Not all of us are blessed with a gym nearby, or even want to add a gym membership fee to our already large list of monthly bills. In that case, it would be a perfect excuse for not going to the gym, but there is no excuse for skipping a workout. What the gym owners don’t want you to know is that you can still get gym perfect results without leaving your house. I’m not talking about buying tons of expensive gym equipment from ads on TV, I’m talking about using your brain and a little creative engineering to hit every muscle group without any gym equipment or expensive weights.
A home gym is a good option, but you’ll most likely pay as much, if not more to buy all that expensive equipment, and it takes up space in your house. If you’re in an apartment, then you don’t really have much room to spare at all. The good news is that you can still get the fitness results of having a home gym without having to buy any of the equipment. You can get a solid workout in your own home (or outside, if you prefer) with a little bit of motivation and creativity.
The first thing that people think of when they think of working out at home without any weight equipment is that you won’t be able to isolate your muscle groups in order to target them for maximum growth. They are wrong. You don’t need a fancy weight set in order to get a killer physique. Get the growth you need in the muscles you want by putting your mind and your body to work.
Here is a foundation of movements that you can use to get ripped at home with minimal or no equipment. You can start here as a baseline, then add on to it as you progress to higher fitness levels:
Good, old fashioned and tried and true. There’s a reason they’re still around. They work your core, tri’s, chest and back. Keep your back straight, your arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart. All the way down and all the way back up again.
Elevated Feet Pushups:
This will isolate your shoulders and triceps more than a regular pushup. Start with your feet on an elevated surface like a bed or couch. The end of the couch or bed should hit about the middle of your shins, or about 6 inches above your ankle.
One Arm Push Ups:
Lie flat on the ground and have your legs at a wider angle than with a normal pushup. Orient yourself so that you can balance your weight under your one arm. The arm you’re using should be directly under your shoulder. Place your unused arm behind your back, palm out. This will really isolate your triceps.
Abs and Core
Lie flat on the ground, feet together and arms at your sides. Push yourself up so that you are balanced on the balls of your feet and your forearms with your back straight. Hold this position for a minute at a time to begin with. For a tougher variation, you can raise an arm or a leg while planking for a count of ten or more at a time.
At Home Bench Dips:
Using the edge of your couch, or a sturdy chair, or by placing two chairs at your sides, you can do dips at home. Lower yourself as far down as possible, hold, then push yourself back up. For added difficulty, you can attach heavy household objects to your belt around your waist.
Cross Body Crunches:
Similar to normal crunches, but alternate touching your elbows to your opposite knee. Great for hitting all the right spots in your core.
Laying Leg Pull-Ins:
Lie flat on your back with your legs straight. Point your toes out as far as you can away from you body. Slowly lift your legs without bending your knees. Get your legs as far up as possible before you have to bend your knees. Once you do bend them, slowly bring them as far toward your chest as possible. Hold, then repeat the process in reverse.
Legend has it that The Govinator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger started bulking his biceps by curling cans of soup. Start with high reps on the normal size cans, and move up to the larger can sizes as you get stronger. In honor of Arnold himself, you can curl your cans with the signature Arnold bicep curl. Start with a normal, one armed curl with your palm in the supinated position, curl the weight all the way to be in line with your shoulder, then pronate your wrist and slowly lower the weight. Rinse and repeat to get biceps like a champ. You can also substitute the cans of soup with a 5 gallon bucket filled with either sand or water, but it’s more likely that a can of soup would be available around the average house.
The most useful weight you can own is your own body. There is a certain poetry to using your body to build your body. We both know that nothing should stand in the way of your health and fitness goals, especially not having a gym membership. The world is your gym, you just have to know how to take advantage of it.
Wesley Reacher has a B.S. in Kinesiology with a Minor in Sports Medicine. When he’s not gunning his lats at the gym or sinking birdies on the frisbee golf course, he’s blogging for Weightnot.com, a great resource for rapid weight loss.