How to get the best bodyweight workout of all time

How to get the best bodyweight workout of all time
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EVER WONDER HOW guys who exclusively work out on monkey bars get so ripped? This bodyweight workout is the answer. And since it’s pretty much equipment-free, you can use it to whip yourself into shape pretty much anywhere. It’ll work just as well outside on a summer day or in a bare-bones garage gym.

Option A

Here’s the best part: You’ll not only burn fat and build muscle with just three exercises, you’ll also learn one of the secrets that street gymnasts use to bang out dozens of pullups and dips: the 10-to-1 method.

How it works

The circuit we’ve designed here doesn’t let up. When you train any squat variation, plus the pullup and the dip, you work nearly every muscle in your body, and your heart will race to supply them with blood and oxygen. Performing a decreasing number of reps—10 to 1—helps you keep the workout going even as you get fatigued. It’ll also get you leaner, and build the endurance that’ll build the fitness you need to rattle off a high number of reps in one shot. Plus: Feel free to use this workout to win bar bets about how many pullups you can do.


Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing a set of each in turn and resting as little as possible between sets. Repeat for 10 circuits (until you’re doing only one rep per exercise).

1. Jump Squat

Reps: 10 to 1 Rest: 0 sec.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and squat down about halfway. Jump as high as you can. Land with soft knees and begin the next rep. Perform 10 reps. Each time you repeat the circuit, perform one less rep. So the next round you’ll do 9 reps, then 8, and so on, down to 1 rep.

2. Pullup

Reps: 10 to 1 Rest: 0 sec.

Hang from a pullup bar, jungle gym, or tree limb and pull yourself up until your chin is higher than your hands. Start with a 10-rep set, performing one fewer rep per set in each circuit as described in the jump squat.

3. Dip

Reps: 10 to 1 Rest: 0 sec.

Suspend yourself over parallel bars and then lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Perform 10 reps down to 1, as you do with the prior two exercises.

Option B

A lack of training equipment doesn’t necessarily doom you to a workout consisting only of pullups and pushups. With a little creativity, you can still train like an animal (you’ll get the reference below) while targeting your entire body. This workout is outside the box—so much so, in fact, that you’ll have to go outdoors to do it.

How It Works

This routine requires a park or playground area with monkey bars and plenty of open space. You’ll use classic (albeit under-prescribed) body-weight exercises like the bear crawl and crab walk, which you probably haven’t tried since your days in summer camp. As you’ll come to remember, they’re not easy—especially for a grown man well north of 100 pounds. They require a lot of work from your heart, lungs, and core. Later, the parallel bar hand walk will blow up your grip and forearms; the sprints will fry your legs.


Perform the exercise pairs (marked “A” and “B”) as supersets, so you’ll complete one set of A and then one set of B before resting. Repeat until all sets are complete. Note that the parallel bar hand walk is done as straight sets— do a set, rest, and repeat. This workout combines well with Body-Weight option A, so if you want to integrate them both into a training week, perform A first, rest a day, and then perform B. (You can also add in option C, coming up next.)

1A. Bear Crawl

Sets: 3 Reps: Crawl for 50 feet Rest: 0 sec.

Bend down and plant your hands on the ground. Try to keep your back flat as you walk on all fours as fast as you can. Your legs should be fairly straight as you step your feet outside where your hands land.

1B. Crab Walk

Sets: 3 Reps: Walk for 50 feet Rest: As needed

Sit on the ground and bridge up with your hips so you look like a tabletop. Walk forward on your hands and feet as fast as you can.

2. Parallel Bar Walk

Sets: 5 Reps: Walk to the end and back Rest: As needed

Hang from a jungle gym or length of parallel bars. Walk to the end of the row and back with your hands.

3A. Forward Sprint

Sets: 5 Reps: Sprint 50 yards Rest: 0 sec.

Run at about 90% of your top speed.

3B. Backward Sprint

Sets: 5 Reps: Sprint 50 yards Rest: As needed

Run backward as quickly as you can.

Option C

Combining exercises whenever possible helps you work more muscles in the same amount of time. These hybrid moves allow you to get the benefit of six exercises in a workout that actually prescribes only three.

How It Works

This workout can be combined with the previous two for a three-day-per week program done in the order shown. Or, combine it with either one of the two previous workouts and alternate them throughout the week.


Perform the exercises as conventional straight sets, completing all sets for one exercise before moving on to the next. If you can’t perform 10 reps for a particular set, do as many as you can without going to failure (end the set with one or two reps in you) and then rest a few moments. Continue when you can to complete the remaining reps.

1. Burpee TO Broad Jump

Sets: 3 Reps: 10 Rest: 90 sec.

Bend down and place your hands on the floor. Now shoot your legs behind you fast so you end up in the top of a pushup position. Perform a pushup and then jump your legs back up to your hands. From there, jump forward as far as you can.

2. Dip to Leg Raise

Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Suspend your body over parallel bars and lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Press yourself back up and then raise your legs straight out in front of you.

3. Pullup to Knee Raise

Sets: 3 Reps: 10

Hang from a pullup bar with hands outside shoulder width and palms facing away from you. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar and then raise your knees to your chest in the top position.

Option D

OK, we’ll admit it: Sometimes the odds really are against your getting a workout in. You may well find yourself stuck without weights or bands, only to find that you also forgot to pack your suspension trainer. There’s nothing to pull on, so you can’t work your back, and you can’t even improvise with the objects around you. We’re not sure just what kind of place this would be, short of a jail cell (and if that’s where you are, hey, we’re not judging), but we can give you a great workout to do, even there.

How It Works

All you need is something to step on, be it a park bench, a large rock, or a chair. But if you have nothing elevated on which to step, you can substitute a lunge for the stepup. To target your back, which is usually unworkable without having at least a bar of some sort to pull on, we’re employing the “blurpee”—as made famous by fitness expert Tim Ferriss, author of The Four-Hour Body. The wider foot placement used in the blurpee requires more work from the lats to pull the hips and legs forward as the body comes back from the pushup position. (The extra “l” in blurpee stands for “lats.”)


Perform the exercises as conventional straight sets, completing all sets for one exercise before moving on to the next.

1. Close-Grip Pushup

Sets: 3 Reps: 15 Rest: 60–90 sec.

Get into pushup position and place your hands close so that your thumbs touch. Keep your body straight and your core braced. If that’s too easy, elevate your feet on a chair or some other raised surface.

2. Step-Up

Sets: 3 Reps: 20 Rest: 60–90 sec.

Stand in front of a bench or chair and place one foot on it so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Drive your heel into the surface and squeeze your glutes as you step up onto the bench, but let your trailing foot hang off of it.

3. Blurpee

Sets: 3 Reps: 20 Rest: 60–90 sec.

Stand with feet outside shoulder width and bend down and place your hands on the floor. Now shoot your legs behind you fast so you end up in the top of a pushup position. Jump your legs back up so they land to the outside of your hands and then jump up quickly.

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