By: Bo Stansell, M.S., CSCS

Gyms are always changing and being upgraded with the latest and greatest equipment to keep up with the growing number of trendy ways to workout. Finding new and innovative ways to torture your body has never been easier. All kidding aside, gym memberships are an invaluable asset where almost anyone can find something to suit their fitness needs. However, anyone whose occupation requires a large amount of travel may find it difficult to get the workout they want. It it still entirely possible to get an awesome workout with minimal equipment if you get a little creative. Here are some exercises you can use to get a total body workout away from the gym.

1. Body Weight Squat (15-20 repetitions)

See how it’s done: 

The body weight squat is a great lower body bodyweight exercise. Make sure to keep the chest up, sit back and down as if you were going to sit in a chair and keep the knees in line with the toes. To progress this exercise and provide a greater metabolic challenge you can do squat jumps. Instead of simply standing up you will jump as high as you can from the bottom of the squat. If you do the squat jumps the repetitions should be knocked down to 8-10.

Squat jumps

2. Pushup (10-15 repetitions or 6 each side for spider-man pushups)

See how it’s done:

This is an awesome upper body pushing exercise that I’m sure most people are familiar with. It’s been around for a long time and for good reason. When performing the exercise keep the body entirely straight from head to toe with the elbows out roughly 45 degrees from the torso. Engage the core to make sure every part of your body comes up at once (no worm pushups). Drop your body until your nose hits the ground then return up to the starting position. For an easier version perform the exercise from your knees instead of your toes. If you want a progression for the standard pushup try the spider-man pushup.  As you drop down bring the knee up to the elbow on the same side then return it as you push yourself off the ground.

Spider-man pushup

3. Glute Bridge (10-15 or 8 each for single leg)

See how it’s done:

The glute bridge is a staple at SPARC that we include in our warmup because it’s a great low-risk way to work hip extension. To perform the glute bridge start on your back with your heels on the ground and knees bent to roughly 90 degrees. Then proceed to raise your hips off the ground until they are fully extended. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds and return to the starting position. Make sure to focus on squeezing the glutes as you raise your hips and at the top. If the standard glute bridge is not challenging enough for you try the single leg variation. It is identical to the double leg except the non-working leg will be extended straight out.

Single leg variation

4. Pullup (5-10)

See how it’s done:

Pulling movements are difficult to accomplish without equipment but a pullup bar is relatively inexpensive way to take a pulling exercise wherever there is a door frame. If you can’t do full pullups you can do eccentric pullups which are demonstrated below.

Eccentric pullups

5. 3-Way Plank (30-45 sec for front plank, 15-30 sec for side plank)

See how it’s done:

Side Plank (1) Front Plank (2)

The 3 way plank is made up of front plank (a.k.a. standard plank) and side plank on both sides. You can perform them in any order you’d like, but they should be performed back to back without dropping. Keep your core engaged and do not let your hips drop on the front plank. When performing the side plank keep your hips forward and off the ground and make sure to keep your top shoulder in line with the rest of your body.
You can perform these exercises in a circuit like fashion. So perform each exercise once until you’ve done them all. Start with 2-3 rounds and add rounds to make it more difficult. This is by no means the be-all and end-all workout, but it should serve as a great substitute for when you don’t have access to a gym.