You don't need weights to build full-body muscle — just this 30-minute bodyweight workout

Man performing push-ups during workout in a gym studio
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You can have a fancy gym membership or all the best home gym equipment in your garage and still not feel motivated to workout. 

Sometimes it's the faff of setting up the workout and various equipment, such as loading up a barbell or finding the right weight on one of the best adjustable dumbbells, that can talk you out of starting one.

To avoid all of that, we suggest stripping things back and trying a 30-minute no equipment full body strength-building routine. This workout comes from fitness trainer James Stirling (also known as The London Fitness Guy on Instagram) and is suitable for beginners and seasoned strength trainers. 

All you need is a couch or chair for certain exercises, and a good yoga mat for floor work to cushion your joints (though not absolutely necessary). Stirling also demonstrates each move, so check these out if you want to master the proper form of the exercises and get the most out of your training.

Watch James Stirling's 30-minute no-equipment workout

No weights, no problem! If you're looking to boost your strength without any equipment, Stirling's six-move routine has you covered. This workout is packed with benefits, including improved muscle strength and endurance all over.

Let's break down the exercises: push-ups strengthen your chest, shoulders, and triceps, while split squats target your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Triceps dips focus on the triceps and shoulders, and single-leg bridges work the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Plus, side planks enhance core strength and stability, adding to your overall muscular endurance.

Speaking of the core, this workout keeps it engaged the entire time, which is key for both stability and strength. Every move, whether it targets the upper body, lower body, or specific muscle groups, requires your core to stay active to maintain good form and balance.

Improving balance and coordination is another big win with this bodyweight routine. Exercises like split squats and single leg bridges promote balance and coordination by working one leg at a time. Meanwhile, side planks develop stability and coordination in the core and shoulders, boosting your overall control and alignment.

Time under tension is a crucial principle in strength training that enhances muscle gain and workout effectiveness and is something you should focus on while performing these bodyweight moves. 

When you focus on controlling the speed and tempo of each repetition during exercises like push-ups, split squats, tricep dips, single leg bridges, and side planks, you can increase the workload on your muscles. 

This technique ensures that muscles are engaged throughout the entire range of motion, leading to greater muscle fiber recruitment and adaptation. 

Sounds like a pretty effective workout for a simple 30-minute equipmentless circuit. If you've got a pair of the best workout headphones to hand, why not pop your favorite tunes and give this workout a go?

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.