There is unfortunately a whole host of reasons for people not to sign up for the local gym, or even worse, reasons why people commit to a 12 month membership and never end up using the facilities (earning the gym owners plenty of pocket money in the process), but just because you can’t go to a gym for whatever reason doesn’t mean you can’t get a great strength workout wherever you are, be it at home, on holiday, or even at a nearby park.

This workout below involves just 8 movements, all of which take advantage of your best piece of resistance equipment that you carry around every day: your body-weight! By utilizing your body-weight and adding further volume, resistance or speed, you can get a great strength workout in the comfort of your own homeno gym membership subscription necessary.

We’ll walk through the basics of each exercise below, giving you options for both making it more challenging and also slightly easier if you need to (everyone’s gotta start somewhere!), also check out below for free downloads of each workout you can simply print off and use to measure your progress over time.The gym is a well known place to build muscle, lose fat and literally transform your entire body over time. For a typical monthly subscription of maybe $30 or more every month, you can have access to various bits of equipment to help build the body you want, from treadmills, dumbbells, barbells and even specific machines to target individual muscle groups, with some being so specialized they aim to work just the small muscle on the back of your shoulders.

But what if your local gym is incredibly crowded at all times? (There’s a workout for that)

What if all the gyms in the local area are too expensive?

What if you’re out of town for a couple of weeks and don’t want to commit to a years membership?

What if you’re self-conscious about going to a gym full of testosterone-fueled bodybuilders?

What is it’s a public holiday and the gym is closed?

What if you want to work out at home before signing up for a gym membership?

Or what if the gym is simply too far away?

The Workout

Key Notes:

  • Each exercise to be completed by doing 4 sets of 8 followed by a 5 th set to failure
  • Plank should be 4 sets of 30 seconds followed by a 5th to failure
  • Warm up before the workout
    Stretch after the workout
  • Maintain good form to prevent injury
  • Give yourself between 1 minute and 1.5 minute rest between sets
  • If you can complete over 25 reps on your final set, choose a more challenging exercise from below
  • Measure progress by the number of reps you can do to failure over time


No Equipment Needed
With this workout, all you need is your body-weight, the most convenient resistance machine around.

Get a Full Body Workout
With 8 different compound movements slotted into this super efficient workout, you can be sure your entire body gets a workout, helping you build total body strength, from your legs to your biceps and everything in-between.

Exercise Anywhere
Whether your at home, at a park (or even at the office if nobody’s around), this workout helps you build strength wherever you are.

Highly Efficient
No travelling to the gym, waiting at red light after red light, no waiting for a machine at the gym, or those specific dumbbells you need, simply find an area at home or anywhere else and start working out!

Completely Free!
No need to sign up for that expensive gym membership you can’t really afford, making the most out of this workout can have you building strength in no time without spending a cent.

Exercise Breakdown

Exercise 1: Push-ups


The push up (or press up) is a fantastic body-weight exercise, heavily incorporated into many military fitness tests and workouts, and for good reason too. This classic exercise is an excellent movement for strengthening the upper body, it’s also a very functional movement which means it’s benefits transfer over easily into both daily life and in sports too.

How to:  

Start on the ground in a prone position with feet no more than shoulder width apart, place your hands next to your chest. Push your body upwards till your arms are fully extended, keeping your body rigid and in one straight line through the movement.

Once you’re at the top of the movement, bend your elbows, keeping them relatively close to your body as you lower your chest back down to the floor, once your chest reaches the floor, that’s one rep. Time for 7 more.

Muscles Worked:

Chest, Triceps, Shoulders & Core muscles.

Need an easier variation?

To do a single push up requires you to have enough upper body strength to support most of your own body-weight, if this is too difficult don’t worry, lots of people globally wouldn’t be able to do a push up if you approached them on the street (partly due to lack of strength, partly due to confusion as a random person asks them do do push ups in the street…). 

There is however an easy variation to make to help you build the upper body strength necessary to perform a full push up in the future. To make push ups easier, simply keep your knees on the ground as you push yourself up, this reduces the amount of weight you push up as your lower legs remain on the floor. 

Still too difficult? No problem! Start the exercise on all fours and lower your chest towards the ground before pressing up again, as you build confidence and strength, slowly move your knees backwards till your body is in a straight line. 

You’ll be ready for the advanced versions before you know it!

Need more of a challenge?

