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How to Warm-up and Work Out with Zero Equipment

By February 27, 2018Exercise and Workouts
Reading Time: 4 minutes
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Whether it’s a rainy day or you’re stuck in a hotel room with weak WiFi, there is always a way to get in your exercise. Everything I’m about to show you requires zero equipment — which means you can do this warm-up and these workouts pretty much any time and anywhere.

Once you’ve watched through the videos and/or followed-along at least once, then you can “choose your own adventure.” These three short videos are meant to be components that you can put together into a variety of circuits and repeat in different order to your heart’s content (see my suggestions at the bottom of the article).

Dynamic Warm-up

This warm-up will progress you through a joint-by-joint warm-up from the toes up. Doing this warm-up will prepare you well for any workout. Move through the following exercises:

  1. 10 Down-dog Calf Raises (5 each side) – From the down-dog position, cross one foot behind and the opposite ankle and focus on lifting and lowering through the ankle joint to warm up the calves and the Achilles
  2. 5 Air Squats – Drop bum below hip level, while raising arms forward and up. Focus on getting low and moving slow
  3. 10 Runner’s Lunges (5 each side) – Aim to plant foot beside hand while maintaining contact between outside of shoulder and inside of knee. Alternate sides
  4. 5 Hand release Pushups – Drop the chest all the way to the ground. Release the hands off the ground and plank back to pushup position. Ground your knees to modify the intensity
  5. 5 Child’s Pose to Cow/Cat – Drop your hips to your heels. Press to table top. Take cow, dropping the belly and then cat arching the back. Return to table top and repeat.

Calisthenics Flow 1

Length: 2 minutes
Goal: Repeat 3-5 times

Tired of running? Trying to build up your burpee ability? This two-minute series is a heart-rate raiser:

  1. 10 Jumping Squats – Tap the ground and jump up to tap a height as high of a doorframe to target, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calves.
  2. 10 Plank Jacks – From high plan position, jump feet apart and back together, working on your core strength, hip abductors and cardiovascular strength.
  3. 5 Pop Jacks – Targeting a key part of burpee transitions, start from a pushup position and jump feet forward to replace hands. Land light with heels on the ground. Looking to go low impact? Modify by walking feet forward and back
  4. 10 Alternating Side Planks (5 each side) – From high plan position, move hands close together and open to side plank for a breath, then switch sides. This exercise targets the obliques, as well as shoulder stabilization and spinal stabilization.
  5. 5 Pop Jacks – These are the most challenging part of the circuit. They’re broken up for relief but also to keep your heart rate up.
  6. 10 Lunges with Knee Drives (5 each side) – Reverse lunge tapping back knee to the ground and drive the knee forward to hip height or higher. This exercise targets the stabilizing muscles in your glutes, your balance, and your core and hip integration.

Calisthenics Flow 2

Length: 2 minutes
Goal: Repeat 3-5 times

By now you should be sweating. Accumulate even more of a bodyweight challenge with this final video that focuses on moving sideways. So much of the workout world is focused on moving forward and backward, neglecting a number of muscles that ultimately determine your performance, mobility, and coordination. To work on rectifying that, try these moves out for size:

  1. 10 Lateral Lunges – With feet together, step out to your right, squatting with right leg while keeping left leg straight. Return to starting position. Repeat 5 times and then switch sides. This exercise targets the hip abductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip adductors.
  2. 10 Lateral Plank Shuffles – From a high plank position, walk right hand and right foot 12 inches to the right, and then return to starting position with left hand and right foot moving simultaneously. A fun way to mix up the standard plank, this exercise will continue to work core integration and shoulder stabilization.
  3. 10 Prisoner Squats – Starting from a kneeling position, lead with your right leg followed by your left leg to come up to the bottom of a squat. Return to kneeling. Complete 5 repetitions and then switch sides. Enjoy this hip mobility challenge, while simultaneously targeting the glutes, quads, hammies, and core.
  4. 10 Plank Cross Body Knee Drives – Finish out the circuit with a high plank in which you alternate driving knees across the body toward the opposite triceps. Train the obliques to stabilize your core.

Download 10 Free Bodyweight Workouts

How to Use and Scale These Zero Equipment Workouts

These videos can be combined in any way that suits your goals. Here are some of my suggestions:

New exercisers looking for a 10-minute workout:

  • 2 Rounds Dynamic Warm-up
  • 1 Round Calisthenics Flow 1
  • 1 Round Calisthenics Flow 2

Intermediate HIIT workout people looking for a 15-minute workout:

  • 1 Round Dynamic Warm-up
  • 1 Round Calisthenics Flow 1
  • 1 Round Calisthenics Flow 2
  • 1 Round Dynamic Warm-up (Use as a recovery period)
  • 1 Round Calisthenics Flow 1
  • 1 Round Calisthenics Flow 2

Advanced exercisers looking for a 20-minute workout:

  • 1 Round Dynamic Warm-up
  • 2 Round Calisthenics Flow 1
  • 2 Round Calisthenics Flow 2
  • 2 Round Calisthenics Flow 1
  • 2 Round Calisthenics Flow 2
  • 1 Round Dynamic Warm-up (be sure to observe your mobility change from the initial warm-up)

Liz Marmesh
Liz is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and 200HR Yoga Instructor. Liz has been in the fitness industry since 2003, working in fitness education, fitness management, personal training, and group fitness in Boston, South Beach, Los Angeles, and the DC area. Liz graduated from the University of Miami with a Masters in Exercise Physiology.

A believer in constant movement, Liz has partnered with clients of all types to achieve various end goals. You can catch her teaching yoga at Ballston CrossFit in Arlington, Virginia.