Gym-Free At-Home Holiday Workout: No Equipment Needed!

Man doing plank exercise on a mat with an iPad.

If you’re a regular gym-goer and rely on your full workout routine for a nice kick of endorphins to get you through the day, it can be frustrating to see that your gym will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, or other holidays. Though Turkey Trot races are a popular alternative for getting in exercise on Thanksgiving, they aren’t the only option. With just a little bit of indoor space and your own body weight, you can get a great gym-free workout right at home anytime your gym is closed or you simply don’t have time to make it there during the busy holiday season.

The best part is that you can tailor this workout to your fitness level; increasing the pace and duration of the workout if you’re a more advanced athlete, or modifying the exercises where necessary, and pacing yourself appropriately if you’re just getting started on your fitness journey.

Regardless of your fitness level, the basic premise of the workout is the same: complete as many rounds of the 10 exercises as you can for your chosen workout duration while maintaining proper form throughout. We recommend setting a timer for 30-45 minutes depending on your fitness level and goals. Grab a towel and water bottle, gear up your favorite workout playlist, and get ready to push yourself through this at-home bodyweight circuit workout. You will certainly stoke your metabolism before you indulge in a holiday feast, and you will feel great about getting in a tough workout even on a holiday.

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Jumping Jacks

Shirtless man doing jumping jacks.

Jumping jacks are pretty straightforward, but they’ll get your heart pumping. Move as fast as you can while still completing the full range of motion.

  1. Stand upright with good posture and your arms down at your sides.
  2. Jump your legs out to each side while you simultaneously bring your arms up overhead toward one another.
  3. Jump everything back to the starting position and repeat.
  4. Complete 50 reps.

Jump Squats

Athlete doing jump squats in front of a field stairway.

Jump squats strengthen the major leg muscles, such as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your body into a squat by bending your knees and sitting your hips all the way back, as if reaching your butt back to sit in a chair. Engage your core, maintain a straight back, and keep your chest up and pressed out.
  3. Jump straight up as high into the air as you can, reaching up toward the ceiling.
  4. Bend your knees as you land to absorb the forces, transitioning immediately into a full squat.
  5. Press through your heels from the squat to rise to your upright vertical jump again in one fluid motion,
  6. Complete 20 reps, jumping as high and fast as you can.

Push-Ups

Man doing push ups at a gym.

These staple workout moves will strengthen your chest, triceps, shoulders, traps, and core. Be sure to keep your hips in line with the rest of your body.

  1. Place your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet on the floor with your toes curled under contacting the ground behind you. Your elbows should line up directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your feet.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to just above the ground and then push through your palms to raise your body back up until your elbows are extended but not fully locked out.
  3. Complete 20 reps using good form.

High Knees

Athletic man doing high knees at a gym.

This challenging cardio exercise should leave you breathless if you’re pushing yourself. Use your car to drive your knees up as high as they will go.

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Sprint in place, driving your knees up towards your chest and pumping your arms vigorously.
  3. Run as hard as you can for 60 footfalls total.

Alternating Forward Lunges

Black man doing alternating forward lunges in front of a laptop at home.

This exercise strengthens your quads, hips, glutes, hamstrings, and core. Be sure to bend fully into each lunch, flexing your knees to 90 degrees.

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
  2. Step your right foot forward and drop into a lunge, sending each knee 90 degrees. Your front they should have her just above the ground without touching it.
  3. Step back into an upright position and then switch legs.
  4. Continue alternating legs, completing 15 reps per side or 30 overall.

Up-Down Planks

Side view of a man doing up-down planks at a beach.

If you are tired of the same-old basic plank, you’ll appreciate the added difficulty of this dynamic advanced plank. In addition to working your core, the up-down plank also requires the shoulders, chest, triceps, rhomboids, and traps.

  1. Start in a plank position with your elbows and forearms on the ground.
  2. Shift your weight off of one of your forearms so that you can lift that arm off the ground and place your palm flat on the floor.
  3. Press through that hand to straighten your elbow and then repeat on the other side so that you are in a push-up position. Your hands should be positioned directly underneath your shoulders.
  4. Lower back down onto your elbows with control, one side at a time.
  5. Keep repeating this pattern, switching the arm that is pushing up to the top position every time, keeping your hips as stable as possible without much side-to-side motion by engaging your core and glutes.
  6. Complete 30 reps in total (leading on each side 15 times).

Mountain Climbers

Man doing mountain climbers on a mat.

Mountain climbers are great for a quick cardio boost while simultaneously working the abs, glutes, legs, and shoulders. Be sure to maintain good form with your hips in line with your body.

  1. Get into a push-up position with your core and glutes engaged.
  2. Pressing your weight into your hands, alternate bending each knee and bringing the leg up under your chest between your arms and then returning it to the starting position.
  3. Move as fast and hard as you can for a total of 50 reps.

Dips

Man doing dips using gym equipment.

Dips strengthen the chest, back, triceps, shoulders, and core. Maintaining proper form is key to preventing shoulder irritation. If you aren’t yet strong enough to do dips with your legs extended in front of you straight, you can bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor to reduce the intensity of the exercise.

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair, couch, or a bed with your hands cupping the edge of the chair on either side of your hips.
  2. Straighten your legs out in front of you so that the back of your heels is resting on the ground and lift your butt off the chair, shifting your weight fully into your palms and heels.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower your hips so that they are just above the floor but not touching it. Your hands should be behind you.
  4. Press through your palms, using your triceps and chest, to lift your body up.
  5. Complete 20 reps.

Burpees

Group of friends doing burpees in the morning at the beach.

Burpees can be thought of as a full push-up followed by a jump squat cycled continuously together.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your body into a squat by bending your knees and sitting your hips all the way back.
  3. Keeping your back straight and your chest up, drop your hands to the ground in front of your body about shoulder-width apart.
  4. Shift your weight to your palms and jump your feet back behind you so that you’re in a push-up position with your weight on your hands and toes. Your body should be in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.
  5. Perform one complete push-up using good form and bringing your elbows to at least 90 degrees.
  6. Press through your palms and jump your feet forward towards your hands, back to their starting position, so that your body is in a tuck position.
  7. Push through your hands and feet to stand up, raising your arms so that they are straight overhead with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
  8. Jump up vertically as high as you can, reaching up towards the ceiling.
  9. As soon as you land from the jump, bend your knees into a full squat to begin the cycle again.
  10. Complete 15 reps.

V-Ups

Man doing v-ups at the gym.

Few bodyweight workouts are complete without some dedicated core work. This exercise works the upper and lower abs, and will give you a welcomed break to let your heart rate come down somewhat.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out in front of you and your arms extended straight back above your head.
  2. Engage your glutes to simultaneously lift your entire lower body in a straight line and your entire upper body to meet upright in a folded “V” position. Your knees should be straight and your arms should remain straight above your head.
  3. Lower your body back down, using control by engaging your abs.
  4. Do not allow your feet or upper body to come to a full rest on the floor; rather, hover just above the floor in the extended position and then sit back up into a “V.”
  5. Complete 15 reps.

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