Go Explosive…
When simply pushing your own body-weight up and down off the floor isn’t enough to get your pectoral muscles all fired up, it’s time to go explosive.

Plyometric (i.e. explosive) exercises are a fantastic way to activate your fast twitch muscle fibers and build further power in your chest once you’ve mastered the standard version.

To perform a plyometric push up, simply start in the normal position, but push yourself upwards with enough force that your body and outstretched arms leave the ground. As you land, remember to control your body as you lower down to the starting position, landing face first is not recommended.

To ramp it up even further, push yourself high enough that you can clap your hands at the top of the movement, this ensures you generate enough force each rep and allows you to give yourself a little applause, after-all, you’ve earned it.
Go Heavy…
One of the keys to getting stronger and develop your physique is a concept called progressive overload, which is essentially making your body do more.

Sure we could just do more and more push ups, but when you’re pounding out more than 50 reps or more, adding another 20 isn’t the best way to build further strength (it will however improve your endurance when doing push ups, if that’s what you’re after!).

The best way to progressively overload your muscles so that they adapt for strength is simple, go heavier. Increasing the weight then makes the exercise more difficult again, forcing your body into a state of adaptation and growth.

When completing push ups this isn’t always simple, it requires an element of innovation to load up a stable weight onto the top of your back to make the exercise more difficult. 

Some great options are; wearing a backpack loaded with weights of your choice (bottles of water, cans from the kitchen or whatever else you can fit inside), alternatively you could use resistance bands to increase the force required to push your body-weight up. 

Alternatively, if there’s any kids around, ask them to hop onto your back whilst you push out a few more sets, you also get the advantage of having the weight automatically increase as they grow!

Exercise 2: Table Pull Ups


With any workout that targets the whole body, you need to ensure that you target opposing muscle groups, otherwise you’ll end up with great half of the body and one not-so-great looking half of your body. Not only will this leave you looking slightly more like Quasimodo from Disney’s the hunchback of notre dam, you’ll also be exposing yourself more to injury and your body falls out of balance.

Here’s where many “no equipment” style workouts fail to deliver. Purely focusing on a mix of push ups and burpees will help you develop strength and cardiovascular fitness over the first couple of months, but if you’re not balancing the strength you build through the pushing motion with developments in strength in a pulling motion, over time you’ll be heading to a physiotherapist to realign your spine and your posture. 

This is where the table-pull up comes in, whilst in a slightly grey area in the “no equipment” arena, a table is so universal that we wouldn’t really consider it “equipment”. Adding a pulling motion is also an essential component to any full body routine to ensure a well rounded and functional physique.

How to:

Lie flat under a strong table or desk with your chest roughly at the level of the end of the table, reach upwards with straight arms and grab the end of the table at shoulder width.

Keep your body flat and your legs stretched out beneath the table. Pull your chest upwards towards the table, aiming to bring your shoulder blades together, once the top of your chest is almost touching the edge of the table, lower yourself down gently, keeping your body straight as you do so.

Muscles Worked:

Back, Biceps, Rear Shoulders & Forearms

Need an easier variation?

No Equipment Strength Workout

To pull your entire body-weight off the ground for several reps is not the easiest thing in the world to do, particularly if there’s a bit of extra Christmas padding to lose, however, with all exercises, there is a way to make the movement easier to build up the strength that serves as the foundation to completing a standard repetition.

The key with this exercise is leverage, the position of your feet and legs will have a big impact on how much weight you are pulling up with your arms and back. 

To make this easier, allow your legs to bend, so that you have your heels on the floor, this will take some of the weight off and will allow you to pull your body-weight up much easier.

Take an 80kg man for example, with his legs stretched out, he may be pulling up 55kg of resistance from his own body-weight (naturally it wouldn’t be the full 80kg as his heels are already touching the floor), now if his legs are bent like the picture above, he wouldn’t be pulling up almost the entire weight of his legs and may only have approximately 35kg of resistance, making it much easier.

The bottom line? The closer your feet are to your buttocks, the easier this inverted row becomes. 

Need more of a challenge?

Go Heavy…
As with the easiest version here, the key is leverage. If moving your legs further towards your buttocks makes it easier then moving them further away will make it harder, but what if you’ve already got your legs stretched out straight and your body is in a line straighter than an architect’s ruler?

Simple, use leverage as the key and raise your heels onto a surface higher than the ground, this may be a nearby chair underneath your kitchen table, a box if there’s one nearby or on top of a backpack if you’re pulling your body-weight up off a low hanging branch in a park.

