Man showing Minimalist Workout Guide

Can Less be More? Or in other words, can a Minimalist Workout approach really work? Well first of all let’s define minimalism. Generally speaking, minimalism refers to sticking to a bare minimum or just keeping it simple! 

In Fitness this can mean: 

  • Training with minimal equipment
  • Training with a minimal amount of space
  • Training with minimal time investment 

Each category can be beneficial for your individual needs and of course you can also build a routine that covers all 3. To find out how this approach can actually work let us take a look at all categories in detail starting with minimal equipment

What you will learn in this article:

Minimal Equipment

Minimal Equipment training introduction

Of course it’s debatable what minimal equipment actually means but I think we all can agree that we’re talking about a few or no workout tools at all. So a fully equipped gym is out of the question. There are different options to get a workout done with little or no equipment but it’s still important to get all body parts covered. So you need exercises that cover your upper and lower body, as well as your anterior and posterior muscle chain.

Option 1: Rings

Man performing training with rings doing different movements

Rings are the BEST tool for the upper body, period! No other piece of equipment offers the same usability in combination with utility. Rings are great, because they allow your joints to move freely and don’t force them into certain positions. They are also very handy and cheap. Just put them into your backpack and train outside. You can fix them on beams, trees and any other stable object you can find out there.

  • Man training with rings outside
  • Man training with parallettes

The only downside is that the additional stability component makes supporting exercises way harder. So we recommend learning these movements on rigid bars or the ground first before trying them on rings.

  • Man training with rings leg training
  • Man training with rings leg training minimalist workout

When it comes to leg training, rings are not that good when compared to the upper body, but there are still some ways to support or vary your bodyweight leg training a bit.

Option 2: Doorframe Pull Up Bar and or High Parallettes

Man performing doorframe pull up bar and high parallettes

With a combination of these tools you have nearly no limitations when it comes to upper body Calisthenics training because you can choose from a wide variety of push, pull and core exercises.

Man training with high parallettes and door frame bar

Of course you could also stick to just one of these tools, but make sure you’re aware of their limitations. For some exercises you need a pull up bar and others are only doable on high parallettes.

Option 3: Bodyweight Exercises in Combination with a Resistance Band

Man tries minimalist workout with bands

This combination is pretty good because the band allows you to hit muscles like the biceps and lats easily. Without the band you would need at least some tools like a pull up bar, high parallettes, chairs or a table to hit these muscles effectively.

  • Man training chest with bands
  • Man doing minimalist training with bands doing squats
  • Man doing minimalist training with bands doing lunges

Besides that, the band is also great to make some basic bodyweight exercises a bit harder like when using it for lunges, squats or push ups. 

Option 4: Bodyweight Only

Man doing different minimalist workouts with just body weight

This is the easiest and most minimalist option. If you stick to bodyweight exercises without any kind of equipment you don’t need to invest any money and you can train anywhere. Most push, core and leg exercises can be done on the ground or with a little help of your furniture. 

  • Man doing minimalist workout with chairs
  • Man doing minimalist workout with table
  • Man doing minimalist workout with table training biceps

If you got some stable chairs or a table it’s even possible to do pull and biceps exercises like rows, straight arm pull movements or bodyweight biceps curls.

Minimal Time

Minimal Time workout introduction

This approach is very interesting for people that have a tight schedule and only little time due to their daily life responsibilities. It’s also very good for people that don’t really enjoy working out, but still want to get or maintain fit and do something for their health. 

  • Full body minimalist workout routine
  • Full body minimalist workout routine sets

To be as time efficient as possible you should stick to a full body training approach. This means you start every workout with a 5 minute warm up that also includes mobility exercises followed by 1 pull, 1 push and 1 leg exercise done for 3 sets each. You can do this workout as a circuit or with strict sets. Of course it is also possible to switch the exercises from time to time so that you don’t get bored with the same workout over months. The only important point is that you stick to the pull, push and leg exercises and always choose compound movements. 

Man performing a pull up bar movement to show compound exercises for minimalist workout

Unlike isolation exercises that target a single muscle group at a time and involve only one joint into the movement, compound exercises involve several joints and activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously, allowing you to do more work in less time.

Man performing bicep focused compound exercise with rings

Of course there are no real isolation movements when it comes to calisthenics because you always use multiple muscles or joints to stabilize your body. However there are still some differences that you should consider.

  • man performing a minimalist chest workout
  • man performing a chest workout to demostrate a minimalist workout

For example: It’s ok to choose compound movements that focus on a specific muscle as long as the others are still involved.

  • Man performing a compound movement with a focus on triceps
  • Man performing a compound movement with a focus on triceps for minimalist training

On the flipside it would not be ok if you choose an exercise that heavily focuses on one specific muscle while excluding the other ones.

Differences between medium high rep range and low rep range minimalist workout

To keep the workouts below 45 or even 30 minutes it’s important to work with short breaks between the sets and exercises. This can only work if you stick to a medium to high rep range because training for max strength in a low rep range requires longer rest periods. 

How often should you train?

  • Training schedule for minimalist workout
  • Training schedule for minimalist workout 2
  • Training schedule for minimalist workout 3

Now you know the exercises, methods, rest time and rep ranges, but how often do you have to train to see decent results? Well believe it or not, even just one training per week can improve your fitness and health. Of course it would be better to train 2 or 3 times a week, but if you have no time, once a week is way better than doing nothing at all. 

Training schedule for minimalist workout with rest between trainings

If you stick to one or two training sessions per week, you can really push yourself harder than usual because you have enough time to properly recover between the sessions. So most sets should be taken all the way to failure while still executing the exercises as perfectly as possible.

Minimal Space

Minimal space workout introduction

When you’re about to exercise, but you’re confined to a small space it’s time to get creative. The good news is that you can do many bodyweight exercises in a very small space. This includes any little room no matter if it’s in your apartment, a hotel or even in a prison cell. 

  • Man doing minimalist training in living room
  • Man doing minimalist training in living room 2
  •  Man doing minimalist training in living room 3
  • Man doing minimalist training in living room 4

Pros and Cons of a Minimalist Workout

Pros and cons of minimalist training

All right guys, now let’s sum up all the pros and cons of a minimalist training so that you can see if it can work for you or not: A minimalist training approach is not about total optimization and adjusting every aspect of your life to maximize your performance. It’s more about getting your workouts done even if you have some limitations in your daily life like little time, no access to a wide variety of equipment or limited space.

It’s the best “bang for the buck” with its focus on keeping things simple, but there will always be room for improvements. Sure you can reach great things with minimalist training, but for some goals you have to sacrifice more of your time or make some investments. 

How to start you Minimalist Workout today?

Alright everyone, that wraps up today’s Minimalist Workout Guide! If you enjoyed what you read and are ready to start training, don’t forget to stay tune for our new articles coming or visit our blog for more topics about calisthenics. Also, this ensures you stay updated with all our latest routines. Looking for a comprehensive workout plan rooted in scientific research? We’ve got you covered. Dive into our specialized courses like Complete Calisthenics, Body Transformation, and the Mobility Program. Whether you’re aiming to bulk up, enhance mobility, boost strength, or master calisthenics techniques, we have the perfect program tailored for you. Ready to elevate your fitness journey? Head over to and select the program that aligns with your aspirations and current abilities. Join the movement!

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