Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guest Post: Getting into Shape Without a Gym (I) by Anthony Myers

This is the second post by Anthony Myers from MuscleClass.com. He discusses how to get into shape without equipment or access to a gym. Part II of this post will follow in a few days.

In a comment to my introductory post, Don Draper asked:
“Could you also share some good exercises for people who are always traveling, so you can perform the exercises without any instruments (like dumbbells)?”
And that’s exactly what today’s post is about, getting into shape even if you have no access to a gym, or equipment.

Personally, I prefer working out at a gym and I suggest you work out at a gym if possible. After all, you will have access to tons of equipment, professional knowledge from the staff, motivation from other gym members, and even the opportunity to meet women, sexy women who take care of their bodies and care about their appearance. However, if there’s some reason you can’t get into a gym, I have compiled a group of exercises below that require little to no equipment.


While I didn’t place these exercises in any specific order, I can tell you that pull ups being listed first is not a mistake. They are the not only the best bodyweight exercise, but I’d put them in the top 5 of all exercises, ever. The pull up will be your #1 tool in creating that sexy ‘V shaped’ tapered body. Pull ups help develop this physique by widening your back, specifically your lats. Also, pull ups are going to do more for your biceps than any fancy dumbbell or barbell curls ever could. If you want to focus more on your widening your back and creating that V shape, perform a traditional pull-up, gripping the bar overhand style with your arms slightly wider than shoulder width apart. If you want to focus more on your biceps, perform a underhanded chin-up with your arms about shoulder width apart.

It doesn’t matter if you can only do 1 pull-up. Do 1, rest and do another. Rinse and repeat until you’ve achieved your desired amount of reps; eventually you’ll be able to do 2 in a row, and then 3 in a row, etc. I consider pull-ups the core of any good back routine, so I start off every back workout with 4 sets of 10-15 pull-ups.


The push up is to your chest as the pull up is to your back. It’s extremely simple and extremely effective. Also, there’s a ton of variations that target different areas and keep things from getting boring. If I were new, I would start off by doing 3 or 4 sets of as many standard pushups as I could perform on a regular basis. You can even replicate incline bench presses and decline bench presses by elevating your feet during pushups or elevating your upper body by leaning on table to put more emphasis on the top or bottom of your chest. Lastly, you could put more emphasis on your triceps by doing close-grip pushups. Simply put your hands closer together while doing pushups and you will be targeting your triceps.

Note: Most people who want big arms spend a lot of time on their biceps. Since this is “Minimal Bodybuilding” and we’re concentrating on greatest reward with minimal time invested I’m going to share a little secret with you. Somewhere along the line things got mixed up. People started spending a ton of time on their biceps and not showing much love to their triceps. Well, your triceps account for nearly 75% of your total arm mass. So spend a little more time on your triceps by doing things like close grip pushups and your arms will start to appear bigger in a shorter amount of time.

Jump Squats

I have a love hate relationship with Jump Squats. I hate to do them, but I know how good they are for me. There are plenty of guys in the gym who can squat 225lbs for 10 reps. I challenge you to show me a guy who can do 4 sets of Jump Squats without feeling like he just got his ass kicked. These are a great workout for toning up your legs, and also aids in fat loss.


  1. Very nice article, looking forward to the second part. Thanks!

    But I have a question: how do you do pull ups at home? This one confused me quite a bit since you wrote that you'd talk about getting into shape without equipment.

  2. Do it on the door.

  3. You could buy a perfect-pullup off amazon for like 20-30 and it fits over your door. That's a good start, also you could just put a metal pipe across the ceiling in your basement... that's what I used to do.

    You could also go to the park (when little kids aren't there so nobody thinks you're a weirdo) and do pullups on the monkey bars.

    Sounds kind of funny, but there are a few parks around my house that have running tracks and also have playgrounds. If you were in workout attire with your ipod on and just finished doing a jog and started doing some bodyweight squats, pushups, lunges, and then made your way over to the jungle gym to do pullups... I don't think it'd look weird at all. It'd look very natural.

