No equipment? No problem. All you need is some creativity and – often – just your own body.
Whether because we're traveling, don't live near a gym (or a large gym), or simply prefer to work out at home, training with minimal or no equipment is one of the most common situations we'll face as regular exercisers.
Here are a host of ideas for working out with little to no equipment, whether it's at home or on the road.
On this page, we'll focus on bodyweight and bands. Check the Workout Modifications page for each exercise phase to see more band or dumbbell options, as well as how to adapt the exercises specifically for the assigned workouts.
Most of the time, you can do the PN Coaching workouts with simply bands and body weight, or with a few creative resistance substitutes (such as a heavy knapsack).
You have several options for low-tech workout equipment, which you can combine.
Sturdy wooden chairs
Grab 'em on Craigslist or a yard sale if you don't have some extras around. From tricep dips, anything seated, balance support, even stepping up and down off of them, a good sturdy chair is a versatile tool.
From ab work to lying dumbbell presses, you can do a lot of work on the floor and — bonus — you can't fall off of it!
A pull up bar
You can use this for the traditional pullups, or attach your bands or suspension trainer to it. You can attach the bar to a doorframe or set it up on sturdy rafters in a garage or basement. Make sure it's well braced; this will need to support your full weight.
Your existing workout has suggested exercise ball movements, but you can also use the ball to support your back as a bench in some case, or as a convenient seat for others. (If you consider "convenient" to be something that will roll away from you the first chance it gets.)
For a challenging but uber-basic full-body exercise that will get your heart rate going, lie down on the floor. Face up. Now get up to a standing position, any way you like. Back down to the floor, any way you like. Return to the lying-face-up position. Do a crunch. Get back up to a standing position. Back down to the floor. Crunch. Back up. Repeat.
Start slow. Then once you get the movement smooth, push the pace. To make this even harder, do a jumping jack at the top.
Then try getting up and down from a face-down position. If you're a little lighter or more agile, and have a padded surface to do this, try a wrestling sprawl drill like this one or this one. Go slowly and easily at first. All you're doing here is getting down to the ground, then coming back up. It's like a burpee in slow motion.
If you're already pretty strong, try a burpee into a jumping pullup.
Body weight glute bridge variations, from easiest to hardest:
Glute bridge plus hamstring curl with a dish towel on a hardwood or tile floor
Alternating single leg hip thrusts using two platforms (you could use a couch and coffee table). You can also start this with using both legs together.
Bodyweight-only glute-ham raise Secure your feet under anything stationary that you can find (e.g. a couch) or have a partner hold your shins.
For hamstrings and glutes, try a "donkey kickback" on all fours. Kneel on a mat or soft carpet to keep your knees happy.
See below for a standing band-resisted donkey kickback.
From easiest to hardest:
Squat to triple extension
Step-up (the higher the platform, the harder the movement)
Here is a push-up sequence in order of difficulty.
Dive bomber push-up
Side to side push-up
Single arm push-up from 1/2 plank
You can do these a few ways.
Easier: Face away from the chair. Put the soles of your feet on the floor.
Harder: Elevate your feet.
You can also do dips between two chairs, with the chairs at your sides. To make this easier, rest your feet on the floor.
To make these easier, raise the bar height and/or bend your knees, as shown here.
To make them harder, lower the bar and (if needed) elevate your feet. To make them even harder, elevate your feet on something unstable, such as an exercise ball.
If you don't have a barbell in a power cage (as shown in the video), here's another setup.
If you have a suspension trainer (such as a TRX), you can use that, as shown here. Again, the higher the hands, the easier the movement. The lower the hands, the harder the movement.
You can also try the underside of a sturdy table. (Note that this video shows elevated feet, which is more difficult than feet on the floor.)
To make it easier, you can do the plank from your knees.
Once you have the hang of the plank, try adding some difficulty with walkouts or moving with a dishtowel on a slippery floor.
Walkouts aka "inchworms"
"Body saw" (put your feet on the towel and rest securely on your forearms).
A more advanced pushup-plank combo (use two small towels on a smooth floor) walking pushup slides
This is for folks who can't yet do a squat with just their own body weight. The thicker the band, the more counterweight you'll get, and the easier this will be. Over time, progress to using a thinner band or less counterweight.
The band stomp works the hips, hamstrings and glutes.
These are just plain good fun for your hamstrings and glutes.
Push knees out against the band throughout the movement.
If you don't have a cable machine, you can substitute a resistance band. There are three ways you can secure the resistance band, depending on what setup you have available, and what feels best for your body.
Notice that in all cases the movement is essentially the same:
Incline band press
A pull-up progression that works backwards from a regular pull-up and uses assistance with bands
Loop the band over anything handy -- a high railing, a door, etc.
Along with the resistance band, you could use any light object for these -- cans, etc.
With these options and the other exercise modifications available for each phase of PN Coaching workouts, you should be easily able to get creative and have a great workout anywhere you find yourself!
However, if you're looking for a change of pace, Coach Jason Bonn's created a Hotel Room workout that you can do even in the cruddiest roadside motel.
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