Join the tribe of Movement & Calisthenics Athlete - people just like you that are working with their own body weight to get strength, lose fat build muscle, recover from injuries and live their best lives!
Have you left the office after work too exhausted to work out? Ever been stuck in a cycle of exhaustion and lack of exercise because of
poor food choices? Or are you just bored with your current routine?
This happens to the best of us; I’ve experienced all types of workout plateaus, ruts, jeesh even valleys!…and that’s why I developed my “Bare Minimum” workout. It’s not a substitute for a full training plan. It’s more like insurance to make sure that you never, ever get out of shape. Consider it a way of bulletproofing your long-term fitness goals.
This workout combines basic everyday fitness needs with focused skill training. It can be tailored to meet your goals. This can mean, for example, doing it in the shortest amount of time with as little equipment and space as possible. With it, you’ll never, ever get out of shape.
It’s a do anywhere, anytime workout.
Before you get started, though, you need to lay your fitness goals out. What does your body need to achieve your goals? Do you have any special exercises, like physical therapy exercises?
Get creative, and make sure the program you lay out for yourself is reasonable. Try building it with little to no equipment, and short enough to squeeze into even your most hectic days.
You are the creator of your plan, these are your goals -make this program your go-to when you can’t get a longer routine in. Smart, focused, and diligent training will yield results!
1. My “Bare Minimum” workout
I’m an acrobat, so I set myself very specific goals. My body needs specialized exercises to make those goals a reality while protecting my joints from the wear and tear caused by advanced acrobatics.
My current goals: increase the flexibility of my active and passive splits; have a reliable one arm handstand.
My fitness needs: PT to prevent shoulder and wrist problems to continue my acrobatic work. For the splits, I need enhanced joint mobility and strength.
My Bare Minimum (BM) Workout: I start off with a PT warmup. It stretches my wrists and shoulders, preparing me for handstands.
I then go into a routine with a variety of handstands, wrist strengthening exercises, and split stretching that addresses my body’s needs and moves me closer to my goals. The entire routine is 45 minutes.
Wait, what? 45 minutes?!
I know that for many people, 45 minutes is excessive for a “Bare Minimum” workout. But my routine caters to my career as a full-time acrobat. Remember, this program is customizable! Unless you’ve got the same needs as me, working on a one-arm handstand and splits, you’ll want to create a shorter workout that still keeps you on track with your long-term goals.
So let’s talk about YOU.
I think that it’s safe to say that there are three broad goals for general fitness:
- Lose weight
- Maintain current weight
- Gain muscle mass.
You can obviously add more goals to this list, though. Do you want to increase your cardiovascular endurance, so that you can run your first 5k/10k Marathon? Or maybe you want to focus on your chest and back, or your glutes! These are all goals that can be included in your Bare Minimum workout.
2 A BM booty workout routine
Shake that booty!
Fitness goals: Lose 10 lbs and have a perfect booty.
Fitness needs: Expending more calories, increasing glute size and strength.
So what should your BM workout look like?
I’d suggest high-intensity interval training. Consider workouts like Tabata, burpees, mountain climbers, jumping rope, and other high-intensity full body moves guaranteed to burn some fat. Set a timer and do it for 15 minutes with a little rest as possible. It’s better to do an easier version of an exercise than have down time.
Now for the targeting –go for the hardest squat/lunge-type exercise you can do. Air squats, lunges, and squat jumps are all fair game. The key is to have a full range of motion. Pick an exercise or resistance level to do at least 8 and no more than 12 repetitions.
Bang out 3 sets and you’re done. Stretch and go home…unless you’re already home.
Never forget – these exercises all rock, but only if you absolutely nail the form. Every one of the above exercises is a risk for knee injuries if done wrong.
3 Bodyweight beast
Fitness goals: Muscles, muscles, everywhere.
Fitness needs: Gain muscle without creating imbalances that lead to injury.
This is a staple bodyweight workout.
These are the three most important and complex exercises you can do: squats, pullups, pushups. Now make a workout around them.
Warm up with some wrist, knee, or shoulder PT. You have to warm up anyway, so might as well keep your joints healthy. Almost every athlete develops problems in one of these three areas at some point. Some have problems their whole careers. If you really don’t feel warm enough yet (are you sweating yet?), go ahead and run around the block once or something.
Do 8-12 pullups, 8-12 pushups, and 8-12 squats. No more than 90 seconds of rest between each exercise. If you can’t do a full pull-up yet, try pull-up negatives or pull-downs. If a normal pull up is easy, throw “pull-up progressions” at google and you’ll get a host of great sites like this one:
When I say 8-12, I mean pick a challenging-enough version of each exercise that you can do no more than 12 but can get at least 8 repetitions in. 8-12 is the NASM standard for hypertrophy (gaining muscle size).
This whole workout will probably take you as little as 20 minutes altogether, especially if you’re already warm. The only piece of equipment you need is a pull-up bar. Don’t have one? Use a door frame or jungle gym, fire escape, or the underside of some steps. Still, nothing? We’ve got you covered. Now you have a basic bodyweight staple you could do even in your bedroom if you had to.
There is always a way.
If your workout can be done quickly, anywhere, at any time, you won’t have any excuses. So what are you still doing, reading this?
Share your Bare Minimum Workout with us in the comments, or on Facebook!
Extra resources to help you create your Bare Minimum Workout routine: