Simple Ways How To Exercise Like A Minimalist

By Ray Arya •  Updated: 09/28/20 •  9 min read

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How to exercise like a minimalist?

We all deserve to live in a healthy body to move freely.

As you practice a minimalist life to gain maximum freedom, it is crucial to spare some of your free time to take care of your valuable body.


Because our bodies are built to move, and there can be no freedom when lacking physical health.

Minimalist exercises should fulfill the following criteria:

The most challenging thing to overcome for someone who wants to start improving their fitness level is sticking to a routine and transforming training into a natural habit.

A helpful strategy that can help you stick with an exercise routine without getting lazy or finding new excuses to skip your workout is to practice some minimalist exercises that are fast and easy.

And once your minimalist workouts feel natural, you’ll enjoy them, see great results, and never again find silly excuses to stay on the couch instead of improving your fitness.

So stick around and let me show you my simple ways to exercise like a minimalist.


  1. No gym needed

  2. Back to basics: the best minimalist exercises

  3. The minimalist workout equipment

  4. The minimalist workout routine

  5. Inspiration for minimalist exercises

  6. Conclusion

No gym needed

After trying various different sports, including basketball, volleyball, kickboxing, triathlon, and CrossFit, it’s been working out in a gym that stuck with me longest. I included gym workouts to increase my strength for those sports for over 20 years.

Still, I quit my gym membership last year.


It became time-consuming, I no longer enjoyed it, and I found better ways to train more efficiently at home and outdoors with minimum equipment, which saved me time and money.

Plus, I love spending time outdoors, so I asked myself why not also workout outdoors.

You don’t need machines, dumbbells, and other fancy equipment to keep yourself fit. In fact, you don’t need anything at all except yourself.

You are not built to sit for hours and hours in front of a screen while letting your body degenerate. Your body is built to move and a machine by itself.

So as a minimalist, I focus my training for maximum results with basic bodyweight movements, all of which you can do in your living room, outdoors, or just about anywhere.

Now, if you love going to your gym, then please don’t quit. Keep on doing what you love. But if you are looking for quick and easy alternatives, you’re in the right place.

Back to basics: the best minimalist exercises

The basic exercises are functional movements that support our everyday random tasks like running after a bus, carrying groceries, lifting our kids, walking up the stairs, standing up after a three-hour meeting, you get the idea. Secondly, they should prevent injuries.

Our focus is to get fit and stay that way for as long as we can. That’s why we can calmly ignore those quick fix 30-days to get ripped or other magic programs that preach short term results out there, which are not attainable for all people.

We aim for long-term health and fitness and will do so with simple movements that anybody can do.

My minimalist exercises focus on:

They strengthen these 6 major muscle groups:

And include the following movements:

Additionally, I like to include exercises that simulate some of our daily movements:

All these movements are easy to execute, and you can do them anytime and anywhere, also on your vacation or when your kids are sick, and you need to stay at home.

And that’s it. There is no need for fancy movements like muscle-ups, clean & jerks, or front levers (if you don’t know any of these, that’s totally fine, ignore them ;)).

Minimalist exercises mixed in functional workouts will get you on the right path to improving your health and fitness, and gaining more body control.

The minimalist exercise equipment

To spice up my workouts and make them more challenging, I do use some equipment. But they are as minimal as can be that I can carry them anywhere I want.

My favorite minimalist workout equipment is, hands down, my gymnastic rings.

I love them because of these enormous benefits:

Alternatively, you can also use TRX sling trainers for lighter movements, though you cannot do dips and pull-ups on them.

Apart from that, I also use a Soft Kettlebell. It’s a sandbag in the form of a kettlebell, which can be used for kettlebell swings, deadlifts, bent-over rows, overhead presses, squats, lunges, and as an additional weight for running or walking.

That’s about it. You don’t need more. Sure, if you are a firefighter, marine, or a professional athlete, you might need some more tools, but for me, this works out perfectly fine.

With this two minimalist equipment, I program my workouts with varied functional movements to ensure my body is fit for my everyday life.

The minimalist workout routine

I am a big fan of high-intensity short workouts supported by long walks, running, hiking, and cycling.

Bodyweight workout programs used in Calisthenics and Freeletics are valuable sources of constantly varied workouts with functional movements.

For good reasons: you can train anytime and anywhere without almost any equipment in a short amount of time. All you need is yourself and a timer to follow specific programs. And their full-body workouts will make you sweat every time.

What I do is a 20-30 minute workout, 5-6 days a week, with 1 or two rest days. But I don’t follow my plan very strictly.

Sometimes I’d train every day or only 3-4 times a week, depending on my time and mood. But I never skip a workout for 3 days in a row. I think I’d go crazy if I did that.

For me, the most efficient and fun training program includes high intensity exercises Tabata way, meaning targeted movements executed nonstop for 20 seconds with a 10 seconds break, 8 times in a row. You can also do 40 seconds on 20 seconds off for longer workouts.

But I also do workouts with exercises where there is no timer included. Or do one day Tabata and the next day exercises with slow, high-quality movements.

I like to split my workouts according to the correlating muscle groups to let my muscles get their deserved rest. I also love to include bodyweight exercises that incorporate cardio, like sprinting, burpees, and rope skipping.

Here is a sample of my minimalist workout plan:

Day 1: Legs + core

 Day 2: Back + biceps

Day 3: Chest + Triceps

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Shoulders + Core

Day 6: 30 min cycling, running, swimming, or longer walk/hike

Day 7: 30 min yoga

Because I want everybody to be fit for whatever life may throw at you, I encourage you to implement any kind of movement during the day, even if it is just working out for 10 minutes.

Inspiration for minimalist exercises

If you want to train even more minimally, without any equipment, you can also follow these healthy and fit resources for inspiration:

  1. Nerd Fitness and the best bodyweight workouts for beginners

  2. The Minimalists and their 18 minutes daily workout routine

  3. Matt D’Avella’s workout routine for not so minimalist biceps

  4. Ido Portal and his seriously mind-blowing movement culture

  5. Freeletics: a whole new universe of bodyweight workout

  6. Calisthenics: everything you need to know

Final Thoughts

I hope you got a good idea of how to exercise like a minimalist. It’s not primarily about aesthetics.

It’s about stimulating your body for what it is built for: efficient moving.

And if you are not there yet, still do something, literally anything with movement, before doing nothing!

Incorporate functional exercises whenever and wherever you can for a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Remember, you want more freedom. To move around freely, you need a healthy body!

Ray Arya

Ray is a frugal minimalist who loves to travel and live in his self-converted camper van. He writes about the benefits of downsizing, decluttering, saving money, building wealth, and the freedom that results from the power of less. is for everyone who seeks a meaningful life and is committed to contentment.

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