Exercise without the equipment

If you’re tempted to buy home fitness equipment that might one day become clutter in your basement or garage, let me recommend instead that you check out the article “Perfect Push Ups Workout Guide: 35+ Exercises” from The Art of Manliness blog.

Instead of buying dumbbells to work on my triceps, I’ll be trying out this new-to-me style of push-up, the Tiger Style:

I sincerely had no idea that there were more than 35 ways to do push-ups. I am truly amazed.

Do you know of even more online resources for exercises to do at home without the need of any special equipment? Except for the expense of a good pair of tennis shoes, I love running as an inexpensive form of exercise. I’m eager to read in the comments your suggestions for ways to exercise without equipment.

32 Comments for “Exercise without the equipment”

  1. posted by Jacki Hollywood Brown on

    Push-ups are a great work out. People don’t realize how much they strengthen the core as well. This site is great. The feet on the wall push-ups looked difficult. I’ve tried dive-bomber & can only do 2 before I fall flat on my face.
    Something to work towards I guess!

  2. posted by kditzler on

    Yoga Today is a great way to exercise at home without equipment. The video instructors usually have equipment, but suggest alternatives, like pillows and rolled towels.


    They give away one free class a week, plus lots of mini classes in their blog. A small fee per allows you to download the classes to keep, and a monthly fee gives you free access to everything. (It used to be 100% free, the fees make me sad.)

  3. posted by Sammy on

    There are lots of great bodyweight exercises you can do without equipment. If you’re willing to invest in just a little equipment, though, you can really open up your options. Take a look at what you can do with a kettlebell and a pull-up bar and I think you’ll be amazed.

    Heck, if you’re dead set on having no equipment specific to exercise, google to see what kind of stuff you can do with the sledgehammer already in your shed. (Well, assuming you have one…)

  4. posted by Lauri on

    I have started doing a variety of free workouts at Exercisetv.tv. Great variety of workouts (cardio, strenght, yoga, stretching, etc), require little to no equipment (at most I’ve used dumbbells or resistance bands), you can stream many workouts free or pay a little for downloads. Also, yogadownload.com is another site that has free yoga workouts to do.

  5. posted by the weakonomist on

    I do a lot of push-ups but sometimes have to stop because of some wrist issues due to a keyboard-based job.

    Resistence bands and some free weights make up most of my workout but it’s better than equipment sold on TV or a gym membership. As always, the best exercise is to slap on some shoes and go out for a run!

  6. posted by fileboxx on

    Wikipedia has a list of bodyweight exercises:

    In particular Turbulance Training’s videos with Craig Ballantyne are really good:
    and his blog is informative:

    YouTube has other videos that show you how to do bodyweight exercises properly:

    Use common sense and don’t try and do a huge amount of these exercises at one time or else you will burn out and there will be no benefits to your body.

  7. posted by A Jolly Bengali on

    I’ve been doing a workout routine called P90X that requires very little equipment – a pair of dumbbells, yoga mat and optionally, a yoga block.

    I also bought a couple pairs of resistance bands which I take with me when I’m on the road, rather than the dumbbells.

    That’s it. I’m getting into the best shape of my life without anything fancier.

  8. posted by A Jolly Bengali on

    Sorry – I should note that some of the exercises in P90X are highlighted in the push-up article – dive bombers, diamond, close-grip, wide-grip, one-handed, etc. I had no idea about these push-ups until I started the program and they generally kick my butt, which is why I love doing them. Sweat = good! 🙂

  9. posted by My Name is Not Bruce on

    Earlier this year, Jon Mead at Zen Habits had a blog post on “How to Get Bruce Lee Like Strength Without Ever Going to a Gym.

  10. posted by DJ on

    I put on the Ipod Nano that my family gave me for Christmas (I’m still reeling with delight at this incredible present) and dance around the house while doing my daily chores.

    It makes grotty cleaning such as bathrooms go faster and seem almost like fun. The trick is to keep moving and be home alone when you do this, or risk being the target of extreme ridicule from family members and friends.

    I hear that my dancing lacks both grace and style… but I don’t care, as long as I’m alone. ; )

    Anyway, it sure beats trudging on a treadmill for 30 minutes.

  11. posted by luxcat on

    Resistance bands are the best. For ultra minimalism (or travel) get the kind without the handles that physical therapy offices use, just a stretchy strip of rubber in various strengths. you can fold up three of them smaller than a roll of socks!

    to keep it spiced up you can find different resistance band exercises everywhere, from pull outs in magazines to utube to DVDs.

  12. posted by EngineerMom on

    This is a timely article for me. Hubby and I will be moving in the next two months or so. I currently have a membership to a local community center, but that will go away when we move, and in the interest of cutting costs, we won’t be getting another one.

    We both like to lift weights, and one of the main concerns has been how to find exercises to replace the machines we were using. We don’t want to invest in a bunch of dumbells right now (being we’re about to move!), but we don’t want to totally lose what we’ve gained, either.

    I’ve been looking at different exercises, and it seems that in addition to bodyweight exercises, resistance bands would also allow us to keep challenging our muscles.

  13. posted by Anita on

    Great video and article, thanks for posting! I knew push-ups are great muscle-builders and that there are lots of ways of doing them, but I didn’t imagine there were quite that many.

    I know you can get a complete resistance workout with no dedicated fitness equipment, but I agree with Sammy in that a little bit of equipment can go a very long way in terms of variety. It’s a matter of personal preference, I suppose, but my some of my favourite exercises involve a stability ball.

