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The Zero Resource Workout

In Part 1 of the home workout series, we covered a couple Low Resource Workouts that you can do at home with minimal equipment you can find at affordable prices at many stores. However, there are times when you’re without access to a gym or equipment which make continuing your training difficult. Without load, it will become difficult to increase strength. That said, bodyweight exercises can be a great change of pace in improving muscle and joint function and help maintain strength through periods of time when you cannot lift. In Part 2, we’re covering the Zero Resource Workout.

As before with the Low Resource Workout, distractions can deter you from achieving your goals. Turn off the TV, ask friends, family, and roommates for 30 minutes or so to yourself, and start focusing on you. Plan your space and “equipment” prior to the start of your workout so you can move from exercise to exercise with maximum efficiency.

Zero Resource Equipment

Weights: Almost anything that can be picked up can be used as a weight. Empty gallon jugs (preferably with a screw-on cap) are perfect because they can be easily customized with sand or liquid to increase or decrease load. They also come with some great built-in handles! While I wouldn’t recommend throwing them, non-throw medball exercises are easily replicated with these jugs.

Water bottles with some sand can also be used as hand weights for lighter exercises.

Benches & other misc equipment: Tables of various sizes can be utilized as many types of equipment. Sturdy coffee tables with a blanket can serve as a bench for chest press exercises. Taller kitchen tables, as long as they’re heavy enough can be used for exercises such as inverted rows. Simply lay down underneath the table so your head sticks out on one side, grab the edge of the table, and pull yourself up while maintaining a long body. See if you can come up with any other creative uses for household items: the sky is the limit.

Equipment needed: Milk Jugs, Water Bottles, Coffee Table, Kitchen Table

Concentrate on proper form. Because the amount of weight you can use is limited to bodyweight and milk jugs, there is no reason to use “cheat” form to force an extra rep. Complete the prescribed reps of each exercise in as few sets as possible with as little rest as possible between sets. If you finish an exercise in 2 sets or fewer, add 25% more reps the next time you use this workout.

Complete each exercise in succession. Always warm up prior to each workout.

The list is in this format Exercise (Equipment) x reps.
Push-Ups (BW) x 50
Inverted Rows (Kitchen Table) x 60
Squats (2 Milk Jugs on Shoulders) x 60
Russian Twists (Milk Jug/ Water Bottle) x 30 each side
Overhead Press (2 Water Bottles/ 2 Milk Jugs) x 100
Bent-Over DB Rows (2 Milk Jugs) x 100
Good Mornings/ Hip-Hinge (2 Milk jugs on Shoulders) x 40

The goal is to complete the workout with proper form in as little time as possible. As stated above, if you finish a particular exercise in 2 or fewer sets, increase the max number of reps for that exercise by 25% next time.


Equipment needed: Same as above but have a timer, clock, or stopwatch on hand.

Finish each superset in the amount of time given. Move back and for the between 2 exercises until all sets and reps are completed. To increase difficulty, you can increase the weight used, decrease the time of completion, or increase the number of reps performed. 

Exercises are listed in this format: Exercise (Equipment) sets x reps. Time limit is listed above each superset. Start the clock immediately before beginning your first rep.

8 minutes
A1 – Decline Push-Ups (Hands on Coffee Table) 12 x 4
A2 – Inverted Rows (Kitchen Table) 12 x 5

8 minutes
B1 – Suitcase Deadlifts (2 Milk Jugs at side) 12 x 5
B2 – Lat Raises (2 Water Bottles) 12 x 6

8 minutes
C1 – Crunches 10 x 8
C2 – Goblet Squat (1 Milk Jug at Chest) 10 x 6


Take the time to stretch post-workout. Recovery is a big part of muscle repair after a tough training session. Try to get through each  without interruption. Taking time to improve your health and wellness will be a big contributor to improving your quality of life. It’s not selfish to take some time for yourself! Some of you might be competitive and try to do these workouts several times a week or multiple times a day. Remember, your body needs rest and time to repair. Some relaxation time (if you can find it) is never a bad thing. Try to give yourself 1-2 exercise-free days a week.

These workouts are short and completed with found items from around the home or recycling bin. Now you have no excuse not to do a little training! Get up and go!


Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS

Author: Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS

Aaron Runner is the Owner of Full-Stride Performance in Roswell, GA and a former NCAA Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS

Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS View All

Aaron Runner is the Owner of Full-Stride Performance in Roswell, GA and a former NCAA Strength & Conditioning Coach.

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