Skip to main content


Too Busy for the Gym? Try Calisthenics

Nov 29, 2016 11:45PM ● By MED Magazine
By Corey Howard

This is a crazy time of year for doctors and surgeons.  I train a lot of these professionals and the end of the year is typically when they disappear from my facility and simply can’t make their appointments.  I get it. Everyone’s deductible has been met and now they want the procedure done they’ve been putting off for the past few months.  I see it every year.  Then in January my doctors and surgeons come staggering back in, worn out, out of shape, and ready to spend the next 4 weeks getting back to where they were in October.

What if I could give you some quick, time-effective workouts that help you fend off fatigue, sluggishness and those extra end-of-the-year pounds?  Maybe something that can be done almost anywhere and will keep your fitness from regressing?

The simple solution is calisthenics for. Bodyweight strength training gives you the freedom you need to get workouts in anywhere.  It is also variable enough to provide easy high rep movements for conditioning and very difficult low rep strength movements for raw total body strength.  Let’s look at a couple different examples…

I like to take 3 or 4 different submaximal movements, put them together and do as many as possible for a certain time limit.  You’ll need to pair a push, pull, squat and ab movement, choose the desired number of reps, and fly from one movement to the next without a break for your chosen time limit. 

Remember, for something like this you’ll need to choose submaximal movements. In other 
 words, if you can perform a one arm push-up, you may choose 10 reps of a feet elevated push-up.  An example of this format might be 10 push-ups, 10 horizontal pull-ups, 10 bodyweight squats, and 10 lying leg raises for 20 minutes. You could see how many complete rounds you can do, or how many reps of each exercise you can do in the allotted time. Record your numbers and try and beat it next week!

Calisthenics also provide a phenomenal way to maintain or even improve your strength when you can’t make it to the gym. If you don’t have a 15 or 30 minute block of time available, you can simply “practice” some of your more challenging movements throughout the day.  For example: If you finally knocked out your first one arm push-up, try sporadically dropping down and ripping out 1 rep. 

With this technique, you do not want to go to failure; that is too taxing on the nervous system.Instead, you simply want to practice your new strength skill and accumulate reps as the day passes.  Instead of a couple reps in the gym, now you’ll hit 20-30 reps a day.  Trust me, you’ll be shocked at how well this works!

I know the end of the year is the busiest time for people in the medical field and taking the time to get to the gym can become impossible. Unfortunately, spending January trying to get back into shape can also be really aggravating.  While you’re busy at the hospital and running on fumes, try to squeeze the timed workout in once or twice a week, and the strength reps in a couple of  a week. I guarantee that, by January, you’ll be shocked at the progress you’ve made. 

Corey Howard is the owner of Results Personal Training in Sioux Falls.