29 No-Gym Strength-Building Exercises

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Military spouses often find themselves without access to a gym, so last month in our InDepenedent group, five trainers with different perspectives led us through strength-building exercises that can be done at home or at the park. Keep this list handy for when you’re vacationing, PCSing, staying home with children, or trying to fit in a quick workout during your lunch break.

  1. Air Squat - Complete 3-6 sets of 8-15 air squats, depending on your current conditioning level.
  2. Explosive Pushups - Do 3 sets of 5 explosive push-ups, using whatever scaling option is appropriate for you.
  3. V-Ups - Do 3-5 sets of 5-8 v-ups, depending on your current conditioning level. Not quite ready for these? Try the modified or pre-natal versions.
  4. Bulgarian Split Squat - Complete 3 sets of 6 reps/leg. At the park? Try elevating you foot on the slide.
  5. Handstand Wall Walks - Complete 4 sets of 1-3 wall walks, depending on your current conditioning level.
  6. Split Lunge Jump - Challenge yourself to do 20-30 seconds of these every minute for 6 minutes. Once your 20-30 seconds of work is completed, rest for the remainder of the minute.
  7. Burpees- Complete 30 seconds of burpees with 30 seconds of rest for 6-9 minutes.
  8. Box Step Up - Option to do these on a park bench. Do between 3-4 sets of 12-15 on each leg. For more of a challenge jump with both feet at the same time and land with your feet shoulder width apart on the bench. Do 30 reps.
  9. Plank Jumping Jacks - Shoot for 3-5 sets of 15-30 reps or go for time with 30-45 second bursts.
  10. Jump Squat - Do 3-5 sets or 15-20 or for 30-45 second bursts.
  11. Sumo Burpee - Shoot for 3-4 sets of 10-15.
  12. Up and Down Plank - Do 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps.
  13. Switch Lunges - Try to do 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps on each leg.
  14. Power Ups - Try to do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps on each side.
  15. Hollow Holds - Try 3-5 sets holding for 10 slow breaths.
  16. Dolphin Pose - Do three sets of 10-15 long breaths. If you'd like to add in a variation, try adding sets with one leg lifted.
  17. Extended Side Angle - Do three sets of 10-15 long breaths on each side.
  18. Side Plank Sweeps - Try 3-5 sets of 5-10 sweeps on each side. Lower to your forearm if you have wrist issues.
  19. Boat to Chair - Try doing this 10 times in a row. Choose how long hold based on your fitness level. Work toward 10 breaths in each pose.
  20. Awkward Series - This is a progression so make sure to challenge yourself but work at your level. And, it's really important to listen to your knees. You can always do a wall sit if you need more support. Try for 10 slow breaths in each portion of the series.
  21. Inversions - Hold some or all of the inversions for up to two minutes.
  22. Straddle Bench Jumps - Try this on a backless park bench. Doas many jumps as possible in 30 seconds, with no more than a minute rest in between. Repeat for 5 sets. Beginners can modify this exercise by slowing down and moving just one leg at a time.
  23. Pull-ups/Chin-ups - Find the monkey bars and start with an overhand grip (palms facing away from the body) and shoot for 3 to 5 pull-ups, then switch to an underhand grip (palms facing the body) for 3 to 5 chin-ups. First time? Try hanging from the bar with arms extended for 30-second intervals to build arm and shoulder muscles. You can also jump up and hold the top position of the pull-up and work those upper body muscles to help you build the strength necessary to do full pull-ups.
  24. Hill Repeats - At your park or neighborhood find a hill and measure out 100 yards which is roughly 120 steps. You have 10 hill repeats. Sprint, run, jog, or speed walk up the hill (you know your fitness level best) and your recovery occurs on your descent. Focus on your form, your breathing, and pushing outside of your comfort zone.
  25. Triceps Dips - Repeat for 20 reps.
  26. Park Bench Pushups - Repeat for 20 reps.
  27. Windshield Wipers - Do 3 sets of 15.
  28. Locust/Superman- Hold up to 30 seconds.
  29. Bridge Dip 15 times per leg.

Meet Our Trainers

Erica Chard is a CrossFit Level One Trainer and CrossFit Endurance Trainer. She also operates Whole You Holistic Health Coaching and Fit Grub, a specialty foods company.

Emira Wininger is a certified personal trainer, yoga sculpt instructor, and figure competitor.

Kimberly Bacso is a registered yoga teacher, certified personal trainer, and group fitness instructor.

Elizabeth Gorkowski is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and founder of M.O.M. Fit, fitness for military moms on the move.

Jimi Parker is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and Tai Chi instructor.