SEARCH RFS:

It’s Not Where You Train, It’s HOW You Train

Never miss a glorious update - click here!

How to Burn Fat, Build Muscle, and Dominate Your Workouts in ANY Space with ANY Equipment

True or false: you need to have an awesome gym to get an awesome workout.

If you said “true”, then please hop on this bus, because I’m about to take you to school, ya heard?

I believe that you can get a great workout no matter where you are. That with the right mindset, every person can get an amazing workout in any environment, and any gym—even without a gym.

And, without tooting my own horn too much, I know that I can train anyone, anywhere, and give them a great workout. This goes for everyone, including some of my Big Name clients.

A good example is Gary Vaynerchuk, wine-expert turned social media expert turned angel investor and all around rock star in the tech world.

When Gary and I first discussed working together, the decision to train was made immediately, confidently, and simply.  That was the easy part.

The hard part was figuring out where to train.

Initially, we thought we could train at one of the commercial chains in the area.  Equinox, known for being high end—and, having clubs pretty much everywhere in the city—seemed the logical choice.  Unfortunately, they have a strict policy about not allowing any guest trainers.

As I am not an employee of Equinox, and they seemed immune to string pulling (GV knows the CEO, and of course my name carries some weight in most gyms in the City), we had to look elsewhere.

For my part, I suggested Peak Performance, given that it’s truly the best gym in the City, and I feel it’s a great place to train.  We hit another roadblock: Peak was not an option because, despite being only a 10-minute cab ride from Gary’s apartment, it wasn’t close enough. When you have daily appointments advising billion dollar companies, those 10 minutes are at a premium.  He needed to stay closer to home.

Fair enough.

We next looked at New York Sports Club, but they wanted to take a hefty cut from what Gary pays me. Obviously, that’s not really appealing to me; the entire reason I stopped working for corporate gyms is because I don’t like the idea of doing all the work and someone else making the money.

Finally, in exasperation, I emailed Gary’s assistant, Phil:

“Does Gary’s building have a gym?”

“Yes… But it’s pretty small and doesn’t have much equipment.”

“That’s absolutely perfect, we can train there.”

When we met up for our first session, I saw the space and smiled to myself.  I could understand Phil’s trepidation.

An 8×8 square, the “gym” is more like a room.  The equipment consists of two treadmills, two bikes, a Smith machine, and a rack with an incomplete set of dumbbells, all set up to make the least effective use of space possible.

Perfect.

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that training clients in a place like Peak or Cressey Performance is really exciting—from being able to use fun equipment like Prowlers and battling ropes to having a great crew around you, you’re sure to have a good experience and a good workout.

That said, the unfortunate reality is that such places are few and far between—and none of them happen to be on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

But that doesn’t matter.

You see, I cut my teeth training at commercial gyms; some of them were quite small.  And so, I became very proficient at designing programs that could be done in limited space.

Something else to consider about training in commercial gyms is the equipment.  Oh, sure most gyms have tons of equipment.  The problem is that you can rarely use any of it for more than a set—because as soon as you get up, someone jumps on.

Which means, I also had to get proficient in using very limited equipment—sometimes none at all. And so, again, I say with confidence: I can train anyone, anywhere.

For people like Gary—regular folks who just want to improve their health, burn fat, and get into shape—a cool gym with lots of sweet equipment is nice… but it’s completely unnecessary.

As evidence, I submit the fact that in that 8×8 room, Gary Vaynerchuk got the best workout of his entire life this morning.

And so, despite the fact that it’s possible that upon the publication of this post, a number of gyms will offer to open themselves to us—it’s not gonna happen.

Instead, I’ll continue to schlep to the Upper East Side 2-3 times per week, train GV in his building, and watch him make strides every week.

So my point is, you don’t need the bells and whistles.

All you need is a space big enough to lay down in—because that means that space will also be big enough to do planks, lunges, dumbbell squats and overhead pressing movements.

If you want to get in kick ass shape, but you have minimal space, PLEASE believe me when I say that it’s not only “possible” – it’s also relatively simple.

You don’t need weights (you can train with bodyweight, as I’ve touched on several times), but if you do decide to use weight, you can use dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands.  Doesn’t matter.

I know this, and so do all other great trainers.

For example, my good friend Craig Ballantyne has been preaching this for years. His programs are some of the best on the planet for helping people lose fat and increase general fitness (including building muscle), with almost little to NO equipment.

His new program, Home Workout Revolution, is a completely comprehensive approach to doing just that. In HWR, Craig has laid out 51 fat-torching, strength-building workouts that you can do literally anywhere.

As the name implies, these workouts can be done at home, but you can also do them in the gym—or, if you travel a lot like I do, right in your hotel room.

All of these workouts harness the power of density training—and as I laid out in my recent article, density-based training is one of the most effective fat-burning protocols ever invented. It allows you to do more work in less time, increasing your metabolic rate like almost nothing else.

On top of that, density training actually makes you more efficient and allows you to work harder every workout—meaning that your results will increase, NOT taper off (as with many programs).

