Forget ab workouts— this calisthenics workout blasts your whole body in just 15 minutes

Woman in black workout clothes performing a side lunge on her left leg outdoors against a concrete background
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

This quick bodyweight workout takes 15 minutes and 15 full-body exercises to blast your whole body without weights. 

You don’t need to hit the gym for hours — just follow the bodyweight routine below to torch every major muscle group, strengthen your core and ramp up your heart rate by combining strength exercises with cardio. 

You could add a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells to some moves to increase the resistance for your muscles or perform them on your exercise mat, equipment-free — and get ready to feel the burn. 

As a personal trainer, I train clients from all fitness backgrounds and with varying home workout set-ups, from tiny apartments like mine to sprawling high-tech gyms. 

These exercises are suitable for every body, meaning anyone could benefit from this spicy 15-minute body blast anywhere, regardless of fitness level. But if you’re working with an injury, remember to clear exercise with a relevant medical professional or personal trainer first. 

15-minute, 15-move bodyweight workout 

The Tom’s Guide exclusive bodyweight blast uses 15 exercises to sculpt stronger muscles all over. Bodyweight exercise tests your relative strength, which refers to your strength levels compared with your size. 

Just because you can lift super heavy weights in the gym doesn’t mean you’ll find bodyweight training “easy.” In fact, I find bodyweight workouts considerably harder, and research has shown that calisthenics workouts (a form of bodyweight training) develop strength, improves posture and positively impacts body composition. And gymnastics are some of the strongest, most explosive athletes going.  

The moves are compound exercises, and you can find the 10 best compound exercises here to switch things up if you plan to tackle this session again.

These muscle-torching moves build foundational strength, burn calories and tap into cardio exercise. So put aside 15 minutes and follow the video above. We recommend including them as part of a wider functional training program, which will prime your muscles (and body) to move more efficiently through the day. 

Prepare to push, squat, dip and lunge toward stronger muscles and a robust, powerful engine. 

Perform the exercises for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Complete each of the 15 moves, which totals 15 minutes. You could repeat for a second round if you prefer a 30-minute workout. 

Workout: 45/15

  • Bodyweight squat
  • Commando planks
  • Push-ups
  • Crunches
  • Deadbugs
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Mountain climbers
  • Tricep dips
  • Reverse lunges
  • Side lunges
  • Glute bridges
  • Sprawls
  • Burpee
  • Plank hip dips
  • Spiderman plank.

As with most full-body routines, you’ll work through an upper body, lower body and core split, so you can benefit from some of the best ab exercises to strengthen your core muscles while hitting your legs, chest and back muscles. 

As always, you can modify every exercise but try to keep the intensity high. For example, sprawls and burpees are brutal back-to-back exercises, so you could step through the moves or remove the chest-to-floor element of the burpee exercise. 

And you don’t need weights or machines to sculpt muscle, as we discuss 5 ways to build muscle without lifting heavier weights here — and we’ve plucked some of those tips to apply to this bodyweight workout. 

Leg workout woman performing bodyweight squat

(Image credit: Getty)

For example, try to move with control during each exercise; this refers to time under tension and guarantees to send muscle activation soaring. It just means slowing each move down to work the muscles for longer. 

We also like to work the body through different planes of motion during workouts, which increases muscle activation. Exercises like burpees, lunges, squats and push-ups are pretty staple moves. 

But I’ve thrown in plank hip dips using a rotational movement to strengthen the oblique muscles that run down your waist, and deadbugs target the deeper core muscles — the transverse abdominis — and the hip flexor muscles (stabilizer muscles) using isometric contraction vs isotonic contraction. That means some muscles are under tension without moving (isometric), while others flex and extend (isotonic).

Remember to switch sides for single-sided moves like lunges or side lunges. I recommend alternating every rep or every 5-10 reps. And although the “standard” crunch is one of the most effective ab exercises, Tom’s Guide rounded up the 10 best crunch variations if these don’t float your boat. 

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Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.