Thinking back to our average 80kg man from earlier, if keeping our heels on the floor results in roughly 55kg of resistance, raising our heels onto a higher surface may increase that level of resistance to 70kg, resulting in a more powerful and defined back for your efforts.

The only way to go from here is to increase the weight even further by placing heavy objects on your hips as you complete the exercise, heavy duty pockets are a bonus here.
Go Vertical…
The second way to adapt this exercise for those who can pull themselves up and down under their kitchen table without even breaking a sweat is to change the movement pattern of the exercise slightly, what’s the best way to do this you might ask?

Get yourself a pull up bar, for the mere sum of $20 or £15, you can get a sturdy pull up bar which transforms this simple body-weight row into a full blown pull up. 

Now thinking of our 80kg man, doing a full pull up requires you to pull the entire 80kg weight up to the bar and then down again. This means a much more impressive back and set of biceps. 

Additionally, if you’re not 100% confident with the correct form of the pull up,

For those with some serious strength (i.e. can do more than 25 reps to failure on your 5th set), grab some weight from nearby, to increase the resistance further.

Exercise 3: Pike Push-Ups


Now that we’ve got the push and pull movements sorted, we’ll need to add an exercise which helps to develop the shoulders, enter: the pike push-up.

The pike push-up is a simple, yet much more difficult variation of the standard push up, however the key difference is that the body starts in a pike (or downward dog for those who love a bit of yoga) position. This puts more of the emphasis and resistance onto the shoulders as opposed to being primarily dealt with by the chest.

Completing the pike push-up is a fantastic way to increase the pushing strength of your body using an overhead motion, it’s also a great way of progressing onto the even more difficult and impressive handstand push-up. 

So if you’re looking to build that sought-after “V-shape” with boulder shoulders, or simply increase your shoulder strength and power, the pike push up is an excellent place to start. See it as your cornerstone for progressing onto more advanced body-weight shoulder exercises.

How to:

Start off in the standard “downward dog” pose, with only your palms and feet touching the floor, and your hips as high as possible, ensure your feet are walked towards your hands so that your body resembles an “A” frame.

Once at this starting position, bend your elbows and lower your head down to the ground, keeping your back straight at all times. 

Allow your head to simply touch the ground in front of you (you may wish to put a towel or a tiny cushion in the area your head meets the ground). Once your at the bottom of the movement, push yourself back up and that’s 1 repetition.

Muscles Worked:

Shoulders, Triceps, Upper Chest & Core

Need an easier variation?

The standard pike push up requires you to put a significant proportion of your body-weight up in the air before pushing it up and down from the ground, a feat not particularly easy for those with shoulders yet to be developed.

Not to worry, with all advanced exercises there are ways to build up the strength you need to master even some of the most tricky exercises like the muscle up (whereby you complete a pull up with enough force you end up doing a tricep dip at the top of the bar – not for the faint of heart).

So to make the pike push up easier, simply take advantage of the distribution of your body-weight and allow your feet to be somewhat further away from your hands. Instead of potentially a 60 degree angle between your hips in the typical exercise, this may be up to 150 degrees so that the position of your body resembles something between a straight push up position and the downward dog position in the standard pike push up. 

Once your comfortable pushing your body upwards at this less severe angle for at least 8 reps, bring your feet slightly closer to your hands. This will create an increasing focus on your shoulder muscles over time and will help you develop towards the full pike push up.

Need more of a challenge?

Go Heavy…
As we’ve discussed earlier, one of the best ways to increase strength in a movement is to add weight and make the resistance harder. 

Similarly with the standard push up, there’s a few options to add weight into the movement, these include:

Wearing a backpack – simply add with household objects such as tins, cans or bottles of water.

Wearing a weighted vest – probably the most secure and effective option if you’ve got one around.

Asking a nearby child to jump onto your back – make sure it’s random child of course! Additionally make sure they have a strong grip as you don’t want them sliding down your back and hitting you on the back of your head!

If you’re able to add weight easily at this point, it’s time to increase the angle at which you push yourself up from the ground as the full handstand push up (described on the right) will place the greatest emphasis, and therefore greatest development, on the shoulder muscles.

Feel free to check out this helpful video from YouTube which demonstrates the progression to a full handstand push up!
Go Vertical…
One of the best reasons to master the pike push up, apart from building excellent core and shoulder strength and power, is to progress onto the famed handstand push up.