It is this concept that makes density training (and, therefore, Home Workout Revolution) so effective. It is this concept that will allow you to get a great workout anywhere, with no equipment. Because it’s not where you train—it’s HOW you train.

Craig and I know that regardless of your equipment, there’s no excuse not to get a great workout.  And now, Gary knows it too.

And I want you to really understand it.

Which is why, if you’re looking for a great workout that you can do ANYWHERE with ANY (or NO) equipment (and for a crazy cheap price), you should pick up Craig’s program.

There are a few other manifestations of these concepts, but Home Workout Revolution is the best, most convenient, and most practical iteration I’ve seen.  And, add to that the fact that Craig is running a sale it’s a no brainer—you can pick it up for less than 50 bucks until Friday.

For real.

So here’s what I want you to do:  I want 60 COMMENTS – lets talk about whether YOU think you need a full gym, or whether you really can get a workout that’s just as good with just some dumbbells and your own body weight. PLUS I’d like to hear the BEST workout with the LEAST equipment you’ve ever had!

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • TC

    Hey Roman nice blogpost on whether you need a complete gym for an awesome workout. A complete gym is definitely not needed for a great workout. Like you said Roman, the mentality to train is more important. All I need are kettlebells and a pull up bar to get me a great workout.

  • Pingback: Why I Changed My Mind About The Gym - Practically Primal()

  • Alex

    I practice MMA and bodybuilding too.. wich one is more difficuld ? MMA for sure, 10x as hard, no equipment needed ;)

  • Just purchased Craigs HWR series last week! Ive done a couple workouts and find i like it best when done post lifting as my cardio instead of the boring treadmill :)

  • Brandon

    My favorite finishers are either KB swings or jump rope. I love going outside in the summer and using the jump rope in the sun.

  • Collin

    Simpler is almost always better!

    Why, though, are 99.99% of training programs either 100% bodyweight, or require the typical full gym setup?

    Where are the middle ground programs that combine Bodyweight with some Adjustable Dumbbells or Suspension Straps? Bodyweight is great, but most of these programs are geared for fat loss (perfectly fine, if that’s your goal). If you want to build muscle, the pickings are slim.

    I think the vast majority of guys would scoop up a training program that promised them some gains in size along with the simplicity of a few basic tools like Home Workout Revolution.

  • Tim

    As a former Marine, I totally agree that you can do it all with minimum gear and space. For that matter, just look at the Navy SEALs. Those guys are all about calisthenics, yet are amazingly buff.

    • Great point. Bodyweight exercises have been a huge part of military training for every great army that has ever been. Awesome point. Also, thank you for your service, Tim.

  • I do private training, and only do so in clients homes or local parks. One of my clients I meet with in the evenings and train her in the playground of a park here in St. Petersburg, FL utilizing the jungle gym equipment, a TRX, a KB, and a foam roller. She gets an amazing workout every time, and she has fun doing it. I also personally like to workout in parks, though I enjoy utilizing dance studios as well.

  • Konstantin

    A great workout can be had just about anywhere – I should know, I’ve been stuck on a teeny-tiny tropical island for the past 2 years. I’ve hung rings from trees and abandoned building rafters, done pull-ups from tree branches, and used big-ass rocks for squats and rows. Real gyms are nice, but not always necessary. I’ve never had to wait for someone else to finish their set with my rock. Bonus – clean air, and occasional curious wildlife.

  • Alistair F

    Great article Roman!

    9 months ago I switched from working out at the gym to doing home workouts using just two 20kg and one 28kg kettlebells, a 30kg weight vest and a pull-up bar.

    I train for size and strength, using a push-pull-lower split and I’ve managed to maintain 225lb bodyweight while getting leaner. I also recently went back to the gym for one session and all of my lifts have at the very least maintained, but increased in several cases.

    My favourite workout is back and biceps:

    4 sets of chin-ups

    3 sets of inverted row

    3 sets of 40kg one-arm row (linking my arm through two 20kg KBs)

    3 sets of KB hammer curl

    3 sets of KB supinated curl

  • Kyle Easter

    I have gotten some pretty killer workouts with my jump rope system and bodyweight exercises.

  • Great post Roman. I’ve also been getting in some great workouts in the tiny gym in my apartment building. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

    • Yeah, apartment building gyms are generally worse than hotel gyms. Thankfully I have a gym next door to my current apartment, but my last two were pretty blah.

  • Danavir Sarria

    Best workout without equipment I’ve had….

    A1) Ballistic Vert Jump 3 X 5
    B1) Handstand Pushups 3 X 5
    B2) Chin Ups 3 X 8
    C1) Full ROM Pistol Squats 3 X 6each
    C2) DB Bicep Curls 3 X 12each (Last set was AMRAP)
    C3) Neck Bridge 3 X 8
    C4) Tumbling (Front/Back Rolls, Cartwheels) 3 X 5each
    E1) Shadow Boxing 3 X 3min

    I used to have nothing but a chin up bar and a pair of dumbbells, so
    I got pretty good with my own bodyweight and is now the core
    of my workouts for myself and my clients.

