Fitness With The Family | Work It Training

by Work It Trainer Shane Whitehead, CSCS

Staying in shape doesn’t require hours in the gym, there are plenty of exercises you can do with your bodyweight or minimal equipment that will challenge even the strongest of people.  Bodyweight exercises are great for adults as well as kids since they teach body awareness and there is minimal risk of injury.  If you are consistent, spending just 20 minutes 2-3 times a week is enough to make significant improvements in your strength. To do this however, you will need to select the best “bang for your buck” exercises which use as many different muscles as possible.


One of my favorite things to do is to go to a local park and think of exercises I can do on the playground.  You may not have tried crossing the monkey bars or climbing a tree lately, but these can be really challenging.  Climbing is one of the most basic, functional exercises so try to do it as much as possible.

If you want a structured workout with more options, you may want to consider purchasing some basic equipment.

Resistance Bands – Resistance bands are inexpensive and can be used anywhere. You can anchor them to a door, around a railing, or even just stand on them. They come in different resistance levels and you can also double them up to increase resistance for stronger people.

Suspension Trainer  -These systems are great because you can easily adjust the difficulty of exercises by stepping forward or backward. Most of them can mount to a door but you can also put them on a pull up bar for stronger individuals who need a greater challenge.


To work all the major muscles, you will need to choose one exercise from each category.  Most people are missing pulling exercises from their workouts so be sure to include them to help prevent shoulder injuries.

Squat/Deadlift – Any lower body exercise where you are lowering your body by and closing the distance between your knees and your chest.  (squat, lunge, deadlift, step up)

Press – Any exercise where you push resistance away from your body (push up, overhead press, dip)

Pull – Any exercise where you are pulling resistance towards your body  (pull up, row, carrying something in each hand.

If you follow this very basic outline, you can create a few different workouts to rotate between.  Try starting with 2-3 sets of anywhere from 5-15 reps and make sure you attempt to increasing reps or difficulty each week.  Alternating between higher reps and lower reps on different days can also be beneficial.  A few good exercise combinations would be:

Bodyweight Squat/Push Up/Band Row
Lunge Walk/Dumbbell Overhead Press/Pull Up

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