The handstand push up is a true example of total body strength whereby you support your entire body-weight on your arms and push yourself up and down towards the floor.

To progress onto the full handstand push up, you’ll want to continue with the standard pike push up, but adding a decline where possible, for example, putting your feet up on a nearby curb, low bar or nearby box.

This will help to increase the power of your shoulders faster and will also ensure your body becomes comfortable in a more upright (or more inverted in this case) position.

As you gain confidence with putting your feet on higher and higher objects your body will start to resemble that of a full handstand, with your body completely straight and nearly all of your weight supported by your hands.

Once you can comfortably complete 4 sets with your feet on the highest object you can find, you’re ready to tackle the handstand push up.

Throw yourself up into a handstand position, starting by facing a wall, lowering your hands to the ground and kicking your legs up and over your body till they touch the wall. 

At this starting position, lower your head down to the ground slowly and with control, at the bottom of the movement, push your body-weight back up to the starting position, congratulations, you’ve completely a handstand push up! 

Time for 7 more…

Exercise 4: Squats


The undisputed king of lower body exercises is the squat, no full body workout is complete without it. This exercise is so vital, there are even 30 day challenges focused solely on the squat, and for good reason too, the movement is extremely effective at powering up your lower body and giving you a healthy boost of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, both of which support a lean & healthy physique. 

The squat is also a highly functional movement, whereby the increased power you can exert from your lower body can translate easily into many different sports such as improving your vertical jump for basket ball, your pushing ability in rugby or simply increasing the speed you can run.

With more benefits to your health than you can count on both your fingers and toes, think of the squat as being able to turn your lower body from a donkey to a stallion.

How to:

Start standing with your feet either shoulder width, or slightly wider than shoulder width, with your toes pointed forward or ever so slightly outwards (both a narrow and wider stance and toes forward or pointed partially outward are effective).

From the starting position, lower your body down to the floor by bending your knees and sending your buttocks down and backwards, keeping your back straight at all time.

Ensure your buttocks goes down till it is at least on the same level as your knees i.e. your hamstrings being parallel with the floor, now push yourself upwards through your heels and you’re done.

Keep squatting and watch your lower body become more powerful before your very eyes.

Muscles Worked:

Quadriceps & Hamstrings (i.e. your thighs), Glutes (your buttocks) and your lower back.

Need an easier variation?

If you don’t have the hip flexibility, or the thigh strength to lower yourself down to at least your knees, the full squat will be a bit of a challenge. That doesn’t give you an excuse to skip this part of the workout of course! 

To make this exercise easier will depend on which part of the exercise you find tricky. If you simply don’t have the hip flexibility, complete half squats, aiming to lower your body as low as you can go before pushing yourself back up with your heels and glutes. This will not be the full range of motion so you should always try to go as low as you are able to every workout to build up to the full range of motion which will give you the best benefits for your lower body.

If it’s a leg strength issue, for example if you’re recovering from an injury and haven’t completed a squatting motion for months, all that’s needed is to reduce the amount of weight you need to push up during the movement. Unless you want to sever your own arm (not recommended – makes push ups and pull ups much harder), one of the remaining options is to hold onto a nearby, stable, object to assist yourself during the movement.

Completing a squat near, for example, a table, chest of drawers, door handle or even a nearby friend, allows you to help yourself up with your arms. This allows you to complete the exercise with the full range of motion whilst removing some of the focus from your thighs as they develop. 

Continue squatting in this way till you are able to complete full squats unassisted. You’ll be squatting like an Olympic athlete before you know it…

Need more of a challenge?

Go Pistoling…
The “Pistol Squat”, no this doesn’t involve going to the firing range, or making a gunshot noise as you push yourself up (unless you really want to).

The pistol squat is an advanced squatting movement whereby the entire weight of your body is pushed up by a single leg. This takes a great deal of coordination and an impressive strength to weight ratio, not for the faint of heart.

Start in a normal squat position, but bend one knee slightly so that the foot comes off the floor, as you bend down with one leg, put the other leg in front of you.

Once your standing leg is fully bent and you are at the bottom of the movement, push your body-weight back up to the starting position using on the power in your leg that is on the floor. 

That’s 1 rep, now complete the exercise for your other leg (pistol sound effects optional).
Go Heavy…
To upgrade the squat and supercharge your entire body, you’ll need to add weight.

Completing the squat with your body-weight alone quickly becomes easy, even for the untrained individual. 