    For my part, though, a gym membership is the most uncluttered way of working out. And even if I were to make myself a routine that can be done with nothing but a square foot of floor space, I don’t think I’d ever give up my gym membership — I like my step aerobics classes too much 🙂

  14. posted by Loren on

    Straight up best is Yoga, I’ve been doing it off and on since I was 13. Requires a few lessons/a good teaching book and a mat or rug, there are even exercises that can even be done in the car or at a desk. Has the versatility to be as aerobic or anaerobic as you choose to make your routine. Mostly low impact (compared to running which always seems to hurt my flat feet) and the added privacy of being able to exercise without people seeing you if you happen to run like a duck…
    I also love it because it can take an hour, or it can be a five minute stretch in the morning before I get in the shower.

  15. posted by Kai on

    Yes! My coach, Dane at http://www.GarageStrength.com, has helped me lose 40 pounds since January with absolutely ZERO fitness equipment at home, and his gym (about 3 hours away from me, so I only get to go once every few months) is made up of a lot of “everyday” items used for fitness. He posts a lot of videos on YouTube of his techniques and ways to build equipment at home. His workouts are killer and rely solely on bodyweight!

  16. posted by Johnny on

    There’s lots of exercises you can do with almost no equipment. If you’re willing to get some equipment or use a playground/park, your options expand even more.

    I frequent beastskills.com or rosstraining.com for training inspiration. Bodyweightculture.com is a good resource for bodyweight exercises. Do a search on youtube for bartendaz to see an array of feats of strength done on a pull up bar and regular playground equipment.

  17. posted by Rico on

    Burpees and thrusters. Burpees require nothing but space and will absolutely kill you. Thrusters require at least something at least somewhat heavy (to press over your head). Check out either on youtube.

  18. posted by Gary K. on

    Many people already own a bike, maybe go for a ride instead of driving to spin class.

  19. posted by claire on

    Tricep dips are great for working triceps and probably less hard than those tiger push ups. You just need the edge of bed or a sturdy chair to do those.

    Fit-in 15 is a cool site with a variety of exercises using no equipment or household items for someone starting out:

  20. posted by Maega on

    Pilates!! It is an amazing workout- but be careful.

    As with anything new- make sure to ease into it and don’t hurt yourself.

    I want to try P90X- looks wicked!

  21. posted by Lesley on

    Jumping rope!

  22. posted by Peter on

    Thats quite a coincidence you posted this today, I wrote an article about pushups on my site earlier. I did not know there where quite so many, mainly the standard pushup, diamond pushup and arms wide apart pushup. I think I’ll look into this a bit more. If you want to see my article the permalink is http://dwellupon.net/2009/07/f.....d-sit-ups/

  23. posted by Peter on

    Well that didn’t work, second try http://dwellupon.net/2009/07/f.....d-sit-ups/

  24. posted by Andrea on

    Still, a treadmill is a GREAT cardio machine for home use. We love ours…except…I hate the space it takes up. Anyone have any suggestions for a good treadmill with a small footprint? We don’t need a lot of bells & whistles, and I don’t even care if it inclines, but I do want one that is electric, not one of those garage-sale type manual ones.

  25. posted by Mona Tellier on

    I used to do these exercises – don’t remember why I stopped – and gradually got into great shape. You start out at your own level and work your way up in difficulty at your own pace. All within less than 15 minutes a day!

  26. posted by Radford Harrell on

    If you want the most effective, all around workout for free, head to http://www.crossfit.com
    It’s “open source” fitness and amazingly effective. Yes, having a gym and a little bit of kit would help but, thousands of people around the world do the same workout everyday with varying degrees of equipment.
    Start slow, watch the videos for proper form and focus on simply getting through the workouts. You’ll see amazing results.

  27. posted by dorothy on

    I think you might be thinking of the Lifetime Fitness Ladder, based on the RCAF 5BX. I’ve been doing that for about a month; it’s great. I recently made it a bit harder by switching out the running-in-place for stepping, which is decent cardiovascular exercise. Most of workouts I’ve seen recommended at home (yoga, bodyweight) are great for strength but don’t get your heart rate up much. I’d love to go outside more but I’m still doing most of my exercise while the baby naps and she’s too young to go in the jogging stroller. And the neighbor downstairs would kill me if I jumped rope (justifiably).

  28. posted by gypsy packer on

    sparkpeople.com and livestrong.com have youtube videos for exercise routines, and of course, iTunes has plenty which are downloadable to your computer and to a regular mp3 player.

    My ancient Weslo G30 has a small footprint but unfortunately not an autoincline. I’d be happy to find a good secondhand treadmill with an autoincline and a front control panel which is 6″-a foot lower than standard, so I could put this hospital table/desk over it instead of shortening my already substandard track.

    The pushup routines are great! My favorite no-equipment exercise? Manual labor part-time work–get paid for strength training! Unfortunately, the economy has put that one on hold.

  29. posted by Lazy Susie on

    What DJ said – plug in that ipod and boogie

    I’ve been meaning to try the streaming workout vids at Netflix. If you’re already a member, I figure it’s worth giving some of them a try.

  30. posted by J on

    I don’t think body weight exercises are the solution to everything. A set of adjustable dumbells like the bowflex 1090 set barely takes up any space– and it should be enough weight for most people.

  31. posted by James NomadRip on

    http://www.beastskills.com has a good set of things you can do all the way up to extreme (no-hand pullups?).

    I’ve seen many variations. There is a YouTube video something to do with ghetto workouts. Caveman workouts, all kind of names if you look around.

    You don’t need fancy gizmos and gadgets to be whatever you want to get in extremely good shape. I used to sell fitness equipment, and there was a reason we called most of the equipment “$3,000 coat racks.”

  32. posted by T on

    I’ve tried “The Five Basics” – it’s described on the site as “An Oxygen Magazine expert gives the five best exercises you can do using body weight alone in the comfort of my own home.”

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