5 Keys to Body Weight Workouts in Small Spaces

Body Weight Workouts

Looking to get a good workout, but you are limited on space?

The above video breaks down how to build a sandbag or create an external load, so you can still do pull movements (which are difficult to do with just your body and the ground...we will be sharing some great routines later, if you have a pull-up bar).

Now let's get into the 5 keys to body weight workouts.


Make sure you are doing a solid warm-up routine.

If you subscribe to this blog, you can get access to the whole workout video and coaching, which begins with the lunge matrix and arm-drivers as an incredible 7 minute warm-up.

Warm-ups are used to prepare the body and mind for the work that will be done. The lunge matrix I have chosen, does an incredible job using dynamic and complex movement patterns to align the body and the mind together. It also literally warms up the body, muscles, soft tissues, and nervous system, so you can move easier while decreasing the chance for injury.

Warm-ups also help us do a mental and physical check-in with our bodies. Is there an area that is tight or sore that you should be aware of? Is your mind focused on the task at hand, or is it swimming in a sea of stress? Are you ready to get stronger or lose fat or build endurance?

Use the lunge matrix with arm-drivers to establish a thorough warm-up to improve movement effectiveness, mobility, stability, strength, power, endurance, and efficiency. Now it is time to work.


The warm-up should be teaching our body to improve mobility and stability, and the natural next step is to build strength. Once we have strength we can start to develop power, which is basically strength with speed (we will be training all of this with the subscriber version workout video, and the written workout found at the bottom of this article).

Body weight workouts often just focus on squats and lunges and push-ups, but leave out the all-important pulling and hinging.

Pulling and hinging is a natural body movement, that will make for a stronger and more powerful human.

Think about building the muscles you need to give someone a better hug, pick stuff up off of the floor, move things from one place to another, and be a high performance athlete in sports and activities.

If we neglect our basic movement patterns, we will be neglecting many of our body's muscles.

Strength is also foundational for power, bone density, longevity, hormone structure, and basic survival needs in life. The next basic key to health, longevity, and performance is endurance.


Endurance is a basic term that includes cardiovascular work to improve our aerobic system and aerobic capacity.

While strength is building power output and force development without the use of oxygen, endurance is building power output, force development, and efficiency in movement with the use of oxygen.

To put it more simply, strength and power is shorter and more powerful bursts of effort, whereas endurance tends to be longer and less powerful efforts.

Think running, walking, swimming, biking, or holding that sleeping child in your arms for the last half of the hike that you wish you wouldn't have brought her on...speaking from personal experience here.

If we only focus on the legs and lungs when we build our aerobic capacity, we set ourselves up for failure when we need our arms to be able to carry even a light load for a long distance.

This is why I have programmed the endurance part of the workout using the full body.

I also start the endurance portion by training the speed part of power, while also getting the heart rate and intensity rate up.

Important note: none of this training will work without appropriately resting.


Simply put--If you do not rest, you will not build mobility, stability, strength, power, or endurance.

Rest is just as important as the work for our body's development (or adaptation). Working strength, speed, or power without rest, just turns these workouts into endurance routines. Endurance workouts done every single day without rest in between, will actually begin to break down our body's ability to improve.

Use the rest in the workouts below, and if you feel like the rest is too long, then you need to be increasing the load and/or intensity of your work.

Speed is the easiest way increase intensity, and just build a bigger sandbag to increase the load.

Adding load and intensity are two easy ways to make sure we are progressing.


Progressive overload is just a fancy trainer term for improving and adapting over time.

Our biology and physiology is set up to specifically adapt to imposed demands over time.

As long as we are working and resting appropriately, we will see improvements in mobility, stability, strength, power, speed, endurance, and our capacity mentally and physically.

There are a few ways we can create progressive overload. One way is to slowly increase the load or weight that you are lifting and moving (if we are only using body weight, we may need to choose a different method for progressively overload, as I am guessing you don't want to get heavier...)

Another way is to add intensity by increasing the speed of the movements and exercises.

The third way to add progressive overload, is to increase the overall volume by adding more reps, sets, or days to your current workout.

The fourth way is to make the movements more complex or have them travel through more distance. For example, if your lunge steps are shallow and short and slow, you can make them deeper, longer, and faster, which will increase the amount of power output you create.

The fifth and final way is to remove rest, but be careful, this can be a double-edged sword...if you take away too much rest, you can change the way your body adapts. For instance, if you are training strength with 10 reps, and you don't rest long enough, you will no longer be training strength, you will be training endurance.

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