You don't need the gym to build strength — use this seven-move workout instead

Boost your metabolism and build full-body strength with this seven-move equipment-free workout

A woman performing a push-up with her hands elevated on a chair
(Image credit: Getty)

You might think you need a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells for an effective home workout, but that's not the case. 

Our featured workout will work your upper and lower body in just 20 minutes. The only equipment you need? A chair. 

The session has been created by personal trainer and Sweat app co-founder Kayla Itsines to help you get moving when you're short on time. 

"Take 20 minutes out of your day to do this at-home chair workout," she says. "You’ll be surprised how much this workout actually works your entire body!"

The session consists of seven exercises performed as a circuit (one after the other) for 12-15 repetitions each. Complete this seven-move circuit twice through to finish the workout, with the option to add an extra round if you want to really test yourself. 

Itsines says you can rest when you need to during this circuit workout, but that doesn't mean you should take it easy if you want to feel the full benefits. Try to keep your breaks to a minimum and move with purpose for as much of the session as possible. 

Watch Kayla Itsines' full-body workout

Limiting your rest times will keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout, burning calories, boosting your metabolism and developing your cardiovascular endurance (the ability of your heart and lungs to support prolonged bouts of exercise) in one fell swoop. 

Challenging your muscles with exercises like push-ups and knee-ups will also build strength in your upper and lower body. Your core doesn't get off lightly either, with movements like mountain climbers and decline toe-taps (which can be found in many of the best abs workouts) sure to fire-up your midsection.

This workout is short but effective, making it a great way to squeeze some health-boosting movement into an otherwise busy day. But, if you have a bit more time on your hands and are looking for a longer exercise session, you might want to pair it with some strength training. 

If you want to work your upper body, this chest and back workout is a strong choice. Or, if your goal is to strengthen your legs, our feature on the best leg workouts has some useful tips to help you get started. 

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.