Exercising with no equipment

Who needs equipment to have a workout?

I wanted to share with you my varied experience of training clients with absolutely no equipment.  I have done this with individual clients, small groups and it even worked with 60 semi- professional rugby players (albeit with some balls and cones).  While I’ll never profess no equipment exercise are my workouts of choice, particularly for the clients I work with, having an  equipment free work out up your sleeve is always handy.

First of all I’m going to talk to you about body weight exercises and whilst there are dozens of them to choose from I’m going to focus on 3-4 of the most commonly recognised ones.  The ones I use regularly are squats, lunges, push ups and pull ups (you’ll need something like a bike rack or fence to hang off for this one).  Along with varying the type of each exercise e.g. single leg squat, walking lunges, spiderman push ups and inverted pull ups, I change one other important variable- the tempo or time under tension (TUT).

This takes a standard body weight exercise and makes it a powerhouse exercise.  Basically I get the client to slow the lowering phase, of say a squat, over 4 seconds, pausing in the bottom position and holding for 2 seconds before returning to the start position. This increases the TUT about fourfold compared to a one second up one second down version of the exercise.  Believe me 12 reps of these has even conditioned exercisers wobbly at the knees by the end of the set.  This principle can be applied to pretty much most body weight exercises including ab exercises like the plank.

Exercises like tuck jumps, burpees and squat thrusts which are explosive type exercises get my clients cooking really quickly

One of my top body weight workouts is called the 100 rep workout and you can see it demonstrated on our You Tube channel at:

Video on 100 rep workout

It’s a short five minute video where all you need is a bench to perform the workout.

This brings me to my next tip – park benches and steps.  These add real variety (and gravity) to a workout.  Exercises like step ups require you to lift your body against gravity (increasing energy expenditure) and also allows you to raise your feet to make push ups more challenging.  Other great reasons to use a bench in your outdoor workouts is for traditional dips exercises and lying crunches (keeps you off the cold grass or pavement).

The final type of bodyweight exercises I like to use are the military / plyometric exercises (depending on the condition of the client).

Exercises like tuck jumps, burpees and squat thrusts which are explosive type exercises get my clients cooking really quickly.

A small circuit of 3-4 of these exercises with short rest periods really jacks your metabolism up and burns a lot of calories.  Be careful with your technique on these exercises as when you’re fatigued they can lead to injury.

Make the most of the rest of the summer by using these exercises in an outdoor workout.  They’ll get your heart rate up, firm body parts up and get you out into the fresh air.

Good luck!

Chris Hines    CSCS


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