While working out is difficult, creating a solid routine with the right exercises for your body type and needs can seem almost impossible. You need a lot of equipment to follow an effective workout routine and achieve the outcome you’re looking for, which often requires going to the gym. However, finding a proper and affordable gym is not easy either.
Looks like all the signs are pointing toward lazy-o’clock, eh? We’re sorry to burst your bubble, but going to the gym is not a must; you can still work out at home, without using any equipment at all. So, the next time you start coming up with excuses why you can’t work out, here are 6 simple exercises to get you moving.
Let’s start with a couple of exercises to get your heart racing. Cardiovascular training is necessary to lose fat, build endurance, and improve the functions of your heart and lungs. Every effective training regimen should include a cardio session to raise your heart rate, and our top-picks are the burpees and mountain climbers.
Burpees are great for working out your whole body. In addition to their cardiovascular benefits, they work out your core, arms, back, chest, and legs. In short, they combine the best of both strength and cardiovascular training.
To do burpees correctly, you should first stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, you’ll lower your body into a squat, incline your chest forward to place your hands on the floor (shoulder-width apart), and jump your feet backward, so that you’re in a plank position. Then you reverse the movements by pulling your legs and raising your body back to a squat, then stand up. So far so good, right? Well, you can increase the intensity by adding a pushup, and side-leg raise, and by jumping up.
2. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers is another exercise that works out most of your major muscles, but it mostly engages your core from every side. Once again, you’ll stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. The movement works both your legs and arms at the same time: you do knee-high jumps while reaching upward with the arm opposite the knee. It’s just as if you’re climbing a mountain, albeit with a cardiovascular twist. You need to focus on engaging your core and leg muscles so you don’t leave your knees absorbing all the shock impact.
Pro-Tip: Try HIIT
There’s a hack to effective cardiovascular training. Basically, you can turn any kind of exercise into a cardio exercise if you follow HIIT basics. For instance, the Spartan Home Workout app has a Play Store link that shows how HIIT training can provide the best cardiovascular benefits. HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a term that describes high-intensity exercises (like burpees and mountain climbers) that are followed by low-intensity cardio exercises in a ratio of 2:1. You do three circuits, jog in place, and repeat 3-5 sets.
Resistance training is necessary to strengthen muscles, add muscular mass, and improve muscular endurance. Depending on your fitness goals, you’ll variate the number of reps and set to achieve the desired result. As a rough guideline, 5 reps x 5 sets strengthen muscles; 6-12 reps x 3 sets add mass; 12-16 reps x 2-3 sets improves endurance. Here are our top-picks for muscle training at home.
Push-ups work your chest and triceps. You start in a plank position, placing your hands sideways so they’re level with your lower chest. You lower yourself to the ground, keeping your core, chest, and arms engaged. You should have your chest muscles contracting, after which you push yourself back into a plank.
The superman exercise focuses on your lower back muscles. You lie on your stomach, hands above your head, and raise both your hands and legs at the same time. You lower them and then repeat. Focus on engaging your lower back muscles and use them to drive the movement rather than your legs. For variations, you can alternate your hands and legs (similar to a free-stroke) or add a punch.
Lunging is a super-exercise that primarily targets quads but engages hams, glutes, and lower back as well. You start with legs shoulder-width apart, step with one foot backward (or forward), and bend both knees. Keep your body in a vertical position so you can feel it in your quads. Lunges can be varied in many ways: you can pulsate in place, do a full range of motion by stepping forward or backward, lunging sideways, or compounding the exercise to add curtsy lunges.
Planks can seem easy for the uninitiated, but they’d know the torture that a minute of plank packs. Instead of lowering yourself to the ground like a pushup, you stay rigid as a plank of wood. You need to engage your arms, back, chest, core, glutes, and legs to really feel the plank and reap its benefit. Start with 2 reps of 30 seconds and work your way up from there.
Sticking to a workout routine can be difficult without a gym membership. However, all you need is to incorporate simple yet effective exercises to help you commit to your fitness journey. There is a myriad of at-home exercises that don’t require any equipment, but we’ve compiled some of the best ones that target several muscles at once. So, start with the above 6 suggestions, and don’t be afraid to mix it up and try other exercises to keep your workout routine fun and challenging.