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The No-Equipment Total Body Workout


Sometimes, travelling to the gym, or having to set up a weight machine in order to start
exercising can be more of a deterrent than anything else. In cases like these, we can actually
begin to consider workouts or exercises that do not require us to put in the kind of money into
an expensive exercise equipment or the amount of travelling time it takes to get to the gym.
When you do not have the burden of gyms or bulky equipment, that actually allows you to
execute a tried-and-tested training system called circuit training. With circuit training, you get
to enjoy the following benefits:
1. You don't have to spend a fortune on equipment in order to keep fit.
2. You never have to travel anywhere. Almost any place is good enough to start a circuit
3. Most of the best abdominal exercises rely on your body weight anyway, so if abs are your
focus, then you're set.
4. Without the 'safety' that dumbbells and barbells provide, we are made to become more
coherent and creative during the workout.
Here's a sample workout for you to try. Remember, you can mix and match, or add in your
own favourite exercises to vary or intensify the workout.

Start with 5 to 10 minutes of continuous activity that involves large muscle groupssuch as
doing running stairs, or skipping rope. Then do each exercise on your circuit list in
succession, pausing only long enough to get ready for the next one.
Start with 12 repetitions of each exercise, eventually working your way up to 20.
When youve completed the circuitthat is, when youve done all the exercises on your
listcool down for several minutes or engage in another 3 to 5 minutes of cardio work. Then
go through the circuit a second time.

Support your body with the balls of
your feet and with your hands,
positioning the latter slightly wider
than shoulder-width apart, palms flat
on the floor. Straighten
your arms without locking your
Lower your torso until your chest is
just a fraction of an inch off the floor.
Push yourself back to the starting
Start: Stand with one leg 3 to 4 feet
in front of the other, with your toes
pointed forward. Your front foot
should be flat on the floor, but only
the ball of your back foot should be
planted. To help yourself balance,
line up each foot with its
corresponding buttock, not with the
other foot. Keep your torso erect.
Rest your hands behind your head.
Finish: Bend both knees to lower
your body straight down until your
back knee is a few inches off the
floor and your front leg is bent at a
90-degree anglethat is, with the
thigh parallel to the floor and the
lower leg perpendicular to the floor.
Your torso and rear thigh should
form a straight line. Return to the
starting position. Finish the set, then
switch your front and back legs and
Start: Stand leaning against a wall
with your feet slightly wider than
shoulder-width apart and about 2 feet
in front of you. Put an unfolded
towel behind you so that your back
presses against it rather than directly
on the wall.
Finish: Bend your knees and let your

back slide down the wall along with

the towel until your upper thighs are
parallel to the floor. Pause, then push
yourself back up.
Start: Lie facedown with your legs
straight and your arms stretched
straight in front of you, with your
hands on the floor.
Finish: Lift your arms, head, chest,
and lower legs off the floor
simultaneously. Hold this position
for 1 to 5 seconds, keeping your head
and neck at the same height as your
shoulders throughout the movement.
Return to the starting position.
Start: Hold on to the seat of a sturdy
chair behind you, with your knees
bent and your feet flat on the floor
as if you were seated in another,
invisible chair.
Finish: Keep your back arched and
close to the chair as you slowly lower
your body until your upper arms are
parallel to the floor. Your torso
should remain straight. Pause, then
press back up to the starting position.
Lie with your knees bent and your
feet flat on the floor. Place a rolledup towel under your lower back. This
adds to your range of motion, forcing
your abs to work harder. Same
movement here as the regular crunch.
Pause at the top, then slowly return
to the starting
position, using your abs to slow your

Start: Get down on your hands and
knees, keeping your back flat.
Finish: Take a deep breath, allowing
your belly to pooch out. Then
forcibly exhale and round your back
like an angry cat as you lift your
navel up toward your spine. When
you can exhale no more, keep your
back rounded and your navel in as
you purse your lips and take shallow
breaths through your nose for several
seconds. Thats 1 repetition; it should
take 20 to 30 seconds. Inhale as you
flatten your back to the
starting position.

Functionally Strong Abs: A 6-move Plan


To sculpt a stronger, more chiselled core, you need to train it the way it functions, says Todd Durkin.
Or, more specifically, all the ways it functions: The more than two dozen muscles between your hips
and shoulders are what allow you to bend and rotate your torso. They also stabilise your spine as you
go about the motions of daily life.
This is why you should update your abs routine with the following six moves. Theyll challenge your
core from every angle, making you stronger in everything you do, says Todd. Theyll also give you
something to show at the beach.

1. Hip-up

Lie on your left side, right arm extended, so its perpendicular

to the floor. Prop yourself up on your left forearm and raise
your hips, so your body is straight from ankles to head (top).
Lower your left hip (bottom) and raise it again until its in
line with your body. Thats 1 rep. Continue lowering and
raising your hip for 20 reps, then hold the up position for 10
seconds. Repeat on your right side.
Why it works: The best abs exercises train your core to
stabilise your spine, Todd says. The hip-up does exactly that,
while also sculpting your obliques, and increasing your
rotational control and stability.
2. Rocky abs

Lie on your back with your legs straight, arms extended

behind your head, and hands grasping something that wont
move, such as a pair of heavy dumbbells (left). Raise your
legs, butt and lower back until theyre perpendicular to the
floor (right). Your weight should rest on your upper back.
Keeping your body as straight as possible, brace your core
and take 5 to 10 seconds to lower your body. Thats 1 rep. Do
5 to 10.
Why it works: Your muscles can handle more weight on the
eccentric, or lowering, phase of a lift, says Todd. Slowing
the pace of that phase forces your muscles to work harder,

accelerating your gains.

