You don’t need weights to build full-body muscle, just this 25-minute bodyweight workout

 Image of a woman doing a bodyweight squat during at-home leg workout.
Image of a woman doing a bodyweight squat during at-home leg workout.

You may think you need a gym full of weights to pack in a muscle-building workout, especially when you’re tight on time. However, bodyweight exercises can be just as effective and are ideal when you’re away from home or want to move your body when you have a spare moment.

Of course, having a set of the best adjustable dumbbells or a kettlebell at home can be a great investment if you want to challenge your muscles, but you can use your body weight to add resistance instead, like in this short routine developed by Planet Fitness trainer Teddy Savage.

“This workout is all about how you can take a bodyweight exercise to the next level by adding a plyometric element to it like a jump, skip, bound, or explosive movement,” explains Savage. If you’ve not come across plyometric workouts before, it’s essentially moves with jumping.

It’s great at working muscles across your body and raising your heart rate, but high-impact exercises are less ideal if you have sore knees or other joint issues. That doesn’t mean you can’t still train, but you may be better off with a low-impact routine instead.

But you could also only do the first section of Savage’s workout, which focuses less on jumps and more on bodyweight resistance training. Whichever you decide, all you need to do is find a bit of space, roll out a yoga mat to improve your grip and get started.

How to do Teddy Savage’s bodyweight plyometric workout

The routine is split between bodyweight resistance training and plyometric exercises. You’ll start with two rounds of five bodyweight moves designed to work muscle across your body without weights, aiming for 12-15 repetitions of each.

At the end of the circuit, take a 60-second rest before moving on to the plyometric routine. In this round, you’ll do each move for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start the next exercise. This is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), designed to get your heart racing.

Combining both training styles — resistance and HIIT — you pack a lot of varied, full-body moves into a short, 25-minute workout you can do wherever you are. As Savage says, “Talk about getting the most out of your routine; this one has it all with a little bit of spice on top!”

1. Bodyweight circuit

This five-move circuit is designed to work several muscles simultaneously, thanks to the use of compound exercises like squats and push-ups. Do each move for 12-15 repetitions before starting the next, and rest for 30 seconds at the end before repeating the circuit.

a. Bodyweight squats

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart and your weight back on your heels. Lower yourself to your fullest range of motion or until your quads are parallel to the floor.

  • Hold this position for a moment before pushing back up to your starting pose. That’s one repetition.

b. Alternating forward lunges

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart stride forward and lower your hips down until your back knee is about 1-2 inches from the ground, ensuring that your front knee stays behind your toes.

  • Return to the starting position and step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating in this way for the remaining reps.

c. Alternating lateral lunges

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart and step out laterally to your right, sinking your hips down and back as soon as your foot strikes the ground.

  • Drive through your heel to return to the start and alternate to the opposite side. Continue in this pattern until you hit 15 reps.

d. Push-ups

  • You can either do these from the knees or an upright plank position. Start with hands stacked beneath the shoulders and keep your core engaged throughout.

  • Lower your chest towards the ground while keeping your elbows tucked tight to the body.

  • Hold this position for a moment, before pushing back up to the starting position. That’s one rep.

e. Crunches

  • Lay with your back on the floor, your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, with your hands resting on the back of your head.

  • Engage your core and lift your upper back away from the mat, keeping your lower back pressed down to the floor.

  • Pause, then slowly lower back to your starting position. That’s one rep.

3. Plyometric circuit

This round is designed to raise your heart rate, burn energy, and work your muscles. Exercise for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then begin the next move. Rest for 60 seconds at the end of the round before repeating the circuit.

a. Squat jumps

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart and lower your body down to your deepest range of motion while keeping your heels flat on the ground.

  • Think of your body as a spring and at its lowest point, it has the most potential energy. Then, release your spring and drive through your heels as you jump off the ground.

b. Power skips

  • Start in a staggered stance, with your right foot back and your left foot forward. From this position, drive your right knee upwards towards your chest and throw your left arm upwards to the sky.

  • Try to get as much height as you can before landing softly and repeating the movement.

c. Skaters with ground touches

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart and a slight flex in your knees. Bound out to your right and sweep your left knee behind while reaching down to touch the ground.

  • From this point explode out laterally to the opposite side as far as you can, repeating the motion with the opposite leg and landing softly each time.

d. Plyometric push-ups

  • Start in a plank position with your hands on the ground under your shoulders. Lower yourself down as if you’re performing a regular push-up

  • At the bottom of the movement, press up with maximum force to allow your palms to leave the ground at the top of the motion.

  • Land soft on the palms of your hands, return to the high plank position and repeat the steps for the remaining time.

e. Sprinter crunches

  • Start lying flat on your back with your legs outstretched and your arms down to your sides. Exhale deeply as you drive your right knee up and left arm forward as if you’re running from a horizontal position.

  • Return to the starting position and immediately drive your left knee up and right arm forward. Continue this alternating pattern for the remaining time.

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