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How to Exercise on Your Own without a Gym

Updated on June 19, 2013

The Gym

Gyms have a lot of good exercise equipment and they have people that are exercising. So they are a good place to workout. Seeing other people exercising and seeing what they look like can inspire you to workout more. All the exercise equipment they have makes it easy to come up with a good exercise routine. However you need to travel to the gym and you may need to wait your turn before using the equipment you want. Gyms also cost money.

You don't need to go to a gym to exercise. People can exercise at home or outside. While I am doing things like biking around a large park I usually see lots of other people exercising outside. Often I exercise inside while I watch TV or before I turn the TV on. Gyms are a good place to exercise but so are parks and living rooms.

Me doing decline push-ups and the stairs.
Me doing decline push-ups and the stairs.
Me doing dumbbell curls.
Me doing dumbbell curls.

Upper Body

Push ups are one of the best upper body exercises you can do and they can be done almost anywhere at anytime. While doing push-ups you can work your triceps, chest, shoulder and abs. There are many different push-up variations that range from very easy to extremely difficult. One of the most difficult variations is the handstand push-up. Some variations require chairs, a set of stairs or a heavy backpack but you don't really need anything you can't easily find at home.

Pull ups are another good upper body exercise. They work the biceps, back, chest, shoulders and abs. You do need something to pull up on but most people should be able to find something to use at home or outside. I started doing pull-ups using a tree branch. If you can't find one then you can buy a pull up bar or make one. Changing the pull-up is as easy as changing your grip or the position of your body. You can increase the weight by wearing a weighted backpack or weight belt but for most people their body weight should be enough.

Dumbbell curls require a dumbbell but a lot of people have dumbbells at home. You can buy some weights and store the dumbbell in your room. They don't take up much space and you have a much better chance of using them if you see them. It takes less than two minutes to do 2 sets of dumbbell curls.

Shadow boxing can work almost your entire body. It is my favorite upper body cardio exercise. You can use it to firm up your muscles and get rid of fat. Even though you are just punching air you can still punch with power. You don't need a punching bag to get a good workout.

Woman doing lunges.
Woman doing lunges. | Source
Woman biking.
Woman biking. | Source
People running.
People running. | Source

Lower Body

Bike riding is one of my favorite ways to exercise. It is the reason I have large rock hard calf muscles. Bicycling works the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes while burning a lot of calories. It also works the abs. My abdominal muscles became noticeably firmer after I started biking long distances. Riding a bike also gives the heart a good workout. My heart beats less frequently now because my heart is stronger. Exercise bikes do not work your abs because you don't need to balance yourself. It is also harder to push yourself to go farther on an exercise bike because you are not actually going anywhere.

Jumping rope at a fast pace like a boxer can provide you with a quick cardio workout. It works your quadriceps, hamstring and calves. Since it is a cardio exercise like biking it also work your heart. You can go out and buy a jump rope. They don't cost a lot and they don't take up very much space. Another option is to pretend you are jumping rope. Either way it will work your muscles and burn calories.

Lunge and squats are legs and butt bodyweight exercises. You lower yourself close to the ground and then use your muscles to get back up. They work your abs, back, quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes. You can do them with or without extra weight. Like push-ups your can do them almost anywhere at anytime. They are simple and effective.

The quadriceps or quads are muscles located in your thighs. The hamstrings are tendons in your thighs and the glutes are butt muscles.


You can buy some equipment that does not take up very much space or cost a lot of money. It is a fact that a lot of the exercise equipment people buy for home use does not get used very much. Before you buy anything try to picture yourself using it on a daily basis. In a lot of cases you can do a similar exercise first. Jump rope without the rope to see if you like jumping rope. Curl a heavy duffle bag to see if you would like to curl dumbbells. Run outside or on the spot before you get a treadmill. Out of the exercise equipment I bought I use dumbbells, a jump rope and boxing gloves the most.

There should be lots of things in your house or outside that you can use as exercise equipment. You can workout at home using common household items as exercise equipment. I use things like chairs, my couch, a set of stairs, a backpack and a tree in my yard. I also use some exercise DVDs. There a are lot of good exercise DVDs that don't cost a lot. I can put in a DVD and workout with the trainer. My TV helps me exercise because I often exercise while watching TV shows, movies and exercise DVDs or playing Wii games.

I biked over 30 miles to get to this beach. Then I did a lot of swimming, walking and relaxing.
I biked over 30 miles to get to this beach. Then I did a lot of swimming, walking and relaxing. | Source

Exercise Versus Working Out

When people are in the gym they workout. Working out means you exercise to work your muscles and don't really accomplish anything else. Outside of the gym you could exercise without working out. Biking around provincial parks, hiking in the woods and swimming at beaches is not working out but it provides me with enough exercise to change my body. You can explore the world under your own power, play sports or you could choose to workout at home.

Transforming Yourself

With the exercises you can do at home or outside you can change your body. A person could transition from a nerd to a muscle man without every going to a gym. Push-ups and pull-ups can give you six pack abs, large biceps and triceps, a big chest, a broad back and large broad shoulders. Biking, jumping rope, lunges and squats can give you large rock hard calves, strong thighs and a firm nice looking butt. Building muscle and burning calories while working out can get rid of the extra fat and keep it off.

If you want to build a lot of muscle you can bulk up with bodyweight exercises. There are lots of really difficult bodyweight exercises that require a tremendous amount of strength. It is true that you would probably need to workout at a gym or buy a lot of equipment if you want to look like you workout at a gym. A person that lifts weights while sitting or laying down is going to look different than an athlete or a person that does a lot of body weight exercises. However you can get a strong, great looking, muscular body or a lean body without going to a gym.


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    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

      Great information! Voted up and useful! :)

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

      This is a great article. It is possible to get in shape without having to pay for an expensive gym. Great writing.