It can be easy to skip a workout when you have no equipment, no extra cash for the gym, and especially no time. Fortunately, we have a 15-min full-body workout routine that gets around all those hurdles.
With the help of certified strength and conditioning specialist Brooke Mathe, we’ve created a beginner-friendly workout you can do at home with just your body weight — all in the time it takes to scroll through Instagram.
For the doubters and nonbelievers among us, Mathe is here to reassure: “You can do so much with body weight and stuff you have in your house. And you can absolutely get an amazing workout in.”
The Greatist no-equipment, 15-minute total-body workout
For a total-body workout without equipment, Mathe recommends doing the following moves for 30 seconds each:
- Forearm side plank
- Shoulder-tap blast-off
- Glute bridge
- Crab walk
- High knees
Then take a 1-min rest and repeat for a total of 3 rounds.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Keep your chest up, engage abs and glutes, and hinge your hips back into a squat. Shift your weight into your heels as you sit in that invisible chair.
- When your thighs are about parallel to the floor, squeeze those thighs and glutes.
- Push back up to the starting position and repeat.
Make it harder: Craving a more explosive challenge? Try a squat jump.
- Start in a high plank position with hands under shoulders and feet about hip-width apart.
- Keep your core engaged as you bend your elbows back at a 45-degree angle to your body and lower your chest toward the floor.
- Push back up to a high plank position.
Make it easier: TBH, regular push-ups can be tough. Start off more slowly by pushing up from your knees. (And forget anyone who says these aren’t legit! Knee push-ups are still a great workout for anyone!)
3. Forearm side plank
- Lie on your right side with legs and feet straight and stacked. Position right elbow under right shoulder, with forearm perpendicular to your body. Make a fist with right hand, pinky on the floor.
- Brace your core, keep neck neutral, and lift hips off the floor. Support your weight on your elbow and the side of your right foot. Your bod should make a straight line from ankles to head.
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side for 15 seconds.
Make it easier: If side planks are a bit of a struggle, no prob. Start by doing this one from your knees instead of your feet.
Make it harder: If you’re up for the challenge, try doing this move on your hand (extended plank) instead of your forearm.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Take a giant step forward with right leg (bigger than your regular walking stride). Your feet should be pointing straight ahead.
- Bend knees to about 90 degrees. Engage those glutes and abs as you move.
- Push off from your front leg to return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Pro tip: Mind your knees! They shouldn’t go past your toes. Take a peek to make sure you can still see your feet from the top of your lunge.
Make it harder: If you want your glutes to really feel the burn, try a split lunge jump. In this move, you’ll jump between each lunge and land in the opposite lunge position, pumping your arms to help propel you into the air.
5. Shoulder-tap blast-off
- Start in plank position with feet hip-width apart and arms fully extended. Engage that core and keep your spine straight.
- Lift right hand off the floor to touch left shoulder. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Now, time to blast off: Bend your knees and move your hips down and back. Your knees should be just a few inches above the floor, your arms should be extended forward, and your eyes should be looking at the floor (almost in between Child’s Pose and Downward Dog).
- Now push back to plank. Shoulder-tap, shoulder-tap, and repeat.
Make it easier: You can also do the entire move starting on your knees.
6. Glute bridge
- Lie faceup with knees bent and feet parallel and hip-width apart. Keep arms at your sides, with palms flat on the floor.
- Press against the floor with your feet and palms as you lift those hips to the sky.
- Really squeeze those abs, thighs, and glutes until your body makes a straight line from chest to knees.
- Hold for 5 seconds.
- Lower and repeat.
Make it harder: If you want a bigger challenge, try a single-legged bridge. Extend one leg out and keep it straight. (Hold each side for 15 seconds to fit it into this 15-minute routine.)
7. Crab walk
- Sit on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and your hands pressed into the floor behind you.
- Lift your hips off the floor and make like a crab by “walking” forward (or backward) with your arms and legs, keeping your weight evenly distributed.
- Continue walking it out for 30 seconds.
8. High knees
- Stand with legs together and arms at your sides.
- Lift one knee to your chest. Lower your leg while lifting the other knee.
- Continue alternating knees, pumping your arms up and down, for 30 seconds.
Take it from Mathe – you don’t need fancy equipment to get a solid workout (no matter what Peloton stans say).
To help you get started with your at-home exercise routine, here are some tips for keeping things simple and super effective.
Always warm up your muscles
Don’t skip your cooldown
Keep it cool by cooling down! Mathe recommends doing 3–5 minutes of static stretching to keep your muscles healthy. She says pretty much whatever feels good goes: shoulder stretches, straddle forward folds, etc.
Keep challenging yourself
Mixing things up keeps you interested and keeps the health, strength, and wellness results coming. Mathe suggests making exercises plyometric (think jump squats, jump lunges, and clapping push-ups) to ramp up the challenge without adding equipment.
She adds that focusing “on form and full range of motion can engage more muscle fibers and make the exercise harder.”
If you have weights, by all means, use them! Soup cans can also do the trick in a pinch.
At the same time, take it easy
Whether you’re a certified gym rat or a fitness newb, you can get a great workout in just 15 mins without pushing yourself past your limit.
If you’re new to working out, Mathe suggests going slowly and focusing on form. “Rest when you need to. Give yourself some grace. Be proud of yourself for starting,” she says.
Consult a pro if you have limitations or injuries
If you have an injury, strain, pain, or other limitation, talk with a physical therapist or certified personal trainer about your workout routine.
The short answer is absolutely! Plus, when it comes to exercise, any time is better than none.
In a large 2011 study of people in Taiwan, 15 minutes of moderate exercise daily was linked to longer life expectancy and reduced risk of mortality.
The CDC recommends getting 150 minutes per week (or about 21.5 minutes per day) of moderate exercise for optimum health. So, where can you get that extra 6.5 mins?
Try breaking movement up into smaller chunks of time during your busy day. Maybe take the stairs at work or up to your apartment. Or go on a brisk walk between work calls. You’ll be there before you know it.