How To Create A Home Fitness Routine
July 9, 2020
Maybe you're a regular gym-goer missing hitting the treadmill, or perhaps you've put on a few lockdown pounds thanks to one too many Netflix binges (guilty) and are looking to get back into shape. With social distancing measures still in place, it'll be a minute before the gyms open back up (or before you feel comfortable going to one). But just because you're stuck indoors doesn't mean you can't meet your fitness goals. There are dozens of ways to workout from the comfort of your living room.
A well-rounded routine includes both cardio, strength training, and of course, stretching. Warming up prior to exercise is key to help prevent injury, so before you break a sweat, be sure to loosen up. A post-workout stretch is also a good idea for the same reason.
Obviously, it's fantastic if you have some equipment. But if you don't, there's no need to worry. You can create an effective home workout routine sans equipment while you're self-isolating indoors with the help of bodyweight exercises and simple cardio.
Bodyweight Workouts To Try At Home
These simply bodyweight exercises will build muscle, boost flexibility, balance, and help you feel better both physically and mentally.
Planking is a fantastic way to build up your core strength while engaging your whole body. And planking is great for toning, your back, posture, and flexibility as well. Can't hold a plank for very long? No worries. You'll build up your plank time as long as you keep at it.
Back in the day, push-ups were probably my least favorite part of gym class. Now, I can't imagine a fitness routine without them. The classic push-up is yet another stellar way to improve the strength of your core, plus shoulders, pecs, and arms. No matter how many (or few) reps you can do, remember, it's all about the correct form. Your whole body should be straight. There are loads of variations on the traditional push-up, which are good for switching things up (to help beat plateauing) and engaging different muscles.
Suggested starting point: 2 x 10 reps
If you're looking to build strength in your legs, glutes, and back, it's time to pop a squat. As with push-ups, the proper form is key. You want to keep your feet slightly wider than your hips with toes facing forward. Watch your posture – you want a straight back when you're doing squats. Again, you'll find endless variations on squats to work different muscles and improve your workout. Once you've mastered the classic squat, try adding plié squats, side step squats, sumo squats, and others to your routine.
Suggested starting point: 2 x 15 reps
The glute bridge works many of the same muscles as the squat, while also improving your hip flexibility. This exercise can be a better option for folks experiencing lower back or knee pain as it doesn't put the same sort of pressure on these areas. While you don't need any equipment, having a yoga mat will make things easier on your back. No yoga mat? A towel will do just fine.
Suggested starting point: 2 x 15 reps
There's been a ton written up about the benefits of high-intensity interval (aka HIIT) workouts. HIIT gets your blood pumping, burns calories, boost metabolism, build muscles, and more.
Ready to get started? Try these simple equipment-free cardio exercises:
- Squat jumps
- Jumping jacks
- Mountain climbers
If you're just starting out, do 30 seconds of squat jumps, rest for 30 seconds, then move into jumping jacks, and so on. Increase your time by 15 seconds each week to keep things challenging.
Listen to your body and if you're new to working out, don't push yourself too hard straight out of the gate—there's no point in risking injury. You'll build up strength over time. You can always add reps as you get stronger and build up stamina.
While you don't need specific equipment, having a foam roller, yoga mat (for back support), and resistance bands can help you get a deeper stretch. If you do want to invest in some basic equipment, you can't go wrong with these:
- Jump rope
- Resistance bands
Jumping rope is excellent cardio and a great way to get your heart going. Meanwhile, kettlebells are phenomenal for building muscle. The other equipment on this list can be used to enhance some of the bodyweight exercises we touched on above. Use them for kettlebell swings, lunges, arm presses, and squats.
You can also break out the resistance bands for squats. They're also amazing for bicep curls, glute bridges, hip abductions, and overhead presses. The humble dumbbell is a great piece of kit you can use to work out virtually your entire body.
With a well-rounded routine, you'll feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic. And hey, you might find that you love working out in the privacy of your own home so much it's worth canceling that gym membership.
Written by Ashley Brewer for Knockaround.