Modern life is hectic. We’re faced with a constant stream of activities, responsibilities, work, and if you’re a parent, the obligations are even greater. With so much going on a daily basis, finding the time to head to the gym or take a fitness class can be difficult.
Fortunately, there are a number of home workouts that you can begin to implement into your routine that are not only time efficient, but will get you in as good of shape as the workouts you would do at the gym.
The vast majority of exercises done at the home are either full body workouts or they need minimal equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, pull-up bars, or a yoga mat. If you have a treadmill, spin bike, or other gym equipment at your home, you’ll be even further equipped to have an extensive workout. But since gym equipment isn’t common in most homes, we’ll take a look at what you can do to bring the gym experience to your house.
Quick Tip on Number of Sets
We recommend doing one to three sets of each exercise, with some minimal rest in between to catch your breath and get a drink of water. When you finish all of your sets on each exercise, you through the entire workout again, creating a sort of circuit training.
Perform this exercise by sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair with your hands next to your hips while holding yourself up on the chair. Slide off of the edge of the chair to bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle, and then push back up. Keep your back as close to the chair as possible and repeat the movement.
This exercise is performed similar to a normal squat, but with a chair underneath you for support. While standing in front of a chair, with your feet hip-distance apart and toes forward, begin to lean your chest forward and squat down to the level of the chair. Tap the chair with your behind without sitting down, and repeat the process. Correct squats should have your weight remaining in your heels, and your knees should remain over your toes.
There are a number of abdominal workouts that can be performed at the home: butterfly abs, crunches, sit-ups, v-ups, leg lifts, oblique crunches, and planks. Combining these exercises will create the best results.
Planks are a popular abdominal work out because they use the entire body while targeting the abs. Mix and match different ab workouts into sets of three with 10 to 20 reps for each set.
The push-up is likely the first exercise that comes to mind when anyone thinks full body workouts at home, and we can all recall the angry drill sergeant from military movies that barks orders for his soldiers to perform push-ups.
Push-ups are a phenomenal home workout because they work the triceps, pectorals, deltoids, and your abdominal muscles all at the same time. There are a few variations of push-ups that you can implement: wide, close, butterfly, and others.
Once you become more advanced and want to test your push-up skills, you can even attempt one-handed push-ups. Push-ups are a great way to begin and end the day. You don’t have to devote your entire workout to push-ups, simply do a few sets of 10 to 20 in the morning and a few at night.
At Home Cardio
Many people’s favorite workout is cardio and conditioning. Though cardio workouts can be difficult in the beginning before your body is adjusted to them, they are an effective way to burn fat and build stamina. In large amounts, cardio can burn muscle, so it’s important to combine cardio routines with strength training.
The great thing about cardio is, the only equipment you need is a good pair of running shoes. Effective cardio can happen in a number of ways: sprints, long-distance running, running up stairs, or a combination of all of these exercises.
Use run tracking devices to map your results and the distances that you run. If you’re new to cardio, remember not to be discouraged by your time or distance. The only thing to focus on is keeping one foot in front of the other for as long as you can, and creating realistic goals for yourself. It might not be reasonable to aim for a three mile run, but one mile and a closing set of sprints with a combination of body workouts might be the perfect routine for you. Runs are popular ways to begin a morning, because they get a workout out of the way and set the tone for the rest of the day.
Using a sturdy chair or platform, perform a step up by simply stepping onto the platform with your left leg, then returning down. Follow by stepping on the platform with your right leg, and then returning down. Your chest should remain lifted as you switch sides. Once you become stronger and more comfortable with this exercise, you can add weights, or even begin to jump up on the platform to do what is known as a box jump.
Grab a DVD
Workout DVD’s and tutorials are a great option for people who want to feel as though they are attending a workout class from the comfort of their own home. A number of body-weight circuit training options are available, as well as pilates, yoga, cardio kickboxing, and other workouts that will require minimal equipment. These workouts can be done at your home and at your own pace. Best of all, they can be revisited and you won’t have to create your own workout routine.
Pull ups are one of the most efficient body-weight exercises, and they are done by simply purchasing a pull-up bar. With a pull-up bar you can perform close-grip, normal grip, or chin-ups. If you have experience in fitness, you may be able to perform pull-ups with ease, but many people struggle initially. Perform as many pull-ups as you can, or do periodic sets during the day until you’re able to build muscle and improve at the exercise.
Mix and Match
For the best home workout results, mix and match the exercises above. Perform a combination of strength training like push-ups, pull-ups, and others, combined with cardio and flexibility training. Give your body different exercises so it isn’t getting accustomed to the same routines, and always allow your body sufficient time to rest.
Start Slow and Work Your Way Up
A home workout can be just as taxing as a fitness class or exercise at the gym. If you’re new to fitness, once the initial excitement of exercising wears off, it can be easy to get discouraged.
Remember that these home exercises are difficult for people of every fitness level. It’s important to cater your workout to what you are currently capable of doing, and not get discouraged by slow results or difficulty. It takes patience, consistency, and discipline to stick with workout routines and see results.
When it comes to exercise, slow and steady—in terms of continuing at your own pace for improvement—truly wins the race. Keep at it, and always feel proud for every small win, even if it’s simply doing one push-up more than the day before.
Pro-Tip: For even higher performance both during workouts and with diet, begin to take notes of how many sets you do, max amount of reps, time your workouts, and track what you eat throughout the day.
By writing things down you’ll better track results, progress, and you’ll have a clear view of what is keeping you down and hurting your performance or diet. Tracking results with a friend will create an even greater sense of accountability.