Wellness

A week's worth of no-equipment workouts for getting stronger from home

These body weight-based workouts are simple, great for small spaces, and you can mix and match them.

These body weight-based workouts are simple, great for small spaces, and you can mix and match them

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The workout style for this program is called AMRAP, which means you do "as many reps as possible" in 20 minutes. I've designed it to use only your own body weight to build strength, and it's perfect for small spaces too. 

If you're a beginner, you can perform the exercises slower or do fewer reps. If you're more advanced, you can perform more reps or do the exercises faster to increase the intensity. I love this style of workout because it's great for tracking your progress as you get stronger each week. 

This plan can be repeated for four weeks. If you like, you can mix and match them by switching the order or even doubling up on some days since they focus on different areas.

So grab some water and a mat, cue up your favourite playlist, and get ready to get sweaty — no equipment needed! 

Day 1: 20-minute AMRAP lower-body workout 

A strong lower body gives you power. This workout is going to tone and lift your booty and sculpt your quads. If you're more advanced and have a set of 10- or 15-pound dumbbells, feel free to grab them for an added challenge. 

  • Squat: 12 reps

    • Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. Bend at your knees and hips, sticking your butt out as if you're sitting on a chair. Keep your chest lifted and your spine neutral, and don't let your lower back round. Keep your knees over your ankles, and press your weight into your heels. Push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. 

  • Reverse lunges with knee-ups: 12 reps (each leg)

    • Start with both feet on the ground, shoulder width apart. Take a big step back with your left foot and bend both knees to about 90 degrees. Push through your right heel as you straighten both legs and transfer your weight onto your right foot. At the same time, lift your left foot up, and bring your knee to your chest. Lower your left leg to return to the starting position. That's one rep. 

  • Sumo-squat pulses: 30 seconds

    • Start with your legs open wide to the sides and your toes turned slightly outward. Place your hands on your hips, and bend your knees, going as low as you can. Make sure your shoulders remain directly over your hips and your knees are in line with your feet. While holding this position, make small pulses up and down, moving about an inch. 

  • Alternating side lunges: 12 reps (each leg)

    • Start with your feet directly under your hips. Take a large step out to the right, and as you lower into a lunge, sink your hips back, and bend your right knee to stay in line with your right foot. Keep your left leg straight, with both feet pointing forward. Push off your right foot to straighten your right leg, and step back to the starting position. That's one rep. 

  • Glute bridge: 15 reps

    • Lie on your back with your feet flat against the floor and knees bent. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Pause at the top, then lower your body back down to the starting position. That's one rep.

Day 2: 20-minute AMRAP upper-body workout

It's very likely that your lower body will be sore today, so now, we'll focus on your upper body.  We'll be targeting your arms, shoulders and back with these strength-building moves. 

  • Inchworm with shoulder taps: 12 reps 

    • Start standing, then bend at the waist to place your hands on the floor in front of you. Walk your hands out until you're in a high plank. Then tap each hand to the opposite shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep your hips still. Walk your hands back in, and return to the standing position.

  • Pushups (knees or toes): 10 reps 

    • Place your hands on the floor with your fingers facing forward or pointed a bit to the sides. Bending your elbows to lower your upper body down to the floor, with control. When your chest has passed your elbows, pause and engage your core muscles to help lift yourself back up by pushing through your hands.

  • Narrow pushups (knees or toes): 10 reps 

    • Place your hands directly under your chest, closer than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your elbows, keeping your core tight and your back flat, until your chest touches the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your body. Engage your core as you press into your hands to lift your body back to the starting position.

  • Plank with alternating front-arm reach: 6 reps (each arm)

    • Get into the forearm-plank position with your elbows on the ground directly under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your torso still, slowly reach your left arm in front. Bring your arm back to the plank position. Do not round your back or twist your spine. Repeat this movement with the right arm.

  • Superman (15 reps)

    • Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Squeeze your glutes and shoulders as you lift your arms, chest and legs off the floor. Hold this position for three seconds. Slowly come back down to the starting position.

