Do You Have A Baseline Workout?


Physical fitness is a goal all men should strive for. Keeping one’s body in shape and ready for any challenge is a smart move in today’s modern society. There is a lot of information about exercise available for anyone to access. This coupled with the prevalence of gyms means that the knowledge and facilities are available. The limiting factor of an exercise routine is opportunity. Overcoming the lack of opportunity is essential to getting and staying in shape.


Creating the opportunity to work out is important. One way I have found to create this opportunity to exercise is to have an exercised program simple enough to do at home. Unless you are constantly sleeping over strange ladies’ houses, one typically wakes up in their own bed. If you do wake up in strange places quite often, you still can adopt a program for that. A daily morning workout is easy to allow time for. You just wake up half an hour earlier. Also, most neighborhoods are safe enough to run in and if yours is not, it will only push you to run faster.



Sometimes gym hours do not mesh with work schedules. Sometimes traffic patterns preclude traveling to the gym. The logistics of showering and changing at the gym can take too much time out of a busy day. These difficulties associated with exercising exclusively at a gym can and do keep men from getting in shape.

The best way I have found to create exercise opportunity is to exercise around your home soon after you wake up in the morning. You usually have to shower and change for work anyway so there is no duplication of effort there. Any commute you would have for the gym is not applicable. It also allows for a frequency as often as you wish, even seven days a week. This frequency is significant in maintaining any fitness gains.


A quick home based exercise program should be quick and simple so one can do it every day. One system I have is sit-ups, pushups, and a run. Sometimes I will also do chin-ups. The intensity varies, sometimes run three miles, sometimes one mile. The amount of pushups and sit-ups is usually the maximum possible. Remember, the key is to keep the exercise program short so it can be done often in a busy schedule.


These daily workouts are a method of maintenance and routine. They should not be a stand-alone project for men. The gym is still an option and should be used for any serious weightlifting and fitness gains. The idea of exercising every day with low opportunity costs is a better move than going to the gym once a week when time allows. The idea of doing both is even better.


Over time, the intensity of these daily workouts will increase. I am at the point where I can do sixty pushups and seventy situps nonstop. Running every day builds the endurance that some gym based programs. I have noticed that running in the morning has an invigorating effect waking up for the day. Use caution though, I have also noticed running too far too often can lead to aching joints. Wearing different shoes also works different parts of the leg. Squishy soled shoes pump the calves quite a bit.

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42 thoughts on “Do You Have A Baseline Workout?”

  1. Any man who is out of shape has nobody but himself to blame.
    Where i come from, we have this thing called “the ground” where we can do push-ups until we pass out from exhaustion and we can run until our legs don’t move anymore. If you need a place to do pull ups, go over to the nearest park and get on some monkey bars. You need a place do do crunches? Put your feet under your couch on commercial breaks.
    For those who complain about not having the time, i call bullshit. You spend time where you value it. If you don’t have the time to work out, then you clearly don’t care about your body enough to do so. Maybe you should cut back on the internet browsing for a month or two and spend that time improving your body.
    Long story short, there are ways you can exercise effectively without a fancy gym membership or overpriced home equipment.

    1. Hell yeah, basically if you have google, you can do a search for all of the exercises on the “Insanity” list, and you can do them yourself, no equipment needed. If you are a bit more nefarious and need someone to say “Dig Deeper!” occasionally, you can torrent them or find them to stream for free!

    2. We bought a bunch of bars, plates, dumbbells, one multi-station machine (lat pull, tricep, seated row, butterfly, etc) and two benches (with incline/decline) at local garage sales and off Craigslist for under $200 for everything. We went to the “good neighborhoods” and garbage-picked two pieces of cardio equipment and fixed them and they are not pretty but they work fine. We took a section of our basement and turned it into a gym with lighting, music and mirrors and all of the “found” stuff. Everything we need for a basic powerlifting/bodybuilding program except leg machines – but DLs, squats and lunges are good enough for most workouts anyway. There’s always 90 minutes to invest in going into the basement and listening to music … might as well lift while you’re there. Consistency is more effective and productive than any short-lived but intense effort. It should be a marathon, not a sprint.

    3. Where i come from, we have this thing called “the ground”
      I thought that it was called “the yard” at the prison :o)

        1. I will come and play pick up game on SPb Metro and win many times, as before. And yes, my beard’s a bit grey, and I love it that way!

      1. Is this some sort of poorly formatted racist comment? If so, I applaud your courage – it takes a lot to hide behind an anonymous internet name.
        How are things in your shithole country with no good men left to choose from? Does it feel good knowing that your beloved homeland’s main export is easy pussy?

  2. If you don’t care enough for your body, you are a sad excuse for a human being. Make time!

  3. If you truly value your health and have the desire to get bigger and stronger, you MAKE the time to go to the gym. Excuses are like assholes, gentlemen.

