girl doing situp

Working Out at Home Using Bodyweight Exercises

Today, many of us lead hectic lives. We’re preoccupied with work, housekeeping chores, and parental duties in a fast-paced global environment. It is fairly difficult to head to the gym with daily time restrictions. You end up skipping workouts every day. Working out at home is the solution. With some creativity and the use of proven training principles, anyone can do an effective and beneficial workout at home. You’ll save the time it takes to commute to the local fitness center. You don’t have to hassle over snowstorms, thunderstorms, and other bad weather conditions. A workout can be done at the comfort of your home while gyms are closed during holidays. Mainstream gym memberships can also be expensive if you’re on a tight budget.

Do I Need Fitness Equipment To Workout?

Now you might think that the exercise selection will be limited due to a lack of fitness equipment. The fact is that you don’t need all those fancy gym machines to get in a real workout at home. All you need is the will to exercise. There’s absolutely no need to build a high- tech gym in the basement. Make fitness a priority in your life. Stick with exercising and don’t quit. Home workouts are not limited by just pushups and sit-ups. A daily home workout requires no more than 25 minutes a day. It is convenient, safe, and highly effective to improving the body’s functional fitness and overall health.


Bodyweight Workout Fundamentals

To ensure an intense workout, combine bodyweight and cardiovascular movements for a full body approach to exercise where every part of the musculature is worked thoroughly. There are 4 crucial and principal factors to this program:

  • Exercise used
  • Equipment necessary
  • Resting time between each exercise
  • Total workout time

You’ll be focused primarily on bodyweight movements due to its efficiency and a lack of weights and machines. Bodyweight exercises are as challenging as you make them out to be. Several exercises will involve some cheap equipment where you may pick up at the local sporting goods store. Don’t fret over it because they are not a necessity. You’ll also be manipulating the resting time between each exercise to make the workouts easier or harder depending on your progression and fitness level. The entire workouts would take no more than 20-25 minutes per session if done right. The workouts will be structured in a circuit system to ensure maximum efficiency and cardio/conditioning benefits.

This comprehensive approach employs all 4 factors using the typical bodyweight exercises like crunches and pushups along with the more unconventional movements: burpees, handstand pushups, superman, V-ups, pistols, dips. For a full descriptive list and demonstration of various bodyweight movements, check out’s exercise directory.

Calisthenics Workout Plan

Refer to this database repeatedly for exercise selection and instructions. By mixing exercises involving every muscle and adding a cardio element, a beginner’s workout called the 10-workout is shown below:

  • Pushups 10 repetitions
  • Situps or crunches 10 repetitions
  • Superman 10 repetitions
  • Chinups 10 repetitions
  • Bodyweight squats 10 repetitions
  • Standing calf raises 10 repetitions

Rest as little as necessary between exercises. Move as quick as possible to complete all six exercises. This is one circuit. Then rest 2 minutes and repeat the circuit. Complete a total of 4 circuits. It should take no more than 20 minutes total. As you see, this full body routine works the chest, abdominals, back, arms, and legs. Cardio is also incorporated by limiting the rest time between movements mimicking a boxing match. Lower the number of repetitions if the workout is too hard. Increase the number of repetition is the routine proves too easy. Break it down into sets of 2 or 3 repetitions if you have to but keep the rest time short.

The idea is to work intensely for a period of time stressing your conditioning and cardiovascular fitness while taking a 2-minute breather in preparation for repeating the circuit. The chinups will require you to purchase a mounted chinup/pullup door bar from your local sporting goods store for $20. I’d recommend that small investment because a chinup bar is cheap and sturdy with valuable applications. You may perform a great number of pullup/chinup variations with a single bar: wide grip, medium grip, close-grip, one armed, side-to-side.


Intermediate Calisthenics Workout Plans

Here’s an example of a more difficult workout:

  • Burpees 10 reps
  • Janda situps 15 reps
  • Pullups 10 reps
  • Bodyweight squats 20 reps
  • Pushups 20 reps
  • Bench dips 10 reps
  • Repeat for four circuits, rest one minute between each circuit.

Now here is a very advanced bodyweight workout:

  • Handstand pushups 10 reps
  • Close grip pull-ups 12 reps
  • Burpees 12 reps
  • Crunches 50 reps
  • Plank hold for one minute
  • Pistols 5 repetitions for each leg
  • Repeat for four circuits, rest one minute between circuit.

You also don’t have to limit yourself to circuit training. Use different modalities to training and be creative. Ross Enamait of recommends the “52 Deck of Cards”. Assign an exercise to each card’s color and/or symbol and complete the amount of repetitions equal to the card’s number value. For example, you’ll do 5 pushups for the 5 of hearts, 9 chinups for 9 of diamonds, 4 sit-ups for 4 of spades, and 2 bodyweight squats for 2 of clubs. Queens, Kings, and Jacks have a number value of 10. Aces have a number value of 11. Again minimize the rest between each card. You may even use two exercises instead of four. Assign an upper body bodyweight movement to black spades and clubs and a lower body movement for red hearts and diamonds.

The Interval Approach

Another approach is to time each exercise and complete as many repetitions as you can in the allotted time. Pick 3-6 exercises and do as many reps as you can in 20 to 30 seconds. For example:

  • Chinups 30 seconds
  • Pushups 30 seconds
  • Jumping Jacks 30 seconds
  • Crunches 30 seconds
  • Burpees 30 seconds
  • Rest 60 seconds after one circuit, repeat three times for a total of four circuits.

Keep The Workouts Challenging

And what do you do when these workouts become easier and easier? Progression and variety is necessary to keep these routines challenging. The body habituates and adapts quickly. You can make the workouts harder by:

  • Doing difficult variations of the basic bodyweight movements: handstand pushups, elevated pushups, dips, one-arm chinups, one-legged squats, high rep chinnies, shadow boxing.
  • Decreasing the rest time between circuits.
  • Increasing the repetitions for each movement.
  • Increasing the frequency and/or length of workouts.
  • Adding an extra circuit.
  • Incorporate cardiovascular activities like jump roping, cycling, running, basketball, soccer.

Final Thoughts

Start doing three workouts per week with each workout being different. Be flexible if you’re unable to fit in three 20 minute workouts a week. Structure your schedule so you’ll fit in at least two workouts every ten days or three workouts every twelve days. The idea is to make sure you do take a proactive measure towards exercise. You may even come up with your own workouts. Make them fun, short, challenging, and intense.

Stick with the four main factors and tailor your home workouts as you see fit. The possibilities are numerous. Exercising at home is convenient, fun, and even becomes addictive once you try it. Don’t give yourself an excuse to avoid working out. You’ll improve the many facts of strength and strength endurance, cardiovascular fitness, stamina, and overall mental and physical well-being. Start today.

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