Gym-free workouts are great to have in your fitness arsenal. Whether you’re away on business, vacation or just not able to get to the local gym, here are a few exercises you can do literally anywhere.
The key elements of a gym-free workout are:
- You should be able to do the exercises almost anywhere – in the garden, the park or even your hotel room.
- The exercises should consist of body-weight movements where possible – extra resistance can be added using elastic bands and other items that are to hand, such as bags, if needed
- Equipment should be limited to what can be found in the outdoors, or at most a bag that you may have with you due to travelling.
So what exercises can you perform to create a workout that meets these needs?
Let’s take a look at the ‘hotel room’ exercises first:
Begin with the feet directly under your hips and then lunge forwards, lowering your body so that your front knee is over your front ankle and your hip is over your back knee. Press up through your front heel to raise yourself back up and repeat on the other leg. With lunges, you should always aim for 90-degree angles in your knees and never let your front knee go past your toes.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and start to squat. Keep your weight on your heels – never your toes. Keep your torso upright and ensure your knees drive outwards on the descent, never inwards. When your hips have descended below your knees, press back upwards to complete the squat.
We have already covered push-ups in great detail before. Choose one of the push-up types from our ‘Difficulty Ladder’ series so that you can achieve 20 reps.
Get into an ‘on all fours’ position and ensure your joints are almost straight, but never locked. You can adjust the difficulty of a bear crawl by crawling uphill for easy, flat for regular and downhill for hard versions. Ensure your hips stay high throughout the exercise.
If you get a chance to enjoy the great outdoors, you can add the following exercises:
Find a hill, steep gradient or a set of stairs and sprint as fast as you can to the top. Take more care on stairs so you don’t trip and fall.
Often overlooked, as people like to announce they have run 5k or 10k that day, a one-mile run at high intensity is perfect for increasing your long-distance speed and endurance, and is a great way to stress the body before doing other exercises. The idea is to get through the mile as quickly as possible.
And if you have the chance to use a bag or find a sturdy bench, you can add these two exercises:
Stand next to the ‘box’ – whether that be a bench, log or other similar item – with your feet under your hips. Jump on to the ‘box’ and land with flat feet – never on your toes. Complete the motion by standing upright on the ‘box’. When you jump back down, quickly spring back up again to boost speed and power.
We suggest a bag, but you could have a medicine ball with you if you’re particularly keen, or you could use a rock or log found in the park. Begin with the ‘bag’ directly under your body, feet shoulder-width apart. Squat and place your hands on either side of the ‘bag’, fingers pointing down. Lift using your hips, shrug your shoulders upwards and pull yourself under the ‘bag’ so you are holding it in the squat stance, fingers now pointing upwards. Then stand up with the ‘bag’. Reverse the movement for one rep.
Now just combine the exercises you are able to do, based on location and available equipment. You are aiming to do between four and seven of these exercises to complete your workout, and here are some rep suggestions to help you get started:
- Walking lunges x 20
- Air squats x 80
- Push-ups x 20
- Bear crawls x 20
- Hill sprints x 5
- One-mile run x 1 only at the beginning of the workout
- Box jumps x 40
- Bag cleans x 15
Warm-up before you begin with five minutes of jumping jacks, and cool down after with the same plus some stretches.
Gym-free workouts? No problem. What will you do to stay on top of your exercise game when the gym isn’t available? Let us know in the comments…