Come Out Of Self-Isolation Stronger With These Bodyweight Workouts

Clara T. Fryman

The coronavirus pandemic has shocked the globe and closed us off not just from each other, but also from our modern sanctuaries: the gym. It’s where the problems of the day are checked at the door and self-improvement takes center stage. So how do we maintain our motivation when that […]

The coronavirus pandemic has shocked the globe and closed us off not just from each other, but also from our modern sanctuaries: the gym. It’s where the problems of the day are checked at the door and self-improvement takes center stage. So how do we maintain our motivation when that haven is closed? Luckily there are amazing trainers out there like Don Saladino, owner of Drive495, taking to social media to inspire the sheltered masses to take advantage of what they can do at home (a yoga flow, a bodyweight workout, etc.) straight from self-isolation.

“The biggest issue for people right now is the uncertainty and the lack of direction,” says Saladino. “That’s why I built a free, four-week program, and I’m hosting daily live sessions where we go through the movements. The goal is not just to encourage people to be healthy physically, but also bring a little of that gym community we’re missing so much.”

There’s also been an unexpected benefit from so much time at home: Saladino has been able to bring his kids into his daily training, helping them stay healthy, building positive habits, and burning the extra energy they have. “Kids need structure,” he says. “I know young people are spending a lot of time on their computers and phones, which makes it even more important to get them up and moving. Try to gamify the experience by giving them a reward after they finish.”

The new program can be improved with a few online gear purchases (see below), but is based on bodyweight movements, without the need of equipment. “I have people mostly asking for exercises they can do with minimal space,” says Saladino. “The process of developing workouts without the usual technology and training area has unlocked a whole new level of creativity. I’ve found myself pulling on decades of experience, and am really proud of what we’ve been able to do.”

Saladino acknowledges there are parts to the gym experience that are impossible to recreate at home. “I know a lot of people are missing their deadlift, which I understand, because I love the feeling of a bar in my hands,” he says. “But now is a time to challenge yourself in new ways. You don’t have to settle with maintaining the status quo, I think we can come out of this stronger than ever.”

Total-Body Bodyweight Workout

Circuit A

Directions: Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, taking 30 seconds of rest between rounds.

  • Lunge to Reach x 10 reps each side: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms extended at sides. Take a large step forward and descend into a lunge position, bending your front knee to 90 degrees and extending your back leg straight. Place your hands on the inside of your front leg’s foot. Lift one hand off the floor, then twist your torso and reach your arm straight toward the ceiling (palm facing away). Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then lower your hand and repeat on the opposite arm. That’s 1 rep. Repeat, then switch sides.
  • Squat to Stand x 10 reps: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your legs straight, bend over and grab your toes (or lower as much as you can without straining your hamstrings). Without letting go of your toes, bend your knees to lower your body into a squat, keeping your chest and shoulders open. Hold for three seconds, then stand. That’s 1 rep. Repeat.
  • Lateral Lunge x 10 reps each side: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step out to the side and shift your body weight over this leg. Hinge at your hips and sink back as if you were lowering into a squat, keeping your back upright. Lower until your knee forms a 90-degree angle. Keep your weight in your heels and make sure your knee doesn’t go past your toes. Hold your arms out in front of you to help counterbalance. Push off your foot to come back to center. That’s 1 rep. Repeat, then switch sides.

Circuit B

Directions: Complete 4 rounds of this circuit, taking 30 seconds of rest between rounds.

  • Single-Leg RDL to Hop x 10 reps each side: Stand on one leg, holding a dumbbell in the opposite hand (or no weight at all). Bend at your hips to lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. Squeeze your glutes and push though your hips to return to standing, then jump vertically in place. The goal is explosiveness and height. That’s 1 rep. Repeat, then switch sides.
  • Jumping Lunges x 10 reps each side: Begin in a split-stance lunge position, bracing your core and keeping your upper body straight. Lunge down until your knees are at 90 degrees, then jump high in the air and switch leg positions, bringing your back leg to the front and front leg to the back. That’s 1 rep. Launch straight into the next jump, bending your knees to absorb the impact. If you want to take it to the next level, try using a weighted vest. Repeat, then switch sides.
  • Side Plank w/ Elbow to Knee Taps x 10 reps each side: Get into a side plank position: forearm down with hand in a fist, elbow directly under shoulder, feet stacked, and hips lifted to create a straight line from head to ankles. With control, crunch your abs to bring your bottom knee up to touch opposite elbow. They should meet right in front of your torso. Reach both arm and leg back into a slightly extended position. That’s 1 rep. Repeat, then switch sides.
  • Hollow Rocks x 15 reps: Lie down with legs pressed together. Elevate your shoulders off the floor and extend your arms straight overhead so your biceps are next to your ears as you lift your legs off the floor. Press your lower back into the floor and contract your abs. Using only your core, rock slightly back and forth, not letting your arms or legs touch the floor. Each full rock is 1 rep. Repeat.

The Best Bodyweight Cardio Workout

Circuit A

Directions: Complete 3 rounds of this circuit, taking 30 seconds of rest between rounds.

  • Jump Squat (or Tuck Jumps) x 10 reps: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Jump as high as you can. Land with soft knees. That’s 1 rep. Repeat. For a greater challenge, try a jump tuck: Once at the bottom of the squat, explode up and bring your knees toward your chest while in midair. At the top of the jump, your thighs should touch your torso. Land with soft knees, then repeat.
  • Lateral Bound x 10 reps each side: Stand on one leg, with the opposite foot hovering off the ground. Squat slightly on your working leg to engage your hamstring, then use your leg and glute to jump laterally, landing on the opposite leg, maintaining balance. Hold for a beat. That’s 1 rep. Repeat in a continuous, fluid motion, alternating sides.
  • Single-Leg Lateral Hops x 10 reps each side: Stand on one leg, with the opposite foot hovering off the ground. Place your hands on your hips to make sure they’re level. As quickly as you can, hop to the side. That’s 1 rep. Repeat,  jumping side to side on one leg, then alternate.
  • Plyo Pushup x 10 reps: Begin in pushup position with hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back flat, slowly lower your body toward the ground. In one explosive movement, push away from the floor. Bring your hands off the floor to hover for a second before softly landing. That’s 1 rep. Repeat. If you’re unable to do this in a regular pushup position, try elevating your upper body with a bench or step.
  • Bounding x 10 reps each side: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Leap off one leg and pump your arms as you propel your body forward. The movement should feel exaggerated, aiming for height and some hang time. As you push off the ground with one leg, the other will drive up like a high knee. Land softly. That’s 1 rep. Repeat, alternating sides. (This exercise is best done outside.)

The Best Workout Tools for At-home Workouts

Here are four items that Saladino stands by for your home gym.

For Don’s full bodyweight program (free) visit donsaladino.com


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