“What can I do to work out at home?” Even when Covid and closed gyms were not an issue, people often asked me this question. Many don’t enjoy the gym atmosphere, nor the expense of a membership, and they prefer the convenience of home. But these days, even if you are a full-on gym rat, you also might be asking this question! How can you make the most of what you have at home?
You can definitely get a great workout with only your body weight! If you have a few toys, such as resistance bands, physio balls, weights, etc, that adds to the variety and fun. Nevertheless, let’s assume you have nothing but yourself and some furniture in your home. In this blog I’ll give you a strength training workout you can do.
Chest: Incline push up. Push ups are of course the quintessential body weight chest exercise, but it’s unfortunately one that many people cannot do. Rather than resorting to your knees, do an incline push up on a chair or table. The less parallel to the ground you are, the less challenging.
Upper back: Inverted row. I did this exercise a few days ago on a bike rack. You can use your table or playground equipment in your backyard. To make it easier, bring your feet in closer to your body, and to challenge yourself more, keep your legs and entire body straight like a plank.
Shoulders: Pike press. You can do this between two chairs that you have backed up against the wall (to be sure they don’t slip).
Biceps: Curls. OK, I tend to resort to resistance bands! You can work any muscle group with resistance bands, so I highly recommend that you make this minimal purchase. However, if you cannot, or if in the Covid craze, they are impossible to find, you can also use milk jugs filled with water to do bicep curls. Or you can do an underhand row. Please note that this looks different from the inverted row you did for your back!
Triceps: Dip. Glorious triceps! There are so many options for these lovely muscles. I’ll give you the simple, straightforward dip, which you can do off your chair or stairs. To make it more difficult, put your legs straight out or elevate the feet, or have your child sit on your lap. To make it easier, bring your feet in closer to your body.
Abs: Most people already are doing some abs at home. You could do planks, crunches, sit ups, or leg raises. In future posts, I’ll give you a well-rounded ab workout!
Quadriceps / Glutes / Hamstrings: Again, so much variety! As much as I love squats and lunges, I don’t like to recommend them unless I am sure you have safe technique, since people can really injure themselves if they do squats and lunges wrong. However, you can certainly find a chair or step to sit on, then stand up, then slowly ease back down until your buttocks barely touch, then drive yourself back up again. Repeat about 12-15 times. Basically, you’ve just done a squat, but the fact that you were sitting back into a chair allowed you to have good technique, not putting your weight forward and into your knees. You can also try doing this very same exercise, except on one leg rather than two. Or try it while holding something heavy.
Next week I’ll share more information about your gluteal muscles and how to work them well!
As I’ve shown, you can do a full body workout at home without spending a penny on any equipment at all. In other words, no excuses! I have only given you one example per muscle group because I don’t want to turn this wee blog post into a book, but mostly I want to emphasize that getting a good workout requires only one thing: you!