The great outdoors is ideal for an efficient resistance training workout that needs minimal equipment. Summer brings a fresh desire to strengthen our bodies and it offers up warmer, workout friendly temperatures too.
Adding bodyweight workouts to our weekly sweat schedule is a smart step on the journey toward a more consistent exercise routine. There are less barriers to this simple style of workout such as a crowded gym environment or an expensive fitness class fee. In order to reap the benefits of the minimal equipment, endorphin building, outdoor workout craze, there are a couple of required elements for success.
Because no-equipment workouts do not rely on heavy weights or machines for stimulus, we’ve got to make sure the exercises we choose target large muscle groups. This will ensure a higher caloric expenditure compared to a workout using only isolation style movements for relatively small muscles.
We want to perform compound movements that involve multiple joints, multiple muscle groups and multiple planes of movement to be efficient.
An efficient workout is one that targets our whole body with a focus on large muscle groups. Rather than spending the majority of our time fatiguing a relatively small muscle group like the triceps, we will focus on the big muscles of the glutes, hamstrings, back, core and quadriceps.
Muscular Balance is Key
The most common drawback for the majority of no-equipment workouts is the heavy reliance on exercises targeting the muscles of the anterior chain. Squats, lunges, planks, sit-ups and push-ups are safe and effective exercises that can be programmed effectively, but they are overused in most bodyweight sequences.
There is nothing wrong with strengthening the anterior chain muscles including the quadriceps, abdominals, chest and shoulders, but we need a more balanced approach to be successful. Adding in exercises that target the hamstrings and back along with some lateral and rotational movement will go a long way in terms of increased caloric expenditure and better injury prevention.
Walk or Run for 5 minutes before commencing the following circuit: Walking Lunges x 15 on each leg, Bum Kicks x 15 on each leg, Torso Rotations x 15 each side.
This is a monster circuit, which means that each exercise will be performed in succession, leaving you with a large circuit of four different moves. You’ll need a bench, log or stair to complete these exercises.
1. Incline Push-up with Knee Cross
4 x 15 reps
- Place hands slightly wider than shoulders on the edge of a bench.
- Perform an incline push-up, keeping core engaged and leading with the chest.
- Straighten arms and cross one knee toward the opposite elbow, then repeat with the other knee.
2. Bench Knee Driver
4 x 15 reps per leg
- Place one foot on a bench. Do not let heel or toe hang off the bench surface.
- Drive the back leg up into a skipping movement, leading with the knee.
- Step down and alternate legs for each rep
- Repeat all repetitions on one side before moving to the second leg.
3. Seated ‘Y’ Fly + Row
4 x 15 reps
- Sit on the edge of a bench with torso tilted forward at a 45-degree angle.
- Raise arms up into a wide ‘Y’ position being careful not to hunch the upper back.
- Pull arms back into a low row position while depressing and retracting the shoulder blades.
4. Eccentric Elevated Glute Bridge
4 x 15 reps
- Dig heels into bench while maintaining a 90-degree bend in both knees.
- Use glutes and hamstrings to push hips upwards until extended for a count of 1.
- Slowly return hips to the ground to starting position for a count of 3.