Adding weight to this exercise will exponentially increase all the benefits of this movement, including a greater testosterone & human growth hormone (HGH) boost, helping you achieve a leaner and healthier you in less time.

The options for adding weight are somewhat easier for the squat than for the press up or pike press up and you have your arms to hold any object nearby. 

Of course the standard options still work, including the backpack, weighted vest and your friends child, but you can also hold items in front of you, at the sides of you, or above your head.

The options are almost endless, try holding a couple of liters of water, a chair, a vase or a nearby watering can above your head next time you squat for even greater results.

The latter will also come with the added challenge of not getting yourself wet whilst squatting!

(Warning – compliments about your behind may increase with regular squatting)

Exercise 5: Chair Tricep Dips


The tricep dip is an excellent movement to increase power into all pushing movements and enhance the size and definition of your arms. Completing a full tricep dip usually requires the use of a dip bar which can be found in nearly all indoor gyms and some free outdoor gyms in certain areas.

If you’re reading this article, chances are there isn’t a fully functioning set of parallel dip bars next to your house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an excellent tricep workout at home or in the nearby park. This is where chair tricep dips come into play (can also be referred to “bench tricep dips” if you’re completing this exercise in your local park!).

The chair tricep dip utilizes all the muscles required in the typical tricep dip but without the need to have specific gym equipment nearby, allowing you to superpower your arms anywhere you like!

How to:

For the standard chair tricep dip, start with the shoulders back and the arms down and the palms facing away from the body, grip the chair and put your hips forward so that your body-weight is supported by your arms. Start with your legs stretched out in front of you.

With your arms starting straight, bend your elbows behind you and lower your hips down towards the ground, ensuring that your torso remains straight and your back does not begin to move away from the chair.

As your triceps reach a 90 degree angle with your forearms (i.e. now parallel to the chair), push yourself back up to the starting position with your triceps.  

A burning sensation should be felt at the back of your arms towards the end of the 5 sets (if for some reason, you are actually on fire, do not continue to complete tricep dips…)

Muscles Worked:

Primarily triceps with some shoulder activation

Need an easier variation?

For anyone who hasn’t followed an exercise routine before, completing 4 sets of 8 tricep dips on a chair might be a step too far. If that’s the case, there’s a simple way to make the exercise easier whilst still developing the targeted muscles.

With the standard tricep dip on a chair the legs should be stretched out in front of you. Referring back to our 80kg individual, this may require roughly 60kg of resistance to be pushed up by the triceps. Now, to make this easier, we can just bring our feet in closer to the body. 

By doing this our feet are more likely placed flat on the floor with our knees bent. By doing this our 80kg individual may only need to push up 40kg of resistance with the triceps to complete the movement, making the exercise much easier!

Need more of a challenge?

Go Heavy…
As with the press up, the pike press up and the squat, to progress this exercise further once you’re able to complete all 5 sets with relative ease, one of our options is to add some weight.

To do this, our options aren’t much different from what has already been discussed, of course you could put a backpack or a flower vase on your legs, but the options aren’t limited here.

In summary, anything heavy and stable you can place on your lap whilst doing tricep dips on a chair would be an excellent way to make this challenging again and ensure you keep progressing forward.
Go Suspended…
Once you’ve stacked up all the nearby household objects onto your lap and you’e still able to do triceps till sunset, it’s time to make this exercise even more challenging. 

For this, you’ll need a second chair.. (cue suspense).

This movement is considerably more advanced and will recruit more muscles than the typical chair tricep dip. 

Place two chairs facing each other with enough space for you to sit on the floor between them. Place your palms, fingers facing forward, on each chair and lift your legs off the floor so that your body resembles and “L” shape.

Keeping your torso tight and abs engaged, slowly lower your body down till your triceps are at 90 degrees to your forearms, before pushing your entire body-weight upwards to the starting position. 

Not only will this require the triceps to push up the entire 80kg of our individual, it will also recruit the abs as the legs are kept forward in an L-position like in the example on the left.

Exercise 6: Lunges


If your legs weren’t finished off by a few rounds of squats, they will be once completed a few sets of lunges for good measure.

Lunges are similar to squats in terms of the muscles recruited for the exercise, but have several additional benefits including, but not limited to; better balance, excellent crossover to running based sports & improved hip flexor flexibility. 

The above mean that the lunge is a worthwhile addition to any no equipment body-weight routine to ensure you build the most functional leg strength possible.

