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Body Weight Conditioning Circuit: The Rich Man's Gym Way


How can I get in shape without going to the gym?

How can I get in shape without going to the gym? If that's your question, you've come to the right place!

I'm going to run you through a simple effective routine that is customizable to your unique fitness level. This will be a workout you can do at home, at the park or at the gym.

I prefer training in the great outdoors. If you're going to the gym, good for you! On the other hand, if you, like me, prefer the Rocky IV, old school approach OR you can't afford to go, don't have the time, don't like the gym scene, are a germaphobe... consider the following:

First off, that is not an excuse to not exercise and keep your body in fighting shape. Secondly, you don't need to go to the gym to get in an effective whole body workout that will tone, tighten, condition and... wait for it... you guessed it, burn fat! You may even put on a pound or two of lean muscle!

I've been doing this routine twice a week for 3 weeks now and am thoroughly enjoying it! Also, I'm seeing results in my conditioning, muscular endurance, and composition. I am also doing Kettlebell Training twice a week as well.

If this will be your exclusive method of exercise, I recommend doing this 3 times a week or every other day. In the beginning, make sure you rest long enough to recover and end up at 3 times a week or every other day.

Train At Home

Don't Train Cold


The Workout Itself

The workout itself will consist of 5 basic compound exercises. Here they are:

  • Pull Ups
  • Dips
  • Push Ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges

Notice, none of these require any weight. I've placed them in this specific order to be done in a circuit starting with the pull ups.

Then we'll split them up into rounds. Round 1 will be 1 Pull Up, 2 Dips, 3 Push Ups, 4 Squats, 5 Lunges. The Lunges are per leg by the way. This is to be done in a circuit with extremely minimal rest. Meaning, the only rest you should be getting is in moving from one exercise to the other. Once Round 1 is done, then you can rest. Rest long enough to be ready to go again, but not more than 2 or 3 minutes.

Round 2 will be adding 1 repetition to each drill. 2 Pull Ups, 3 Dips, 4 Push Ups, 5 Squats and 6 Lunges.

Guess what Rounds 3-5 are going to look like! Exactly!

Round 5 will be 5 Pull Ups, 6 Dips, 7 Push Ups, 8 Squats and 9 Lunges.

One turn of this will have you doing 15 Pull Ups, 20 Dips, 25 Push Ups, 30 Squats, and 35 Lunges per leg.

Once Round 5 is done, take a break. But an active break. Walk around, do some Jumping Jacks, Knee Highs and some light stretching. After a 5 minute break or so, do the whole thing again.

SUCCESS TIP: Warm up before starting! A great way to warm up and get loose for this is to do some joint mobility drills. I recommend Super Joints by Pavel Tsatsouline.


  1. Perform the entire circuit 3 times. Work up to this.
  2. Next, Perform the entire circuit 5 times.
  3. Finally, Perform the entire circuit 5 times in 45 minutes or less.
ExerciseRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5

Pull Ups












Push Ups



















When you're done with your session, make sure to invest time in cooling down. Stretch out, jog a bit or something active. Whatever you do, don't just stop. You need to come down. This will prevent excessive soreness and injury.

Since this is not an article on nutrition, I will simply advise you to stay hydrated before during and after PLUS make sure to get in some high-quality nutrition within an hour or less of your training.



There's always a but!

What if I can't hit these numbers at all? Also, for those of you already in peak conditioning, what if this is too easy?

I'll address the too easy question now. First off, try it before deciding it's too easy. The volume can creep up on you. Secondly, if this is easy, you can do a few things. Compress the rest, increase the volume, or manipulate the resistance. Think Jump Squats, Weighted Pull Ups and Dips, Feet Elevated Push Ups, etc.

For those of you who can't do a pull-up yet and dips are also not in the near the future, consider training with a partner who can spot you, getting assistance equipment like jump stretch bands or a power tower with counterbalance.

You can also try doing body weight rows instead of pull ups, chair dips, push ups on your knees until you reach the real deal.

If you need more suggestions, leave a comment below and I'll be happy to help out with that!

A QUICK NOTE ON EXERCISE FORM: Commit to perfect form. Do NOT cheat. Cheating will lead to injury. Period. If you can't complete a repetition in good to perfect form, you have my permission and encouragement to quit while you're ahead. I want you to finish each session stronger than the last, not weaker. Push yourself to new heights and better performance but not at the expense of proper exercise form.

Consider yourself warned. If you hurt yourself, it's your fault. Know when to push and when to say when. Need I invoke a Kenny Rogers song right now or do you get the picture?


Now Get To Work

This is an effective routine with lots of room for improvisation. There is also ample room for growth and development with this routine. It will condition the entire body and is great for preparing yourself for higher volume.

In Arnold's book, The Education Of A Bodybuilder, he places a tremendous value on developing a solid foundation of strength using body weight exercises that you can carry with you for your entire life.

Pavel Tsatsouline's book, Enter The Kettlebell introduces us to the ladder protocol, which is part of the inspiration for this routine. Where we add volume incrementally while minimizing muscular fatigue.

Finally, and stop me if you've heard this one before, but you don't have to go to the gym to get in an amazing workout. There is nothing like working out in the fresh air, blue sky and sunshine. Personally, I avoid the gym at all costs. If I'm not doing something like this workout here, I'm swinging, pressing and snatching Russian Kettlebells. I'm far more interested in exercising like it's 1912 rather than 2012, but that's just me...

So, are you going to give this routine a go? Let me know what you got out of this article and how this routine works out for you! Pun intended.

For Further Development

Want More?


David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on June 22, 2012:

@kjrzeeki, GREAT comment! Thanks for tuning in - appreciate the feedback!

kjrzeek1 from New Jersey, USA on June 21, 2012:

People often don't understand how strong you can get with just body weight exercises. Too many people are too worried about shaving there arms rather than performing funcitional exercise. Good Info.

David R Bradley (author) from The Active Side of Infinity on April 16, 2012:

Thank you Spirit Whisperer for the kind words. That inspires me to keep pushing forward and get the Rich Man's Gym message out!

Xavier Nathan from Isle of Man on April 16, 2012:

This is a great hub giving great advice to young people who have been conditioned to believe that they need fancy equipment to get results. Your advice stands the test of time and you have made lifted the limitations that big business has placed on people showing them that ll they really need is the will and the correct mindset to achieve whatever they focus their mind on.

jaybird22 from New York on April 15, 2012:

Good hub and well put together! You're like me, you can train with the mentality of 1912 but with the knowledge of 2012. You do not need to be in a gym to get a great workout. Voting up on this.

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