Bodyweight exercises for excuse-free workouts

Excuses are little more than justifications we make for not doing something we know we should do. As kids, we used excuses for not doing our homework – my dog ate my homework being an all-time classic. As adults, we often use lack of time as an excuse for not exercising or eating healthily – I don’t have time to work out, I don’t have time to cook healthy meals, I don’t have time to walk instead of drive my car to work.


Time is undoubtedly a valuable commodity but to say you have no time to exercise or eat healthily is pure nonsense and if I had a dollar for every time I heard this BS excuse I’d be a multi-millionaire! It’s not lack of time that is the issue but lack of time management that prevents people from exercising and eating right. If something is important you’ll make time for it – right?

As a personal trainer, I know that going to the gym and working out can be very time consuming but getting up 30 minutes earlier, watching less TV and updating your Facebook status a little less often will soon free up a whole bunch of time. And when time is really in short supply, there are always bodyweight exercises that you can do at home whenever you have a few minutes.


Bodyweight exercises are the ultimate in excuse-free workouts. You don’t need any special equipment, you can do them just about anywhere and anytime, they take no time to set up and you can move quickly from one exercise to the next in no time flat. There are beginner, intermediate and advanced bodyweight exercises for each and every muscle group in your body; you are literally your own walking gym.


Okay, so hitting the gym and pumping iron is the more traditional and accepted way to exercise but when time is short, you can have a great workout using nothing more than your own body which is always preferential to skipping your planned workout. Twenty minutes of bodyweight exercises four or five times a week? Seriously – who hasn’t got time for that?!


You don’t have to just take my word for the effectiveness of bodyweight exercises either. Lots of athletes and organizations build their fitness regimens around these low-tech, high effect exercises. The military love ‘em, martial artists do ‘em by the truckload and gymnasts build incredible physiques using nothing more than bodyweight exercises. Bodyweight exercises rock which is why they are a big part of my Tough Love Boot Camps.


There are lots of resources you can explore to learn more about bodyweight exercises so I won’t bother listing hundreds of different moves in this article but, needless to say, bodyweight exercises go far and beyond the good old push-up, pull-up, lunges, sit-up and squat. Instead, here are a few of my favourite bodyweight workouts for you to try yourself. Each one is short, fun and effective and the perfect solution for the next time you think you don’t have time to work out.


  1. Burpee heaven

Maybe I should have called the workout burpee hell because it’s actually pretty tough but, whatever I call it, you’ll get a great workout in ten-minutes flat!


The workout: Do as many reps of burpees as you can in ten minutes. Just keep grinding them out until your time is up. Make a note of how many reps you have done and do your best to beat that number the next time you do this workout. This is also an excellent finisher after a gym-based workout.


  1. Three minute rounds

Boxers are arguably the fittest athletes around and this workout is inspired by the length of a typical round of boxing – three minutes.


The workout: Do 30 seconds of each of the following exercises to equal three minutes. Rest one minute and then repeat. Do five laps to total 20 minutes.

  •         Push-ups
  •         Lunges
  •         Planks
  •         Squats
  •         Shadow boxing
  •         Bent knee twisting crunches

  1. Double ladder workout

A workout that only involves two exercises? How hard can that be? Answer; pretty damn hard actually!


The workout: Just work from the top of this list to the bottom doing the specified number of reps of each exercise. Each ladder “rung” should add up to 21 reps. Tick off each rung as you complete it so you don’t end up repeating yourself. If a ladder of 20 to 1 reps is a bit daunting, start at 15 or even 10 reps.


Press ups Squats
20 1
19 2
18 3
17 4
16 5
15 6
14 7
13 8
12 9
11 10
10 11
9 12
8 13
7 14
6 15
5 16
4 17
3 18
2 19
1 20

Bodyweight workouts mean you can train anywhere, anytime – even at home, at work or when you are traveling. Add some resistance bands and a jump rope and you have everything you need to create an endless number of low-tech workouts. Bodyweight workouts aren’t meant to REPLACE your gym workouts but are an ideal supplement between gym workouts or when time is short and you genuinely believe you don’t have time to exercise. Now stop making excuses and go and train!
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Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

* Testimonials found on Dinny Morris Fitness have been sent to me by past and present customers and may not reflect the typical customer’s experience and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. The testimonials are meant to be a showcase of the best results personal training with me can produce, and should not be taken as the results a typical user will get.