How to:

To do a lunge, take a large step forward with your dominant leg, now in this straddle position, bend your back knee towards the ground, ensuring that your front knee does not go past your toes.

Keep your torso upright and your core tight throughout the movement, once your back knee almost touches the floor, push yourself back up through the heel of the front foot back to the starting position.

Repeat the movement for your other leg, that’s one rep.

Muscles Worked:

Quadriceps & Hamstrings (i.e. your thighs), Glutes (your buttocks) and stabilizer muscles (adductors / abductors)

Need an easier variation?

To make the lunge easier, you’ll need to decrease the weight of the body so that the pushing motion is therefore easier. To do this, perform a lunge near a solid surface such as a rail, table or chair. This will allow you to use the stable object for assistance in the movement, therefore meaning you won’t have to raise your entire body-weight using your legs alone.

As you get more and more comfortable with this exercise, gradually hold on less and less to the nearby stable surface so that you can progress to a full unassisted lunge.

Need more of a challenge?

Go Explosive…
To make lunges even more effective, one way is to introduce explosives.

Not dynamite or TNT! We’re talking about plyometric movements here.

As with press ups, plyometric, or explosive, movements are a fantastic way to increase intensity and improve the activation of fast twitch muscle fibers, giving you greater functional benefits and leg power.

To perform a plyometric lunge, lower yourself down to the bottom of the movement and then push yourself up explosively so that both legs leave the ground.

Whilst in midair, send your front leg backwards and your back leg forwards in a scissor-like action, landing in a lunge on the opposite side. 

Continue to do this till you’ve done 8 reps on each side – no safety equipment necessary. 
Go Heavy…
Your options for going heavier here are similar to that of the squat, as you have your hands free to support holding objects either above your head, towards the top of the back (i.e. the trapezius muscles) or simply by the sides of the body.

You could for example hold two large bottles or small tanks of water by the sides of the body.

If you wanted to add some instability to the exercise, you could hold all of the weight in one hand, this would therefore engage the core muscles even more as they try to keep you balanced and upright.

Exercise 7: Sit Ups


Whilst not enough alone to ensure you’ve got a rippling six pack in time for beach season, the sit up is an excellent way to build up your abdominal and wider core strength. This will not only give you a more defined mid section once your body fat is low enough, but will provide a stronger foundation and more stability when completing other exercises and even in day to day life.

See these final two core exercises as the way to replace the old wooden foundations of your house with some new upgraded steel girders. 

How to: 

To perform a full sit up, start lying on your back with your arms stretched upwards and your knees bent.

Use your abdominal muscles (the muscles in your belly) to pull your torso upwards till your arms and torso are pointing into the air.

Continue to move your torso forward till you can reach and touch the ground in front of your toes (you may wish to spread your knees throughout the exercise to make this easier). 

Lower your torso back down to the starting position and touch the ground behind you, that’s one rep.

Now say hello to your new enhanced abdominal muscles!

Muscles Worked:


Need an easier variation?

The full sit up requires you to completely activate your entire abdominal section. If the last time you did sit ups was way back in high school, this might be too much of a challenge (for now).

To make this exercise easier, we can modify this movement into the standard crunch. To complete a crunch, start in the same position as the full sit up, with your back on the floor and your knees bent, but place your arms on the front of your torso, so that your fingers are on the top of your thighs.

From this starting position, tense your abdominal muscles to raise your torso up, sliding your hands as far along your thighs towards your knees as you can go, pause for a split second once you’ve gone as far as you can go to really activate those abs. Now slowly lower yourself till your back is on the floor again, keeping your core engaged throughout the movement.

You may only be able to move a couple of inches when doing the crunch, particularly if your idea of a “sit up” was getting off the sofa to collect the takeaway from a delivery driver. Don’t worry, the crunch will build up solid strength in your abs so that you can progress onto the full sit up and beyond.

Need more of a challenge?

Go Jacking…
The jackknife is a more advanced abdominal exercise than the regular sit up. 

Sometimes referred to as a “V sit up” (though we think the name Jackknife is much cooler), it brings the legs into the movement, adding further resistance.

This additional resistance is excellent for also developing the lower abdominal muscles and helping craft those V shaped lines towards the groin that come with lower levels of body fat.

To perform a jackknife, start in a lying position. Move both your legs and torso upwards to the sky, keeping your legs straight. 

