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How to work out effectively with minimal equipment

I’m not a blogger, I’m a personal trainer.  That being said, I do like to write occasionally so here I am sat at my computer. Having just reviewed my past content I have concluded that there’s a gap in my blog when it comes to providing practical exercise advice… and seeing as I’m in the fitness industry, I feel this is unacceptable.

There are a few reasons why we may have to workout without equipment.  It may be because you’re on holiday and have no access to a gym, or it may simply be because you don’t want to go to a gym and would prefer to workout at home – I know this is how I felt when I first started exercising.

Working out without high tech equipment is not as hard as you may think.  My answer is always the same:

  1. Bodyweight exercises – you can do these anywhere anytime.
  2.  Running – put your trainers on and go!
  3. Resistance bands – these are very cheap, compact and lightweight.. straight into the suitcase.

Those of you who follow my Instagram will know I’m a huge fan of compound exercises, these are exercises that train more than one muscle group at a time. Why do a bicep curl when you can do a pull up?  So here’s my top 6 most effective compound exercises which you can do with just your body weight and a cheap set of resistance bands.

  1.  Squats
  2. Lunges
  3. Press ups
  4. Pull Ups
  5. Resistance band rows
  6. Resistance band military press

Combine exercises 1, 3 and 5 OR exercises 2, 4 and 6.  That way you have one lower body exercise, one upper body pulling exercise and one upper body pushing exercise which makes for a nice balanced workout.  Complete each exercise for 5 sets! 20 reps per set for the lower body exercises and 10 reps per set for the upper body exercises. Once you’ve selected and completed these 3 key compound exercises you then move onto the next section of the workout which consists of either:

  1. Cardio – in this instance a run
  2. Isolation exercises – these are exercises that train a single muscle e.g. a bicep curl.

If you’re looking for all round fitness my suggestion would be to always follow your compound exercises with a run.  2.4k is a great distance to aim for – this is the distance the UK army requires recruits to run as part of the initial testing stages; for men 10 minutes is the aim, and for women, it’s 12.5 mins .  If you’re not so concerned with all round fitness but more with aesthetics my suggestion would be to work in some isolation exercises after your compounds instead of cardio.  These are exercises that target specific muscle groups that you may want to improve.  Popular isolation exercises for men include:

  1. Bicep curls – for building those peaks! These can be done with resistance bands.
  2. Lateral raises – for building boulder shoulders! These can also be done with resistance bands.

Popular isolation exercises for ladies include:

  1. Glute kick backs – for building a round juicy booty! These can be done with your body weight and you can also add bands for extra resistance.
  2. Leg raises – for firming up that stomach! These can be done with your body weight.

Isolation exercises are to be done for 3 sets of 10 repetitions – do both!  AND there you have it – I normally charge money for this and now I’m handing it out for free! I’m that desperate to improve my online image.  Complete the above workout 3 times per week and you’ll become a force to be reckoned with.  Make sure to track your progress too – if things become too easy it’s time to up the intensity whether it be by running faster, increasing the rep count or increasing the thickness of the resistance band.  The quest for improvement never stops!

Stay tuned.