rings.
However, no equipment back exercises are very effective at strengthening the back postural muscles and preventing future back injuries. I highly recommend that everyone practice these exercises as the back postural muscles are often neglected.
Perform the 3 exercises in a circuit format for the full 7 minutes. Take your time and master the exercise technique.
Workout 3 summary:
- Cross Body Extension x 10 total
- Wall Slides x 5
- Bird Dogs with Rotation x 5 each side
- Repeat for 7 minutes
Cross Body Extension
The first no equipment back exercise is the cross body extension which is a challenging movement for the entire back and core muscles.
Begin in the top push up position with the feet together and hands underneath the shoulders. Ensure that your buttocks are tight and hips are up so as to form a straight line from neck to heel. Reach forward and backwards with opposite arm and leg and hold for 3 seconds. Return to the start position.
Easier variations: this exercise is challenging so you may want to scale back and practice reaching with just the arm or just the leg. You can perform the arm reach on the first circuit and leg reach on the second. If these are too difficult resort back to the shoulder taps from workout 1.
How many? Perform 10 total repetitions, changing sides each rep.
The wall slide back exercise will help improve your shoulder and scapula rhythm, and open up your upper back. This exercise is more challenging that it may appear.
Stand with your back against a wall and heels 6 inches from the wall. Your buttocks, shoulder blades and head should also be against the wall. Flatten your lower back into the wall too by rotating your pelvis.
Next keeping your arms, elbows and wrists against the wall raise your hands to form a ‘W’ shape, this is your start position. Now concentrating on keeping everything against the wall slowly slide your arms upwards until your arms want to lift from the wall. Only go up as far as you can keep everything against the wall. Slowly return to the starting ‘W’ position.
Too easy? If this move is too easy then you are ready for chin ups and pull ups but of course you will need a pull up bar for this.
How many? Perform 5 controlled repetitions
Bird Dogs with Rotation
The final exercise in this no equipment back workout is the bird dog with rotation exercise. This back exercise is excellent for strengthening the entire back line while also conditioning the buttocks and rotational core muscles.
Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees upper your hips. Reach back with your leg squeezing your buttock muscle tight while at the same time extending the arm out at 45 degrees. Next, pull the knee and elbow together while squeezing the core muscles tightly.
Inhale as your extend your limbs outwards and exhale as you bring them together underneath your body.
An easier variation: to make this movement slightly easier you can remove the elbow to knee phase of the movement and concentrate solely on the extension part.
How many? Perform 5 repetition on each side.
4. No equipment abs workout
Our fourth no equipment workout is for the abs and core muscles. No equipment exercises are perfect for training the core muscles and include exercises that target the core in all 3 directions.
I’d recommend that along with the beginners no equipment workout that everyone should perform this workout for maximum core activation.
Just like all the other no equipment workouts perform each exercise in a circuit format, one exercise after the next for a total of 7 minutes.
Workout 4 summary:
- Side Plank with Extension x 10 each side
- Slow Mountain Climbers x 10 total
- Dead Bugs x 10 total
- Repeat for 7 minutes
Side Plank with Extension
We’ve already used the side plank in the upper body workout but this variation uses extension rather than rotation. You will strengthen your lateral core muscles as well as your shoulder stabilisers by using this no equipment exercise.
Support your body by stacking your feet on top of each other and also resting on your elbow. Make sure that your elbow is directly underneath your shoulder and that your shoulder is away from your ear. Your pelvis should be vertical at 12 and 6 o’clock, do not allow it to fall forwards or backwards.
Next maintaining pelvic alignment drop your hips down towards the floor and then back up as high as possible. Perform the movement slowly and with control.
Easier variation: if you find this exercise too challenging then perform the static side plank instead and hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds on each side.
How many? Perform 10 repetitions on each side.
Slow Mountain Climbers
The slow mountain climber is an excellent no equipment exercise for conditioning the core muscles and also the shoulder stabilisers. You will also find this exercise helps to improve your hip mobility too.
