Whether you’re just starting on your fitness journey and feel intimidated by the weights room at the gym, or you’re looking for a quick bodyweight workout you can do at home, knowing where to start can be half the battle. To help you unlock true strength without reaching for the best adjustable dumbbells or kettlebells, we’ve found a full-body, zero-equipment workout that takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
The workout was created by workout coach Shaina Fata, who shared the exercises on her Instagram account. Ready to get started? All you need is an exercise mat and some motivation — read on to find out more.
Are bodyweight workouts effective?
In a word, yes. In her Instagram caption, Fata writes, “Although bodyweight workouts aren’t going to give you the same results as picking up a pair of dumbbells or loading on other weights, they can add their own set of challenges to your body/muscles that will still help with progress and growth!
“They are GREAT for total beginners or those that are traveling or don’t have access to equipment or a gym.”
As with all workouts, this might not be right for you and your body. If you’re returning to fitness following an injury or pregnancy, it’s a good idea to check with a medical professional before taking on a new workout routine. It’s also worth asking a personal trainer to check your form to avoid putting yourself at risk of injury.
What is the workout?
Ready to get moving? Here are the exercises you’ll need to do to complete the workout. Do each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 20-30 seconds of rest, depending on your fitness level. Complete the circuit four times in total.
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Offset squat to pulse
To do this workout start by standing on your exercise mat with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head, but ensure that you’re not pulling your neck forward during the exercise. Step one leg out to the side, slightly in front of you, and squat down, bending your knees and lowering your hips back. At the bottom of the squat, rise up slightly and then pulse back down. Switch sides and repeat, keeping your legs moving on the diagonal.
Plank walks out to push up
For this exercise, start at one end of your exercise mat, with your feet hip-width apart and your core engaged. Bend at your hips and lower your hands to the ground, then walk them out slowly so that you are in a full-plank position. Your core needs to be engaged, and there should be a straight line from your head, down your back, to your heels. From this position, bend your elbows and lower down into a press-up, lowering your chest to the ground. If this is too difficult, drop your knees to the floor for a modified press-up. Once you have completed two press-ups, walk your hands back towards your feet and stand up — that’s one rep.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your core engaged, step one leg forward, and slowly bend both knees, until your back knee is a few inches off the floor. Stand back up, and take a step back with the same leg and repeat the movement, bending both knees, until your back knee is hovering just above the floor. Step your leg back to your starting position, and repeat the lunge
Commandos to knee drives
For this exercise, start in a high plank position, with your legs wider than they would normally be in a plank. Engage your core, thinking of sucking your belly button into your spine, and bend at one elbow to lower it down to the floor, then the other, so you move into a low plank position. Reverse the movement, pushing up from the ground with one hand, then the other, jump both legs in towards your chest, then back out. If this is too advanced, complete a mountain climber, driving one knee into your chest and then the other. That’s one rep. Switch which arm you lead the commando with each time.
Start by standing on your exercise mat, with your feet hip-width apart, your core engaged, and your hands behind your head. Step one leg out to the side, and take the other leg back behind, completing a curtsy lunge, lowering your back knee down to the exercise mat. At the same time, lower your hand towards the floor, then take it back to your head as you step back to the starting position. Keep alternating sides throughout.
Tricep dip to crab toe tap
For this exercise, start by sitting on your exercise mat, with your hands and feet pressed into your mat, and your fingers facing forwards your feet. Lift your glutes off the floor, and complete a tricep dip, bending at your elbows. As you push back into your starting position, lift one arm and the opposite leg up towards the ceiling, and tap your hand towards your toes (it doesn’t matter if you can’t fully reach). Lower back to your starting position, and complete another tricep dip and crab toe tap on the opposite side.
What are the benefits?
As mentioned above, bodyweight workouts are a fantastic way to build strength and muscle without the need for extra equipment. Like all forms of exercise, doing bodyweight strength training has several benefits — they can help build functional fitness by mimicking movements you do in your everyday life, build muscle, and improve your core strength and balance.
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Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.