As the weather turns from Summer to Fall, it can be hard to keep up your fitness routine. If you don’t want to spend money on pricey gyms, there are still plenty of options to stay healthy and fit at home.
Just give it 30 days and you will see that these 8 great, at-home exercises make a real difference. You can do them in the morning, in between games, or even in your hotel room.
We recommend starting with manageable sets of each – try 3 sets of 15 repetitions – or you can incorporate them all into a fabulous, quick, HIIT routine to really get the best metabolism-boosting benefits. Double up 2 30-second rounds of high-intensity sets with a quick, 15-second break and you have the perfect 10-minute routine that might just become your favorite, most effective part of the day.
Pushups are one of the best exercises you can you absolutely anywhere. With infinite variations and adaptations, there is nothing stopping you from upping your pushup game this month. We start here because you can start here.
The proper pushup works your entire body, with extra emphasis on your core, which is pretty much everyone’s dream exercise. If you are just beginning, you get no less upper-body and core benefit from a pushup on your knees, so get to it!
Start with your hands under, but slightly wider than, your shoulders. Hold your body in a plank from your toes or your knees, keeping the spine neutral. If it feels like gravity is pushing on your lower back, lift your hips a little. Bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor and then return to the plank position.
Remember that your core stays strong and your body stays long.
Once you have the basic pushup mastered, you can try one leg at a time, add in a side plank between pushups, or bring your hands in under your chest for some crazy-good triceps work. The options are endless.
Speaking of triceps, dips are another exercise that is totally adaptable to your space and your fitness level. Sit on the floor, on a chair, a step, or just about anywhere where you can firmly place your hands flat on either side of your hips. Make sure your fingers point forward towards your toes (it might feel strange), and then lift and lower your hips as you bend your elbows. Try to make your arms do the work, not your legs or hips.
If you are on a raised surface like the side of a bed, you can drop lower off the edge to make this a bigger challenge to your upper body; on the floor, this exercise is easier the closer your feet are to your hips. Keep your legs straight to make your triceps move more of your body weight and really work hard.
Lunges challenge your core, your hips, and your entire lower body. They are great for building balance, as well.
Start standing tall, with your feet below your hips and your balance even through your feet. Take a large step forward with your right foot and plant it firmly on the floor. Lower your body so that both knees bent at 90-degrees. Your left knee should be just hovering over the floor; your right knee should be directly above your ankle. You look perfect!
Push off your right heel to return to standing and repeat on the left. You can also mix it up by doing a reverse lunge (step backward instead of forward). This exercise is great for runners and anyone looking to strengthen their hips and improve mobility.
A squat is a fabulous lower body exercise, but one that is frequently executed incorrectly. To maximize the benefits of squats and to minimize injury, remember that a squat is essentially like sitting in a chair. You don’t lean forward to sit down, so your body should not move forward for a perfect squat.
Place your feet hip-width apart and make sure your feet press evenly into the floor. Keeping your chest up, slowly lower your butt behind you. The secret to success is to listen to your body. If you feel your weight shift into your toes, you are too far forward; lift your chest back up and shift your hips back. If your weight is in your heels, you are going in the wrong direction. Balance through the entire foot.
Once you have the form, you can increase the speed and increase your reps. If you’re a beginner, you might also consider visiting your local gym for a one time form training session or if you’re short on time, using an online fitness coach to prevent unnecessary injury.
Everyone can do a crunch (who doesn’t love an exercise that starts by laying down!), but this variation works your entire waist, not just the center.
To get some great oblique burn into your routine, try a triple-set that starts in the middle with a regular crunch. After your first set of 15, drop your knees to the floor on the right. Keeping your knees together and your chest center and still facing the sky, do your second set. Come back to center and drop your knees left for the final set. This rotation works all of your abdominal muscles to the max.
This core-focused, static exercise challenges your center with very little impact.
Sit on the floor, balancing on the upper part of your glutes (the soft part right above your sit bones). Lean your shoulders back and your knees forward until you are a V-shape. Lift your feet to knee-height, using your arms to hold onto and balance behind your thighs. Stay there.
If you are feeling confident, let go and use your balance and core strength to hold the V with your feet in the air. For a most advanced version, lift your feet above your knees as high as they will go without falling over.
To target your core, glutes, and thighs in one awesome exercise, lay down on your back with your knees bent. Push through the balls of your feet as your exhale and tighten your glutes to lift your hips into the air as high as you can. Tap your hips back down on the floor and lift again to repeat.
At your peak raise, the only part of your body on the ground should be your feet, shoulders, and head.
Finish with a variation on yoga’s Downward Dog to stretch your whole body, while still keeping your core active.
Start in a long, strong hand plank with your hands under your shoulders and toes firmly on the ground behind your hips. As you exhale, use your breath and your core to push your hips up, making your body a triangle. Inhale and return to your plank. Slowing this down lets your stretch your shoulders, hips, and legs while moving faster through this exercise targets core burn. It’s a great way to finish.