Incorporating gym time into your super busy life can be a daunting task. However, this should never be an excuse to let yourself go. Even without access to machines or weights, there are exercises you can do from the comfort of your home or wherever you happen to be to keep fit.
These range from squats and pushups to jumps and burpees, depending on whether you are going for normal cardio exercises or routines to combine with your HIIT training. Below is a list of 18 quick workouts you can do anywhere.
The Mountain Climber helps in working out the lower abs, legs, hands, and neck. You can start with 10 minute sessions and increase the duration as your body gets used to the exercise.
Start on all fours. Raise your back with your feet only touching the ground by the toes. With your hands firmly on the ground, bring the right foot forward. The motion should bring your right knee towards the chest- with the left foot straightened out.
Now, start your climb by alternating between right and left foot. You can spice things up by kneeling down, while maintaining the hands-position, and lifting your legs (one at a time) upwards and outwards.
You are probably familiar with Jumping Jacks from your days in recess. If not, this is how it’s done…
Stand with your hands stretched and resting at your sides. Next, jump as high as you can with feet apart. At the same time bring your arms together, high above your head, and clap.
On the way down, bring your feet together and arms to your side- the starting position. Now, repeat and try to increase the speed and height with every jump. This exercise can be quite tiring, so aim for 20 seconds-long intervals.
A tuck jump lets you lift your entire body weight repeatedly.
Start in a standing position with legs apart and your chest up. Slightly bend your knees, with butt back and down, and your arms extending to the sides.
Push yourself off the ground to bring your knees as close to your chest as possible. In this ‘up’ position, your hands can be stretched to the front or hold your knees together. On the way down, resume the starting position.
Repeat and increase speed and height with subsequent jumps. Since this is an energy-intensive workout, to catch your breath, jog on the spot after every few jumps.
Have you ever proposed? If not, you have probably tied your shoes from a standing position- that’s the lunge and here is how to do it in a workout:
In a shoulder-width stance, take a step forward with your right leg. By bending your knees and shifting your weight downwards, bring the left foot to touch the floor by the knee. The position calls for your right thigh to be parallel to the ground.
Repeat by first going back to the starting position and alternating the legs’ motion. All the while, your upper body should be vertical to the ground and hands akimbo.
Note: To maintain balance, avoid moving your feet as if walking on a tight rope. Also, do not hinge by the hips to avoid adding strain on your knee.
Unlike the forward lunge, this workout helps in activating your glutes more.
Start in a standing position and take a big step backward. Keep your upper body upright with hands akimbo. For rhythm, let the back knee tap the floor as the front heel presses against the floor for lift-off.
This a variation of the Forward Lunge, but one that incorporates walking. Instead of pausing at the standing position, take a step forward.
Press the front heel into the floor while bringing the back foot to meet the front foot. Now, step forward by alternating the legs’ motion.
From the standing position, step sideways to the right with your right foot. Ensure that your toes point forward and that your feet touch the floor flat. For balance, bring your hands together, stretched forward, and move them parallel to your left thigh.
Now, push back up to the starting position and repeat on the left side. At the standing position, bring your hands to your sides.
Now that you have gotten the basics of the lunge, try coming up with other variations. For example; curtsy lunge, jumping forward lunge, and walking & stretch lunge.
To really test your limits, try lunging in several directions; forward, backward, curtsy and laterally- one foot at a time before going back to the starting position. Better still, aim for 5-10 cycles on one side before switching legs.
This move works your core, shoulders, and legs.
Start in a standing position with your legs straight, and ensure that your knees aren’t touching. Slowly hinge your upper body by the hips and walk out your hands as far as you can- into a push-up position.
Now bring back your hands to the toes by walking them in tiny steps. Repeat for about 6 times. In the bent position try to straighten your legs to stretch your hamstrings.
You can also add shoulder taps in the push-up position- left hand to the right shoulder and vice-versa.
Squats are lower body workouts that also engage your core.
Start in a standing position with feet about 2 feet apart and your toes turned out. Bend your knees slowly and bring your body into a sitting position by pushing your back, and your butt down. Keep your back flat and your chest lifted.
Now, push yourself up into the starting position. Once at the top, squeeze your butt. Throughout the exercise, maintain your arms apart in a straightened position in front of you. Start with 5-10 squats and push yourself to do more and more each day.
This is a top core exercise that also helps to burn fat.
In a standing position, with your core engaged, push your feet apart. Glutes engaged, bend your knees and bring your hands forward to touch the floor. Assume a plank position by pushing your back with feet touching. Make sure that your back is not sagging.
