The 15-Minute Calisthenics Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Pair your regular workouts with this outdoor-friendly routine for superior strength, stability, and endurance.

The last thing any runner, mountain biker, or rock climber wants to do is take their strength training to the (not so great) indoors. But like it or not, strength training is a critical part of an endurance workout regimen. It prevents muscle imbalances, protects you from injury, and increases speed and stamina. And bodyweight workouts are a particularly effective way to train all three.

“A major benefit of bodyweight exercises lies in the simple fact that we can work them in before, after, or even throughout our outdoor adventures,” says Rose Wetzel, a Clif Bar obstacle course racer and outdoor exercise and nutrition coach. “That’s where we outdoor athletes prefer to work and play. And when it comes to reaping the benefits of strength training, it’s all about convenience,” she says. When things are convenient, you’ll stick to them. The more consistent you are with your routine, the more likely you are to see results.

The most effective bodyweight movements are those that mimic explosive plyometric exercises. Working the springlike elasticity of your muscles trains them to generate power quickly and efficiently. That function translates to speed and strength in your sport that’s much harder to achieve with cardio alone.

The workout below is full of such movements. Complete it at least three times per week on nonconsecutive days (on its own or before, after, or during your regular routine). Perform each exercise for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, and then move on to the next one. Do all exercises one time for a total of 15 minutes. Each week, try to finish more reps in the allotted time while maintaining proper form.

Jump Squat

Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head. From here, squat down until your legs are roughly parallel to the ground, keeping your chest up and back neutral. Forcefully extend your knees, hips, and ankles to jump straight up as high as possible. Land softly on the ground and immediately lower back to a squat before you spring back up.

Triangle Push-Up

Get on the ground in a high plank position. Position your hands in line with your shoulders and under the center of your chest, thumbs and index fingers touching to form a triangle. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. From here, slowly bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest is a few inches above the ground. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to start.

Bicycle Crunch

Lie flat on the ground, hands raised to the sides of your head, and raise your bent legs so that your shins are parallel to the ground. Brace your core to maintain contact between your lower back and ground throughout the exercise. From here, squeeze your abs to lift your upper back off the ground and bring one elbow to meet the opposite knee. As you do so, extend the other leg straight out a few inches above the ground. Immediately switch sides.

Speed Skater

Stand on your right leg with your left toe on the ground behind you for balance. From here, bend your knees and hips to slightly lower toward the ground and spring up to hop onto your left foot, letting your arms swing with you. As you land, bring your right foot behind you for balance. Immediately switch sides.

Forward Lunge

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and hands clasped in front of your chest for balance. From here, take an exaggerated step forward with one leg, bending at the knees and hips until both legs form 90-degree angles and your knees are directly over your ankles. Push through the base of your front foot to reverse the movement and return to start. Repeat on the opposite side.

Straight-Leg Raise

Lie on your back on the ground with your legs together, and place your hands underneath your butt for balance. Brace your core. From here, while keeping your legs together and as straight as possible, squeeze your abs to slowly raise your legs until your thighs are perpendicular to the ground. Immediately reverse the motion to return to start.

Bodyweight Hang/Pull-Up

Stand underneath a low, sturdy tree branch and grab the branch with an overhand, wider-than-shoulder-width grip. From here, with your arms fully extended, brace your core and bend your knees to lift your feet toward your butt. Keeping your core tight, hang from the branch for the prescribed time, or, if strength allows, pull your shoulder blades together so that you raise into a pull-up. When your collarbones reach the branch, slowly reverse the movement to return to start.

Lateral Lunge

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest for balance. From here, take an exaggerated step to the side with right leg, bending at that knee and hip until the thigh of your right leg is perpendicular to the ground, knee directly over your ankles. Your left leg should be completely straight. Push through the base of your right foot to reverse the movement and return to start. Repeat on the opposite side.

Side Plank (Left)

Lie on your left side on the ground, left forearm under your shoulder, left hip resting on the ground, and right foot stacked on top of the left. From here, brace your core and lift your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold for the prescribed time.

Mountain Climber

Get on the ground in a high plank position with your hands positioned directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. From here, with your toes anchored into the ground and bracing your core for balance, bring one knee to your chest. Immediately switch sides, driving your foot back into the ground while raising the opposite knee to your chest.

Side Plank (Right)

Lie on your right side on the ground, right forearm under your shoulder, right hip resting on the ground, and left foot stacked on top of the right. From here, brace your core and lift your hips so your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold for the prescribed time.

Bridge

Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground, arms resting by your sides. Brace your core and press your lower back into the ground, making sure to maintain a flat back throughout the exercise. From here, squeeze your glutes and drive through your heels to raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from upper back to knees. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to start.

Single-Leg Squat (Left)

Stand tall with your feet together, and then extend your right leg and both arms out in front of you. From here, bend your left knee and hip to lower down as far as possible. Pause, then push through your left heel to return to start. (Make this easier by holding a large rock or other heavy object out in front of you for a counterbalance.)

Single-Leg Squat (Right)

Stand tall with your feet together, and then extend your left leg and both arms out in front of you. From here, bend your right knee and hip to lower down as far as possible. Pause, then push through your right heel to return to start. (Make this easier by holding a large rock or other heavy object out in front of you for a counterbalance.)

Wide-Handed Push-Up

Get on the ground in a high plank position. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and in line with your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest is a few inches above the ground. Pause, then reverse the movement to return to start.

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