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Wellness / February 8, 2018

This 45-minute workout will kick your ass

Written by: Morris Brossette

In the world of coaching and training, there is one excuse to rule them all: “I don’t have time.”

Every one of us has heard it. Our clients don’t have the time to make it the gym, and they don’t have the equipment (they say) to get a good training session in at home. This is, apparently, a widespread problem.

I have a solution: an at-home workout that can be done with no equipment in minimal time. There’s plenty of room for variation, so feel free to modify this if there’s a particular movement (or movements) you don’t like.

Just don’t tell me you don’t have the time or the gear.


Step one: activATE your core

The plank.

The side plank. (You need to do the other side, too).

In order to move properly and without injury to your back you have to activate your core muscles. Start your workout the plank and the side plank. Do with three sets of 30 seconds for each.

If you already use these in your training you can advance these by going from plank to one side plank then the other side plank every 30 seconds without letting your hips touch the floor.  Give yourself 20-30 seconds between sets.

For more about the importance of a strong core, check out my recent article, 3 Moves for an Injury-Proof Back.


Step 2: Prepare your joints

Before diving into the resistance exercises, dust off the cobwebs and increase your mobility with these two movements. Try not to rest between sets.


Down Dog hurdle twist

Deep squat to overhead reach

Step 3: Work out

The core of this workout is three movements, done at this tempo: For the first four reps, spend four seconds lowering, pause for four seconds, then spend four seconds pressing. Then, crank out anywhere from six to 16 reps as fast as you can.

Try not to stop at the top or pause at the top of these movements. The goal is to stress the working muscles as much as you can during each set. Rest as little time as you can between movements.


The body weight squat

During the first four reps when you lower your body down, grip the floor with your feet as hard as you can and engage your hamstring to “pull” your hips close to the floor.

At the bottom, contract every muscle in your lower body as if you are holding 1,000 pounds on your back. As you begin to drive back up to the standing position, continue to imagine pushing 1,000 pounds by contracting your legs and glutes as hard as possible. Immediately after the fourth repetition, crank out six to 16 reps as fast as you can.


The push-up

These can be, and may need to be done, on your knees until you build the strength to do them all on your feet.

The key with push-ups is to brace your core and keep your butt and shoulders at the same height/level i.e. don’t look like an old horse with a huge arch in your low back. Also, as you push up from the ground, contract your quadriceps and glutes as hard as you can.

Follow the same rep scheme as for the squat.


The ghost row

For this movement you will imagine pulling, holding, and slowly releasing 1,000 pounds. Start with your arm extended and shoulder protracted “forward.” Grip as hard as you can, contracting every muscle in your hand, arm, shoulder and back, as you begin to slide your shoulder back bringing your shoulder blade towards your spine. At the “bottom” of this movement, your elbow will be directly below your shoulder, not behind.

Get an extra bang for your buck by contracting your glutes as hard as you can during the four slow repetitions. Follow the same tempo you used for the other two exercises.


Step 4: Feel the burn

Follow these body weight moves with by jacking your heart rate way, way up. Do each of the following moves as fast as you can (with good form) for 30 seconds before moving on to the next. Try to complete three or four sets of each movement, and only rest for 10-20 seconds between movements.


Ice skaters

Jumping jacks

You don’t need a video for this one, do you?

High knees

Step 5: stretch

Finish your workout with five minutes of cool-down stretches. I recommend the three stances pictured below. Try to hold each for at least 60 seconds.

The scorpion stretch.

The pigeon stretch.

Child's pose.

And just like that, you’re done. This routine shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes to complete (it can easily be done in a half hour), but it packs enough punch to serve as a stand-in for a standard gym session.

Do you have questions or comments about this piece? Email them to [email protected] 

about the author

Morris Brossette

Morris “Mo” Brossette grew up running, hiking, biking, and basically living everyday in the woods. Each day was a new adventure of building forts, exploring new areas, and even as a child, creating obstacle courses and other physical challenges to build strength and fitness.

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