Strength Training Without Weights

As the name suggests strength training without weights does not require any equipment, these strength training exercises can be done at home with no need for the gym

You are simply using your own body weight as resistance – gravity is a very powerful force and it’s free so everyone can make use of it!

This is the next level up from our Strength Training For Beginners and is a little more involved, but more effective ;-)

These kind of resistance toning exercises strengthen the connective tissues in the body, re-enforcing and stabilizing the joints to help keep your running injury free, improving your speed and endurance

Balance is a key feature in a lot of the exercises and every time you have to balance you are engaging your core muscles

Don’t rush these exercises; make your movements slow, precise and controlled. This activates those “hard-to-get-to” muscles in your core and legs, you will feel them burning and you may be a bit stiff tomorrow

But your used to pain, you’re a runner, right! :-)

We’ve put together a strength training without weights routine which will work on your feet, legs, core and upper body. Have a practice at any you are not familiar with first and you might want to use an exercise mat for a bit of cushioning

1. V-sits


Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, with legs straight, simultaneously lift your body and legs to make a ‘V’ shape, hold for 3 sec then slowly lower back down. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout. Repeat 5-10 times

To make this harder start with your arms above your head and then raise legs and body to a ‘V’

2. Scissors Side to Side

side to side

Lie on your back and lift your legs high as straight as you can, supporting your back with your hands, keeping legs straight open them to the side as wide as you can then bring them back and cross the ankles, repeat 20 times

3. Scissors Forwards and Backwards

forwards and backwards scissors

Similar to the first scissors exercise, but this time move legs forwards and backwards -like walking. Repeat 20 times.

To make both these strength training exercises harder try doing them without supporting your back with your hands

4. Cossack Extension

strength training without weights - cossack extension

Hold on to support if you want to, squat down as low as you can (not below knee level). Extend one leg out to the side, heel at 45 degrees and the other foot should stay flat, hold for 3 sec then return the leg, alternate the move with each leg 10 reps each leg

Stay as low as you can in the squat throughout the exercise

5. Press-up

The best known strength training without weights exercise is the press up. If you have not done them before it might be best to start with knees on the floor, feet raised and ankles crossed, stretch out the body so it is flat, hands should be under the shoulders arms nearly straight but try to keep your elbows soft. Lower the body until the elbows are at a right angle then rise back up. Start with 10-20 reps

When this gets easy, lift the knees off then raise and lower from the toes, remember to keep your body straight

6. Side Plank

strength training without weights - side plank

Lay outstretched on one side leaning on one elbow and forearm. Keeping the body and legs straight rise up the hips so you are resting on the elbow and ankles (rise up from the knees if this is too difficult), when the body is in a straight ‘plank’ hold this for 5 sec. Repeat 5 times then turn over

7. Calf Raiser Squats

calf raiser squats

Stand with legs wider than hip apart and feet turned outwards, lower down into a half squat and hold, go onto tip toes on one foot, keeping the heel raised, SLOWLY dip down into full squat and then SLOWLY back up, repeat 10 dips then change legs. Do 3 sets of 10 dips on each leg

This one really makes your quads burn! And it’s great for ankle strengthening

8. Bridge With Leg Lift

bridge with leg lift

Lay on your back with knees bent, pull in your stomach and lift your bottom off the floor so the body is in a line, your weight is on your shoulders and feet, get your balance then raise one leg out straight, hold for 5 sec. Repeat 5-10 times each leg

9. One Leg Squats

one leg squats

Stand on one leg with the other straight out in front as high as you can, squat down as low as you can then back up. Repeat 15-20 times each leg

10. Eccentric Calf Raises

This is an important strength training without weights exercise, stretching and building up the achilles and calf muscles. Stand on tip toes near edge of a stair, lift off one foot and lower yourself down on the other so the heel is below the level of the stair. Hold for 3 sec then replace the other foot and come up onto tip toes again, repeat 10 times on foot

Alternate between straight leg and bent leg when lowering down your weight, this will engage the calf muscles properly

Strength Training Without Weights – Final Word

The whole routine should take about 20 minutes, more depending on how many reps you do

Remember Slow and Controlled movements, the slower you go the deeper into the muscles you work and the more benefit you get

The tortoise really does win this race!

If strength training without weights gets too easy for you then take a look at our multi-gym, resistance band and stability ball workouts

Also try:

Strength Training For Beginners (6 exercises)

Stability Ball Exercises (for more fun!)

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