“How can I exercise at home without any equipment?”
My first question is why would you want to?
I can understand why one would want to learn body weight workouts for when they’re away for vacation or at the office but if we are doing the majority of our workouts at home (aka our “Non-Gym”), we will want to invest in some equipment. If not for psychological reasons then for physical ones.
The truth is, “body weight only” programs are not for everyone as they tend to be either:
- Too hard for most (so they need a easier option)
- Too easy for others (so they need a way to bump it up a notch)
Even gymnasts, the ultimate bodyweight warriors, rely on a system of beams and poles and other pieces of equipment.
Below I list the equipment I have used for years. Do you need it? No, but you will need to find a way to make your exercises harder. Whether that’s by using a 40 lb water jug or the equivalent on a bar, that’s up to you.
THE 3 ESSENTIALS
1) EZ BAR, DUMBBELL HANDLES, AND WEIGHT
The biggest concern of the Non-Gym used to be, “How are we going to place lots of load/stress on ourselves?” (aka lift heavy ass weight). This is our solution (especially for those that struggle at body weight exercises).
The Olympic EZ bar is smaller and lighter than a traditional bar (by 20 lbs) and can easily fit into a car or closet (as can the weight if positioned correctly). To get started, 100 lbs will work for most women and 200 for men.
- Clean & Press
- Front Squat
- Goblet Squat
- Floor Press
- Bent Over Row
- Extensions and Pullovers
- Turkish Get Up (to the right)
▶ Amazon (because of free shipping). Expect to spend $25-70 for the bar and a $1/lb for plates.
2) WEIGHTED VESTS
Eventually, you’ll get to a point where standard planks, pushups, and pullups is just too easy for you. When that happens, these vests will be waiting for you.
These are especially awesome for exercises that are traditionally unweighted such as isometrics and conditioning (you haven’t lived until you’ve done hill sprints with them).
Women will want to try out the #20 and the men the #40. If you consider yourself slightly more advanced, add 20 more pounds to that.
- Planks and plank walks
- Wall handstands
- L sits
- Back Bridge
- Adding more weight to front squat
- Jump rope and hill sprints
- AB Rollout
- Adding more weight to farmers walk
▶ Current prices of ZFO weighted vests on Amazon: #20 – $33.96. #40 – $59.95. #60 – $79.99.
3) RESISTANCE BANDS, CHINUP BAR, AND SOME BALLS
A Non-Gym is not complete without a chinup bar. Now aside from the obvious fact that you can now do chinups, you can strap resistance bands onto them for assistance or do mobility exercises.
The balls (softball, lacrosse) are here to help release tight spots. Not everyone will need these but they may offer instant relief for those that do.
- pullup assistance
- shoulder mobility (retraction, protraction, skin the cat, overhead shrugs, internal and external rotation)
- glute medius activation during squats
- straight arm pulldowns
- curls and extensions
- SMR (neck, back, pecs, feet, calves, butt)
▶ Golds gym pullup bar at Walmart, softball at a sporting store, and resistance bands at EliteFTS (these last guys are constantly having sales so just wait until their bands are 30-50% off and stock up)
A QUICK WORD ON PROGRESSION
As we adapt, our workouts must as well. If you are into this strength thing (as well as physique thing), this means tacking on more weight with time. The above equipment selection works well for this.
For instance, if we want to level up our deadlift we can do so by throwing on 5 lbs, a weighted vest, or strapping on some resistance bands (for Beast Mode do all three).
If our primary weight source is kettlebells or non-adjustable dumbells, however, we are going to find it extremely difficult to progress (i.e. the weight is often too high or too low). Because of this, I’d try to stay away from this equipment (unless someone gives it to you) and instead go for the glory (adjustable weight).
This may mean more money up front, but in the long run it will pay itself off ten-fold.