Aim to meet your legs with your torso and reach up to touch your feet. 

Lower your legs and torso down at the same time back to the starting position, that’s one rep.
Go Heavy…
Due to the nature of the full sit up, you won’t need sizable and heavy weights to progress your abs quickly like you will for the push up variations or squats.

To make the standard sit up more challenging, and therefore help you progress your abs up to cover model standard, start first with a relatively light nearby weight. 

This could be as simple as a tin from the kitchen, a pouch of dog food or a rock if you’re in the park. all of which should weigh not more than 5lbs or 2kg if you’re doing weighted sit ups for the first time.

Complete the full sit up, holding the object in your hands. Once this gets fairly easy, grab another object weighing no more than 10lbs or approximately 4kg.

Now you’ve got enough resistance to really develop abs worth shouting about, keep it up.

Once you’re really confident, why not combine the two and complete a weighted jackknife?

Just grab your nearby object starting with your arms behind your head and reach the object to the sky.

At the top of the movement, touch your feet with your object in your hands before lowering your body to the starting position.

With this exercise, rock solid abs are only a couple of workouts away.

Exercise 8: Plank


Finally, we come to the last exercise of this no equipment strength workout you can do anywhere and anytime, the plank.

The plank requires total body control, from your shoulders, to your back and all the way down to your calves, it’s an excellent full body strengthening isometric exercise to finish off this circuit.

There are also several 30 day challenges focused entirely on the plank. This is because once the plank is mastered, you’ll have a stronger core, better balance and improved posture, not to be sniffed at!

How to: 

To complete a plank, start in the prone position, resting on your forearms.

Keep your shoulders above your elbows and your body in a perfect straight line. Tense your abdominal muscles and ensure your hips don’t move upwards or downwards as you get tired.

You can rest on your forearms or your hands, both of which will still give you all the benefits of a plank.

Muscles Worked:

Abdominals, back with the entire body required for stability.

Need an easier variation?

For those with back issues, or who simply aren’t able to do a full 30 second plank, there’s a very easy way to make the plank easier to build up the body strength for a full plank.

The beginner’s plank is almost identical to the full plank but with one small variation, the knees are on the ground. This makes the exercise much easier as there is less weight held in the air and also less force for the shoulders to support.

It’s almost planking, just easier. Once you’re able to complete 5 sets of this plank, with the final set being at least 30 seconds, progress onto the full plank variation. 

Remember: if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Need more of a challenge?

Go Russian…
To the untrained eye, this plank variation looks almost identical to the typical plank. However it does have a couple of small changes which add up to really increase the intensity.

Titled the RKC plank, or the Russian Kettlebell Challenge plank, this variation reduces your support base and demands even more full body tension.

Start off in a normal plank, with your body in a perfect straight line as you rest on your forearms.

Now move your elbows closer together by and inch and then forward by two inches.

If this is still fairly easy, move your elbows slightly further closer together and further forward. 

At the absolute maximum, your elbows should be touching and as far away from your body as possible – not for the faint of heart.

This move also activates the abdominal and surrounding muscles by up to four times compared to the standard plank – expect to have your body shaking.
Go Heavy…
Making the plank heavier can be somewhat tricky, particularly as your arms are engaged from the start of the movement.

To add weight, and therefore increase the force supported by the shoulders and core muscles, there are a couple of options, all of which ensure you get an effective core workout.

The first option is the trusty backpack or weighted vest, simply load up the vest or backpack with nearby weights such as tins from the kitchen, bottles of water or rocks from the park.

The second option requires the assistance of a friend or general nearby helper, for example at home you may ask your partner to place a tray or some heavy plates on your back as you begin to plank.

( is not liable for any breaking of precious china plates whilst planking).

Feel free to get creative – any way that you can hold additional weight on your back will help to make this plank more challenging and therefore enhance its associated benefits.

Conclusion & Free Downloads

There you go, all eight strength exercises explained, with more challenging and easier modifications, ensuring you can get an effective workout anywhere and anytime. 

Of course if you’re looking to build muscle, you’ll need to know the 3 absolute essentials to building muscle, you could also turn all these exercises into a HIIT workout too!

Now if the gym is ever shut, or you just don’t have the time to be traveling to and from the gym during rush hour, there is a workout for you. Feel free to check out the workouts below suitable to your current fitness level.

Just print off, grab a pen and go!

Give them a try for a couple of weeks and let us know how you get on. We love to hear from you!