In our November 2015 cover story on Liam Hemsworth, the Australian actor told us something that took us by surprise: He rarely, if ever, hits the weights.
Yeah, you read that right. The powerfully built Hunger Games star, who’s set to inherit Will Smith’s alien-slaying mantle in the upcoming Independence Day: Resurgence, says he doesn’t bench press or really even pump iron at all. Instead, Hemsworth says, he focuses on “really high-intensity bodyweight workouts like burpees and pullups and pushups and dips.”
Now, we here at Men’s Fitness are obviously huge fans of bodyweight exercises. And there are plenty of perks: You don’t need any specialized equipment, except maybe a pullup bar. Plus, they’re low-impact, meaning you can work out more frequently than those dudes using heavy weights.
But Hemsworth’s iron-free routine got us thinking: Wouldn’t that get boring? Just how creative can you get with just four basic moves?
The answer: With a few variations on each exercise and some workout structuring, the options are almost limitless. Here are more than a few ways to put a creative spin on each move.
The 100-Pushup Workout: A supreme test of upper-body strength, the 100-pushup milestone takes physical training and more than a little mental fortitude. Here’s a plan to reach (and smash through) the 100-pushup milestone.
The Pushup-Pullup Workout: If you want to forge a big, powerful upper body without any fancy equipment, you really only need these two basic exercises. Take full advantage of these moves with this multi-day pushup-pullup workout.
EMOM: Short for “Every Minute On the Minute,” EMOM is a way organize your workout so that you challenge yourself to perform each set efficiently (making sure you maintain good form, of course). Start each set at the top of every minute, and perform each set as quickly as you can. You can use whatever time you have left in that minute to rest before beginning the next set at the top of the next minute.
“Angie”: One of the six benchmark CrossFit WODs, Angie is brutal (and brilliant) in its simplicity: 100 reps each of pullups, pushups, situps, and squats. (Granted, squats and situps aren’t part of Hemsworth’s routine, but a simple “air squat,” performed without weights, is definitely one of the best bodyweight exercises you can perform.) Here’s how to approach Angie.
The 3-Minute Fit Test: Three minutes, three moves: chinups, pushups, and burpees. Do a minute of each exercise, resting 60 seconds between.