You might think you need the fancy equipment that a gym provides, but you don’t! Here are some easy to do-at-home exercises that you can start today with minimal equipment needed. In fact, most of these you can do on your own or improvise with items you already have in your garage.
There are many bodyweight exercises you can do at home using either the floor of your small apartment or a simple chair. These bodyweight exercises can give you an equally high-intensity workout as any thousand-dollar machine.
By targeting specific areas of the body on certain days, you are more likely to see results. Maybe Mondays are your “leg days,” and Wednesdays are your “ab days”—this will keep you on target with meeting your goals. Exercising, especially for weight- loss and strength-training purposes, is a goal-oriented process. You want to make clear and definitive goals in your days, weeks, and months to come.
With these eight simple and effective exercises, you can strength train your way to success while also saving an incredible amount of money! During a global pandemic, opting for an at-home routine will also keep you out of populated gyms.
If you are looking for an exercise to keep your posterior (or your backside) taut—look no further than the bridge, also called the glute bridge. The bridge exercise challenges your balance while strengthening your lower back, legs, and glutes.
- Begin by lying flat on your back on a comfortable mat or towel.
- Bend your knees and keep your feet hip-length apart, approximately 12 to 16 inches from your butt.
- Keep your core engaged, press your heels into the ground, and raise your hips to the ceiling. Squeeze your glutes tight together as you raise your hips and hold the position for a few seconds.
- For an added core exercise, raise one leg parallel to the floor while you lift your hips.
- As you lower your body to the ground, keep everything tight. That’s one rep. This exercise works the lower abs and glutes without putting pressure on the lower back, hip, or knees.
Squats are perfect for leg day—this simple exercise tests your lower body flexibility, strength and engages your core. Squats also work nearly every leg muscle starting from the quadriceps to the hamstrings, calves, hips, and glutes.
- Start this exercise by firmly planting your feet on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Tighten your core, keep your chest and chin raised and bend your knees as if you will sit in an invisible chair. Keep your arms extended in front of you to maintain your balance.
- If your knees are beginning to buckle or bow, this is low enough for your squat. Otherwise, drop slightly lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground and your butt is sticking out.
- Hold this pose for a moment before lifting back up, keeping your core tight.
- Repeat as necessary, but be careful about your knees.
Burpees are an intensive exercise that uses the muscles throughout your entire body to strength train. They might be some of your least favorite exercises on the list, but they’re worth it to shred those calories!
Depending on your training level, you can always add jumps, push-ups, or more to your burpees. Here is how you do a basic burpee.
- To begin, stand with your feet hip-width apart, supporting the weight of your body with your heels and arms hanging relaxed by your sides.
- As if you’re trying to sit on a chair, start by bending your knees, then push your hips back until you’re in a nearly full-squat position.
- Plant your hands directly in front of your feet, palms completely flat on the ground, then slowly shift your body weight from your heels to your hands.
- Carefully kick both of your feet back so that you land softly on the balls of your feet, now in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Remember to always engage your core while in a plank position so that you don’t drop your back or stick up your butt, as both can injure your back.
- Hop back in and bring your feet behind and slightly outside your hands while shifting your weight back onto your feet.
- Stand up with your hands reaching above your head and jump up into the air. Remember to land softly back on the balls of your feet and be careful of your ankles.
- Immediately lower yourself back into a squat for your next rep.
No matter your training level, push-ups are great for strengthening those upper body muscles; plus, you can always add variations to your push-ups.
This is how you do a basic push-up.
- Start on all fours, and slowly get into a high plank position. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, directly underneath your shoulders. Your legs should be extended behind you with your knees strong, core and glutes engaged.
- Bend your elbows, slowly lowering your chest to the floor.
- Push the ground with your hands to straighten your elbows and come back into a plank position.
Remember to modify the exercise if you can’t yet do a standard push-up. For this, you can bend your knees during the plank, but your back should still form a straight line.
Lunges can help with both strengthening your lower body muscles and improving your balance. Proper posture is also crucial to work the core, your back, and your shoulders.
- Begin with feet hip-width apart.
- Take a big step forward with one leg (larger than when walking).
- Lower your hips as you keep the majority of your weight on the flat front foot. The heel of your back foot should be lifted when you do this.
- Keep going closer to the ground until your back knee is almost touching the floor, and your front is stacked directly on top of your front foot, creating a 90° angle in both knees.
- Push the ground with your front foot to straighten your knee and come back into a standing position.
- Bring your leg back and repeat with the other leg.
Everyone knows that crunches are fantastic for building core strength, but incorporating them into your regular workout routine can achieve much more.
Crunches can improve your balance and help with better posture. And with a strong core and good posture, you lower the risks of getting back pain and injuries in general.
- Lie on your back, with your feet planted on the floor. Your feet should be a hips-width apart.
- Place your arms in a cross on your chest, and bend your knees.
- Inhale as you contract your abs.
- Exhale as you lift your upper body. Make sure to keep your head and neck relaxed.
- Inhale as you return to the beginning position.
Plank & Side Plank
Planking is a popular bodyweight exercise that engages multiple muscle groups at once. It’s a static exercise and targets your shoulders, glutes, and arms while also strengthening your core.
Planking is also recommended for back pain. By strengthening your core, planking helps to lift pressure on your back.
Planking is a pretty straightforward position to get into; the tricky part comes with holding the position. A lot of mental concentration will be needed.
- Get into the press-up position.
- Lower your body so you are leaning on your elbows. Your forearms should be flat on the floor beneath your shoulders. If you are doing this correctly, your body should be pointing in a straight line from feet to head.
- Keep your abs tight.
- Look in the space between your hands. This way, your spine should be in a neutral position.
- Hold this position for as long as possible.
There are lots of plank challenge workouts that stagger how long you hold your plank for. This will help you develop your strength over a short period.
Side planks work from the same methodology as planking but focus on stabilizing your spine.
- Lay down on your right side. Put your feet together and your forearm underneath your shoulder.
- Engage your core by raising your hips.
- Your body should be in a straight, diagonal line from feet to head.
- Hold this position for as long as you can.
- Repeat with your left side.
Box jumps are excellent for your coordination, strength, and cardiovascular health. They target your lower body’s muscle groups: glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. This exercise isn’t the easiest, so it will help you with your endurance. Plus, you look super cool doing it.
- Find a box at a height that looks manageable (you can add more height when you’re ready).
- Stand in a squatting position in front of the box. Your feet should be parallel, and your knees bent with your hips in line with your knees. Place your weight in your heels, and hold your arms in front of you.
- Swing your arms down as you jump as you extend your legs, jumping as high as you can.
- Land on top of the box in a squat position.
- Step off of the box and repeat.
Prep Your Own Routine
These exercises are simple to do. Make your routine out of these exercises, and you should see your strength grow over time.