Want to get strong but hate the gym?
Luckily, you can burn fat, build muscle, and get a great workout using just your body’s weight. Even better news: you can do it from anywhere!
You might have come to this article through our Beginner Bodyweight Workout; if so, welcome!
If you didn’t, I’d recommend starting there before moving onto this routine, because this is uber-advanced and designed for nerds looking for a brutally difficult challenge.
If you’re ready for the gauntlet, click to go right to the advanced bodyweight workout and get started.
It’s a great test of your physical strength, cardiovascular endurance, and a great place to go with your fitness until you decide to train with weights in a commercial gym.
As I said, you can get fit by training with only the limbs attached to your body.
Want proof? Clients in our uber-popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program have gotten in shape without ever stepping foot in a gym, starting with just bodyweight workouts from their home. Many of them still don’t go to the gym!
Here’s how it works: Our coaches create custom programs that don’t require any equipment, and get adjusted based on client progress! We also offer nutritional guidance and worldwide accountability to stay on track and meet your goals
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Warning: this workout that will have you sweating like a pig and leave you sore all over the next day. If you’re just moving beyond the Beginner Bodyweight Workout for the first time, this workout might seem ridiculously difficult.
That’s because it IS ridiculously difficult – the first time I did this routine, taught to me by fitness guru and mentor Mike Rickett, I wanted to throw up afterward and couldn’t walk straight for two days.
You’ve been warned!
Obviously, if this routine is too tough, there are quite a few variations you can make to lessen the difficulty and then build your way up to the real deal. Remember, it’s important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, but safely. Don’t try to do too much or you’ll just end up hurting yourself.
NOTE: I do use a pull-up bar in this routine. If you don’t have one at your home, you can head to a park and use their pull-up bar, or substitute inverted body weight rows until you are strong enough to do pull-ups and chin-ups. I include a video of how to do these inverted rows in your home at the end of this post.
Before you start, WARM UP – Never ever ever ever forget to warm up. If you’re strapped for time, cut short your workout, not your warm up. You can run in place, jump rope, do a few push-ups, pedal on a stationary bike, jog up and down your stairs, etc.
Here’s the NF Advanced Body Weight Workout:
If you want to write down everything, here it is:
- 10 One-Legged Squats – each side [warning super-difficult, only attempt if you’re in good enough shape]
- 20 Bodyweight Squats
- 20 Walking Lunges (10 each leg)
- 20 Jump Step-Ups (10 each leg)
- 10 Pull-Ups [or inverted body weight rows using your kitchen table]
- 10 Dips – Bar Stools
- 10 Chin-Ups [or inverted body weight rows with underhand grip]
- 10 Push-Ups
- 30 Second Plank
That’s one complete rotation. If you’re up for it, try to do 3 complete circuits. Stop when you need to, get water when necessary, but try to finish it as quickly as possible while still practicing PERFECT FORM. The first time I went through this routine it took me right around 18 minutes.
You can cut short the number of repetitions but never half-ass a rep. If you can only do five or six pull-ups, bring a chair over to the bar, hop up above the bar and lower yourself down. If you can’t do a plank for 30 sec, hold it for 15, and work your way up to 30. If 20 bodyweight lunges are too many, only do 10 and work your way up to 20. Challenge yourself safely and within reason.
Can’t Do Pull-Ups? Do These Instead
I’m going to guess that the most difficult exercise for most people in this routine will be the pull-ups and the chin-ups.
If you don’t have a pull-up bar, or if you’re not strong enough to do pull-ups yet, that’s okay. Pull-ups are one of the toughest exercises out there!
If you’re somebody that wants to start training to get your first pull-up, check out our massive guide on strength training that covers exactly how to scale pull-ups until you’re strong enough to do them. You can get our guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know, when you sign up in the box below:
- Everything you need to know about getting strong.
- Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
- How to find the right gym and train properly in one.
If you are unable to start training pull-ups, here’s an okay alternative: inverted bodyweight rows using just your kitchen table.
Attempt these at your own risk!
Most importantly, make sure your table is strong enough or you’re going to snap it in half. It isn’t optimal, but it’s better than nothing, and a good step up from the dumbbell rows in the Beginner Bodyweight Circuit. Inverted bodyweight rows are certainly tough, but not as tough as pull-ups and chin-ups.
How to Scale Your Routine
As I said earlier, this whole routine is scalable based on your ability. For example, here is a sample routine for somebody who has conquered the beginner workout but can’t do the full routine above:
- 10 Body Weight Squats
- 10 Walking Lunges
- 15 Jump Ups
- 3 Pull-Ups (or 6 inverted body weight rows – overhand grip on table)
- 8 Dips (or 10 decline push-ups if these are too tough)
- 3 Chin-Ups (or 6 inverted body weight rows – underhand grip on table)
- 10 Push-Ups
- 30 Second Plank
- 30 Jumping Jacks
Whatever your fitness level, find a way to push yourself a litter harder, get better, be faster, and grow stronger (thanks Daft Punk!) Keep track of your exact routine, how long it took you, which exercises wore you out, exactly how many reps you did, etc.
Then, the next time you do this routine (make sure you wait at least 48 hours before attempting it again), try to do the whole routine with one or two more repetitions or with less downtime between exercises.
Get started with it!
Our Beginner Bodyweight Routine has helped tens of thousands of people get started with bodyweight training, and hopefully those looking for more of a challenge are getting it here.
The important thing is to start! The beginner or the advanced routine, doesn’t matter, just start!
You can always ramp up the difficulty if you need to down the road.
Having trouble getting going? Need someone to help you begin your new routine? Maybe you know you need to work out, but find actually doing it a challenge. As we know, starting is the most important step and also often the most difficult.
If this sounds like you, I’ll remind you of the Nerd Fitness Coaching program. Your coach will design you a workout routine, offer nutritional guidance, and help keep you accountable throughout the whole process. If you’ve always found it difficult to start or maintain an exercise practice, perhaps an “accountabilibuddy” is just what you need.
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That should get you started, good luck with this workout!
…I apologize in advance for how your whole body will feel the next morning!
PS: Want even more circuits to run through? Click right here for even more routines to choose from.
All photo sources can be found right here: