Before COVID-19 through a spanner in the works causing chaos amongst many of our lives, home workouts were a thing often forgotten about. Although everyone knows it’s possible to workout from home, most people interested in some form of strength, core or weight training prefer going to a gym because of the equipment available for these types of training. Fortunately for these fine folk, you don’t actually have to use gym equipment in order to do strength training. Here’s how:
Bodyweight exercises are suitable for the muscles and bones since they utilise multiple muscles in the body. These workouts will get your heart rate pumping and will burn tons of calories. Exercise, be it cardio or strength training helps people lose unwanted body fat or weight and lower their risk of many chronic diseases. These include many lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
Exercise can also help keep your body at a healthy weight, and is one of the leading ways to help manage anxiety and depression. Exercising often can increase one’s energy level, which can aid in helping with relaxation and sleep quality. It can also improve brain health and memory, as well as give you more radiant skin.
Exercises that you can do at home without equipment include:
Imaginary Jump Rope
Okay, so you a jump rope would count as exercise equipment and you may not have one, so why not jump with an imaginary one? At least you won’t trip on the rope! Jumping rope is a simple full-body workout, which utilises your abdominal muscles to stabilise the body, legs, shoulders, and hands. Jumping helps one improve coordination, focus and stamina, which is good for overall general body health. Using only your own body weight, these versatile moves below can help you create a total-body at-home workout that fits your needs and abilities.
This exercise is a little gem for doing at home without needing equipment. It is good for shaping that bum but also strengthening your glute, quads, hamstrings and calves. It is a strength exercise that involves lowering the hips in a standing position, and holding the position or repeating this at a faster pace going up and down. Squats are not just leg exercises- they work on the upper body too if the core is tightened and arms held in position too. They can also be done in a jumping format. The squat jump improves the heart rate while working on the total body movement. It helps to promote entire body muscle mass. It is important to make sure you squat correctly and not let your knees extend beyond your toe line, as this can cause knee pain (1).
Push-ups or Press-ups
The push-up is best for the chest, arms and shoulders as well as the core. One can modify the intensity by changing the hand placement from closer together or shoulder width apart . If you are not that strong or struggle with the correct form of using a full push up, then you can do push-ups with your knees on the floor. A more challenging option is to do push-ups with a single leg raise, or one hand on the floor only. However, be extra careful in order to keep the proper form.
The plank is an easy exercise to do at home or anywhere and doesn’t require the use of equipment. It should be your go-to exercise for rock hard abs.The side plank also strengthens ones oblique and helps build stronger abs. The side plank with bent knees is a good way to add in hips work without the need for any equipment other than your own body weight. The front plank is great for your back and abs as well. The modified side plank brings together a combination of core exercises. Overall, a great strength workout.
This slow movement is good for the thighs and bum. The forward lunge is a great leg exercise for toning those glutes and other leg muscles. The side lunge is advanced in terms of needing to include some movement into what becomes a static pose and is good for the inner thighs. The side bridge lunge is best for the waist. Make sure when doing front or reverse lunges or ones to the side that don’t go down to the floor, that your knee does not extend beyond your toe as this can cause unwanted strain on your knees.
Okay, so you may not be actually climbing a mountain (although I’m sure you’d love to be allowed to right now instead of being stuck in isolation at home). Mountain climbers are an incredible way to strengthen the core, your arms and do a little leg training. They are also a good fitness and cardio workout. Make sure your back is straight and not arched, and run those knees up like your life depends on it.
The Bicycle Crunches are an effective ab workout and is an easier exercise for abs and the oblique muscles than some others. Bicycle crunches involve reaching the elbow to the opposite knee as the leg bends in while crunching, and the switching to the other side. This is a good way to target the entire core region, mainly the back areas.
Jumping Jacks or Star Jumps
The Jumping Jacks, or star jumps is a jumping exercise that’s easy to do at home or anywhere and your body is the only equipment you need! It targets the whole body by raising legs, and hands going overhead. It is efficient for total body workout and can be done anywhere. It’s kind of fun too, especially if you do them to music. This exercise works out your heart, lungs and muscles at the same time. Woohoo!
Step It Up
Step exercises are also simple exercise that work the leg muscles and buttocks. It offers a good cardio workout as well as working your calves, quads, hammies and glutes along with some other muscles in the legs. In general, you should always opt for taking the stairs when you can whether its running up for a workout or walking up at work instead of taking an escalator or the lift.
Yoga is also a great exercise that uses the power of slow and controlled movements. It is often connected by flowing sequences, meditation, and relaxation. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your flexibility like power yoga. Don’t be fooled with how calming and slow yoga can be. Evidence shows that yoga such as sun salutation, as well as other types, can be an ideal exercise for optimal fitness (2). It offers great stability and balance training and strength and toning the muscles. You can read more about the importance of yoga in relation to mediation and mindfulness here on my blog.
Outside your Home, try Brisk Walking or Jogging
Brisk walking or jogging is a great exercise you can do outside of your home without equipment, but outside of a gym too. Although during COVID-19 in some countries where people can’t leave their homes, they are doing plenty of running even inside their home. These are good cardiovascular exercises helpful in lifting a low mood, clearing a foggy mind and helping to increase fitness and maintain a healthy weight.
The Final Word
All these workouts do not require any equipment, and one can wear whatever pleases them. There is no time limit, and one can listen to music while working out. It also saves you money since you work out at your own convenience. These workouts are just as effective as going to the gym. Regular physical activity is of the essence to your heart and lungs, and one tends to have more energy to tackle day to day activities. Therefore, if you want to build endurance, burn calories or increase your strength, you can still do it at the comfort of your home.