Time is often a big factor in determining if people get exercise or not. In fact it is probably one of the biggest excuses as to why people don’t exercise as much as they should. Because of this, there has been a boom in the at-home exercise video industry where all you need is a TV or computer to stream a workout and follow along.
This isn’t a new industry, as at-home workouts were made popular by Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda. You remember those videos from the 70’s and 80’s… kind of cheesy, but they got people moving and that’s what’s important. Nowadays, its workouts like P90x, T25, and Insanity that get you moving, get your heart rate up and have you bouncing around to different types of workouts.
Some of the best exercises you can do at home require little, if any in equipment. To make it convenient for your schedule, you can even mix them up in circuits for a workout that you can complete in no time. Nothing fancy, just the basics.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
The staple of at-home workouts, this exercise builds your upper body strength along with training your core muscles. Think of this as a moving plank with all the fun of targeting your chest, triceps and shoulders too.
If a standard floor push-up is too challenging, regress the exercise to pop-up push-ups where you lower yourself slowly till you’re unable to maintain form, collapse to the ground, reengage the core and push yourself back to the starting position. This type of negative pushup can help develop strength to do a full one.
Additionally you can find a box, or a chair or couch to do angled push-ups on. This will decrease the amount of bodyweight you’ll need to lift during this exercise.
Where would a workout be without squatting? This is an essential exercise you need to master the basics on before you move on to more complicated and intense progressions like jump squats. If you’re unable to master just a bodyweight squat, what makes you think a jump is going to be beneficial for you?
Squats get a bad name because when you do them incorrectly, they can put pressure on the knees. Just because something has the potential to hurt, however, doesn’t make it bad. Start with learning to keep your weight in your heels and push your butt back, much like you’re sitting in a chair. Master sitting and standing from a chair, then progress to bodyweight squats.
Lunges or Split Squats
One step above bilateral strength built from squatting is working on single leg strength. However, as we applied sound mechanics to the squat, we need to apply it to the split squat or lunge. Start off with the split squat and once you can perform that proficiently, then you can add movement to it and progress to a lunge pattern.
Breakdown in this exercise comes when we try to push our front knee too far forward instead of focusing on keeping our center of gravity over our hips. To challenge yourself more with this exercise, follow this link.
Plank or Side Plank
Normally when it comes to the core and abs, the go to is usually crunches and sit ups or bicycle crunches. That’s not what you need.
Crawls and Variations
What was the first movement pattern you learned as a baby? Crawling! Well now it’s time to take it back to that. Crawling patterns help us develop the contralateral coordination that carries over to walking and running. However as we age, we forget how to crawl.
It’s actually funny to watch grown adults try to figure out a crawling pattern after not doing it for years. What’s great about this exercise is you can literally crawl around the house and your core, arms, shoulders and legs will be on fire in about 20 seconds. One thing I took away from Animal Flow is that the slower you go, the better control you’ll have and the harder it will be.
Try to avoid rushing the movement as you won’t get the full benefit if you do. Once you master a basic crawl, there is a whole world of other crawling and creeping patterns you could employ into your workout, but for now stick with the basics.
Everyone wants to get that cardio effect where they are breathing heavy, sweating and have an elevated heart rate. Look no further than a simple jump rope. Everyone used to jump rope for fun when they were kids and then somewhere along the lines we lost interest. Luckily it is a simple way in which to get a cardio workout.
You can program it however you want; for time, intervals, or a specific number of jumps. At first it may take a few tries to get back into the rhythm of jumping rope, but practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the easier it’ll get.
Home exercise programs don’t have to be about how much sweat you can develop or how tired you can get. It can actually be about purposeful movements where first you learn to move properly before you move on to jumping around. If you can’t develop the proper mechanics for the basics, why push yourself into riskier moves that your body isn’t ready for? With the above exercises, you can regress or progress them based on what you can do.
What if you need a bigger challenge than what these exercises present? A quick way would be to alter the tempo in which you do them. For example, on squats or pushups, you can control the descent on the exercise, which will require a greater deal of muscular contraction, or better yet, add in an isometric pause at the bottom.