  • Great post. I’m doing this currently as I downsized from a huge corporate gym to a YMCA type community center. I feel like I have made better gains due to density training and likely better focus in my workouts. Plus, I have to admit no eye candy to distract me from jumping into the next set or walking to the fountain for water!

    • Haha, you’re right about that.

      Interestingly, there is some research to show that the eye candy may be beneficial, in terms of motivation. I’ll touch on that in a post sometime soon.

  • The gym can be sooo boring. Much better doing a variety of bodyweight exercises, and throwing yourself around the room to burn up the calories. Love b-weight training.

  • aap

    so what was the workout you did with Gary?

  • Ben

    I do like to go to my gym to work out. There is a lot of equipment that I can use and I can vary my workouts from week to week or day to day. That being said, it isn’t always possible for me to make it there in a timely manner. I have a space cleared out in my bedroom for the days when I can’t make it, and I get great workouts using kettle bells and bodyweight in HIIT circuit fashion. I only use about 6×3 space.

    • when it comes to saving space, NOTHING beats KBs. I have been using these at home more. Great suggestion.

  • Haha, way to make the most out of the space. I totally agree that it doesn’t matter where you exercise, just how you exercise.

  • Pingback: My Homepage()

  • louboutin sneaker

    Pen louboutin sneaker digital voice recorder is actually a very compact and powerful device which can record sound and then using USB port of the computer the file recorded by the Pen digital voice recorder is transferred to the computer and edited if required. Generally for people related to the field of journalism and other media sciences Pen digital voice recorder is one of the most revolutionary creations of the technology.Dinodirect's Pen digital voice recorder section offers the user with a wide choice of products to choose from. Ranging from mere 22 dollars to 60 dollars Dinodirect's website offers one of the largest collections of the Pen digital louboutin boots voice recorder.

  • Sad to see GV is done with his online wine vids.

  • I don't think you “need” a gym to get a great workout. Especially now with the terrific bodyweight and resistance programs that you guys have made available. But I like going to the gym. But I'm lucky in that regard. Everyone is friendly and courteous. We all offer to share the equipment with others (stunning). And I have found that I do way better when I'm at the gym. Works for me.

    Many thanks for your great info.

  • Great post, Roman.

    It's crucial for a personal trainer to understand that great workout for a client can be provided anywhere with any equipment (or even without equipment). That's what distinguishes average personal trainers from best personal trainers.

    – Alex Zinchenko

  • Peter

    Hi Roman,

    I think some equipment is handy but the majority isn't strictly required and some of it is annoying and some of it is just a little funny to see in use.

    I really dislike most machines, I use cables occasionally and otherwise I just use the machines to show off (because people who labor on those machines need to see what strength would look like applied when to those pansy things!)

    Free weights are my playground. They are a luxury but not a necessity. I get a much bigger endorphin kick on bars than on body weight.

    Most of my strength comes from body weight work and it's quite effective if you know what you're doing and are willing to think outside the current box. I like the trend I'm seeing (seems like suddenly there is a surge of new body weight programs from your FPFL Bodyweight Edition to “Shape Shifter” to “Convict Conditioning” and a handful of others.

    Really liberating when you think about it and it takes the “not enough time” and flushes it where it belongs.

    I like the freedom of body weight exercises and the creativity that it both allows and requires in order to keep them getting progressively more challenging.

    I might also say that I almost never workout with no equipment. Rings or a bar that can be set to various heights are a must; something like a ball or a box is also key to really keep things effective. A couple of c-clamps can also be really helpful to do pull ups off of rafters.

    So equipment definitely helps me but it's not the racks and pulleys and levers and chrome plated handles that really do it. You're right, it's what you do with it, if all you've got is your body and the ground under your feet then use it to the hilt and you'll be a lot better off that most everyone else.

  • Warren

    I think that gyms in general are too expensive and crowded especially during peak hours. Bodyweight workouts ftw!..Sure it helps to have some weights lying around, but if all else fails and you don't happen to have any, than push-ups, lunges and squats are the way to go. If you guys haven't bought Roman's FPFL BW edition I suggest you do before you go out spending some cash on a gym membership because those workouts really kick your butt..lol

  • Michael Custer

    I workout in my bedroom, which is probably 4×8… and I get the best workouts possible in that space. Just my bodyweight and some routines and I do just fine!

  • Matt

    John, you are absolutely correct. the company i work for employs around 450 people and has a fitness room that is about 10 x 30. it doesnt have a lot of room for a lot of extrs equipment and according to the sign in sheet only 3 of us are using it.Since i started utilizing the equipment and changed my diet i have went from 221 lbs to 193 lbs and am proud of what i see….i will turn 40 this year and look way better than i ever have in my life even in high school. i have had many people ask me how i have done it and since have enroled in school for a certification in personal training. all of this was because of a small fitness room and not a huge gym….so yes i agree and will continue to follow your blog religiously.

