Some of the major barriers to an effective, motivated workout is time, location, and an exercise plan. If you don’t have enough understanding of why to workout what muscles, or when, or even how, then fitness classes with an educated instructor is a good alternative. However, if classes don’t align with your life schedule, and you can’t seem to get to the gym, then an at-home workout may be the solution to getting your fitness on track.
Yes, there are many exercise programs out there you can do from home. Some require you to purchase equipment, or signup for a subscription, which is all fine if you’re dedicated to your fitness journey. But! If you’re trying to start your fitness journey slowly, to tackle the basics, or you already have an effective workout plan but need extra help on the days you cannot get out of the house, this guide is for YOU!
Buckle up, here we go! Here is a list of exercises you can do in your house, without purchasing any equipment:
- Situps (I recommend putting your toes under a couch to ensure you use your core, instead of straining your low back and hip flexors)
- Squats (Regular, Sumo, Crisscross Jumping, Pulsing – there are a lot of options here)
- Lunges (Forward, Reverse, Pulsing)
- Curtsy Lunges (Your form MUST be on point or you could tweak your knee. If you have a history of knee problems, I do not recommend these)
- Planks (Forward, Static Hold Left and Right Side, or Side Pulsing) – You may do this with your palms down, or for a greater core challenge, go on your elbows and forearms
- Tricep Dips (You can use a chair that is pushed against a wall so it doesn’t move away from you, or remove the cushions from the couch and use the firm part – ensure elbows are pointed back)
- Burpees (these are advanced, and if you have any issues with your knees or low back, I do not recommend)
- Jumping Jacks
- Arm Circles
- Mountain Climbers
- Dead Bug Core Exercise
- Static Wall Sit (Either pick a goal time to hold it, or see how long you can hold it and try to beat it the next time) – Get that butt down! Parallel with your knees.
- YTW Shoulder Exercise (you can do this on the floor)
- Planks with side-to-side toe taps and/or alternating heel raises
- V-Sit (Arms and Legs straight – hold it for time)
- Dragon Walk (this will require space and coordination)
- Glute Bridge (on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor, and raise your hips/butt up) – You can increase this challenge by adding a weight to your pelvic area or switching to a single leg raise
- Russian Twists (If you cannot raise your feet, start with your feet on the ground and work your way up over time as your core strength improves)
- Standing Calf Raises
I just listed 20 exercises that don’t require equipment! TWENTY! All that can be performed in your living room, on your own time, and can still kick your butt!
Now that you know what exercises can be done, how many do you do? How often? For how much time, or number of reps? Some of that depends on your current fitness level, but here are couple variations to try and see what works best for you:
Option 1: All About Time
If you prefer to watch the clock instead of counting repetitions, a pre-set time may be easiest for you (your phone has a timer!) 30 seconds or 60 seconds are good starting points (plus or minus 15 seconds if you are weaker or stronger in some areas).
Choose exercises from the list above (the number is dependent on your fitness level, and can be tweaked depending on how you feel afterwards). Try one for your pre-set time, then move to the next. Alternating muscle groups (ex: core exercise, followed by shoulder exercise, followed by leg exercise) is more likely to enable you to go for more rounds. Go through them, see how you did/how you feel, and decide if you want to go again.
Option 2: All About The Burn
If you prefer to hit a muscle group hard for a quick workout and quick burn, this is a good option. Choose your exercises, group them (core, legs/butt, arms/back), decide if you’re going for time (30-60 seconds) or for reps (10-15, give or take) and then begin with one muscle group, perform those exercises, then move onto the next. Finish, rest (if needed), and then begin again (if able).
How often? That depends on your activity level. If this is the only workout you are doing, I recommend doing this every other day. But! See how you feel. If you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey and you are sore – not just a regular sore, but painful sore – allow your muscles to rest longer. Stretch and hydrate!!!
How to keep yourself on track when home life can be so distracting (laundry, kids, cleaning, sports and shows on TV, that enticing comfy couch, Facebook):
- Put a specific workout time on your planner/calendar, so it has a set time in your day, not just a “when I get some down time”.
- You can choose to integrate some of these slowly during a movie or show. Choose to not fast forward through the commercials, and do these exercises during that time.
- Elect to require yourself to do the workout before you are able to do something else, such as doing them in the morning before you have coffee, or in the evening before you’re allowed to have a glass of wine.
- Invite your spouse, neighbor, teenager to do these with you if you need an extra boost in motivation or accountability.
Stay optimistic, and realistic! You will not do an at-home workout and suddenly be a fitness star. But you will slowly start to see changes in your muscle tone, your motivation level, and your understanding of different exercises. This will (hopefully) lead to a desire to want to try and learn more – such as integrating weights, or trying new equipment at a gym. Just like when you were learning to read as a kid, you have to first build a basic foundation of understanding, until one day you’re just rocking it!
Good luck! Ask me questions if you need help. Reach out if you’re interested in any of my training packages too.