Let’s face it: not everyone has time to hit the gym. Even if you can, sometimes you just don’t have the time to go as much as you’d like.
Why not get out more and engage in exercise that doesn’t require a membership or a set time? We’ve got your solution. Here are five serious workouts without weights.
Jump rope training (or rope skipping) is a simple and fun workout that can increase your strength and endurance while burning fat in the process. You can skip in the garage, in your bedroom, or in the park at no cost. All you need is your rope, your sneakers and perhaps an mp3 player pumping out some fast music to keep you going. Jumping rope tests your stamina, coordination and agility. Remember that some of the fittest athletes around, boxers, rely on the rope for their primary form of conditioning. Once you get in the groove, see if you can go beyond basic “one hop” skipping. Try alternating jumps, one foot-jumps, tricky side straddles and more, which make the exercise seriously challenging. Just remember to keep it fluid. Minimize impact from unforgiving floors like concrete because you are putting mighty strain on your tendons as you torch fat and calories.
Few machines in the gym are harder to face than the incredibly grueling staircase machine. So why not take a hike outside or in your own apartment building to find a staircase to conquer? Just run up and down until your legs feel like jelly and your head feels ready to pop. Looking to do more? Try interval training or stride variations. If you want to up the ante, just take the steps two at a time. Staircase running is a great functional exercise – you can easily weave it into your everyday routine, skipping the elevator. This training can enhance your brute leg strength, accelerate your speed and test your conditioning. You’ll know you got a good workout if you can’t walk when you’re done.
Within the confines of this fitness list, “MovNat” sounds like an oddity – the joker in the pack, but it’s easier to get started in MovNat than it sounds. In MovNat you hone your full range of natural movement skills. In action, you perform locomotive skills like jumping, running, climbing, crawling, walking, balancing, and swimming. You also test and refine manipulative skills like carrying, lifting, catching and throwing and feisty skills like grappling and striking. The joy of MovNat is it’s never boring. So it must be good for your brain as well as body. MovNat was dreamed up by the Santa Fe-based French man of action Erwan Le Corre. It keys into the understanding that the human body is designed for movement, which means that the more ”you stir your stumps”, the more alive you feel. Check out this story about MovNat to learn more about incorporating it into your routine.
Swimming is a class act when it comes to workouts without weights. On one hand, it ranks as one of the smoothest, most joint-friendly exercises you can do. On the other hand, swimming is surprising – it gets you darn fit, vaporizing copious calories, increasing stamina and working out every muscle in the body. Once you get into your rhythm and master your breathing, you can start building the perfectly toned physique. Butterfly swim style burns through the most fat, closely followed by crawl and the outwardly easy but still worthwhile breaststroke. Another plus is that the sport invites you to use your imagination by switching venues. Hate old school chlorine pools? See if you can find a local hotel that will let you use a saltwater one for a fee. Swimming in a saltwater infinity pool has to be one of the nicest exercise buzzes around. And don’t overlook freshwater lakes and the sea, which throws all kinds of interesting random curveballs at you. And it cleans out your sinuses, so after an ocean dip you feel especially invigorated.
Let’s be honest about Pilates – they don’t have the most hardcore reputation among men’s workouts. Believe us, pilates can be extremely tough and give you one hell of a workout. Pilates is all about fanatical form – crunching your muscles hard, precisely and purposefully. Pilates may look easy on the surface. Once again: Do not be deceived. You can get just as strong doing Pilates as aggressive boot camp routines because Pilates is so efficient. There’s no mucking around – every second counts. Stick at it and you will become formidably strong with great core fitness, which comes in handy in any sport and as a base for strength training with all other parts of the body. Check out the video above for some great moves to get started getting stronger right away.
Know any other key workouts without weights to build lean muscle or ruthless endurance? Let us know in the comments below or @DegreeMen on Twitter.