    Kid's are fat these days anyway, so those jungle gyms are usually abandoned haha.

  4. Hi Anthony,

    Thanks for this post. I've joined a gym and started doing body exercises you mentioned, like pullups, pushup/dumbbel press etc. It already feels amazing. I feel reborn, and I can feel the pump in my muscles everywhere :D

    Keep writing dude.

    Gr Don Draper

    1. Awesome Don! I'm so happy to hear that I helped inspire you to change.

  5. Anthony, I live in the U.S and stuff but I've gotten poor because of the recession and a whole of other shit, so I can't afford protein shakes or a gym, besides the park idea whats the best option in this kind of sitaution?

    1. Hey Sharilk,

      I grew up in a poor, divorced family. I lived with my single Mom who worked 2-3 jobs (that didn't pay much more than minimum wage) working to support 3 kids.

      The biggest problem with being poor is that healthy food is usually more expensive. Our shelves used to be stocked with shitty food because it was cheap. Since I didn't have a job I had no choice but to eat it, however, I just ate LESS of it.

      I'm not sure what your situation is, but my personal situation was that I hold onto weight too easily. I was chubby. So I just did my best to stay active.

      I went out, bought a $5 jump rope from Meijer and worked with what I had. I jump roped and jogged to lose the extra fat, and I did pull ups, push ups every night in my basement.

      I did this little routine every night before bed. Jumping Jacks, Jump Rope, Jog around the block, and pushups, crunches, and pullups while I watch Television.

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  7. hi Anthony

    thanks for your contribution here, you motivated me to buy a pull up bar at home and start doing things

    I am in decent shape ( been a surfer for years, taught yoga ) but since I've moved to London I've put on a little weight, stopped my previous training regime and that combined with eating out every day started taking its toll... I joined a gym last year, but I hate the gym atmosphere, plus the fact I have irregular hours contributes to not enjoying it as much as I should - and not finding the motivation to do it. Working out at home is perfect for me.

    so, with that in mind I was wondering if you could give me a little advice. I can do ( and enjoy doing ) pull ups, push ups, a little stretching, plus I cycle most weekdays ( 6 miles total ). I try and take care of what I eat, eating only at set meal times ( breakfast, lunch, dinner ) I rarely eat snacks, or junk. since I was a vegetarian for a while I still eat a lot of veggies, but now enjoy meat, and a whole lot of carbs ( pasta, rice, etc )

    I am 1 meter 80 centimeters ( 5'11 ) and 83 kilos.

    How can I optimize what I do for my goals ( lose 3-6 kilos and become ripped ). It seems I cant take that little extra weight now matter what I do. My main complaint is a little beer belly ( was worse, getting better ) - I've tried cutting the alcohol consumption, but it's hard in London.


  8. You're 182lbs/83kilos, so your daily caloric intake to MAINTAIN that weight should be right around 2,700 or so.

    What I would do, if I were you, and serious about dropping 6-13lbs/3-6kilos
    is I would do cardio 3-4x a week. I personally love and recommend Jump Rope. It's cheap, and more effective for fat loss(in my personal opinion)than running/jogging.

    Also, I would restrict my calories by about 250/calories a day. That's simple! That's like 1 beer and a snack.

    I'd stay away from fried foods, fast food, etc. Basically anything you KNOW you shouldn't be eating when you're trying to lose fat. Before you put any food in your mouth ask yourself "Is this helping me? or Hurting me" I like that approach.

    Allow yourself to cheat once a week.

    I'd ditch any soft drinks (soda, juice, etc) and only drink water and whatever alcoholic drinks you're going to allow yourself for the week.

    Eat more chicken, steak, eggs, vegetables and fruit, and good carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, whole grain pasta/bread) and you'll have less room for the bad stuff that tempts you.

    I hope that helps Cidrais.


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