  • Rozin

    No equipment means no progressive overloading. You can only do so much with bodyweight until you have to resort to equipment. Someone might say a gymnast but they have a plethora of equipment to train on. Ultimately, if muscle mass is a goal (as well as growth), you will have to eventually include some form of additional weight to progress.

  • I agree that a lot can be accomplished in a little space with little to no equipment. If someone was only able to purchase one piece of equipment though I would say a barbell and weight plate set ranks king here. A TON can be accomplished with that.

  • JB

    a bigger gym equals more people which I am not a fan of, smaller is better

  • Katia Janecek

    I'm a firm believer of shock the body workouts. Do something different everyday. And don't be afraid to try different mediums at intensities that you never thought you could handle. For example, I went on a bike ride–the All American Apple Pie Ride–Pay your money, ride the route and get all the free apple pie you can eat–and set a goal of 22 miles. With a couple of turn arounds, I wound up pacing 52 miles in hot conditions–something I never thought I could do. The point is mixing stuff up and increasing your intensity with any medium will give you the ability to do just about anything without getting hurt and having fun in the meantime. Use it or lose it…

  • kevin

    I have trained at home for 30 years, and i have had some good workouts, why go to the gym.

  • Clement

    Hi Roman,

    I feel that if you have a pull-up bar, you've already got everything you need. Convict Conditioning is a book which has awesome strength progressions. I've yet to see a master of his own bodyweight not be athletic or muscular. As for power, few exercises are better than the pistol jump, broad jump and explosive one-armed pushup (if you're advanced)!

    The most you would need is a kettlebell of a challenging enough weight to help you with swings, horizontal rows and snatches.

    Of course, you could get your head turned by the latest “best way” to train – be it dumbbells, barbells, powerlifting, olympic lifting or the prowler. But when you consider that the criteria is for it to have the best bang for your buck, who can beat old-school bodyweight training?

  • Andy

    I recently took up boxing and had to quit the gym to afford it.

    now i do workouts in my flat with limited equipment, and am seeing better gains from it than i did when i was lifting.

    For chest i do weighted press ups (sandbag in a backpack) and plyometric press ups. Sholders i do handstand press ups, and for back i do pull ups. i also made my own gymnastic rings which are good for inverted rows, press ups and dips when i wanna mix it up.

    also squat jumps are great for legs and cardio

  • T Money

    Hi John

    I love hitting a good gym session but am always on the look out for simple but effective workouts for when I'm short on time, or even just to mix it up once in a while.

    Would love to see one of your workout examples.

  • As long as my gym has a squat rack, bench, Olympic barbell and 500+ lbs of plates, I'm good to go!

  • Shelley

    I work at a large, well-equipped gym and most of my clients are overweight, middle-aged ladies who are very self-conscious about being on the weight room floor. As a result, most of the workouts happen in the much smaller, often crowded Ladies Only area. We train in an 8' x 8' space, with a mat, resistance band, stability ball and a couple of DB's. These women are working hard and getting great results! The owner of the gym isn't very happy with me, though…”You're giving them workouts they can do at HOME! They won't renew their memberships!” Maybe it's time to consider going into business for myself.

  • Saskia

    In my house my staircase is open so with à résistance band you can do à lot for back chest and legs at different hights

  • Stian

    Hi Roman.

    I agree with u 100%.

    Im use to having to train people in limited space and with no equipment.

    I believe this makes u a better trainer when u can come up with awsome programs without fancy equipment!

    Rgds.

    Stian

  • Chris

    I trained all winter in a space 7' x 4' with bodyweight, sandbags and kettlebells.

    Was all I needed

  • Dan

    John,

    I have a minimalist set up so I would love to see more posts on this including some workouts.

    Thanks,

    Dan

  • Cathie Howard

    Hi Roman. I belonged to a large gym for a couple of years. It has its positives. I met some great, inspiring people and enjoyed most of the machines that I don't have at home. But, of course, the negatives are numerous: the cost, the crowd, the germs, the discourteous folks who leave the machines sweaty and refuse to put away any weights they use, the time to get to and from the gym, etc. At the moment, I use my treadmill when the weather is bad, I have a lot of free weights, benches and pull up bar, bands and lots of great music. The BEST cardio is to dance around the room using all my muscles and putting myself into it! I am self employed and so can walk from my office, down a flight of stairs and into my gym. It is awesome. Thanks for the great blog!

  • Marshall

    Over the last seven months I have lost 57 pounds in the privacy of my living room. Doing a variety of full body styled workouts, body weight and small dumbbells, has allowed me to see some great results. I am convinced that motivation, technique and a little space will develop all the results needed to create a larger smile than paying a monthly gym membership.

  • Mike

    Absolutely right, it's so easy to get a good workout in, in minimal time with minimal to no equipment.

