Garage gyms are more than just the equipment it has. A garage gym isn’t complete without the person using it. And it can mean that there aren’t any weights in sight. Your body can be your trainer and it can be just as good if not better than adding weight at all.
Some will under estimate getting a full body workout without weights because it’s not exciting enough. The repetitious push ups, bikes, or burpees is enough to make anyone’s head spin, and it can become pretty monotonous after a while. However, there are exciting times ahead with using your own body weight as your workout machine.
Before I started using weights, I heavily relied on body weight exercises. I felt like my workouts were sometimes more intense because I wasn’t wasting time to change out a weight or waiting for another set.
So, here are my suggestions on how to get that full body workout without weights.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is very popular with people who don’t really have a ton of time to do a long workout but want to get their burn on. These workouts are about 15-20 minutes at high intensity and include several exercises meant to burn you out quickly. Think of this as a way to measure your muscular endurance. How many push ups can you do without stopping? How many air squats can you do before your legs give out?
I would roll up Tabatas (here’s a link to a good video that explains it well) into HIIT as well. Tabatas are where you do :20 workout and :10 rest, and that is one set. You choose the exercise and follow the format for as many sets as you want. I’ll usually go four sets, and if I do it right, I’m smoked. One of my favorite Tabata workouts is to do four sets of push ups, where on my :10 rest I stay in the high plank position. It breaks me off every time, and usually by set four I’m doing maybe 3-5 push ups at that point compared to 20 or so on the first set.
Oftentimes I’ll do multiple exercises Tabatas So I’ll do four sets of push ups, then air squats, then supine bicycles. I’m usually exhausted at that point and am looking forward to stretching. But, if I’m really ambitious that day I’ll do that sequence again. Make sure to hold at the bottom when you rest for squats!
Garage gyms are great for HIIT. Usually garages are small, so lots of running, long jumps, or walking lunges are awkward to do. But HIIT will keep you in one spot most of the time while you burn yourself out. It’s a huge win for you!
OK, you think I’m nuts. But, have you ever been to a Yoga class? I’ve been to a few and I was drenched in sweat every time. I couldn’t do half the things the Yoga instructor was doing! Super impressive.
Pull out your mat. Pull up a Yoga video on YouTube and go to town. Some of those 60 minutes videos are brutal. The added benefit to this is that you’re stretching your flexibility (literally). Mobility is key when taking care of yourself, and why not do that with a good deep Yoga workout.
Burpees, Burpees, Burpees
I’ll say it one more time….BURPEES! These will break you off. Start from standing, go to a push up position, do a push up, then come back up to standing and end with a jump. That’s it. You’ll be surprised about how tired you’ll get. To make that even harder, you can do two push ups. I just stick with one, as burpees are already hard enough.
Do a burpee challenge. See how fast you can do 100 burpees. I guarantee it’ll take you some time, unless you’re some burpee guru or something. It takes me about 15 minutes or more to get to 100. Now THAT is a solid workout! The best part is that 15-20 minutes isn’t a lot of time either, so take that win upstairs to the shower.
Combine burpees with other exercises like squats or core. If you do it right, you’ll be plenty sore after that full body workout.
I’ll be first to admit that I despise core work. I’ve rarely found it enjoyable until a co-worker introduced the eight-minute abs concept to me. You want to do eight continuous minutes of core exercises without stopping. The concept here is for you to choose eight core exercises and do them in succession. Don’t forget to write them down before starting your workout!
When my co-worker and I did this together, she was still moving strong. Me on the other hand, I was as broke off like an Antarctic iceberg. She smoked the daylights out of me! And it was only eight minutes. Anyone can do anything for eight minutes. Unless, it’s continuous abs.
So, What Do I Do First?
First things first, what do you want to accomplish? Do you want to get in overall shape? Do you want to strengthen your core? Do you want more muscle endurance? Once you answer that question, the items listed above will help tailor your workout to what you want.
Remember, your garage gym is your spot do create whatever you want. Your workouts are yours to do. I wish that Michael Jordan could work out for me, but the reality is that I have to do it on my own.
Second, once you know your goal, build your workout plan. You don’t always need weights to get a great workout. But it’ll help you out better when you have a plan. I’ll write more later on how to develop a good workout plan. For now, don’t get caught up in the I-have-to-have-weights mantra. There are plenty of things to do without weights.
Finally, monitor your body. Doing body weight exercises is a great way to get in touch with yourself. You’re mindful of every burn, ache, pain, and fatigue. So, embrace that. Body weight fitness will help you be your best self despite the fact you don’t always have access to weights. If anything, you’ll be more mindful of your form, which will prevent you from injury later on.
Alright Garage Gym Goers, what are your favorite fully body workouts without weights? Leave a comment below, and thanks for reading!