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The best no-equipment workouts for every fitness level

No Equipment? No Problem!

Unfortunately, most people think that if they don't have the latest gadgets to train with, then the quality of their workouts will suffer.  This couldn't be further from the truth! We know that everyone deserves to have a good workout. But sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation, especially when there are other things going on in your life. That's why I'm going to cover some of my favourite workouts that require no equipment.

It's worth noting that without realising it, not using equipment at all is probably what most of us tend to do already when we are trying to get a workout into our day. This can be for a number of reasons. Maybe you don't have money for a gym, or you're trying to save money perhaps. Or you live in a place where the weather just won't permit you to go outside for your workouts. Think a UK winter for example… or even a UK summer sometimes!

Whatever the reason, not having access to any kind of equipment means that you are going to have to think outside of the box. But this is actually a good thing as it will force you out of your comfort zone and make you work harder than ever before.

This blog is all about the ways that even without equipment we can still make our workouts as effective as possible. You won't believe how effective they can be if you don't give yourself every advantage either!

 

Before we get stuck in, I thought it was worth very quickly busting some myths around no-equipment workouts and sharing why here at U Perform we think they should be a component part of everyone’s active lifestyle…

Benefits of no-equipment workouts:

  1. They are easier to do (sometimes 😉)
  2. They are cheaper to do
  3. They require little to no maintenance of equipment. Except maybe making sure your sports trainers are in good condition of course
  4. You can work out wherever you like (well, almost). Whether that is at home, in the park or in the gym
  5. You can do them with friends! This is a great way to keep each other motivated and make the time go faster too
  6. And last but definitely not least, you have the flexibility to adjust workouts accordingly for different fitness levels and abilities or just how you are feeling on the day without having to worry about having the correct equipment

 

First up are HIIT workouts

HIIT workouts are designed around short periods of full-on, maximum exertion exercise mixed in with longer periods of low or no exertion recovery periods. They're good for improving your cardio fitness, and increasing muscular endurance, because they engage the whole body with high intensity activity and will test your ability to recover quickly between bursts.

Athletes such as football players, rugby players, boxers and swimmers often use HIIT training to improve their fitness levels in their chosen sport, as well as any athlete who is preparing to compete over a number of different distances or disciplines… think CrossFit.

You can do a HIIT workout at home or at the gym, with little to no equipment. The only real requirement is that you have enough space to move around freely in a safe environment! Besides that, all you really need is a timer (although there are some great interval timer apps you can use!)

Examples of good bodyweight exercises include pushups, burpees, mountain climbers and squats — basically any and all bodyweight exercises work well in a HIIT workout. If you do want to incorporate weights into your routine, dumbbells are a great option too.

For complete workouts and even more information on why HIIT workouts are so great, why not check out our full guide to HIIT workouts here.

 

Next to feature is running, plain and simple. This is probably the least complex no-equipment workout, well that and walking or hiking too. There are many benefits to running. Not only is it great for improving cardiovascular fitness but it is also one of the simplest ways to get in a good workout.

Running workouts are so simple and effective – all you need is a pair of sneakers and the motivation to head out the door and you’re ready to go! Running can be done anywhere, including outside on trails, paths and pavements, or inside on a treadmill.

And there are so many different types of running workouts that you can do: from steady state to intervals or fartleks. You can even combine them into one long run with varying paces throughout! This will help keep things interesting so that each time feels like a new challenge.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on how best to mix up your training routine, then check out these example running workouts:

 

Beginner Fartlek workout 1 “Surges”:

This one is ideal for anyone new to fartlek style training and uses a “surge” of pace to give you the correct training stimulus. Very basically, every 5-10 minutes you should increase your pace for 1 minute before settling back to your regular pace. And repeat this as many times as you like.

A workout like this will ease you into changing pace effectively and help when it comes to running on challenging terrain when your body will be forced to adapt quickly to each new surface or gradient.

 

Beginner Fartlek workout 2 “Pyramid”:

This is a slightly more complex one…

1-1-2-2-3-3-2-2-1-1

These numbers stand for 1-minute jogging, 1-minute fast pace, 2 minutes jogging, 2 minutes fast pace, 3 minutes jogging, 3 minutes fast pace and back down to 2, 1 and finally rest.

The “fast pace” should be a little faster than your 5K pace (if you know what that is), and this should feel relatively easy on the first time up the pyramid. But don’t be fooled, as the effort will come back to bite you later!

A variation of this would be to have a 2:30 minute easy or slow-paced jog between each set of sprints, so 1-minute fast pace, 2:30 easy, 2-minute fast pace, 2:30 easy, 3 minutes fast pace, 2:30 easy, 2 minutes fast pace, 2:30 easy, 1-minute fast pace, 2:30 rest.

If you’ve still got any energy left in the tank after that, you can climb up (and maybe down) the pyramid one more time! Be prepared for some serious DOMS the after though!

If you are completely new to running, you can also check out our U to Running which is a couch to 5km plan written by our very own co-founder Professor Greg Whyte OBE. In just 8 weeks, Greg will take you from the couch to running your very first 5km. This is also a really handy training plan for runners of all abilities who might be returning to running after some time off due to illness or injury.

 

If running isn’t your thing however, but maybe swimming or cycling is – fartlek style interval training can also be replicated very easily for both sports and both in indoor and outdoor environments too! There really is something for everyone.

And don't forget, great performances can't come without equally great recoveries so make sure to check out our proven range of sports recovery supplements; designed to help you train harder and recover faster! 

 

Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed this blog. Please comment below if you have any comments or suggestions – we are at our best we work together! Don’t forget to share this with someone who you know would benefit from reading this too. The U Perform family loves sharing ideas and encouraging each other.

 

For further reading, why not check out some other blogs that we have featured recently:

 Man running down hill city streetWoman doing exercise at home workout yoga mat

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