Quick, Simple, and Effective Full-Body Workout (plus a challenge)

Today I want to share a simple full body workout that I really like that works well when you’re short on time and/or equipment. I certainly didn’t invent this workout by any means, but it’s something I’ve used quite a bit with myself and my clients and something that can be easily adapted for different levels, circumstances, and goals.

It’s three exercises: chin-ups, skater squats, and pushups—preferably done in that order.

Like I said; it’s very simple, but effective nonetheless.

These three exercises give a quick full-body workout when you’re short on time, and they don’t require much equipment at all beyond a chin-up bar and small dumbbells to hold in your hands for the skater squats, though even those aren’t necessary if you don’t have dumbbells available.

I actually started this using workout for one of my athletes a little more than a year ago for when he was on the road and didn’t have access to a well-equipped gym.

The workout consisted of the following: 10 chin-ups, 10 skater squats per leg, and 20 pushups, all done in succession for a total of 50 reps. He was doing 3-5 rounds (depending on time), resting about two minutes between rounds.

It worked well and didn’t much time at all. I now give this to a couple of my athletes when they ask me for a quick in-season workout too.

I’ve also been using it as part of fun workout challenge that I use as a finisher after you’ve completed your heavier lifting where you go through the whole thing twice in continuous fashion for a total of 100 reps.

The goal is to complete the whole challenge unbroken without having to stop to rest during any of the sets and without taking excessive breaks between exercises.

If you use good form and do the exercises with a full range of motion, doing the challenge unbroken takes anywhere between 4-5ish minutes, depending on how slowly you do the reps and how quickly you transition between exercises.

I’m not a fan of trying to beat your time once you can complete the challenge unbroken because that usually just means you’re using sloppier form and rushing the reps. I tend to perform my reps a little more slowly than some so my best time is about four and a half minutes, but I had a client the other day finish in four minutes flat using what I’d consider good form. He was flying though, so if you’re finishing much faster than that, I’d question how good your technique is.

Once you can complete the challenge unbroken, add a weight vest or try doing harder variations of the exercises (i.e. paused reps), or both.

Here’s a video of me completing the challenge with a 30 pound weight vest for the first time.


I’ll tell you what, that might not seem like much weight but I found that using the vest makes it A LOT harder.

Another nice thing about thing about this workout is how easily it can be regressed to fit different levels.

First off, there’s nothing magical about doing 10 chin-ups, 10 skater squats, and 20 push-ups, so if any of those numbers are too high at first, adjust accordingly and lower them to something more manageable.

If you can’t do chin-ups, do inverted rows instead, or if you’re in a hotel gym with just a few machines, you could even substitute lat pulldowns instead, picking a weight that you can do for about 15 reps.

Even if you don’t want to do the challenge, these exercises still make for a great workout on their own when you’re short on time or on the road.

This definitely isn’t anything new or revolutionary, but I know that a lot of people are looking for a good quick travel workout, and I also know that people like a good challenge sometimes, so for those of you that fit either of those bills, here you go. Enjoy!

As an aside, if you like these kind of fast-paced, quick workouts, my friend Jen Sinkler is releasing a cool product next week called, fittingly, Lift Weights Faster. As a lead-up to the product launch, she also released a free video yesterday called 9 Ways to Make Common Exercises More Fun. If you’d like to watch that free video, you can do so HERE.