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A Complete Guide to Working Out at Home (with Minimal Equipment)
Not having time to exercise is the biggest excuse of all time, especially when you can easily get your sweat glands working right at home. Here are some home workouts that are easy and effective, if only you get your butt of the couch!
While gyms are a great place for getting your sweat on, they’re not for everyone. Maybe you’re a beginner, and the prospect of working out in front of other people makes you uncomfortable. Maybe you find it hard to make it to the gym after a long day at work. Or maybe you’d simply rather save your money for something else! Whatever the reason, there are some days when it’s simply easier to work out from home.
There is a common misconception that working out at home is not as effective as working out at the gym. This simply isn’t true! While you’ll find heavier weights and different machines at the gym, at-home workouts offer variety, too. Here is a complete guide to working out at home workouts with minimal equipment.
Equipment: the Basics
None of these workouts require equipment, but if you’re planning to use your living room as a gym, it’s helpful to invest in a couple basics. Here are a few things that will make working out at home easier.
A yoga mat. Yoga mats range in price from $20-80, but there’s no need to invest in an expensive one if you’re not a serious yogi. Even a cheap yoga mat will make your at-home workouts more comfortable. Unless, of course, you don’t mind planking on hard floors!
A set of dumbbells. You can certainly get in a great workout without the use of additional weights, but a set of dumbbells can help amp up your home workout. They don’t need to be heavy: even a set of 2-3 kilo weights will add serious resistance to your routine. If you feel like you’re hitting a wall with your at-home workout, try incorporating additional weight.
Best At-Home Bodyweight Exercises
Bodyweight exercises are some of the easiest workouts to tackle at home. Most require no equipment and can be performed in a small space. And even if your day is crazy hectic, it’s easy to squeeze in a few reps.
Planks. Planks are the ultimate total body burner, drawing strength from your entire core to keep you stabilized.
Try this: A standard plank looks like the top of a push-up: arms and back straight, heels spiked, with your hands positioned shoulder-width apart. Hold this position for one minute, repeated three times.
Too hard? Start with a forearm plank, which is slightly easier to hold.
Too easy? Try a side plank! Lie down on your side, and rest up on your forearm. Lift your hips, and come up off the floor into a straight side plank position. Alternate sides between sets.
Bicycle crunches. Bicycle crunches are a great core strengthener, targeting the oblique muscles and those dreaded “love handles.”
Try this: Get into crunch position, with your hands laced behind your head. Come up and turn to your right side, bringing your left knee in at the same time. Touch your right elbow to your left knee, and switch sides. Repeat 30x on each side.
Too hard? Reduce your reps to 15 on each side.
Too easy? Slowing down this exercise makes it a lot harder. As you bend your left knee and crunch to the right, extend your right leg out entirely and let it hover over the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, then switch sides.
Squats. Squats are not only a wonderful full-body strengthener, but doing them on the regular will make you look amazing in jeans.
Try this: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms straight out in front of you. Squat down, keeping your back straight and your knees in front of your toes, until your legs are parallel to the floor. Repeat 3×15.
Too hard? Reduce your reps to 10.
Too easy? Grab a set of dumbbells! By simply holding a set of dumbbells as you squat, you’ll increase the effectiveness of this move.
Tricep dips. No weights? No problem! All you need to work out your arms is a sturdy chair. Try this: Position a chair behind you, sit down, and place your hands on the edge of the seat, shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and lower yourself down in front of the chair. Repeat 3×15.
Too hard? Straighten your legs out in front of you as you dip down.
Too easy? Hold the bottom of each rep for 5 seconds before bringing yourself back up to the chair.
Burpees. Who says bodyweight exercises can’t double as cardio? Burpees will work out your lower body and make you break a sweat.
Try this: Squat down and put your hands on either side of your feet. Kick your feet back into a plank position, then jump your feet back between your hands. Finish the move by jumping straight up into the air with your arms raised. Try incorporating a few burpees in between other bodyweight exercises.
Too hard? Don’t worry about going fast! Go slowly to get the motion down, then speed up as you improve your form.
Too easy? Once you reach plank position, do a push-up before finishing the move.
Working out at home with minimal equipment is a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to stay in shape. With these exercises, you’ll never step foot in a gym again!