The Essential No-Gym Workout


What do I love? Working out. What don’t I love? Working out in front of people. But, since my ultimate goal in life is to be able to eat whatever I want (nachos, mostly), I’ve adopted a new workout strategy that requires no gym, no machinery, and no unwanted staring (as men tend to do at the gym). Here is a great set of strength-training, muscle-building exercises that require no more than your own body weight (except for perhaps a chair, if you’d like one), so you can do them anywhere, anytime. These certainly aren’t the only no-equipment exercises out there, they just happen to be my favorites, because in my experience, a) you WILL see results, and b) they require no complicated jumps, twists, spins, etc. So try a few or all of these, and see what happens! And of course, don’t forget to stretch afterwards!

Lauren’s favorite body-weight exercises

One-legged squats (or death squats, as I call them).  These consist of nothing more than standing up from a seated position, using only one leg to support your weight. While they sound simple, I promise, your legs will never know what hit them. If you can do these without a chair or bench to rest on, more power to you!

One-legged dead lifts / T-rotation balance. Even without lifting a weight, dead lifts are great for your hamstrings and lower back. Doing one leg at a time increases the weight you bear, and also adds an element of balance. For an added workout, when your upper body is parallel to the floor, take the arm on the same side as the leg you’re balancing on, raise it up to the ceiling, opening your chest, and look up. Then lower and repeat on the other side.

Plank (4 ways!) This is THE ultimate upper body AND ab workout in one. I prefer to do plank (or ‘bows and toes, as you might call it) on my forearms instead of hands (to save my weak little wrists). Get into a pushup position, then lower down and place your elbows on the mat, and you’re ready! Make sure to keep your hips and shoulders level, and hold it for as long as you can. Then, try doing a side plank (on each side of your body), and even reverse plank – facing up instead of down.

Wall sits. Yep, just like they sound. Hold yourself up against a wall, with your knees and hips at 90 degrees, for as long as you can. If you’re outside, just try holding a squat, but this is slightly harder. Your quads will thank you!

Seated single-leg lifts. Taken straight from Pilates, these seem innocuous, but they are more challenging than they look. Sitting down (against a wall for more support), hold one leg to your chest, and keeping the other leg straight, lift it a few inches off the ground, then lower, and repeat.

Supermans. You can’t get strong abs without first building a strong lower back. Lying on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched, lift arms and legs off the ground at the same time, contracting the lower back muscles and glutes, as if you’re flying. Hold for as long as you can, and be thankful that you don’t have to live by Superman’s moral code.

Curtsies/plies. There’s a reason ballerinas have killer legs, and these are it. You can do a standard plie, but I prefer a modified version with one foot in front of the other, in more of a curtsy position. Quads, hamstrings, inner thigh, outer thigh… all will thank you. Goodbye saddlebags!

One-legged bridges. Lying on your back, feel flat on the floor, lift up your pelvis and support your weight on your shoulders and feet. Then lift one leg off the floor and extend it to the ceiling, bringing it down to the knee and back up several times. If your calf begins to cramp, flex your foot and point your toes towards the ceiling, to disengage the calf muscles.


  One thought on “The Essential No-Gym Workout

  1. August 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I found some great information in your blog. This blog is very useful and helpful to me. Thank you for sharing this information with us informative .. I love your blog……
    RhondaLee Quaresma


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