The “No Equipment in No Time” Workout

By: Christopher Volgraf, ACSM HFI©, NSCA C-PT© Certified

Many men and women complain that there is not enough time in their busy day to set aside for exercise. After working a 10 plus hour day, spending time with the family and trying to tend to other commitments, making your way to the fitness center becomes an afterthought. Well, with little to no money, 20-30 minutes, and no equipment, you can give your body a complete workout.

By performing the following exercises, and keeping your rest periods to a minimum, you can burn a few hundred calories and train your muscles in 30 minutes. There are no more excuses; this workout can be performed at work, at home or the fitness center. Whether you are an exercise novice or a fitness fanatic, this workout will give you what you need! The key is to keep your heart rate elevated during the entire routine.

Running Man: run in place for 2 minutes paying special attention to the arm pump and the level of the knee raise. You should be pumping arms vigorously and raising your knees to waist level.

Diamond Push-up: assume pushup position, but move hands together so you form a diamond with your index fingers and thumbs touching. Attempt as many pushups as possible in a minutes time, making sure your back, but and legs stay on the same plane throughout the set.

90º Isometric Wall Squat: position your back against a wall and walk your legs out in front of you to a straight position…feet should be about 18 inches from wall. Lower yourself down the wall until you reach a 90-degree angle with your knee joint. Hold for 10-20 seconds to elicit a mild burning sensation. Perform 2 sets and then widen your stance and repeat.

Triceps Dip: sit on the edge of a chair, bench or table with 4 stationary legs (no rollers) with your hands under your butt and your knuckles pointing forward. Keeping your hands on the seat, carefully move your feet out until your has been pulled from the chair. Your arms should be straight, but not locked. Slowly lower yourself to a 90-degree bend in the elbow, then push yourself back up until your arms are straight again (not locked). Do enough repetitions to elicit muscle fatigue and if you wish to target this area, come back to the exercise later on in the routine and repeat.

Quick Jacks: perform 50-100 jumping jacks. If it is too much work, lift your arms half way up. Add a second set if desired

Reverse Lunge: stand straight with your hands on your hips. Keeping your right leg straight, move your right foot back to a position that is just short of your limit, lowering your right knee an inch or two from the floor. Your left knee flexion should reach a 90-degree angle. Return to the starting position, and repeat. Perform 10-15 repetitions for left and right legs. Perform a second set if desired.

Toe/Calf Raise: stand with your left foot (ball of your foot) on the edge of a step or stair so that your heel hangs off the edge. Hold onto a wall for balance and position your right foot around your left ankle. Elevate onto your toes, then slowly lower yourself until your heel falls slightly below the step and you feel a mild pull in your calf muscle. Repeat 12-20 times for left and right legs. Perform second set if desired

Lateral Shoulder Raise: stand straight with your arms at your sides and a heavy book (dictionary or a phone book) in your right hand. Slowly raise your slightly bent right and left arms out to the side until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second, then slowly lower them back to your side. Perform 12-20 repetitions for the left and right sides…a second set can be added.

Forward/Backward Arm Circles: stand with your arms straight out from your sides and parallel to the floor. Slowly rotate both arms forward in 6 inch circles. Continue for 30-60 seconds, then switch to backward circles for 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice.

Squat Jump: stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Bend your knees and squat, then leap straight up, reaching toward the ceiling. Land on the balls of your feet, squat down, then jump again. Repeat 12-20 times with no rests between jumps.

Biceps Curl: this exercise may be done using a large book or a resistance band. You may add the band to the other exercises for added resistance. Standing with legs hip-width apart, place the band under both feet with equal lengths of band on either side. Grab the handles with your palms facing your thighs. Slowly raise both hands keeping the upper arm still and pressed against the side of your body, and slowly twist at the wrist so palms are facing your head by the end of the curl. Slowly lower to starting position and repeat for 12-20 repetitions. Add a second or third set if desired.

Glute-Hamstring Extension: Get down on your hands and knees and slowly extend your right leg behind you with a slight bend in the knee and the bottom of your foot faces the ceiling. Slowly lower back into your chest and repeat. Perform 20 repetitions with each leg and add a second set if desired.

“The Real Stairmaster”: using a staircase, run up and down a set of stairs for 3-5 minutes. Take it easy on the way down to prevent injury.

Core, Cool-down and Stretch: Attempt to do regular crunches, oblique crunches, open-leg crunches and back extensions to at least 10 repetitions each to work on core strength. You may do these exercises before you go to bed or when you wake up in the morning. Also be sure to cool-down by walking around at a slow pace for 3-5 minutes to bring your heart rate close to resting. Follow this with a stretch program that focuses on the major muscle groups and you have yourself a complete workout!