Day 3: Full-body stretch 

You've worked hard, and now, it's time to let those muscles repair. Stretching is a great way to relax. It also plays a role in recovery, injury prevention, mobility and flexibility. Start with light cardio — such as jumping rope, walking up and down stairs or jogging on the spot — to warm up for five minutes. Then hold each stretch for 30 seconds. Make sure you repeat the stretches on both sides of your body, where applicable. Remember never to force yourself into a stretch. You should feel a slight pull, but stretching should never hurt. 

  • Chest opener 
  • Hamstring stretch 
  • Standing quad stretch 
  • Downward dog with foot pedal 
  • Runner's lunge 
  • Kneeling quad stretch 
  • Seated forward bend 
  • Figure 4 leg stretch 
  • Half-pigeon pose
  • Butterfly stretch

Day 4: 20-minute AMRAP cardio workout

For today's workout, you're going to be focusing on improving your strength and endurance. This workout will be a little more intense than the ones you did earlier this week.

  • Squat: 15 reps

    • Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. Bend at your knees and hips, sticking your butt out as if you're sitting on a chair. Keep your chest lifted and your spine neutral, and do not let your lower back round. Keep your knees over your ankles, and press your weight into your heels. Push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. 

  • Half-burpee or walking burpee: 15 reps

    • Start in a deep squat with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Reach forward to place your hands on the floor right beside your ribcage. Jump or walk your legs straight out behind you and immediately lower your entire body down to the ground, bending at the elbows. Use your arms to quickly push your body back up, and jump or walk your legs back to the starting position.

  • Sumo-squat pulse: 15 reps 

    • Start with your legs open wide to the sides and your toes turned slightly outward. Place your hands on your hips, and bend your knees, going as low as you can. Make sure your shoulders remain directly over your hips and your knees are in line with your feet. While holding this position, make small pulses up and down, moving about an inch. 

  • High-knee run or march in place: 30 seconds 

    • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift up your left knee to your chest. Switch to lift your right knee to your chest. Continue the movement, alternating your legs and moving at a sprinting, running or marching pace.

  • Pushups: 15 reps 

    • Place your hands on the floor with your fingers facing forward or pointed a bit to the sides. Bending your elbows to lower your upper body down to the floor, with control. When your chest has passed your elbows, pause and engage your core muscles to help lift yourself back up by pushing through your hands.

Day 5: 20-minute AMRAP core workout

Are you ready for a hard "core" workout? Of course you are! Most of your daily movements require core engagement to keep you stable, so the stronger these muscles are, the better. Today, we target all the muscles in your midsection — the obliques, rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis.

  • Bicycle twists: 20 reps 

    • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands behind your head, then bring your knees in toward your chest, and lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground, while turning your upper body to the left and bringing your right elbow toward your left knee. Make sure your ribcage is moving and not just your elbows. Switch sides, and repeat the motion to complete one rep.

  • Mountain climbers: 30 reps 

    • Start in a high-plank position. Keeping your core braced and your shoulders, hips and feet in a straight line, bring one knee toward your chest, then return it to the starting position. Repeat the movement with your other leg, then continue alternating legs. 

  • Toe-touch crunches: 15 reps

    • Lie on your back, and lift your legs and arms up so they are extended toward the ceiling. Lift your upper back off the floor, reaching your hands toward your feet.

    • Lower your legs toward the floor while reaching your arms overhead, keeping your shoulders off the mat and your lower back pressed into the mat.

  • Reverse crunches: 15 reps 

    • Lie on your back in the typical crunch position with your feet flat on the floor and hands behind your head, elbows wide. Lift your hips off the floor as you crunch your knees toward your chest. Control the movement as you lower your hips and feet back to the ground.  

  • Plank: 30 seconds 

    • Start on the ground resting on your forearms and knees. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Step your feet out one at a time into a plank position. Maintain a straight line from your heels to the top of your head, gazing at the floor slightly in front of your face. Contract your abs to prevent your butt from sticking up or sinking, and hold.

Day 6 and 7: Rest

Way to go! You totally kicked those workouts. Now, you get to recover and relax. You can go for a walk, which is a good way to engage in active recovery, or just stretch. These next two days are all about taking care so you can tackle next week's workouts. Good job!

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