If we were to guess, your fitness routine in recent months probably involved a lot of the same old exercises in your living room. Over and over and over again. Maybe you tuned in to some streaming workouts or even hit up a Zoom session or five, but did you make any progress on your fitness goals? Scratch that—did you even set any goals? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. And it’s okay.
Thing is, to get results, you have to switch things up to continue pushing yourself week after week. Otherwise, everrrything just stays the same. Increasing resistance is a no-brainer, but these days, dumbbells can be hard to come by.
Don’t fret! You can surprise your muscles-—in the best of ways—with your own body weight. Sure, you could just add more reps or sets as you get stronger, but eventually, you’ll hit a dead end. (And who wants to do 37 glute bridges anyway?) That’s why, in this workout challenge, you’ll progress in skill.
You’re guaranteed to feel like even more of a badass (it’s possible, trust) when you can do perfect burpees and supermans in week four, confirmed, but that’s not all. “There’s a huge mental component to movement,” says WH advisory board member Lauren Kanski, CPT, founder of the K Method and creator of this exclusive plan for WH. “You can have the strongest muscles in the world, but they cannot function without sensory input from the brain.” That’s why establishing a rock-solid mind-body connection pays off in the long run. “And when we focus on components of the skill itself, the brain has to adapt in a good way,” Kanski says.
What’s more, the stability and explosive elements (like the single-side exercises and jumps) are designed to get your entire system operating better as a team—crucial to becoming fitter and preventing injury.
Think of this sweat test as a total-body training program in disguise. “It hits almost all of our biggest movement patterns and incorporates balance, strength, and power,” says Kanski. Nothing gets left out!
WH Stronger members, you get exclusive access to free PDFs of all of our fitness challenges! Find your Bodyweight Challenge PDF here and head to WomensHealthMag.com/Challenges for more!
Time: 15 to 20 minutes each
Good for: total body
Instructions: Do each week’s workout three times, ideally on nonconsecutive days. Perform three sets of each exercise (either the prescribed number of reps or for time), with 30 seconds of rest between moves. Then continue on to the next.
Download this Challenge as a PDF
Pro tip: Also aim to add three or four days a week of low- or moderate-intensity, low-impact cardio, like walking at an incline, spinning, or rowing, to let your joints and muscles recover while improving cardiovascular health.
How to: Start at the top of a pushup with wrists under shoulders and feet together—you can separate them to make the move…