    1. I never go to the gym, not because I am making excuses, but because I don’t have to work out, nearly anywhere, nearly anytime.
      If you are a competitive lifter or body builder your milage will definately vary, but most of us aren’t, nor do we desire to be.
      The primary benifit of going to a gym, for most trainers who only wish to get bigger and stronger than they are at the moment, is to buy the gym owner a new Porsche. I might rather save the money for one of my own, or, in my case, a pursuit bike.

  4. Ditch the situps (unless you’re in a branch of the military that tests for them), they don’t do anything that pull ups won’t do, and substitue inverted rows (also known as Australian pull ups) to balance your push ups. You can do them under a desktop if that’s all that is available. Learn the progressions so you can continue to do the exercises for strength training and not just add reps, which is endurance/aerobic training. Add Bulgarian split squats.
    Throw in some pelvic tilts for lower back, hip thrusts for glutes now and then and dips when you have the opportunity and you have a complete work out that will take you to “male model” without ever setting foot in a gym or paying a fee.

  5. Body weight exercises are only going to get you so far. Free weight exercises are by far the most effective exercise for men, in terms of time and efficiency. If you can get your diet under control and lay off excessive booze, 4 sessions a week is all you need. Break it down like so:
    Mon – Squats, back extensions, abs
    Wed – Bench, Over head press, abs
    Fri – Dead lift, lunges, abs
    Sat – Close grip bench, bicep curls, rows, abs
    That’s it fellas. Hit it hard with intensity. Nothing fancy, and in today’s gyms all of the fruity beta males won’t bother you near free weights. I think you’ll find the “meat heads” that lift like this are very helpful if you have questions or ask for a spot if this is new to you. You’ll also notice they have thick physiques, big backs, arms, legs, and chicks dig this more than some skinny bitch in an UnderArmor shirt that can do 30 pullups but can’t bench his body weight. Add some go with your show and pack on some muscle.
    Blah blah blah the military uses body weight exercises and they are jacked… are you in the military? Me either. That is a whole life style where fitness is a job requirement. This will get you in and out of the gym in an hour per session and yield measurable results in 8-12 weeks.

    1. there’s more to bodyweight than pushups and pullups. by the time you can do one armed handstand pushups, you will be jacked

      1. There is no bodyweight substitute for for deadlifting 500lb+. Squatting is a little easier to duplicate, but again, once you’re talking grown ass man weights, all the pistol squats in the world can’t replicate that kind of explosive power.
        And going back to Adam’s point, with the hard ass combat arms and special forces dudes that you think of when you think “jacked military dudes”, believe me when I say that most of them are incorporating some kind of hard weight training into their PT.

    2. The “meat heads” you’re talking about are NOT doing anything even vaguely resembling the routine you’ve described. Even if it were a good routine, how many sets? How many reps per set? What % of your 1 rep max?
      Look at that last picture of Marines doing pushups. That’s a very normal physique in the military because almost all PT programs use body weight. Maybe the % of jacked guys is a little higher in the military but most military guys are definitely not jacked. Source: 15 years in the Army and typing this from Afghanistan right now. The guys that are jacked are the guys in the gym and the guys I see eating correctly in the chow hall.
      Other than that, you’re right. Body weight exercises are not going to get you jacked. You need to hit the gym and use the free weights while you’re there. Use Rippetoe’s Starting Strength if you’re new or out of shape. There are plenty of good variations on it out there if you don’t want T. Rex mode. Hit your macros in a well-balanced diet and avoid processed food, sugar and alcohol. And, yes, as the article states, have a baseline workout you can do anywhere for those days when you can’t get to the gym. Anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise.

      1. What are you talking about? I compete in AAU powerlifting. This is almost exactly how we set up our programs, with some variations based on weak points. I am sorry I don’t have space in article comments to design a detailed lifting program for you. I suggest you link up with some strong ass people in your area and learn from them instead of reading Internet forums and spouting off garbage.

        1. Ah yes, because everyone powerlifts and everyone would then benefit from a powerlifting routine. So, really, your routine is PERFECT for everyone, amirite?
          I don’t need a detailed lifting program from you, thanks for the offer though. For people that have never lifted before they would have NO idea how many reps or sets to do with what you posted. It’s not a complete program. Period.
          Strong ass people in my area. That’s cute. You’re a funny guy. Tell you what, next time you’re in Kabul, we’ll lift and you can show me how to lift like “strong ass people” like you.

      2. Military guys are 18-22. Pretty much at the peak of their anabolic potential. The average middle aged cubicle drone, would no more look like those guys after following some sanitized version of their workouts, than he would be a force to be reckoned with in Afghanistan simply by buying a “black rifle” back home.
        That’s not to say that the military programs aren’t good. But the age of military recruits, and the level of motivation (get in shape or get killed on a battlefield), is very different from that of most civilians. Some civilians do thrive on military style programs (crossfit is kinda-sorta geared towards men in uniform), in my experience with regular guys, progressive weight training with a barbell and plates, is more likely to yield better results than anything else.