Start in the top push up position with your core muscles braced, buttocks squeezed tight and hips up. Next slowly bring your knee to the outside of your elbow opening up the hips, try not to put your toes on the floor. Hold the knee against the elbow and squeeze the core muscles tight for a second or two before slowly returning back to the start position.
It is very important to keep your hips up during the entire movement and not allow your hips to sag or fall towards the floor.
An easier variation: You can make this exercise easier by touching your toes lightly on the floor as you bring your knee to your elbow. If this movement is still too difficult revert back to the shoulder taps exercise from workout 1.
How many? Perform 10 total repetitions changing sides each rep
The final exercise for this no equipment abs workout is the dead bug exercise which will improve your pelvic stability, coordination and rotational core muscles.
The core muscles are naturally connected from hip to opposite shoulder to enable strong rotational movement and also to protect the spine against rotation. The dead bugs exercise is great for conditioning these muscles.
Lie on your back with your hands and feet in the air, hence the dead bugs name. Next keeping your lower back pushed hard into the floor slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg down towards the floor. Do not allow the lower back to lift from the floor, if it does return back to the top position.
The key to this exercise is working within your strength range, only lowering your arms and legs as far down as you can hold your lower back against the floor.
An easier variation: start by just lowering your arm, then progress to just your leg and then finally both at the same time. Don’t try to reach the floor on the first try, keep monitoring your lower back.
How many? 10 total repetitions, alternating sides each rep.
5. No equipment leg workout
The following no equipment leg workout is certainly not for the beginner. Please ensure you have completed the beginner workout first and practiced these exercises before attempting this workout.
You will strengthen your legs, hips, buttocks, core and cardio all with this leg workout.
Just as with the other routines this leg workout with no equipment is performed for a total of 7 minutes non-stop. You will be completing each of the exercises for the required number of repetitions as a circuit taking as little rest as possible.
Workout 5 summary:
- Reverse Lunge and Hop x 8 each side
- Yoga Squat x 8
- Fast Mountain Climbers x 15 each side
- Repeat for 7 minutes
Reverse Lunge and hop
The first exercise in this no equipment leg workout is the reverse lunge and hop, a very demanding exercise on the legs, buttocks, hips, calves and cardio.
The exercise is performed in a fluid movement starting with the reverse lunge and then driving the knee upwards as you hop into the air. Once you land from the hop you immediately drop the leg back down and into the reverse lunge position.
Please ensure the rear knee, during the lunge, drops down to almost kiss the floor in order to fully activate the buttock muscles. The more you drive with the arms and knee upwards the higher you will jump and the more demanding the exercise will be.
An easier variation: remove the hop and just focus on nice, deep reverse lunges.
How many? Perform 8 repetitions on each side.
The yoga squat is an excellent no equipment leg exercise for strengthening the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You will also achieve a huge amount of additional joint mobility in the ankles, knees, hips, back and shoulders.
Begin with your hands overhead, like with the Y squat, and then sit down into a deep squat position. Keeping your heels constantly on the floor place your fingers to the floor, straighten the legs and then return to the deep squat position before finally standing back up.
You can think of the yoga squat as a Y squat, used in the beginner program, along with an additional section at the bottom of the exercise. If you find that you cannot keep your fingers on the floor or fully straighten your legs then just do what you can, it will get easier with every repetition.
An easier variation: too difficult, then use the Y squat from the beginners workout.
How many? Perform a total of 8 repetitions
Fast Mountain Climbers
Our final no equipment leg exercise is the fast mountain climber, which will challenge your cardio as well as your leg strength.
Start in the top push up position with your hands underneath your shoulders. Next alternate jumping one foot in between your hands as quickly as possible. Your feet should connect with the floor at the same time. Try to keep the movement smooth only lifting your feet off the floor enough to switch legs.
An easier variation: rather than jumping the feet you can place the feet in between the hands, alternating legs eg. left forwards and backwards, right forwards and backwards.
How many? Perform a total of 30 repetitions, 15 each leg.