Many people avoid the gym. There is a wide variety of reasons why. Maybe the stigma against the gym stems from an insecurity when first starting out. Maybe it is too expensive to pay so much every month for a place to workout. Maybe they have children to attend to and cannot leave them alone to head to the gym. Maybe you are on a limited time schedule and really just need to get something quick in before an important appointment.
Many people are investing in video programs such as P90X or some sort of Ab Ripper Pro. While these are great and they are guided and do usually show you some results if you work through the program with the proper intensity, they are usually a little longer than you have time for if you are in a rush. In addition, they cost you a ton of money and there is really no need to spend that money when you have so many awesome resources available to you after just a couple clicks on the internet.
Whatever your reason is for working out at home, there are 7 key exercises that you can perform in order to give you the best home workout possible.
Let’s start out old school here. Push-ups are probably one of the most overlooked tricks in the book. They give you a great chest and tricep work out and can really get your blood pumping. Push-ups can be done anywhere you have a little extra space and they are one of the top recommended exercises by any body builder for building a solid chest and tricep duo. That’s why I’ve included them on my list.
In addition, push-ups don’t have to be just a body weight workout. There are all sorts of things lying around your home that can allow you to increase weight after you get used to your own body. Find a stack of heavy books or something relatively flat that you can stack on your back in order to make push-ups a bit of a challenge. If you do just so happen to have a weight vest, or feel like investing in one for push-ups, this would be a great time to break that out as well.
I usually try and knock down at least 100 push-ups in any home workout. If you have to ramp up to this by doing small sets of 5-10 and increasing gradually over time, go for it. You should be able to get all 100 in no time and you’ll be surprised at the increased strength you have.
2. Wall Sit/Squat
Wall sits are probably one of the most dreaded workouts for anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete you still probably have experienced some wall sit sessions where you want to smack your coach right upside the head.
Well, wall sits make the list because they are probably one of the best quad and hamstring exercises you can do at home. While speed squats are a great alternative to wall sits, you will force your mind to work harder with wall sits. After a while you get used to speed squats and eventually you have to start finding random object to hold while doing them.
Since there are only so many heavy objects in your house, it is recommended that you do wall sits instead. All you need for wall sits is a little bit of bare wall, or a doorway/door even (make sure that nobody is going to open the door from the other side). Bend to 90 degrees and sit against the wall in 30 second to 1 minute sessions. If you can go longer, more power to you. Make this at least a 5 minute exercise to see maximum results and really get the burn going.
3. Inverted Row
Back is probably one of the hardest muscle groups to target at home. If you don’t have a fancy door pull-up bar then you are probably stuck finding a decent alternative to the best massive back building exercise ever invented.
The solution? Inverted rows. You don’t need much for inverted rows. Usually a coffee or dining room table will do just fine. Slide your body underneath the table and grip the edge. Keep your core tight and butt flat with your back. Slowly pull your body from the ground moving towards the edge of the table. When you get to the top, squeeze your traps as tight as you can to get maximum results. Let yourself back down and repeat.
Do as many reps of these as you can. I prefer to do them slow, and once again this is an excellent time to break out the weight vest if you’ve gotten too strong for your body weight.
4. Hip Thrust
Don’t forget about those glutes! If you aren’t burning too much from the wall sits this is a perfect exercise to blast your buns. Lie down flat on your back and bring your knees up placing the bottoms of your feet flat on the floor. Force your back to round out and flatten out completely to where the entirety of it is on the ground.
Next, drive your hips upward and when you get to the very top, squeeze your glutes. Do as many of these as you can in 3-5 minutes. Don’t go too fast to avoid messing up your back, but stay at a consistent pace. If this becomes too easy feel free to grab those heavy books or a bag of dog food and throw that on your lap while you do these.
5. Tricep Dips
Got a couch? Thought so. Tricep dips are one of the easier exercises to perform at home. All you need to do is sit down in front of your couch. Reach back and place your hands on the edge of the couch behind you and bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle.
Force your body off the ground using only your triceps and keeping the rest of your body in the seated position. Your heels are your pivot point and you should not have your feet flat on the ground. An example of tricep dips are shown below.
6. Bicep Curl
How the heck do you do bicep curls at home you might ask. Well there is a way and it take on some of the same principles as the previously mentioned inverted rows. This is essentially a pulling exercise but you have to be extremely careful to focus it on your biceps rather than your back.
First you want to find somewhere to grab hold. Generally speaking a door frame works just fine, but ideally it needs to be about the height that your arm is at when you stick it straight out in front of you.
Once again you don’t want your feet too flat on the floor as your heels are your pivot point. Lean back to a 30-45 degree angle with a fully extended arm. Pull in with that arm curling your bicep as your chest touches the door frame or wall. Make sure to flex the bicep at the top and focus on the concentration there rather than your lats. Switch arms and do the same amount of reps on both sides. Generally speaking you should get in at least 10-15 reps of your body weight for as many sets as you can do.
This one is pretty general and that is intentional. There are so many quality ab exercises that can be done at home there is no sense in limiting your options here. Mix it up every single day that you do a home workout to see maximum results.
Some of my favorite at home ab exercises are:
- V-Ups/Side V-Ups
- Crunches (hundreds of them)
- Leg Raises with Flutter Kicks
- Penguins (Pick your shoulders up off the ground from setup position. Touch your right hand to left heel and vice versa, this will murder your obliques, bye bye love handles).
- Mountain Climbers (Plank position and bring right knee to right elbow and vice versa, continue alternating).
These are just a few, and I will dive into more detail on ab exercises in the future. However, these should get you through the initial at home workout.
These exercises are meant to be done as a circuit and quickly. Don’t slow down and repeat these exercises multiple times for the best results. If you don’t work hard at home, which is easy to do, you won’t see results. If you need a gym to properly perform your workout, try everything you can in order to get to the gym.
DON’T FORGET TO STRETCH.
At least get 1-2 minutes of quick stretching in for the main muscles to avoid lactic acid build up mid workout.
Hopefully this has helped give you some key ideas for performing an at home workout when you have really no other choice. You can get in shape from home, and now you have some major tools to do it. This should target your entire body, and if you are just starting and aren’t sore the next day… do it again.
If you have any suggestions for at home workouts or have done some of these and would like to offer some insight for the rest of the world, shoot me a comment below and let’s talk about it. As always, thanks for reading.