    3. Like your program.
      I’d put all the leg work on one day, and include some calf work, to make room for an endurance run/bike and a sprint day. I’d also include pullups in addition to rows. the back is so big that it should be hit from two angles.
      And bring a watch/timer; to make sure your rest intervals are consistent. If you flop between 45 second and 3 minute rest between sets, it becomes impossible to measure progress.

  6. I am currently teaching English overseas. I just started, and this is for the long haul. I don’t expect to be coming back to the states for a good couple of years. Since I am not familiar enough with my foreign environs to join the nearest gym, it’s push ups, inverted rows (if I can buy a sturdy enough table), and dips using chairs for me. I have an isometric rubber band thing (what the hell is it called) that is a God Send cuz I use it for chests, backs, upper lats, its awesome. Thing is, this rubber band iso thing is as old as time itself, cuz there are ads for it in 1940s comic books. Not sure what to do to substitute (arm) curls. Any suggestions out there?

    1. ” . . . what to do to substitute (arm) curls.”
      Stand on the rubber band, then you can curl against it. If it’s long enough you stand in the middle of it with an end in each hand, otherwise you’ll just have to do one arm at a time.

  7. Never Gymless is a good resource for this:
    I would also add quick air squats to that baseline routine too. Possibly carry your bag of stuff while doing it too. You can bang out 100 in 3 minutes easy. Try doing 5 to 10 minutes of air squats without stopping, see how high of a number you can get.
    Another good ab exercise are planks, you don’t even need to do crunches then, and it’s comfy enough to do on a hard floor.

  8. what is this shit? Do you even know what working out means?
    You need to have access to free weights and destroy yourself, not do some faggy pushups in the morning and crunches lol. Running? LOL
    get real mate

    1. I bet this guy is the only other jacked guy reading this. Fucking planks? One armed handstand push-ups? Those are staples for body builders and power lifters for sure. Squat till you can double your body weight without a belt. I guarantee you will be able to hold a plank so long you only stop because you’re bored. I think all you guys are trying to justify not buying real equipment or going to the gym with some intensity, with some Men’s Health bull shit. This body weight stuff is cool as a filler during a business trip hotel room type workout, but there is nothing that compares to heavy compound movements with free weights.

      1. I think most guys are afraid to do heavy ass deadlifts. Seriously, when was the last time you had to wait in line to pull deads?

        1. I think there is some major indoctrination program going on in the US, that lifting anything by bending forward will immediately and permanently destroy your lower back. In Russia, kids supposedly deadlift in gym class, as over there, a strong back is considered a prerequisite for a healthy back.

        2. I admit that I was concerned about doing them at first. But, when I looked around, I saw basically two kinds of guys: the guys that looked they could tear school buses in half and the try hards wearing blue jeans and doing hundreds of curls in the mirrors. Once you figure out proper form you know when you’re doing them correctly and any variation that would lead to snapping your shit up feels pretty obvious and you can quit the lift. I think going big on deads probably helps you avoid back injury but I admit I have nothing specific to back that up so… no broscience.

  9. Great incentive, but there was really zero useful information besides work out at home and often. Which is a given. What kind of routine would be useful for at home fitness? Lifts, using body weight as resistance? The kinds of squats, lunges and yoga that’s useful and easy to do on the living room carpet. You could have, at the very least, included suggestions on diet or even mentioned that diet is tremendously important when talking about gains and fitness. Come on, I expect the quality that was promised to remain when the quantity of articles was upped. Don’t simply rely on the comments section to make up for the laziness of your article.
    I only say these things because fitness is a huge part of my life, and I read ROK because I value the opinions and advice of the contributors.

  10. Why lift heavy shit if you aren’t going to make money doing so? Sofabeds and fridges work for me. Workout? Bah. I’ve tried moving furniture with beefed up fools who get all tuckered out after half an hour. Try moving that shit all day. I don’t even have to do it, but I do.

    1. I hear lots of beer-bellied dorks say this verbatim.
      My actual experience picking up a part time moving job during school was that after a couple weeks of learning the job, all the time I’d spent with heavy squats and deadlifts made me vastly physically superior to guys who’d been doing it full time for months or years.

      1. Nobody here is saying that youre gonna get hulk from body weight exercises alone (at least i hope). The general idea is that if you cant get to a gym, you can still be in decent shape.
        Obviously, having access to a gym with equipment designed to improve your body is going to get you better results that just doing some pushups and running.

  11. This is an awesome post. How do you “make time” to go to the gym when you are working to found a company 14+ hours a day? Or “make time” to go to the gym after getting off a coast to coast flight, with a meeting in 1 hour and have no idea where a gym is? But if you don’t have time to run 10 miles, ride 50 on your bike, or get to a gym with free weights, you can definitely do 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups, 100 chin ups and run a couple of miles. Now that you mention it, I’m working all day today, but I’m getting up to do just that…

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