T Nation

When Getting to a Gym Isn't an Option


#1

I’ve regrettably run into a situation in which I can’t really invest in a gym membership or the like, but obviously want to keep my physical fitness up (especially since before this, 5/3/1 had done a lot for me).
Does anyone have any bodyweight workout templates or similar that they find conducive to what is being accomplished via 5/3/1? I’d be very interested in any ideas anyone has.


#2

Can you at least buy a heavy-ish kettlebell and a doorway pull-up bar?

If you can buy those 2 things (shouldn’t cost more than 60-70 bucks total) that can go an awfully long way.


#3

I’ve got a 20lb one, and i’m reasonably certain I could obtain the other items relatively easily and inexpensively.
What I’m primarily interested in is what sorts of templates to do with these items that are in the spirit of 5/3/1 - one of the reasons i think 5/3/1 is the best program i’ve ever used is due to the fact that there’s no guessing on what needs to be done on a given day.


#4

Without weights I really think you are SOL on 5/3/1 … The heart of the program is built on the Press, Bench, Dead, and Squat. If you arent doing those (or a very close lift) you are not, and cannot do 5/3/1

If you truly are only capable of the things you say, something like Waterburys PLP Program might be the way to go.

Likewise Wendler has written about some stuff he used to do in his room for his Yoke using just bands and a neck harness.

This is what I would do in your situation. Focus on STRICT work, dont bullshit the reps. Because you are limited in weight you must make the reps here very high quality.


#5

Some options: jumps, throws, sprints, jump rope, loaded carries using whatever is available, sand bags etc… push ups/pull ups fat man rows


#6

I know without weights I can’t do 5/3/1. I guess I was looking for something a bit more intangible - 5/3/1 is the first plan i’ve been motivated to do on my own, and i was looking for that in a bodyweight plan in a sense.
Waterbury’s certainly looks interesting though!


#7

You can still follow some of the principles of 5/3/1. Start light, progress slow, and set performance goals. Can you do 20 chins, 20 leg raises, 50 pushups, and run a 6min mile? How about 30, 30, 75, and 5:30?
If I didn’t have access to a gym I would alternate days like this:

Day 1:
mobility
jumps/throws
pushups
chinups
abs
single leg work (all for total reps, work on increasing over time)
hard conditioning (400m, 800m, and 1 mile runs)

Day 2:
mobility
light conditioning/recovery work

Just an example of what you could set up, but the point is set goals and work towards them steadily and determinedly.


#8

PVC pipe from hardware store - you can fill this with sand and seal each end of it. Make it 7 feet long like a barbell. Get two, five gallon buckets - fill them with water, sand, gravel, etc… You can deadlift the filled buckets or hang them from the PVC pipe and squat them up. You can also get cinder blocks and put them at either end for bench press - not a lot of weight, but it provides some resistance.

You’ll be limited in the amount of weight you will have available. Of course, this is not 5/3/1 and probably doesn’t belong in this thread - but I had a friend in your situation who did exactly what I’m outlining here. Let me tell you, 2 five gallon buckets filled with water on a pvc pipe is really hard to lift - all the sloshing around etc… he also hung a rope from a tree and climbed it… he also got a basket ball, cut a hole in it, filled it with sand and sealed it up - used it for heavy medicine ball throws. You can really get creative here… I think he took his situation to the extreme and just kept running with it.

There’s also, gulp… planet fitness. $10 a month. Better than nothing I guess…


#9

I’ve always liked Mark Lauren’s book on bodyweight exercises. I use his stuff whenever I’m away from and can’t use the gym.


#10

I’m going to cheat a bit on this question for one simple reason - because bodyweight training is very limited and I think it’s not asking too much for one to make a sacrifice to be better physically, no matter their circumstances. If one is posting on a forum, one generally has the means.

First, find somewhere you can do dips and chins. You don’t need to buy anything for this so find a playground or look around where you live. Chairs can used for dips and pull-ups can be done on a lot of things.

Second, find somewhere to run and jump. Again, open up your front door as the modern world has lots of places to jump and you can run just about anywhere.

Third - get your hands on one/two KB’s. Preferably heavy (70+ pounds). You can do cleans (DB cleans are only recommended unless you have a KB WELL over 100lbws), rows, snatches, swings, etc.

Fourth, get a weight vest that is AT LEAST 25 pounds (or 10% of your bodyweight). You can use this for single leg work, dips, chins, fat man rows, push-ups.

Everyday:

Mobility
Jump

Weight Vest work:

Exercise One: single leg work or KB work or bodyweight squat or KB squat (so “squat” or “deadlift”)
Exercise Two: push-up or dips (so “bench” or “press”)
Exercise Three: Row or chins

Do these in a circuit for 30-45 minutes - set standards and set goals. I did this exact thing everyday for months and got in best shape since college. I didn’t get bigger or even “strong” but you can keep some strength and prep your body for your return to the weight room.

Example workout:

25# vest

Chins - 25 total reps
Dips - 50 total reps
Squat (two legs) - 250 reps

Done in 30 minutes

Example workout:

25# vest

Snatch - 50 reps/arm
Push-ups - 50 total reps
Chins - 25 total reps

Done in 30 minutes

The key to this is doing it EVERYDAY. It works VERY well.


#11

Thanks for the help everyone! Gonna get right on this


#12

A basketball filled with sand weighs 20 lbs :wink: crude but effective.