3. Mogul jump

Get on all fours and lift your knees a few centimetres off the
floor, so your weight is on your hands and the balls of your
feet (top left). Keeping your arms straight and legs together,
hop and rotate your knees and feet to the right (top right).
Now, hop and rotate your knees and feet to the left (bottom).
Thats 1 rep. Keep hopping back and forth for 20 reps.
Why it works: The inspiration for this exercise might have
come from skiing, but its also an effective way to prepare for
many sports, including tennis, softball and golf. The reason:
It trains your abs, lower back and hips to work together to
rotate your body from side to side, says Todd.
4. Three-point core touch

Assume a push-up position (top left). Now, quickly move

your right leg forward, so your right heel lands outside of
your right hand (top right). Pause and return to the push-up
position. Now, quickly move your right leg forward, so your
right foot lands outside your left hand (bottom), then return to
the push-up position. Thats 1 rep. Do 5 to 10, and repeat with
your left leg.
Why it works: This one move will target muscles in your
hips, groin, lower back and often-neglected lower abs, says
Todd. The result is not only more core strength but also
greater total-body stability.
5. Running man

Lie on your back with your legs straight, elbows at your sides,
and arms bent 90 degrees. This is the starting position (top).
Lift your shoulders and back off the floor as you pull your left
knee towards your chest and drive your right arm forward, as
if youre running (bottom). Return to the starting position.
Repeat with your right knee and left arm. Thats 1 rep. Do 20.
Why it works: Sure, this exercise works your rectus
abdominis just as crunches do. But pumping your arms and
legs also builds explosiveness and coordination, which is
fundamental to athleticism, Todd adds.
6. Figure 8

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms down.
Raise your legs so they form a 45-degree angle with the floor
(top, left). Now, make big, looping circles with your legs, first
to your right (top, right) and then to your left (bottom),
forming a sideways figure 8. Thats 1 rep. Do 10.
Why it works: Doing smaller loops challenges just your
rectus abdominis, while larger ones hit your entire core.
Work on it until you can create big, sweeping loops, says
Todd. The bigger the figure 8, the more you activate your
obliques and the muscles in your hips and lower back.


15-Min Workout: The Best Ever Bodyweight Circuit


Push-ups arent the only reason to hit the floor during your workout. Your hands and feet are covered
with sensors that provide feedback about limb position and alignment, says elite fitness trainer
Jeremy Frisch. The more you engage your hands and feet in ground-based exercises, the greater the
boost youll see in your athletic performance.
Perform the following exercises as a circuit, moving from one to the next with 45 seconds of rest in
between. Once youve done them all, rest for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat the circuit as many times as you

can in 15 minutes.
The Moves

1. Elevated Bird Dog Reach

Get down on all fours with your hips up and knees bent 90
degrees, but only your hands and feet touching the floor.
Raise your right arm and left leg until theyre straight and in
line with your body. Return to the starting position. Repeat
with your left arm and right leg.
Thats 1 rep. Do 8 to 10.
2. Four-way Bear Crawl

Get on all fours with your hips up and knees bent 90 degrees,
but only your hands and feet touching the floor. Crawl
forward for 5m, right for 5m, backwards for 5m and left for
5m to complete a square.
Repeat, reversing the directions (backwards, left, forward and
3. Crab Toe Touch

Assume a crab-walk position with your heels beneath your

knees and palms beneath your shoulders. Lift your hips, raise
your right hand and left leg, and try to touch your toes. Return
to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand and right
Thats 1 rep. Do 10.
4. Alligator Lunge

Assume a push-up position with your arms straight and your

hands slightly beyond shoulder-width. Simultaneously move
your left hand forward and place your right foot next to your
right hand. Lower your hips and pause. Repeat using your
right hand and left foot.
Continue for 15m to 20m.
5. Straight-leg Crab Hip Raise

Sit with your heels on a bench, your butt on the floor, and
your weight supported on your hands. Raise your hips so your
body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your feet.
Pause, and then lower your hips back down (but dont let
them touch the floor).
Thats 1 rep. Do 10 to 12.

Nail The Single-arm Push-up


Learn to conquer the single-arm push-up one of the worlds most awe-inspiring gym feats by
following this strength and coordination plan.
Step 1: Chisel your chest

Four days a week, wear a heavy backpack and do push-ups to failure. Next,
do offset pushups, with one hand on the floor and the other on a small box.
After 5 to 10 reps, switch hands and repeat. Ditch the box and do closehands push-ups to failure. Rest. Do 5 sets of each.
Step 2: Build balance

Static holds improve muscle memory and core strength. To do them,

assume a push-up position with your feet twice shoulder-width apart. Raise
one hand and place it below your butt. Hold for at least 15 seconds, or until
failure. Then rest. Do 3 to 5 sets, 4 days a week.
Step 3: Try the move!

Spread your feet wide. Place one hand on the floor under your shoulder and
the other by your butt. Tense your body. Lower yourself to the floor, turning
your elbow, shoulder and palm in towards your body. As you reach the
ground, push yourself back up.
Step 4: Practice makes perfect

Ugly first attempt? Practice several times a day, 4 days a week, to increase
your strength, stability and muscle memory.