With the winter months upon us, it can often be difficult to leave the house and brave the cold to head to the gym – not to mention, a membership can sometimes feel like a big commitment. However, there’s still opportunity to work out from the comfort of your own home.
Fitness experts at Breaking Muscle have highlighted five of the best exercises you can do from anywhere with a step-by-step guide of how to complete them. No equipment and no gym membership required.
While push-ups will target your chest, arms, and shoulders, they’re also useful for protecting your lower back and shoulders from injuries and improving flexibility.
Wall push-ups are a great exercise for beginners – you’ll need to position yourself around an arm’s length away from a wall with your feet matching the width of your hips. Place your palms on the wall at the height and width of your shoulders – and make sure your fingers are pointed upwards. The next step is to bend your elbows slowly and lean yourself towards the wall up until your nose nearly touches it – but it’s essential that your back remains straight while your elbows are bent at around 45 degrees.
If you’re up for taking it to the next level, you can try floor push-ups: to perform these, you must get on the floor and support your body on your toes and hands while your hands are set slightly outside shoulder-width. As you maintain a straight line from your neck to your ankles, bend your elbows to lower your whole body and press to full lockout. If you experience shoulder strain, opt for aiming your elbows towards your feet instead of your shoulders. Start with 10 reps, and lower the amount for each set all the way down to one rep.
Bird dog hold
Bird dog holds will strengthen your back muscles and can relieve lower back pain. Plus, they target both upper and lower body by boosting your core and your glutes.
To start with, position yourself into all fours on the ground, placing your knees below your hips and your hands below your shoulders. As you engage your core and keep your back straight, lift your left arm and stop when it is in front of you at the same level as your shoulders, and push your right leg out until it is completely straight. Hold for a minimum of five seconds before swapping to your right arm and your left leg. If you struggle to lift both of your leg and arm at the same time, you can always select the easier option by lifting only one of them at once.
A highly efficient beginner exercise is air squats, targeting your thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.
Position your feet so that they are slightly wider than the width of your shoulders, and then drop into a squat position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your hands near your chest while you maintain a vertical stance around your upper body, and then return to the starting position.
While the squat hold can be quite a challenge, it will develop both lower body strength and core control, as well as improving your balance.
Start by bringing your hands to chest-height and lower your body into a deep squat position. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground but try to aim for a deeper position if possible. Push your feet into the floor and engage your glutes and core to remain stationary. Ensure that your torso is upright and don’t lean forward as you hold the stance for 20 seconds. The burning sensation throughout your body means that you’re doing it correctly!
Jump squats are particularly excellent for developing your strength, while simultaneously targeting the glutes, quads, hips, and hamstrings.
For this exercise, you’ll need to position your feet so that they are slightly wider than shoulder-width and squat down partially with your thighs above a parallel level. Drop your hands down to your side, then bring your arms up near chest height while you quickly stand and jump into the air. Land softly in a squat position and transition to the next rep.
Your workout checklist
Start with push-ups and begin with 10 reps. Lower the number of reps to eventually reach one rep upon completion, making it 10 sets overall.
Bird dog holds are the next exercise to tick off in your routine, and you should aim for three sets of 8 – 12 reps.
Next, start the lower body exercises with air squats, performing three sets of 12-15 reps. For optimal results, avoid a rest before your next exercise.
After air squats, move on to hold squats. Attempt three sets of 12-15 reps, with each rep lasting 20 seconds. Regular exercisers should complete two consecutive sets before resting, but if you’re more advanced, try to complete three sets before taking a rest.
Finish off your workout with jump squats. Try to complete three sets of 10-15 reps – but if you can handle it, attempt a fourth set.
A spokesperson from Breaking Muscle has commented: “It’s a common misconception that the gym is the only way to complete a successful workout and reach your fitness goals. Our workout suggestions reveal that it is, in fact, possible to target multiple areas in your body with a workout that you can do simply at home. It’s much more flexible for those who find a membership too much of a commitment, as well as those who struggle to find the time in their day to make a trip to the gym. Movement is extremely important for not just our physical health, but our mental health too – so we encourage everyone to implement exercise into their everyday routine, especially now with the opportunity to do it from home.”