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.

Simple bodyweight workout: no gym, no problem!

No gym? No problem!

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

  1. Wall Extensions for 10 repetitions (reps)
  2. Band dislocates (10 reps)
  3. Cat Camels (10 reps)
  4. Scapular shrugs (10 reps)
  5. Full body circles (10 reps – 5 in each direction)
  6. Front-to-back leg swings (20 reps – 10 each leg)
  7. Side-to-side leg swings (20 reps – 10 each leg)
  8. Wrist mobility exercises (2-3 minutes)

Part 2: Bodyline Exercises

  1. 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.
  2. Side plank for 2 minutes (60 seconds for each side)
  3. Reverse plank  for 60 seconds
  4. Hollow hold for 60 seconds
  5. Arch hold for 60 seconds

Part 3: Support Exercises

  1. Wall plank (60 seconds) → Wall HandstandHandstand
  2. Parallel bar support (60 seconds) → Ring support holdRTO 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Parallel bar dips (3 x 8) → Ring dips → Ring L-sit dips (legs in L-sit position)

    Take a 3-minute break
  3. Assisted squats (3 x 8) → SquatsStep-upsDeep step-ups
  4. Foot-supported L-sits (3 x 30 seconds) → One-leg supported L-sitsTuck L-sits → One-leg L-sits (extend one leg straight out) → L-sits

    Take a 3-minute break
  5. Vertical push-ups (3 x 8) → Incline push-upsFull push-upsDiamond push-upsPseudo planche push-ups → Advanced Pseudo planche push-ups (increase forward lean)
  6. Vertical rows (3 x 8) → Incline rowsHorizontal rowsWide rowsTuck front leversTuck ice cream makersTuck front lever rowsAdvanced 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:

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.

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