We all have those days when your schedule just won’t allow you to get out to the gym or your favourite fitness class. Instead of skipping your workout all together, get moving in the comfort of your own home with these 10 exercises suitable for any fitness level. The best part is you don’t need any equipment and you can turn your workout playlist up as loud as you want.
Stairs are one of the most effective methods for developing lower body strength. Steps engage every major muscle in your lower body 120 times/minute as well as building endurance and strong, lean muscle. Maintaining your balance during stairs exercises engages your core muscles too. If you live in a condo, even better! Take the elevator down to the lowest level of the parking garage and work your way up to the very top of the building.
The oldest and best move for building upper body strength, push-ups are a workout that is quickly built upon; the more you do, the more you can do. This total body workout builds your endurance, core, lower back strength and can be easily modified to keep increase intensity, see more. Work your way up to 50 push-ups by following this 30-day challenge, or simply do 3 sets of push-ups to failure, 4 days a week.
Squats and Lunges
Squats and lunges are two of the most fundamental moves for toning the entire lower body, including glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips, and thighs. For those who get bored easily, try these squat and lunge variations to keep things interesting.
If you’ve ever had any experience with burpees you most likely hate them, and for good reason. This killer workout is designed to work you to the bone, as one of the few full body strength training exercises. With every rep, you’ll work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. After a few sets of burpees, your legs should feel a little bit like lead.
- Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you.
- Kick your feet back to a pushup position.
- Immediately return your feet to the squat position.
- Leap up as high as possible from the squat position.
One of the simplest core workouts, plank can be done with your arms fully extended for beginners, or with your forearms on the ground for a more intense core workout. Set a timer to countdown from one minute and try to hold the pose as long as possible, checking in every few seconds to ensure your core is active and your back isn’t melting downward. Don’t worry if you shake or seem unsteady, you’ll improve with more practice.
Similar to the ever so popular ab crunch, the sit up is the superior workout for targeting more than just your lower abs. Incorporate the traditional sit-up into your workout, or try these 10 variations.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to have some fun with your workouts. For an extra challenge, invite your kids, roommate or significant other to sit on or hold down your feet to prevent cutting corners and offer some loud encouragement.
Wall sits are the perfect exercise to strengthen your upper legs and are particularly beneficial to runners who want to increase endurance and breeze up that hill with ease.
Stand with your back against a wall, placing your feet about two feet out in front of you, hip-distance apart.
Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90-degree angles, directly above your ankles (slide your feet back or forward if necessary to achieve proper alignment).
Hold for 30 – 60 seconds, then stand up, rest and repeat 3 times. Once you’ve mastered that, lift alternating legs for a few seconds each for an extra boost to your calves.
An effective workout for strengthening your lower back, Superman poses are great in conjunction with plank or other core-building workouts. Remember that your core strength won’t progress very far without a strong back, and doing constant crunches or sit-ups without working out your lower back opens you up to injuries.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms stretched in front of you.
- At the same time lift both your arms and legs upward as far as you can. Although it can take some practice,
- use your core and back strength for this, not momentum. A good indicator and way to train yourself is by lifting and lowering both limbs slowly rather than quickly.
Great on its own or as a finale to close off your workout, cardio circuits consist of 3-4 basic workouts done for a set number of time each, then swiftly repeated. In addition to increasing heart rate, these fast-paced workouts can be done in under 10 minutes. They are a great option for a quick burst of energy before your out the door. Our favourite is the following, taking under 8 minutes to complete and hitting up every major muscle group in your body, but you can use any combination of your favourite workouts. To avoid having to count yourself, we recommend setting a timer so you can focus on the moves themselves.
- 30 seconds mountain climbers (start in a plank position with arms fully extended, bring your alternating knees into your chest quickly as show in photo below)
- 30 seconds squats
- 30 seconds jumping jacks
- 30 seconds of push-ups (you’re going for quality not quantity here, go as slow as you need to keep your form and perform a perfect push-up every time)
- 30 second rest then repeat for a total of 3 times.
One of our favourite at-home yoga experts is Adriene Mishler from Texas. With many videos ranging in length of practice (some as short as 20 minutes and perfect for a morning stretch), as well as targeting different needs like back pain, anxiety, core, pre-and post-run and beginner’s yoga, there’s a practice for everyone. Remember that yoga is atmospheric as well, so put on some soft music and dim the lights or use candles. Most importantly, up the temperature in the room your practicing, as cold muscles stiffen up and can lead to injuries.
Join at Home Work Outs
Even when working out at home, a little company and encouragement goes a long way. One of our favourite equipment-free joint workout to do with your roommate or significant other is Lying Down Leg Raises as shown in the video below. Not only is it a killer ab workout, it requires both parties involvement every step of the way.
Although most of the workouts listed above are perfectly effective without equipment, there are a few keys pieces we recommend investing in that can take your at-home workout to the next level. Check out our post on at-home workout equipment to see what equipment best suits your needs.