The call came in at 2pm. She had a deadline of 5pm. Could I help?

Absolutely. I love helping Women’s Health magazine, especially when they are pressed for time. The debate was on in their offices about whether weight machines were better than bodyweight movements.

“NO way,” was my reply. I gave her several reasons plus a 7-Minute circuit that was better than what she could do with weight machines at a gym.

You see, when it comes to losing fat and getting fit, there’s no reason to use expensive weight machines over bodyweight exercises.
I would never start a beginner on machines. Beginners should start with basic bodyweight movements like planks, side planks, lying hip extensions, bodyweight squats, pushups/kneeling pushups, and modified bodyweight rows.

All of these are better than machines because they require more core stability and endurance and more total body co-ordination – and strength that you actually use in life! (Some call it “Functional Training“.)

Machines are inefficient (targeting only 1-2 muscles at a time), do not help you maximize your core strength or endurance, and frankly, almost all weight machines are all poorly designed.

Unless you are an average sized male, like ol’ CB, weight machines are going to be awkward for you – and could even HURT you.

So as you can see, there are almost zero reasons I would ever have someone use a machine over a bodyweight or dumbbell alternative.

Here are a few 7-minute circuit workouts you should use instead (do each repetition with a slow and controlled pace):

 Beginner
1) Lying Hip Extension – 30 seconds
2) Plank – 30 seconds
3) Beginner Bodyweight Row – 30 seconds
4) 1-Leg Lying Hip Extension or Stability Ball Leg Curl – 30 seconds
5) Kneeling or Regular Pushups – 30 seconds
6) Bodyweight Wall Squats or Bodyweight Squats – 30 seconds
7) Jumping Jacks or Run-in-Place – 30 seconds
– Repeat the circuit 2 times for a total of 7-minute. If you have even more time, do up to 4 circuits with 1 minute of rest between each.

– Take as much extra rest as you need to…or do 20 seconds of each exercise and rest for 10 seconds before the next move.

Intermediate

  • Prisoner Squat – 30 seconds
  • Rocking Plank – 30 seconds
  • Total Body Extension or Med Ball Slam – 30 seconds
  • Stability Ball or Ab Wheel Rollout or TRX Fallout or Inchworm – 30 sec
  • X-Body Mountain Climber (alternating) – 30 seconds
  • Burpees – 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest
  • Side Plank- 15 seconds per side
  • – Repeat the circuit 2 times for a total of 7-minute. If you have even more time, do up to 4 circuits with 1 minute of rest between each.
  • – Take as much extra rest as you need to…or do 20 seconds of each exercise and rest for 10 seconds before the next move.
  • Prefer follow along videos with perfect exercise demonstrations and encouragement from me?

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And here’s one more workout…I know this is a good one because I did it in the Marion family garage this morning before leaving Joel’s place in Florida for a seminar in Los Angeles (I’m writing this to you from seat 4D on Delta Flight 1158…but I’d rather be at home!)

Craig’s Garage Gym Workout – 20 minutes, NOT 7

1) Prisoner Squat – 40 seconds, 20 seconds rest
2) Pull-up – 40 seconds, 20 seconds rest
3) Close-Grip Pushups  – 40 seconds, 20 seconds rest
4) Med Ball Slam – 40 seconds, 20 seconds rest
5) Narrow-Stance Bodyweight Squat – 40 seconds, 20 seconds rest
– 30 second rest
6) Prisoner Squat  – 40 seconds, 20 seconds rest
7) Plank – 60 seconds
8) Bodyweight Row – 40 seconds, 20 seconds rest
9) Burpee – 15 seconds seconds, 15 seconds rest
10) Med Ball Slam – 30 seconds
– Whew.
– Rest 30 seconds, repeat one more time for about 20 minutes of heart-pounding action. Tough, but good, times.

Forget the machines. Pick your level. Pound your workout.

“Try, fail, learn, keep going, keep pushing, stay strong, get stronger, fall down, rise up, adjust course, & success will be yours.”

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Keep on pushing on,

Craig “The Punisher” Ballantyne, CTT

Certified Turbulence Trainer

PS – Are you stuck?

…Take this advice:

“Figure out what you want. Focus on it. Find people who have achieved what you want and find out how they think and act, and then follow their lead.” – Bill Harris

Folks like these:

“Hey Craig – I finished the 12-week Home Workout Revolution program and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. The workouts were a perfect fit before I went to work, and it feels great to have that accomplished first thing in the morning! Thanks so much for the time and energy that you invest in making this available and supporting those of us who are working through your workouts. You are a gem and what you produce is just tremendously valuable!” – Tina Christie

“I also completed the 12 week Home Workout Revolution program and I must say I enjoyed it. It kicked my butt most of the time. Since the workouts were shorter than what I used to do, I felt like I gave a more consistent effort throughout the workouts. In 12 weeks I lost 18.8 pounds going from 222 to 204!” – Chuck Arbo

“I am grossly out of shape, but am starting to get consistent with the Home Workout Revolution program. I am making strides in the right direction. I feel better after doing the workouts…once I recover. Looking forward to the benefits as I am consistent! Thank you for your kindness creating a workout that even a grossly overweight, older person can do!” – Dodi Smith

Get over 51 NO-Equipment Bodyweight workouts here

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com