Finding time for workouts isn't easy; well, I often find it hard, anyway. I was all over resistance training during the pandemic, then as soon as the world opened again, I was out running/walking/hiking, spending less and less time pumping iron. Now, over a year later, I'm weaker and less muscular, and feel little urge to go to the gym.
Which is why I decided to start shorter home workouts to help me ease back into resistance training (RT). There are tons of health benefits to RT, including increased bone density, better body composition, and reduction of injuries. Better still, it can reduce the risk of insulin resistance, increase resting metabolic rate, improve glucose metabolism, lower blood pressure, and so much more.
If only it weren't so hard to get started! I know full well that it'll be easier to keep going once you get started, so I conceived a plan to trick myself into doing a workout. It was a simple plan: the exercise needs to be short and shouldn't use any equipment. After all, bodyweight workouts are often more challenging than once performed with dumbbells and barbells!
I ended up doing one of the simplest, no-jump, neighbour-friendly I've ever performed. However, I did use one piece of equipment, a pull-up bar, because I wanted to improve my grip strength and loosen my back, which bothered me because of my scoliosis. Nevertheless, the workout posed no logistical issues, enabling me to jump right into it.
I opted for an AMRAP-style session – short for as many reps as possible – with each exercise performed for 40 seconds, followed by a 20-second break. The beauty of AMRAP workouts is that it allows you to tailor the session to your fitness level. Some people might only be able to do two push-ups in 40 seconds, while others can churn out 20-30. Yet, it's still the same structure.
I timed my exercises using my Apple Watch, although any smartwatch or smartphone would work. Once I warmed up, using five minutes of shoulder circles, hamstring stretches, twists, etc., it was time to go! I did two rounds of the below exercises:
- Push-up: make sure your elbows don't flare out too much. If you're unsure how to do it, consult our how-to-do push-ups explainer.
- Banded wide grip pull-up: my pull-ups are nowhere near as strong as they used to be, so I used a resistance band to make it easier.
- Low plank: If you find low planks too hard, feel free to try high planks (arms extended) or drop your knees. Hold the plank as long as you can (up to 40 seconds).
- Bodyweight squat: one of the best full-body exercises you can do. Make sure you warm up the hips and lower your bum as close to the ground as you can (within reason, of course).
- Pike push-up: finished off the set with this brilliant shoulder exercise!
It was a good session, and I felt so much happier for completing it. Best of all, according to my Apple Watch Ultra 2, I burned bang-on 100 calories in just 10 minutes, using nothing but my bodyweight! Can't say I'd be able to do the same workout six times back-to-back, but if I could, it would burn over 600 calories. Take that, running!
For more bodyweight exercise goodness, check out this 6-move callisthenics full-body workout or find out which six exercises are better than crunches for a rock-solid core. Also, we have a five-minute bodyweight chest workout for you and a calorie-busting four-move bodyweight workout, in case you're interested.
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