    I used to get frustrated if I couldn't make it to the gym, or have enough time to do my planned workout at home, but now I realize that as long as I stay consistent and do something, things are going to keep moving in the direction I want them.

  • I write (and edit) for a living, so spend a lot of time sitting down. The best workouts I have are all simple. I find variation is the key.

    a. I try to walk up Dooley's Hill a couple of times a week. That's a 400 metre hill with 1 km of variable uphill grades. Equipment; comfortable clothes, good running shoes, a dog-belt and a dog.

    b. I do half an hour of floor exrcises most days. I have 2 and 4 kg weights, a resistance band and a stability ball.

    c. I do a one hour Zumba class once a week. I run the 1.4 km there, do the class and walk or run home.

    I usually do one longer walk (10 – 12 km) once a week.

    All simple and, once set up with good shoes and the equipment, inexpensive. Being self employed, I can train as and when I like, as long as the weather complies. If it doesn't, I do cardio kickboxing indoors.

  • Eka

    You could work out anywhere and get a spectacular work out with minimal to no equipment! I have trained many a client with just a resistance band and the stairs in their house! Do you know how many exercises you can do with a flight of stairs! Love your post John!

  • Patrick L

    I personally prefer a gym – having other people working out hard(!?) around me gets me psyched!!! I know “working out hard” is subjective, but the clanging and banging of weights from other members really gets me going mentally. Lift harder, one more rep, etc.

    Unfortunately the gym gets pretty crowded sometimes, especially the first few months after New Years Day! Wonder why… :)

  • Angus

    Small spaces and either bodyweight or suspension does it all for me. I agree that big can be fun but I never want to go out to a meat market again personally!

  • Charly

    “That's the story of my life ….” Srtictly an amateur at “physical culture”, but a life-long one, I've used everything from bodyweight to bricks, used brake rotors & drums, elastic bands, old basketball filled w/sand & taped up – you name it – anything for resistance.

    Where? Basement/garage, bedroom, outbuilding, bony-fried gym [as in Y, Nautilas {sp?} or genu- wine fitness center].

    Conclusion – use what you got, where you got it, whenever you can overcome inertia & laziness.

  • Charles Mclaughlin

    Hi John,

    Once my Gold's gym membership ends I plan on training at my apartment gym. It not only saves me money but my time as well. I would agree training at a gym is sometimes exciting but there is a lot of downsides. Some of the members just stand in front of the dumbbell rack posing their arms for minutes at a time without even lifting a single weight. It really peas me off! I have to ask permission to just get some weights from guys who just stand there. Most members don't even put back their weight which sucks since I have put everything back for them since they leave it all on the floor. I talked to the Gold's Gym manager voicing my concerns about safety as well as member etiquette rules. It just something they say the will fix but its hard for them to talk to the members about. I understand that it is hard which makes my transition from a paid gym to my apartment gym even easier. Bodyweight training coupled with some dumbbell training should be sufficient enough to stimulate growth or to burn fat. Most of the time these small apartment gyms are under used. The equipment might not be the best but you can ask the apartment manager to update the equipment.

  • laura

    Hi Roman. I can attest to the effectiveness of Ballentynes's program (Metabolic Resistance Training) because I've completed it 3 weeks ago and loving the results.

    I live in a very small, 12'x 12' studio and getting up and doing this workout was not only convienient but effective as HELL! a few dumbells, one kettlebell ( you can even use a dumbell if you dont have a kettlebell), and bodyweight circuits is primarily the make up of the entire program. Its all the exercises that we've all been doing for years but Craig simply tweeks the amount of rest inbetween exercises and circuits, which is really the key to burning tons of fat. There really are no bells and whistles …..just restricted rest inbetween exercises and circuits, which is all you need to blast fat…..and it can be done in the convienience of your own home! =D

  • Kieran

    I personally dont need a gym, all i need is my Barbell, kettlebells and my gym rings and a few other little things but nothing major because i train out of my shed and I'm fit and healthy…….. so to people who say they have no time to workout and i dont have the equipment to do it i say open you're eyes everything is usable.

  • Miguel

    I workout at home, in my room. It's a fairly small room but I have some amazing workouts in here! From metabolic circuits to heavy strength training. I've been working out at home with limited equipment for years and I have to say that I have a pretty decent body ;) You just have to get creative!

    All I have are two pairs of dumbells (2 10's and 2 25's), a fairly light bar (up to 96lbs), a $20 pull up bar for my door and I recently invested in some resistance bands and they have taken some of my workouts to new dimensions! I wasn't really a believer in bands cause I thought that they could never give you enough resistance to have a good workout, but man was I wrong! And they're VERY versatile too. Great investment for a “home gym!”

    Anybody else out there use resistance bands???

  • One workout I started doing is on Tuesdays I get with my buddy who was our High School QB and we run routes. Granted I don't have my old “81” jersey but it's a killer workout and a lot of fun.

    I compete in powerlifting so I need some equipment but when I'm on vacation or in a bind it's fun to get creative and just work hard.

