You don’t need a gym membership to get in a solid strength workout. Any runner can do these body-weight exercises right in her own home.
Whether you’re traveling or tight on time, you can get a quick workout done sans equipment. Not having equipment doesn’t mean you are doomed to miss your workout. With a little creativity, you can still get it done—as long as you have space to move in, there is no excuse. The following workout uses your body weight only and will strengthen your hips, legs, upper back, arms, chest and core while moving your body in all three planes of motion. You’ll also get your heart rate up as you move through the circuit.
Perform the following exercises in pairs with a one-minute rest between each to catch your breath and recover. Perform 1–2 sets of each pair before moving on to the next pair of exercises.
Photography by Oliver Baker.
Hip Thigh Extension
a. Lie with your back on the floor and both feet on the floor. Your arms should be facing up at 45 degrees from your body.
b. Bend your right leg to 90 degrees and straighten your left leg. Lift your entire body up one inch by pushing off your right foot. This is the start position.
c. Continue to lift until your entire body is in a straight line and your thighs are parallel to each other. The only parts of your body that are in contact with the floor are your arms, upper back and left foot. Lower to one inch off the floor, pause and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions. Be sure to keep your hips in a straight line. Perform 8 reps on each side.
a. Get down on your hands and knees with your spine in a neutral position (not rounded) and your stomach drawn in tight to recruit your abdominals and keep your torso stable during the exercise. Your head should be in alignment with your spine.
b. Reach your right arm and your left leg straight out, extending your arm and reaching so it’s in line with your ear. Your leg should be straight out from your torso, so that you’re squeezing your left glute. Your hips should remain square. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg. Perform 8 reps on each side.
Squat To Stand
You’ll feel everything waking up during this movement!
a. Stand with your feet in a shoulder-width position with your arms reaching overhead as high as you can.
b. With both arms straight up, bend over at the waist to touch the floor between your feet, keeping your legs straight and stretching your hamstrings.
c. Keeping your hands on the floor, drop your hips down into a squat position.
d./e. Staying in a full squat position, reach your right arm up and then your left arm up so that you are in a full squat position with your arms overhead. From here, stand up to return to the start position and repeat 8–10 times.
Get on your elbows and toes with your back in a straight line, elbows directly underneath your shoulders and abdominals braced tight keeping you stable. This is a static exercise in which you will hold the position without letting your back over-arch as you keep your abdominals tight. Hold for 30–60 seconds.
Use stairs, a step or a sturdy bench to stand on, ideally about knee height. Stand sideways and place the foot closest to the step on the step.
a. Maintaining a tall posture, using your hips and top leg, transfer your weight onto the raised leg to eventually.
b. Stand on the step with your foot flat. You can touch your opposite leg to the step for balance. Lower back to the floor under control, keeping the top leg on the step at all times. Perform 8 reps on one leg, then switch legs.
a. Assume a standard pushup position.
b. Perform a pushup, then, at the top, transfer all your weight to one hand as you…
c. …rotate your body to reach up and behind you with the opposite hand. Keep both feet on the floor. Your arms should be in a straight line so that your body forms a “T” shape. Return your raised hand to the ground, then lower yourself back down and alternate sides. Perform 8 reps, 4 on each side.
a. Stand at the top of a lunge with your feet split apart.
b./c. Lower yourself to the bottom of a lunge and then explosively launch yourself into the air, exchanging the legs in midair.
d. Upon landing (your feet will be opposite of where they were at the start), go into another lunge. Perform 8 reps on each side.
a. Assume a standard pushup position.
b. Drive one knee up toward your chest…
c. …then return the leg to the starting position as you bring the other knee toward your chest. Alternate legs as fast as possible. Perform 8 reps on each leg.