Try This Easy, Go-To Workout with No Equipment

Officer candidates perform push-ups during the Medal of Honor run.
Officer candidates perform push-ups during the Medal of Honor run at Officer Candidates School aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Aug. 15, 2019. (Lance Cpl. Phuchung Nguyen/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Ever need to work off some stress and just get out of the house or office, but don’t want to go to the gym? If so, here is a mix of classic workouts that are good at reducing stress, especially if you can get out and enjoy the fresh air on a sunny day.

These classics are from the pyramid family as well as corrective exercises that help with posture, work the upper body, lower body and core muscles and mix in some cardio. Here is how it goes:

Run 100 meters with push-ups and squats pyramid 1-10 (run 100 meters between each set) This is best done on a football field or a marked distance of 100 meters or 2 x 50-meter round trips.

1 push-up, run 100 meters, 1 squat, run 100 meters

2 push-ups, run 100 meters, 2 squats, run 100 meters

… keep going up until you get up to 10 push-ups and 10 squats and stop.

If you do not have time for anything else, this is more than a mile of running mixed with 55 push-ups and 55 squats. If you have more time, you can do the next exercise with no weights, water bottles or five-pound dumbbells. Lightweight shoulder – video

The PT reset: The following circuit is a series of upper-back, lower-back and core exercises that are great for posture. After sitting slumped in a chair or looking down at your phone for too long, these are great balance exercises that help you work the muscles you need to work for perfect posture.   (Click for a short video explanation of these exercises)

Reverse push-ups: 20

Birds: 20

Arm haulers: 20

Swimmers: 1 min

Side plank 1 min (right)

Plank 1 min

Side plank 1 min (left) 

If you do not have time for anything else, the above workout has consumed about 15-18 minutes total. If you have time to add in a classic speed pyramid, try this with a 20-minute time limit.

Push/pull pyramid

PT pyramid 1-10-1 for time (20-minute limit)

Pull-ups x 1

Push-ups x 2 or military press x 2

Set 1: Pull-ups 1, push-ups or military press 2 (your choice)

Set 2: Pull-ups 2, push-ups or military press 4

Keep going up until you fail or get to 10. Stop when you fail at pull-ups.

If you do not have a park nearby, monkey bars or a pull-up bar near you, you can replace with squats if you want to work the legs more or try biceps curls or rows for exercises that can work the opposing muscle groups of the push-up/military press with an upper-body pulling exercise.

Get creative with this one but see how quickly you can get through it on a 20-minute time limit. It is difficult to get 19 sets in 20 minutes. The first five or six sets are easy, but the beauty of the pyramid starts to challenge you when you hit the higher sets after what is basically a warm-up with sets 1-5.

If you are done, great. You completed roughly a 40-minute workout, but if you want to top it off with a total work time of an hour, add in an easy run or bike for the final 20 minutes. Focus on deep breathing, and you will feel much more refreshed after any sections of this workout completed than if you skipped it.

Bike or run 20 min: easy

Get moving and feel better.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

Want to Learn More About Military Life?

Whether you're thinking of joining the military, looking for fitness and basic training tips, or keeping up with military life and benefits, has you covered. Subscribe to to have military news, updates and resources delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article