Strength-building workout plan with Hadyn Masters

When you feel strong and healthy, your confidence also gets a boost – and you don’t need to join a gym to get started. This workout from trainer Haydn Masters builds strength and stamina, without any need for weights.

Hadyn Masters working out on grassland

These exercises use your body’s own weight to provide resistance and build strength, instead of relying on weights or complicated equipment. This means you can train almost anywhere, including in your lounge room, backyard or a local park. 

Plus, you’ll increase your awareness of your body and how it moves. 

“You’ll never have to worry about queueing for the bench press or squat rack again, which is reason enough to switch to bodyweight workouts,” says Sydney trainer Haydn Masters, who created this workout. 

Once you’ve mastered each exercise, you can build intensity by slowing down the speed, adding a pause when holding a position, or using a single limb. (If you haven’t exercised in a while, always consult your health professional before starting something new.)

Do as many reps as you can of each exercise for 60 seconds. Then move on to the next exercise. Complete the full set of exercises four times. If you need to, add in a 2-minute rest at the end of each set, but slowly reduce the rest time as your fitness improves.

 

Sprinter’s lunge

Hadyn Masters working out on a grassland

The sprinter’s lunge is a progression on the basic reverse lunge movement. Incorporating a dynamic leg drive at the top of the movement helps improve balance and stability.

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands by your sides. Try to keep your head and spine in this neutral position throughout the whole exercise.
  2. Take a large step backwards with your left foot, landing on the ball of the foot; keep about 70 per cent of your weight through the front foot, which should be flat on the ground. Drop the back knee close to the ground (use the hip muscles to control this move) and pause at the bottom. The arms move as they would for running – bring your left arm up to a right angle and keep your right arm straight. 
  3. Exhale as you push up from your front right leg to standing. Drive the back foot off the ground, bringing your thigh parallel to the ground and your knee bent at 90 degrees.
  4. Take your raised leg back to the lunge position and repeat the sequence. Do 15 reps on each side. 
  5. Great for: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, groin and abs

 

Arabesque

Hadyn Masters working out on a grassland

The arabesque improves balance and trains the body to move over each leg with control while maintaining a strong, neutral pelvis position. 

  1. Stand with a slight bend at the knees and arms extended overhead. 
  2. Shift your weight onto one leg. Keeping the spine and head in one long line, lean forward and bend from the hip while the other leg moves up and away from the body. The arms stay straight out in front. Try to keep your pelvis still, with minimal rotation at the hip.
  3. Hold the position for three seconds before slowly returning to the start position. Complete five reps on each leg with a three-second hold in the arabesque position.

Great for: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, lower back and core

 

Advanced squats 

Hadyn Masters working out on a grassland

Whether you’re looking for a total body workout or just want to gain some strength and muscle, squats are the ultimate exercise. They also help maintain balance and improve joint stability.

  1. Plant your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, with your weight in the heels and balls of your feet. Keep your knees over your ankles and your hips over your knees. Place your hands on the back of your head and extend your chest forward.
  2. Inhale and gradually move your hips backwards as your knees bend. Find a spot straight in front of you to focus on, and keep your back straight and your head, chest and shoulders up. As your squat deepens, focus on keeping your knees and feet in line and go as deep as your body allows. Aim to have your hips sink below your knees. Pause for two seconds at the bottom. Keep your core muscles tight as you push back up through your heels and return to the start position. Perform as many repetitions as you can, aiming for 20 reps per set.

Great for: Quads, hamstrings, glutes and abs

 

Push up and pause

Hadyn Masters working out on a grassland

The push-up is the perfect bodyweight exercise as it builds strength in both the upper body and the core. Adding a pause at the bottom of the push-up will increase the intensity.

  1. Get into the push-up position, with your arms straight down and your hands slightly wider apart than your shoulders, your body off the ground. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe. Before you begin any movement, contract your abs and tighten your glutes for greater core stability.
  2. Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Keep looking down at the ground. Pause for three seconds at the bottom. Then, exhale as you contract your chest muscles and push back up through your hands to the start position. Perform as many repetitions as you can, aiming for 10 in each set.

Great for: Pecs, deltoids, triceps, abs and glutes

 

Front plank

Hadyn Masters working out on a grassland

When it comes to working your abs and other core muscles, planks are ideal. Adding the knee-to-elbow move to this exercise will build even stronger stability and improve balance.

  1. Start by lying on the ground with your legs extended and your elbows under your shoulders. Push yourself up into the plank position on your elbows. Squeeze your buttocks to maintain a straight back and tight core.
  2. Slowly bring your left knee towards your left elbow. Maintain the height of your hips and try to keep them still, with minimal rotation. Pause.
  3. Slowly return the left leg to the original plank position. Then perform the exercise on the other side, moving your right knee towards your right elbow. Keep alternating legs. Complete 20 reps, focusing on keeping your hips as still as possible.

Great for: Core, deltoids, glutes and hip flexors

 

Power aids

Stay fresh during your workout, then treat your sore muscles to a relaxing body wash.

 

Inverted shoulder press 

Hadyn Masters working out on a grassland

The easiest way to strengthen your shoulders without weights is to use your bodyweight in an inverted shoulder-press exercise. 

  1. Place your hands on the ground, slightly wider than your shoulders, in a push-up position. 
  2. Start with your knees on the ground, then raise your hips so that your arms, torso and legs create an inverted V-shape. Stay on the balls of your feet, keeping knees slightly bent. 
  3. From that position, bend your elbows to lower your body until your forehead almost touches the ground between the hands. 
  4. Pause, then push back up to the start position. Perform as many reps as you can, aiming for 12 reps per set.

Great for: Deltoids, triceps, pecs and core