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Your Simple Guide To Awesome Non-Gym Workouts

The best ingredients for a no- or limited-equipment workout are simplicity and balance. Do one today!

I once thought the only way I could get in a good workout was in a gym with all the necessary barbells, benches, and dumbbells at my disposal. I wouldn't even go on vacation without first quickly searching the area we'd be staying in for a gym.

Thankfully, I've come to realize that, in order to train hard and keep getting results, it's not how much equipment you have that matters, but rather making the most of what you do have.

And believe it or not, you have more options than you think. No matter if you're on vacation or feeling like your gym has become your dungeon, you can perform a fantastic workout with limited or even no equipment.

So, when you're on your next vacation, traveling excursion, or just want to play outside, here are some rules to follow and workouts to try!

Easy Rules for Outdoor Workouts

Some of my favorite workouts take place outside in the fresh air and sunshine. There's just something incredibly rewarding and invigorating about training outside. Perhaps it's because your nostrils aren't constantly bombarded by the smell of stale sweat, chalk dust, and bro.

As different and fun as outdoor workouts are, they still require a little bit of thought. The first rule of limited-equipment or outdoor workouts is balance.

No, I'm not talking about balancing on a wobble board. I'm talking about training all of your muscle groups equally. Most of us push more often than we pull, and many women are guilty of focusing more on their legs than on their upper body.

This often leads to muscle imbalances and bad posture, so it's important to train each body part proportionally.

Doing just those three exercises will provide a balanced, total-body workout. However, in order to perform a balanced workout, you must use what's around you.

Are you near a hill? That would be perfect for some sprints. Is there a sturdy bench? That's great for things like step-ups and elevated push-ups.

Are you near a playground? Now we're talking! You can do myriad exercises with a swingset and jungle gym. For example, you can do push-ups, (elevating your hands on some of the playground equipment if necessary), pull-ups or inverted rows, and even assisted pistol squats.

Single Leg Exercises with a Swing Set
Watch the video - 2:00

When it comes to outdoor workouts you're only limited by your imagination.

Fun Workouts With Limited Equipment

If you have a couple of dumbbells or kettlebells at your disposal, you can be even more creative with your workouts. Remember, it's all about making the most of what you have to work with and not worrying about what you don't.

If you only have a single dumbbell or kettlebell, here's a sample workout you can try:

Single dumbbell/kettlebell workout

Rear-foot elevated split squat (with dumbbell held at shoulder)

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
Rear-foot elevated split squat Rear-foot elevated split squat


Bent-over single-arm dumbbell row

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
Bent-over single-arm dumbbell row Bent-over single-arm dumbbell row


Single-leg Romanian deadlift (with dumbbell in opposite hand of working leg)

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
Single-leg Romanian deadlift Single-leg Romanian deadlift


Close-grip push-up

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
Close-grip push-up Close-grip push-up

If you have two kettlebells or dumbbells, try this one:

Two-dumbbell/kettlebell workout

Double kettlebell squat (held in rack position)

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
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Renegade row

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
Renegade row Renegade row


Kettlebell swing (with one or two 'bells)

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
Kettlebell swing Kettlebell swing


Standing shoulder press

3-6 sets of 10-20 reps
Standing shoulder press Standing shoulder press

Another option—and one of my personal favorites—is to not work out at all. No, I'm not telling you to just sit on your butt and binge-watch your favorite shows, I'm telling you to go play outside. It's a great way to work out without feeling like you're working out!

All you have to do is look out your window. Go for a hike in a nearby national park, bike ride through your city, or try longboarding. If you're near a beach you can swim, snorkel, take a long walk, or do sprints in the sand. Maybe you have a hidden passion for kayaking!

The specifics are less important than these simple truths: When you like doing something, it's easy to make it a hobby. And fit hobbies make a healthy lifestyle the easiest thing in the world!