    I remember when we were at the Fiesta Bowl in 05' all of us “redshirts” had to be in at 10 on New Years Eve even though we weren't going to play we couldn't be a “distraction” so my buddy and I did a workout that included dips on chairs, pushups, bed presses, and every lift imaginable with a towel. It was a killer workout and I remember being super sore the next day :)

  • nikki

    Hi Roman, my training room (my office) is my bathroom. It's not glamorous (far from it), but I have enough room to swing a kettlebell, it has a doorframe for my pullup bar, and I've got enough room to jump high, and plank out. Result – a bodyshape that I love. Bathrooms ROCK!

  • John Adams

    I have never trained at a gym. Don't have time or money. I use bodyweight exercises and dumbbells.

  • pablo

    I'm partial to a bar and some plates, and maybe somewhere to hang some rings. Don't really need much more than that (got hills and boulders to run and climb outside). Even if you want to do pressing stuff cleaning the bar before going overhead is a workout by itself. Add some rings to the mix and you can really work yourself.

  • Chris

    Even when I find time to go into my gym, I have found that I prefer using dumbbells and resistance bands rather than the machines. I seem to fall in between settings on some of them so the movement doesn't feel right.

    I'm working on my Master's Degree, researching my thesis, working my job, and trying to sleep, so bodyweight workouts and minimalist workouts seem to work for me to get back into some form of workout. And, the distraction is nice.

  • big dave

    hey john. I have always been a fan of lifting big and get good physical and mental satisfaction from doing so. Again mainstream gyms are always too busy to get a good workout. I have not yet had a low/no weight workout, But i do incorporate some bodyweight exercises into my routine.

  • Oh, as for the best workout with the least equipment…

    Having a Nerf sword fight outside with my buddy at 1 am during the winter.

    Worn. The hell. Out.

  • My workout space is actually a small room in my basement, consisting of a smith machine, dumbbells, olympic bar, punching bag, jump rope, about 300 lbs of iron weights and swiss ball, along with a few other small things. I bought the smith machine back before I knew it was bad news, so don't judge me too harshly. I find that the olympic set and dumbbells are the most useful things I have.

  • I totally agree.

    I have just started training a guy with about 20 lb to lose, previously not doing much more than just walking for exercise.

    He is now working up a good sweat with star jumps, the plank and mountain climbers.

  • John Phillips

    I just got done with a version of the 25/5 combined with a treadmill 2-2-1 so I used the health club's treadmill and some db's. The cardio from the treadmill routine can be achieved without the treadmill, obviously, and the 12-lb. db's I used to do the 5 exercises, 10 reps each, and 5 circuits is also easily achieved outside the club. Maybe I'll just quit the club, save some $$, and still get a killer workout whenever I have the time AT HOME.

  • Valerie gorman

    I live on a narrowboat – only 6' 3″ wide at the widest and narrower than that at shoulder height. I can't raise my arms over my head standing up (max is 6' 2″) but I can do overhead exercises sitting on my fitball & I can lie down. I do bodyweight, fitball, & resistance band workouts every day, changing routines every month or so. Lost 112# five years ago and it's still gone :-)

  • Sue

    More people have to realize how much can be done with your body weight. Then adding only one or two pieces of equipment may be necessary for some variety…keep up the good info John!

  • Awesome post. Very cool you are training Gary V.

    I share your experiences working in gym and not having enough space which also have waaaaaay too much equipment.

    I naturally have a very minimalist approach to everything in life, and working out and health is definitely included.

    As far as my favorite workout w/ little equipment? It would have to be a pilates mat class. Just using a mat and your body weight, I've had some of my best workouts in pilates classes (and this is coming from a former Division 1 rower).

    Thanks for the post, and looking forward to your next one.

    Cheers,

    Sirena

  • John, what really signifies a “GOOD” workout? What is your definition? I actually have a few tears in my eyes, as I admit to you and actually all those that will be able to read this that yet again, I have dropped the ball and have not been doing any exercise for a few months. So, I really do not know what a good workout would be. I Am interested in knowing though and looking forward to reading what you share on this subject. I know and feel and want to get started again. Where do I Begin? Thank You Sweetness!!!

  • Trever Richards

    Very true. I just workout from home, with just some dumbbells, kettle bells, pull up bar, and my imagination.

    I'm in fantastic shape, which I need to be to perform as a martial artist.

  • Shelby Meidinginger

    I totally agree that the best workouts don't need lots of space and tricky machines. I wouldn't use the tricky machines anyway because when it comes to mechanics, I am useless.

  • beryl

    I have to say and be pretty honest about it I've never set foot in a gym, all my workouts are done in my small back room doing pilates routines and a gym ball that gives me loads of workouts on it just by trying to sit on it, any tips Roman for the gym ball?

  • Andreas

    Damn right John,

    the best workouts I did were bodyweight only or combinations of bodyweight & kettlebell, trx or barbell (just picked two tools)!

  • sarah

    This is perfect timing, as just this morning, I had to substitute gym time for HIIT/sprints and pushups. . . but I didn't know what else to add without ANY equipment. . .

