My current exercise/fitness plan involves just healthier eating and running at least 3 days a week. However, I want to try to include some exercises that I can do on my off-days from running in order to help lose weight and get in shape. I'm mostly looking for a full-body routine that hits the key muscle groups that doesn't require things that I won't have in my apartment.

Does such a routine exist, and what would a good one be? Detailed descriptions of the exercises (including pictures and/or videos, so I know if I'm doing them right) would be much appreciated as well.


5 Answers 5


You should check out the book You Are Your Own Gym.

The author of the book, a former Special Forces instructor, came up with a punishing array of pushups, squats, and things I don't really know how to describe. Most of the exercises rely on using only your own body, and no other equipment, to provide resistance. You can enhance some of the exercises with simple equipment, like books in backpacks, if you want, but it's not necessary.

  • 2
    Is this appropriate for a beginner? It seems awfully...intense. It says in the description that it's appropriate for all fitness levels, but I'm a little hesitant. Also, is there anything online that I can start to follow here and now, if I do decide to order this book? Commented Aug 28, 2011 at 23:36
  • 1
    I also own this book, and I can vouch for its being appropriate for beginners. I found it more appropriate for beginners, actually. In the meantime, burpees are a good start.
    – cha0sys
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 21:47

There are two different approaches I would suggest, each good and you can switch up the two as you get 'bored'.

The first is using FitDeck, basically playing cards with exercises on them, you mix them up, toss them down and do the exercise - about a card a minute. No two routines will be the same.
The other approach is Tabata, here's a link to a previous article about it: What is tabata? How effective is it?. For Tabata all you need is a timer, get a GymBoss or iPhone app.

Like I tell a lot of people - you can always do something, got time, do some pushups and situps, walk, planks. Don't let equipment or lack of equipment be an excuse.

  • I would prefer a routine to something like FitDeck. I like consistency and repeatability in my exercises. I'd like a simple routine that I can do in my apartment with no equipment that focuses on non-cardio activities. Tabata looks like it involves a lot of cardio or needs equipment like a bag. I want more than just pushups and situps that can complement my 3-4 days/week running. Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 11:38

If you're looking for bodyweight exercises that you can do at home then you need to look for compound exercises and some isolation movements.

Compound exercises are exercises where you need to move more than one joint if you want to do them properly. This kind of exercises are the most important ones. These are the best and most known compound movements: push ups, squats, lunges, pull ups.

Combine these exercises in a routine. For instance: 10 push ups, 15 squats (or jumping squats, which are heavier), 10 lunges per leg, 10 pull ups if you have something that can act like a pull up bar. Repeat the same routine twice again but always do 8 reps instead of 10.

Finish of the workout with some cross crunches and the plank position.

Try to mix things up from time to time. For instance, do push ups with your hands wide or with your hands just next to your chest or maybe in a diamond position next to each other just below your chest. The closer your hands are to each other, the more stress it puts on your triceps.

Give it a try, you don't need any equipment for this one and I'm sure you will like it.

This is just one basic routine I just put together for you. You can find more of these on my website.


I like doing Crossfit workouts. When I am traveling and need a workout that doesn't use gym equipment, I go to CrossFit Deep Ellum. A lot do have running in them, but when you add in other exercises, they are quite fun. Ones like "Invisible Fran" I have done in my apartment or hotel room and have worked up a good sweat. Hope you can find what you are looking for.

  • There's also an app on the Android market that has crossfit workouts. CrossFit Travel. Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 12:41
  • The link seems to be somewhat dead, however it still points to some workouts, so I didn't remove it.
    – Baarn
    Commented Dec 14, 2012 at 20:14

Upper Body

Triceps dips, Push-ups, Side plank, Plank ups

Lower Body

Squat, Side Lunges, Back lunge and lift, Curtsy Lunge, Calf Raises, Wide leg open-toe squat

Core exercises

Superman, Cobra, Ab Curl hollow hold, Side-Lying Inner Thigh, Side-Lying outer Hip, Crunches

Most of these exercises I 've done to my workout routines and are great. Also, I would suggest buying an elastic band which is inexpensive and you can take it with you everywhere. You can take it even when running to do some stretching and you can make your workout routine a bit more challenging.

Furthermore, if you find something (like a tree branch or something) to do pull-ups, I would recommend it as pull-ups are a great form of exercise.

From the above exercise, you can mix and match accordingly. You can find more info and videos of these exercises here.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

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