Keep your arms shoulder-width apart, with palms flat on the floor. Now, push your feet up and with knees bent, bring them below your chest and back out again. Repeat for 30-45 seconds, increasing your speed with every move.
Caution: If you let your back sag, this workout can harm your lower back by stressing your hip joint. This means that if you are tired and starting to breakdown, stop!
Don’t be alarmed, you won’t need a gun for this next move…
Start in a standing position with your hands stretched out in front of you. Next, raise your left foot forward to about a foot from the ground. Now, slowly squat to the lowest point by bending your right knee and pushing the upper body downwards.
Keep your arms parallel to your raised leg for counterbalance. Hold this ‘down’ position for a few seconds before going back up.
On the way up, let the raised leg remain fully stretched in front of you, before bringing it down to touch the ground a foot from the other. Repeat on the other side.
For this squat, you won’t go all the way down but rather assume a sitting pose.
Start by standing with your legs at least a foot apart. Now, lift your right foot, fully stretched, and squat to bring your thighs parallel to the ground. Your hands should be stretched out in front of your body for balance.
Lift yourself back up by driving your left foot to the ground to lift your body. You can use this workout as a warmup to full squats or the pistol squats. If you are a beginner, no one will judge if you start by using a chair to avoid falling over.
Yoga Move: Try the squat, without a chair, but this time around, cross the raised leg over the other. Hold the position then repeat on the other side.
Rail Pistol Squat
This is an assisted pistol squat, whereby you hold on to a rail or pole to support your body.
While in a standing position, with a single leg raised, hold on to the support and start lowering your body to the ground. Since there is less strain to your feet make sure that your but is almost touching the ground in the down position.
Now, push yourself back up, slowly, as your hands walk up the support. As you gain stamina, try to use the support less and less, or just by your fingertips.
Elevated Pistol Squat
Here you will need an elevated surface to place one of your legs. If you are in the park, this can be a foot-high flat rock, or a small stool, when at home.
Place your right foot on to the elevated surface to give your left foot more room to play with. Lift yourself up by the right foot and swing the left one, back and forth, until you gain balance. Now, stay still and begin your pistol squat.
Repeat on the other side and maintain the raised leg’s foot as close to the ground as possible. This means that the leg will be at an angle to the ground as opposed to being parallel.
As your body gets used to the exercise, try maintaining the leg parallel to the ground. What about swinging your hands while in the squat position? How’s that for a workout goal?
Let’s see what you can come up with when you combine jumping jacks and squats.
Start in a standing position with your feet touching and hands at your sides. Jump into a wide stance and bend your knees as you lower your body into a squat. Ensure that your core stays engaged and your flat straightened.
As you reach the chair-level squatting position, tap the floor with one hand while the other stays parallel to your upper body. Go back to the starting position with a slight jump. Repeat and aim for speed increase with every move.
Panther Plank Shoulder Tap
Planks make for a fantastic workout.
Start on all fours with your back flat and feet touching the ground by the toes. Engage your core and lift up your knees and body a few inches by pressing down on your toes and palms.
Keep your eyes peeled to the ground to ensure that your kneck is not bent. Now lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder and back to the ground. Repeat with the left and hand to the right shoulder.
All the while, keep your hips and upper body as still as possible- in fact, assume that you are balancing a pitcher of water on you back.
Elbow Plank Shoulder Tap
This is an easier version of the panther shoulder tap, it’s no joke though.
Start on all fours with your back flat, feet touching and elevated by the toes, and knees down. Your shoulders should be raised with elbows and palms flat on the ground.
Now, raise your right hand to touch your left shoulder and alternate on the other side. Remember not to sag your back or move your hips too much.
The Burpee is one of the hardest but also among the most beneficial exercises for your whole body.
Start in a standing position with your legs about a foot apart, and your glutes and core engaged. Assume a pushup position by kicking your legs behind you and touching the ground with your palms flat.
In this position, your chest should also touch the ground without pressing on it. Basically, your body weight is being held by your toes and palms. Sounds easy, right?
Well… here is the kicker. From the down position, push your body back up by pressing on your palms and hopping your legs forward. By the time your legs touch the ground, your knees should be slightly bent and your whole body over halfway up- but not entirely. Now, jump and lift your hands straight above your head.
No stopping! Get back down, just as fast, and repeat all over again.
Are you after tight glutes, hard abs, big biceps or do you just wish to maintain a healthy body? There are tons of exercises that can help you achieve all this without the need for the gym, weights or even trainers. The above 18 exercises are (hopefully) easy for you to do anywhere at any time with minimal space and no assistance whatsoever.
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