  • My biggest problem when faced with limited equipment is doing supersets or cycles. Often there aren't enough weights or bars to run a cycle and so one has to switch out exercises completely. This problem emphasizes the need to know many different moves for each muscle set so substitutions can be made to make the training session still be what I'm trying to achieve.

    Bodyweight is great, although I have to admit I've found few bodyweight exercises that work the biceps. Sure, there's pull-ups IF there something one can use as a pull-up bar. But if there's no bar, then what?

  • Trina

    Very encouraging!! I have VERY limited space in my bathroom after the kids are asleep (safer that way) to use my kettlebells. I only have enough room to lay down in and to use one KB at a time, except for swings I can use doubles. I do lots of swings, clean and presses, squats,…

    I am still recovering from a serious broken wrist (i have a metal plate and broke it into the joint very painful and options of exercises are limited-no push ups, mountain climbers, can't put my palm down). But, I got a great training session lately in using two sizes of KB and doing just swings. Make me want to puke good. I got a lot more to lose, 70lb (I didn't gain the 30 I lost during my recovery time from my break) I know it is possible to lose all I want to lose. Don't make excuses, make do with what you got, and give it all you got!! And, don't let setbacks get or keep you down right?

  • Best workouts are in my backyard as I'm watching my 2 year old play in his sandbox. A tree limb for pullups and then I rely on myself for the rest. Burpees, planks, lunges, push ups, squat jumps, hip extensions. I go for 50 secs. on 10 secs. transition. No need to do any boring cardio because my heart is beating out of my chest.

  • JOE

    Hi Roman,

    This hits home so much for me. At my job, they have nothing but dumbbells and 2 Elliptical machines. Problem now,since the “workout room” was remodeled, only the attorneys and partners are allowed to use it, not the”employees”. Having said that, a block away from where I live in North Hollywood there is a gym I go to that has all the equipment you need. It's smaller, there is NEVER a crowd like the “HEALTH CLUB” chains, and I get a great work out in less time and aggravation. It's been bliss for the last 2 years. Bottom line…sometimes less is more.

  • Miguel

    Nice one!

    I'm going on vacation in august. Last year they had a small gym, just had to take a bus to get there.

    Minimal equipment but I could have a nice workout and get a nice pump. :)

  • Jaime

    You are too right Roman. Bodyweight routines are killer. They look much easier to do than the vein popping workouts some of the heftier BBs do at the gym, but they kick your ass.

    The last one I did left me dripping like a snow cone in Phoenix, shaking and ready to vomit. All thanks to you.

  • Trina

    Very encouraging! I have VERY limited space to use my kettlebells. After the kids are asleep (safer that way) I go to the bathroom in a space just big enough to lay down in to do swings, clean and presses, etc only with a single KB the space is not big enough for doubles except for swings.

    After recovering (still am) from a serious wrist break (I have a metal plate), I recently got a great workout just doing kettlebell swings using 2 size bells, make me want to puke! I got a lot of weight to lose and I know it is possible in my bathroom with a KB! Don't make excuses, make do with what you got, and give it all you got right!?

  • rocky

    I've been doing every workout for the past two years in my bedroom. There's not a lot of room with my bed and dressers and such but I have a bench with an Olympic weight set up to 305lbs and changeable boflex dumbbells from 5lbs-52 1/2lbs. And not just me but my friends that come over to workout have had some crazy intense and just overall great workouts in there. So I 100% agree with Roman on this one.

  • John

    Hi John,

    Great post Roman – the minimalist approach beats the waiting, cleaning up someone else's sweat off machines and retrieving weights/ dumbbells/kettlebells from somewhere in the gym that some moron has dropped them!

  • Great blog post.

    Lately I have been finding out the value of minimalist training for myself – all I have to use at the moment is a pair of gymnastic rings and a fairly steep local hill. I've had to get creative, but it has been a lot of fun and my conditioning is getting better and better.

    And a handstand pushups is always going to be a good resistance exercise!

  • Vix

    Working with minimal equipment is how I teach my ladies in Bootcamp. Often ladies are scared off with too much stuff anyway!!

    As a trainer, no equipment means you can use your imagination without restrictions – love it!! Sooo much fun and its always different.

  • Chris Downie

    If I cannot make it to the gym I will use whatever is in my disposal. I have had a great workout with a bag of concrete mix, a tree and my bodyweight!

  • Sophie

    I do body weight exercises

    Squats. various types, lunges, leg lifts, stair drops, Arm/shoulder exercises with bottles of water for weights, bicep curls,skull crushers( modified),press ups(modified), plank and inbetween each set 1 minute marching in place.

    I guess I have been doing minimalist for years!

  • Frank A

    Hi John,

    I did the FPFL 2.0 in my garage with an adjustable bench, Powerblock DBs, stability ball, folding chair (for step ups) and mat. I modified the exercises that required barbells with dumbbells – the same for any chin up/inverted row type exercises. Gained an inch in the chest lost an inch in the waist and put on a half inch on the arms.

