Its time to get some creative and cool exercises that will jack your metabolism and burn body fat without running or jumping; without ruining your joints. Exercises you can do almost anywhere, with no to minimal equipment. Keep reading to learn discover some pretty funky, low-impact, high-intensity exercises and sample routines.
HIIT or High Intensity Interval training, is one of the quickest and most effective ways to get in the best shape. However, many HIIT activities include jumping or other high-impact activities, which are not safe for people with certain injuries. If high-impact activities are not for you, or you want to add some excitement to your workouts, consider some of the activities listed below.
Before you begin any of these exercises, seek advice from a Personal Trainer to teach you how to perform those exercises correctly and safely. Even simple, low impact movements, such as a body weight squat, can result in injury if not done with proper form. In addition, seek clearance from your health practitioner (physio, ostheo) if you have joint issues because some of those exercises may not be appropriate for your condition.
1. BODYWEIGHT exercises include: fast air squats, fast back step lunges, walking lunges, step ups on low bench or chair, low impact burpees with no jump (from a standing position, hands on floor, step back one foot at a time into a plank, bring one foot back at a time and return to standing with no jump), back lunges to front kick. Combine several exercises, such as a squat to a lunge, back lunges to side lunges. Another combination is lateral skating with no jump opposite arm touches ankle, jacks without the jumping, front kicks, back kicks, and side kicks.
2. BATTLE ROPE exercises include a dozen exercises you can do with a battle rope that won’t require you to lift your feet off the ground. The double arm slams are a good starting exercise. You should try to hold each one for a minimum of 30 seconds.
3. XR SLIDERS are little plastic pads you put underneath your feet or hands to do low impact full-body exercises such as low impact mountain climbers. The intensity of the exercises can be adjusted by altering the position of the body. As an example, the mountain climber can be made easier by holding on to a table or high bench, shifting some of the body weight onto the table or bench.
4. BARBELL and DUMBBELL exercises include single arm snatches or swings, boxing punches with light dumbbells, barbell hang power cleans, thrusters, and push-presses. These exercises are all great full body exercises that will engage many muscles with minimal to no high impact.
5. WEIGHTED PLATE exercises include squats to overhead presses, plate prowler push (if you have a gliding surface), overhead squats, and walking lunges. Most of the exercises you did with bodyweight can be replicated with a weighted plate.
6. KETTLEBELL swings are the most popular kettlebell movements. Even my not so young clients do it. However, be very careful with your lower back when doing these exercises. Many kettlebell workouts can be found on the Internet. My favorite website for creative kettlebell routines is this one.
7. SUSPENSION TRAINING (TRX) exercises include squats to front kicks, and chest presses with knee raises. Here are some examples of additional routines using TRX.
8. MEDICINE BALLS and DEAD BALLS are weighted balls that won’t bounce off the ground. Exercises include Medicine ball slams or wall balls, and won’t result in any impact on the body.
9. POWER BANDS are very strong resistance bands with handles you can attach to a pole. Multi-movement routines using power bands include a lunge combined with a chest press, single arm row, or woodchops.
10. SANDBAGS or WEIGHTED BACKPACKS can be added to increase the intensity of the bodyweight exercises described above. If you don’t have a sandbag, stuff a backpack with clothes (for padding) and weights. Perform exercises that involve big muscle groups such as the clean & press, overhead squat, thruster (deep squat to a overhead shoulder press) or power clean. Weighted push-ups or prisoner push-ups (push-up and knee to elbow) are also good exercises. This is a great website for an extensive list of sandbag workouts.
Now that you have a few ideas, add your own routines, based on your location and equipment availability – if you live in a rural area or have access to some tyres, tyre flipping or tyre dragging is another way to get the heart pumped.
Also check out this article to give you more creative ideas on how to make your own fitness equipment.
The perfect routine or workout doesn’t exist – always think about what you want to achieve, what your goals are, what equipment you have, and how much time you have. Combinations and training modalities are endless. Rotate your exercises. Change the length of time you spend doing circuits. Increase or decrease the repetitions of each exercise. The variety will keep your workouts fresh and more effective.
To measure your progress, begin with benchmark fitness tests. You can periodically repeat the benchmark tests to measure your progress. The benchmark tests do not have to be complex – how many push-ups can you do in 1 minute? Squats? Or, choose a benchamrk without a time limit – how many of a specific exercise can you do? How long did it take to perform all the exercises? repeat the same workout a few weeks later and measure your progress. Did you improve?
Bodyweight only – full body
The level of intensity can be scaled down to suit your own fitness level or personal condition. There are a few options you can choose: reduce the amount of reps or rounds, reduce the amount of time, and modify or change the exercise.
|Intermediate / Advanced||Deconditioned / beginner|
|5 Rounds for time50 squats (fast)20 Prisoner push-ups (20×2)1 back stepping lunge,1 front kick R, L||3 Rounds for time20 squats (slower pace)10 Modified push-ups on knees (10×2)1 back stepping lunge,1 front kick R, L|
|For time100 lunges100 squats100 push-ups||For time50 lunges50 squats20 push-ups|
Kettlebells + Bodyweight – full body
|Intermediate / Advanced||Deconditioned / beginner|
|EMOM (Every minute on the minute)100 KB swings –5 low impact Burpee every minute||EMOM (Every minute on the minute)20 / 50 KB swings –2 low impact burpee every minute|
|TABATA Intervals (20sec work, 10sec rest).8 Rounds1. KB Thruster2. Alternating Reverse Lunge3. Low impact Burpee4. Walking push-ups5. KB Sumo Deadlift High Pull6. KB Sit-ups7. Sgl Arm KB snatch8. Low impact jacks||TABATA Intervals (20sec work, 10sec rest).4 rounds.Options would involve using a smaller weight.1. KB Thruster2. Alternating Reverse Lunge3. Low impact Burpee4. Modified Push-ups on knees5. KB Sumo Deadlift High Pull6. Sit-ups7. Sgl Arm KB or light DB snatch
8. Low impact jacks
Please leave a comment below if you have favorite low impact high intensity training favorites or want to provide other feedback on the article.