You may not have dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells right now. And yes, that may be driving you nuts. But you can still get a vicious full-body workout in. You just have to get creative, and you just have to be willing to push yourself.
You always have weapons for deft, productive training, as long as you’re willing to use them, and the last few months have likely forced you to consider that. Home workouts are the option for many people, and very often, that means training without gear.
But you can still break a sweat, and you can still build muscle. Your key weapons: Supersets and whatever loads you have at home. Supersets are key because they let you attack multiple muscle groups, ramping your heart rate more quickly. They’ll also challenge your body to produce force under fatigue, which can help compensate for the fact that you can’t access the heavy weights you might normally want.
Loading, meanwhile, involves creativity at home but it can happen. Remember: A weight is a weight, even if it’s not shaped like the beloved “bells” many are used to. Fill a backpack with rocks or grab a few gallons of water (fun fact: Each gallon weighs about 8 pounds) and you can build a load that can challenge you.
You’ll use both supersets and alternative loads (or dumbbells if you have them) in this workout. Do it 3 to 5 days a week, and don’t be afraid to do it 5 straight days, either. Frequency of training is another weapon you have when you don’t have as much weight as usual, and this total-body session can take advantage of that. Rest two days a week, though, giving your body time to heal and grow stronger.
Use whatever loads you have available. And keep finding ways to train.
Warmup up with 2 rounds of this circuit:
- 10 jumping jacks
- 10 Superman holds
- 30-second plank.
Then get into the moves.
Wraparound Split Squat
Start in a split-squat position. Right foot forward, left foot back, holding either a kettlebell or dumbbell in front rack position or an alternative load at your right shoulder. Do 7 split squats, keeping your hips and shoulders square to the front. Quickly shift the load from your right shoulder to your chest; without arching your back, do 7 split squats. Then shift the load to your left arm, holding it at your side, like a suitcase. Do 7 more split squats. Do 3 sets per side.
Upper Body Superset
Do 3 sets of this superset.
Start with your right hand on a platform (an ottoman or a bench works), in dumbbell row position, core tight. Row the load to your left ribcage explosively for back-to-back reps. On the second rep, pause with the load at your ribcage; keep your hips and shoulders square here. Lower back down with control. That’s 1 pair of reps. Do 6 to 8 per side.
Immediately get in pushup position, core tight, glutes squeezed. Lower your chest to within an inch of the ground; pause. Press up quickly, then do another rep immediately. That’s 1 pair of reps. Do 6 to 8.
Do 3 sets of this superset.
Single-Arm Towel Biceps Curl
Wrap the handle of your load, whether it’s a kettlebell, backpack, or gallon of water, in a towel. Grasp the towel, top end of the towel near your thumb, in your right hand. Stand holding the load; tighten your abs to keep your hips and shoulders square to the front. Curl the weight upwards, rotating your pinky toward the ceiling as you do (this won’t be easy, but do the best you can). Do 8 to 10 reps per side.
Towel Skull Crusher
Lie with your back on an ottoman, bench, or chair, both arms grasping a towel with your load hung in the center. Lean your upper arms back so they form a 92 or 93-degree angle with your torso, and tighten your glutes and abs. Keeping your upper arms steady, bend at the elbows, lowering the weight; straighten your elbows, squeezing your triceps. That’s 1 rep. Do 8 to 10.