    Imagination…

  • Anthony Phillips

    Hey John,

    I travel a lot and that means I never know what I'm going to find for a gym or workout space. I do bodyweight lots (can't carry weights on an airplane…too expensive) and make use of whatever exercise room/equipment they might have in the hotel. I exercise based on Tabatta theory (burpees, mtn climbers, various planks etc.) So yes you can get some of the best workouts in a minimal space.

  • jerome

    Nice post John. I was asked to leave the gym two years ago for mocking the grunters and I'm in better shape now with bodyweight,suspension trainer, some clubbells and jump ropes. Freedom!

  • Sweet post man. I train a bootcamp class every Tuesday night for an hour with zero equipment. And I swear they get some of the best workouts of their life in that class. And we don't do any sissy ab stuff or run in circles for 5 minutes.

    My personal best workout with minimal equipment was with a sled I made out of a tire, recycled wood, and boat rope.

    Kicks ass every time.

  • maria

    Just me and my 5kg MB!great workouts!i usually do for intervals (45:15 or 40:20 or 30:15.. i like to mix things). I also had trained in a place like 3×2 and it works!

  • Jackie

    I love the idea of minimum equipment and body weight workouts, but I have some physical deficits due to injuries. It is really difficult if not impossible to do some of the moves with two bad knees. Do you have any suggestions for an entry-level body weight program for someone who is strong, motivated, but de-conditioned?

  • Robert

    Burpees with pushup and jump up.

    Pullups (modified as necessary)

    Hindu squats(lunges, squats of all types etc)

    Various planks to finish

    One of thousands of bodyweight workouts as good as any with expensive equipment.

  • Maria

    I'm new to body weight or light dumb bell training but I love it and I found out how out of shape I really was once I started. I'm always looking for new ideas.

  • Susanne Dunn

    I think it depends on the person. My husband is self-motivated and does all of his workouts(Craig's workouts) in our living room with minimal equipment. (He made himself a bar for inverted rows out of PVC!).

    I, on the other hand, have some kind of mental block about working out at home. When I am home, my mental switch it set to loaf around.

    I also feel like I need to be around other people because I work harder when people are watching me. I also tend to make excuses for why I can't do something (don't have the right equipment, etc.).

    So, it depends on your mentality, I think. If I was working with you (or any trainer for that matter), it wouldn't matter where I was, but on my own, it does. Make sense?

  • Great post Roman! gotta agree with most of what you say. I too have worked in commercial gyms with little space or limited equipment choice.

    What i would say the deciding factor is though, is what you are training for. Sure as a one off you can do a bodyweight session or adapt your program to the equipment you have available, but if your training program involves olympic weight lifting movements, powerlifting etc. you need the facility to have the appropriate equipment if you are going to train there regularly.

  • Claudio

    Broman!

    I've lived in my building for almost 4 years and never really used the gym because, well, I was making excuses. The gym was too small, it had a smith machine (as opposed to a cage or a rack). The truth is that I wasn't ready to commit to my fitness. Once I was ready to get in shape, it didn't matter what equipment was available. And with your coaching and programs, I have made and continue to make excellent progress.

    Thanks again!

  • Jonathan

    What's my best workout with the least amount of equipment? Pretty much all of my workouts are pretty free of equipment. I have been using nothing but barbells, dumbbells, a squat cage, a bench, an outdoors track, and a treadmill. With keeping my workouts simple yet effective, having a solid eating plan, a 6 day of getting shredded peak week protocol (which included many of your tips in your getting ready for a photo shoot article), and being consistent in everything that I do, I was able to achieve an awesome “Men's Fitness” magazine cover look and won a friendly challenge with a group of friends who are all spread out across North America.

  • Pretty much every BodyRock workout I do is the hardest workout I've ever done, although some are more deadly than others. And many of them are soley bodyweight.

    I've trained at home for the past year and I'm in the best shape I've ever been. My home equip includes: pull-up bar, 20 lb kb, resistance bands, 30lb sandbag (I actually just filled a gym bag with rice), jumprope. I also have a treadmill but mostly only use it in the winter, unless I want to do hill sprints.

  • Rachel

    When I don't have time to get to the gym and back, I have no problem pulling out a bodyweight program designed by Craig and kicking my own ass with it. Frankly, a lot of the time I enjoy those workouts more because I don't have to fight anybody for dumbbells, for space to use them, or wait for a machine (like you said, no etiquette).

    A lot of bodyweight exercises feel harder than equipment moves because of the muscle control required. I also think doing bodyweight exercises gives me clearer pictures of where I need improvement.

    I'm a huge fan of no-equipment workouts.

  • Hey John,

    One of the toughest workouts I had with a trainer, awhile ago, included a pullup bar and a set of dumbbells. The cycles she made me do made my young heart feel like it was going to explode – vomiting followed.

    Seriously, why call them burpees? They should call them pukees. :)