If the thought of going to crowded gyms with equipment hoarders makes you cringe, there’s a simpler (and cheaper) way to stay fit right about now.
It doesn’t matter where you work out, it’s what you’re doing, how often you’re exercising and ensuring that it’s effective that makes it most beneficial.
If you can avoid the phone calls, the television and chatty kids or family members in the background, you can set a schedule to reach your health and weight goals.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
5 effective total body exercises easy to do at home
Here you have the 5 exercises and a detailed explanation about how to perform them safely and easily.
Starting position: Come to a hands and knees position (quadruped) on the mat with your hands directly under your shoulders; fingers facing forward, or slightly inward and knees under your hips. Engage the abdominals and pull the shoulder blades down your back.
Reach one leg out and away followed by the other leg, bringing you to plank position. Keep the abdominals/core engaged to brace the torso. Your head should be aligned with your spine. Your feet are together with your toes tucked under and your heels reaching toward the wall behind you.
Downward Phase: Slowly bend the elbows, lowering your body toward the floor. Keep the torso rigid and the head aligned with your spine. Do not allow your low back or ribcage to sag or your hips to hike upward.
Engage your butt (glutes) and thigh (quadriceps) muscles to help maintain stability and a rigid body. Try to lower yourself until your chest or chin touch the mat or floor. Your elbows should stay close to the sides of your body or be allowed to flare outwards slightly.
Upward Phase: Press upward through your arms, straightening the elbows. Keep the torso rigid and head aligned with your spine. Imagine pushing the floor away from you. Do not allow your low back to sag or your hips to hike upward.
An alternative position is to keep your fingers facing forward and your elbows close to your sides during the downward phase. This shifts the emphasis from the chest muscles onto the triceps and may reduce stresses in the shoulder joint.
Pushing through the outside surface and heel of your palm provides greater force in your press and stability to your shoulders.
2-Hover / Plank
Starting Position: Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat or floor with your elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders, palms down and fingers facing forward. Engage your abdominal/core muscles.
It should feel like you are tightening a corset around your ribs, waist and lower torso. Contract your thigh muscles to straighten your legs strongly and flex your ankles, (tucking your toes towards your shins).
Upward Phase. Slowly lift your torso and thighs off the floor or mat. Keep your torso and legs rigid. Do not allow any sagging in your ribcage or low back. Avoid hiking your hips into the air or bending the knees.
Keep the shoulders away from the ears (no shrugging). The shoulders should be directly over your elbows with your palms facing down through the entire exercise. Continue to breathe, keeping the abdominals strong while holding this position. Try holding this position for 5 seconds or more.
Downward Phase: Keep the torso and legs stiff as you slowly and gently lower your body back towards the mat or floor.
If you experience any pain in the low back with this movement, stop the exercise immediately and consult with your doctor.
For professional guidance in your exercise program, find a certified Personal Trainer in your area. Before beginning any fitness program, always see a qualified healthcare provider for advice and to address any questions or concerns.
Starting Position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides. Pull your shoulder blades down and engage your abdominal / core muscles to brace your spine.
Downward Phase: Shift your hips back and down. This will create a hinge-like movement at your knees. Continue to lower yourself until you feel your heels about to lift off the floor. Try to maintain a flat back by bending forward at the hips.
Keep your head directly facing forward and position your arms where they offer the greatest degree of balance support.
Jumping Movement: With ONLY a very brief pause at the bottom of your downward phase, explode up through your lower body, fully extending your hips, knees and ankles. As your jump into the air, try to keep your feet level with each other and parallel with the floor.
Landing: The most important components of the landing phase are correct foot position and avoiding excessive forward movement in your lower extremity, which places additional stress on your knees.
Try to land softly and quietly on the mid-foot, rolling into the heels. Always push your hips back and down to absorb the impact of landing. Do not lock out your knees on your landing.
Land with your trunk slightly forward, head aligned with your spine and back rigid or flat. Keep your abdominal / core muscles engaged, bracing your torso to protect your spine.
Exercise Variation: As you develop your jumping and landing skills, you can increase the exercise intensity and complexity by:
(1) Driving your arms behind you during the downward phase (illustrated), (2) driving your arms forward and upward during the jumping phase (illustrated), or (3) driving your knees towards your chest during the jumping phase.
It is suggested you first learn how to squat and land before attempting to jump. Once you have mastered the hip-hinge mechanism, begin with small jumps, but emphasize your landing mechanics. Only progress to more explosive jumps once you have mastered your landing mechanics.
Starting Position: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or the floor in a bent-knee position with your feet flat on the floor. Place your feet hip-width apart with the toes facing away from you. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Attempt to maintain this gentle muscle contraction throughout the exercise.
Upward Phase: Gently exhale. Keep the abdominals engaged and lift your hips up off the floor. Press your heels into the floor for added stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high, which can cause hyperextension (arching) in your low back. Keeping your abdominals strong helps to prevent excessive arching in the low back.
Lowering Phase: Inhale and slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.
Progression: Gradually progress this exercise by starting with both feet together and extending one leg while in the raised position.
Avoid arching your low back as you press your hips upward, which normally occurs if you attempt to push your hips as high as possible.
This can be achieved by contracting your abdominal muscles prior to lifting, and keeping them engaged throughout the lift
5-Glute Activation Lunges
Starting Position: Stand with your feet together and your arms raised in front to shoulder height; elbows straight. Pull your shoulders down and back toward your hips. Engage your abdominal/core muscles (“brace”) to stabilize your spine.
From the starting position, imagine that you are standing on a clock facing 12 o’clock. With your right foot, step across your body (both feet remain pointed forward) to the 3 o’clock position.
Once the right foot is firmly placed on the floor, begin to bend at the hips. Push the hips backwards as you shift your weight over your right foot.
Continue shifting your weight until your shinbone is straight up and down and your right knee is aligned directly over the second toe of your right foot. Your left knee is bent and the left heel is off the ground.
As you lunge, rotate your arms and torso in the opposite direction of the lunge movement. This increases the load on your glute muscle group. Firmly push off with your front leg, activating both your thighs and butt muscles to return to your upright, starting position.
This series of multi-directional (multi-planar) lunges are intended to activate your gluteus, which protect your knee during walking, running and jumping-type activities.
As many of us have weak gluteus, this exercise can be performed as part of your pre-exercise warm-up.
Given the moderate degree of complexity of the three movements, we recommend learning this exercise first without your arms and only progress to the arm drivers as you feel comfortable.
It is suggested you first learn how to perform single leg-stands on the ground and forward lunges before performing these glute activation lunges.