Working out at home not only saves you time driving back and forth from the gym, it saves you from having to share equipment with sweaty, smelly strangers. But chances are your house doesn’t have all the same equipment a gym has, either. Luckily, finding creative ways to push and pull your body weight can whip your muscles into shape just as well!
Retired football star Herschel Walker started his career in sports doing only push-ups, sit-ups and sprints around his home. He would run up the hills around his house, and do body-weight workouts between homework and TV sessions. By doing these small exercises consistently, he developed the discipline and strong body he’s now known for.
So how can you start building a strong body of your own? Start with these home exercises, no expensive equipment required:
It’s a good idea to get your blood warmed up and pumping at the start of a workout. Jumping jacks will get your muscles loose and ready, and give your calves and butt a good little workout too. Try doing 10-20 to start, if you’re not used to them, but feel free to keep going if you don’t feel warmed up yet.
If you have a jumprope (or something similar like regular rope) you can also try that as a warm-up, it builds a lot of coordination. Just be considerate if your home is an apartment or condo where people live below you. In those cases, try not to do your jumping while people are sleeping.
Perhaps the most common (but surprisingly difficult) home exercise is the push-up. You know, palms flat on the ground beneath your shoulders, lower to the floor, push back up. But there are all kinds of different ways to do a push-up to get the results you want. Spreading your palms further apart works your chest more, and keeping them closer together works your arms more.
And if pushing your whole body’s weight up is too difficult, you can rest your knees on the ground, instead of your toes. The most important things to remember are to keep your back straight (don’t arch), and lower yourself as until your chest nearly touches the floor, before pushing all the way back up. See how many you can do all at once, and try to push your limit each day.
Body-weight squats can be a great butt-builder! The simplest method is to stand with your feet just a bit wider than your hips, straighten your back, and hold your arms straight out in front of you. Squat down (with your back still straight) until your thighs are parallel with the ground, then stand back up – that’s one rep.
Even without weights, doing enough of these will leave you with a killer burn that you’ll feel for days to come. But that’s the feeling of growth and getting stronger, cherish it! Start out doing 5-10 per set, and go up from there. If the squats are still too easy, put some books in a backpack and try again.
Who doesn’t want six-pack abs? Truthfully, abs are helped more by having a good diet than doing a hundred crunches. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do the crunches anyway! Lay flat on your back with your knees bent, and either cross your arms on your chest or touch your ears with your elbows sticking straight out to the side. Then raise yourself so that your shoulders and lower back just leave the ground/
But be careful not to hurt your back! You don’t have to lift yourself all the way up to your knees. And try to keep your neck straight in line with your spine, don’t lift or push it forward to feel like you’re “sitting up further.” Keep your neck and back in a straight line, and lift with your abs. Start out doing 10-15 per set, and add on from there.
For strong triceps and shoulders, pull over a normal dining room chair (not a stool, and not one with wheels). You need to be able to bend your knees in front of you, hold the sides of the chair behind you, and lower yourself toward the floor.
Go as far down as you can while still being able to get back up. When you start to get really advanced you can try lowering yourself between two chairs or countertops without your feet touching the ground. But to start out, just use the chair, and do 5-10 reps at a time.
Another great workout for buns, thighs and quadriceps – a lunge is when you plant your feet together, then step one far forward and lean forward onto it, without moving the other. Then you step back to your original position, and step forward again with the other leg.
One of the hardest parts about lunges is keeping your balance. Feel free to keep your arms out to the side, and don’t step so far forward that you fall over. Just far enough forward that your front leg is bent low, and your rear knee almost touches the ground. Do 10-15 and build up from there.
If you’ve ever tried to hold a plank position for a minute or more, you know how difficult they can be. But they’re the only home workout that strengthens your arms, back, abs and legs all at once, while building discipline and self-control. Lay down facing the ground, but prop yourself with your elbows even below your shoulders. Keep your back as straight as possible (no arching or dipping) and hold the rest of your body weight up on your toes.
Set a timer before you start, and try to hold this position (no arching or dipping!) for 30 seconds. Once you manage that, try a minute, and so on. Putting on music or watching TV while you plank can help the time pass, just don’t get distracted and lose your form, it’s the most important part.
Home Style Curls
How can you do curls at home without any weights? Easy, just find some heavy things you can hold easily in your hands! You can curl gallons of milk, or paint buckets, or a backpack full of books. It might be harder to tell just how much weight you’re lifting, but your muscles won’t know the difference.
Find a makeshift weight at home that works for you, and do a few sets whenever you can. If you’re standing, keep your elbow locked at your side and lower only your forearm up and down. If you’re sitting, rest your elbow on your inner thigh, and curl your weight from there.
You’ll see a lot of the same results doing these home workouts as you would if you went to the gym. And hopefully since you don’t have to drive anywhere, you’ll work out more often! And there are plenty of ways to modify any of the workouts so that they’re easier or safer for you, just message or give us a call to get more pointers and ideas.