Ways to Get Stronger: No Gym Required

1 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 1 1 Flares ×

Featured image courtesy of John Niedermayer.


My previous post was an efficient strength training routine for an individual who is comfortable in a weight lifting/gym environment and using barbells.

I recognize there are those of us who want to be stronger, but don’t want to go to a gym and pump iron. The reasons are numerous: it’s inconvenient, it’s foreign, I don’t like gyms, I don’t want people to watch me workout…etc.

These reasons are valid, but there is a solution. There are many ways to get stronger that don’t involve a gym. As a beginner, you can get decently strong just learning how to manipulate your own bodyweight, and perhaps use some free weights and a chinup bar that you store in your home. That way, there is no commute to the gym (saves time and money), and you can workout in your underwear if you want. These workouts can take as little as 15 minutes if you hussle, and if you’re a beginner when it comes to strength, will certainly reap rewards that make it worth it. Having a solid idea of how the bodyweight movements work can also help you stay strong if you’re on the road for extended periods, or are just going through a busy time and can’t be bothered with the gym.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises listed, click on the links that I provide in the routine below. To find additional resources, just Google away on these and you’ll find tons of descriptions on how to perform them.

Just like the previous routine, this is just a starting point. I’ve put some thought into creating a balanced approach, but introduce more exercises and more intensity as you progress. To progress, you’ll still need to bring serious intensity to these workouts, and allow for recovery. When I say “do as many as you can”, you literally do as many as you can. No stopping until there’s nothing left. That’s intensity. For recovery, always allow at least one day full day between workouts (a rest day), and try to get two days of rest in a row at least once a week. By rest, I don’t mean complete laziness, but back off from maximum intensity. Lots of walking is great. So is easy swimming and biking or what have you.

Without further ado, here is the (sample) program for beginners, followed by tips on increasing intensity:

Ways to Get Stronger – The Routine:

Day 1: Push and Jump

Repeat 3x, with 60-90s rest between each exercise:
Pushups: as many as you can
Jump Squats: as many as you can

Repeat 2x, with 60-90s rest in between sets:

Overhead press: as many as possible (using dumbells would be best, but anything heavy will work fine. The video in the link shows a woman using water bottles: why not?)

Day 2: Rest day. Lots of walking.

Day 3: Sprint!

6-10s sprint at 50% of max intensity
6-10s sprint at 70% of max intensity
6-10s sprint at 100+% intensity (full out)

Keep doing 100+% intensity sprints until your intensity starts to drop (might only be 1-4 depending on your level of fitness), or you’ve done 10.

Day 4: Rest – Walk, walk, walk!

Day 5: Pull and Lift

Repeat 3x, with 60-90s between exercises:
Chinups/Pullups: as many as you can
Single-leg deadlifts – Right Leg: as many as you can
Single-leg deadlifts – Left Leg: as many as you can

Day 6: Rest Day – Play a sport, or lots of walking.

Day 7: More rest – walking, swimming, whatever.

And we’re done.  As a beginner, you could conceivably follow a routine such as this for up to a year before requiring that substantial weight be added for further progress. Speaking of progress:

Increasing Intensity:

For each exercise, here are some ideas to make them more intense as you progress:

Pushups: Put your feet on a chair and do incline pushups, wear a weighted vest, or try a one-arm chinup (see above pic – be careful though)

Jump Squats: Jump higher! Or wear a heavy backpack. Eventually, you could try a pistol squat (a one legged squat, essentially. The guy in the video is a total beast. Wow.)

Overhead press: Make your objects that you lift (ideally dumbells) heavier over time, or progress to the handstand pushup.

Sprints: Sprint harder and longer, or try sprinting uphill.

Chinups/Pullups:  Wear a heavy backpack, or train up to a one-arm chinup. A one arm chinup is super tough. If you can do it, you got one on me!

Single-leg deadlift: The simplest way to increase the intensity of the single-leg deadlift is to hold weight in your hands while you do them.

Want to get stronger, but don’t want to hit a gym? Well, no more excuses! You can get stronger in little time with the above plan, or a similar plan that you work out over time.

Stay consistent, and increase the intensity over time, and you can’t help but get stronger.

Until next time,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.