Bangkok bodyweight workout

The truth is, you don’t need a gym membership and expensive, fancy equipment to be in great shape. Serious muscle, strength and fitness can be gained with nothing but yourself.

You’d be surprised how many people struggle to support and move their own body weight around effectively. By training with your own bodyweight you will find that you gain true functional fitness as well as improving your sporting performance.

Another great thing about training with your own bodyweight is that it can be done anywhere! If you’re on holiday, on a business trip or travelling you can still keep fit, healthy and strong with just some space and yourself.

Below is an example of an intermediate-level bodyweight circuit. To make it easier you can:

  • Decrease the amount of time or number of reps you perform
  • Increase the amount of rest time between exercises
  • Adjust your body position or the way the exercises are performed (detailed below)
  • Decrease the amount of different exercises done in the circuit (for example, 6 exercises rather than the full 10)

For a more advanced boyweight circuit you can:

  • Increase the amount of time or number of reps you perform
  • Decrease the amount of rest time between exercises
  • Adjust your body position or the way the exercises are performed (detailed below)
  • Increase the amount of different exercises done in the circuit

So here we go – a circuit of 10 different exercises, each performed non-stop for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest between exercises. Once the circuit is done (all 10 exercises are complete), take a minute’s rest and the repeat the circuit 2 more times.

Station 1 – The Press-up

We’ll start with possibly the most well-know bodyweight exercise – the press up.

  • Easier: legs further apart, hands further apart, elevate hands on step or bench, knees on ground (box press up)
  • Harder: legs closer together or one in the air, elevate legs on step or bench, arms closer together, explode up and clap between reps
  • Remember: keep body straight – don’t sag or arch body, head in line with body, lower so chest is 4-6 inches from ground in downward phase

Station 2 – Lunges

We’ve worked the upper body, now a great bodyweight exercise for the lower body.

  • Easier: don’t lunge down as far, step up onto a raised level
  • Harder: go from the upwards phase of the lunge into a jump, and then change feet in mid-air
  • Remember: keep body straight on downwards phase, keep feet pointing forward

Station 3 – Bicycles

A great exercise that works your abs and obliques (muscles on the side of your torso)

  • Easier: sit ups or crunches
  • Harder: increase speed
  • Remember: keep elbows out to the side of your head and twist body

Station 4 – Step ups

I’m incorporating some CV work into your bodyweight workout with some step ups.

  • Easier: do one leg at a time, slow down movement
  • Harder: Jump up and down two feet at a time, speed up
  • Remember: keep head up, look straight ahead, neutral spine

Station 5 – Pull Ups

A hard exercise that is incredible for working your upper body. If you don’t like pull ups, persist until you can do them and you’ll receive great rewards.

Easier: chin ups with close grip; jump up to raised, top position and lower yourself slowly (called negatives); lie flat on the floor underneath a table, hold the table and pull your body up as far as is comfortable – easier than a pull up but still very effective;

Harder: stop for 3 seconds at the bottom, wider grip, one-armed, explode up into tricep push up (very advanced)

Remember: don’t be disheartened if you can’t do them, persist, try not to swing your legs for momentum

Station 6 – Bodyweight Squats

A fantastic compound exercise that primarily works the lower body. A little hard to master if you’ve never done them before but worth learning.

  • Easier: don’t go as deep
  • Harder: go deeper, explode into jump as you come up, can tuck legs when you jump
  • Remember: feet shoulder width apart, knees shouldn’t go in front of toes, weight through the heels not toes, don’t lean forward

Station 7 – Lower Back Extensions

We’ve already worked the abs on the front of the torso, so this exercise will work the lower back for balance

  • Easier: arms down by your side
  • Harder: arms straight out in front of you
  • Remember: perform slowly and in a controlled manner, avoid tipping head back

Station 8 – Burpees

The exercise that everyone hates. They’re hated because they’re hard, but they’re super effective for all-round fitness and toning.

  • Easier: half burpees – don’t stand up keeping hands on the floor and jump back and forth; mountain climber – keep hands on the floor with right leg bent and forward and left leg straight back, switch repeatedly (as if climbing)
  • Harder: add a press up at the bottom and/or a tuck jump at the top
  • Remember: keep good form, jump up straight, keep neutral spine

Station 9 – Tricep Dips

A good exercise to work the arms that can be done pretty much anywhere with a bench or raised level

  • Easier: Bring feet closer towards you
  • Harder: Move feet further away
  • Remember: keep elbows in, shoulders back, movement should just be in the arm, go down to about a 90 degree angle at the elbow

Station 10 – The Plank

isn’t just a ridiculous internet craze, it’s also a great way to firm up your core muscles. Get in position and hold for as long as you can.

  • Easier: Put your knees on the floor, spread feet apart
  • Harder: lift up one leg or arm off the ground, bring feet together
  • Remember: keep forearms on the floor, engage and tense your core throughout, keep body straight and head in alignment, don’t hold your breath

So you should do stations 1-10, have a minute’s rest and then repeat twice (3 times altogether). This should take about 30 minutes and if performed 3-4+ times a week it will keep you in good shape and your fitness levels up. Count the amount of reps you can do in the alloted time and record your results to see how much you’re improving and to give you a goal each time you do it.

This is a great all round body workout that can be done anywhere, even in a hotel room. However, if you have some equipment available you can vary the workout and make it harder. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Performing exercises on a swiss ball will make it harder and force you to use more muscles to stabilize and balance. For example, you can do a press up with your feet on a med ball or you can do the plank with your forearms on a swiss ball.
  • Hold dumbbells while performing squats, lunges or step ups to make the exercises harder.
  • Place a weight plate or medicine ball on your lap when performing tricep dips to make it harder.

As you can see, there are many ways to adjust body position, change technique or introduce weight to make these great bodyweight workouts harder or easier.

This is just one example of a good bodyweight circuit – there are hundreds of different exercises and variations, so don’t forget to push yourself hard and have fun!

Burpees - not a popular exercise, but very effective