The majority of people assume you need a gym or a great number of equipment to be able to exercise, forgetting that your own body is a great tool. Whatever happened to the simple days when people ran, crawled, jumped or climbed? All of these were done, and can still be done, using what we already have right in front of us, even at home.
To help bring things back to basics, as well as help you work in your fitness when you're pressed for time, here are 4 easy home workouts (with or without equipment) that are great for working the body. Whether you're looking to stay fit overall or lose weight, these exercises you can do at home consist of ones that increase your heart rate, work the muscles in your core, build strength in your upper body and isolate the muscles on the back of the arms.
Simple exercises to do at home
Most people get a shiver down their spine when they hear the word 'burpee'! This may be one of the most hated exercises when working out, but face it, you know it's good for you. This exercise elevates the heart rate fast and is a great full body exercise.
How to do burpees step by step:
- Stand up straight with enough room behind you if you were to lay flat on the floor.
- Put your hands on the floor just in front of your feet, jump both legs back then lower your whole body to the floor.
- Using your arms, push your body back up, jump the legs back towards your hands then explosively jump into the air.
That is 1 repetition. Try this for 30 seconds and see how out of breath it makes you. This exercise is a great guide to see how fit you are and how you improve over time.
The plank is simple to do and probably the best core exercise around as works evenly from the front to the sides and lower back. This is also a mental strength exercise as it requires you to do no movement, so it's all about how long you can hold it.
How to do a plank for beginners:
- Lay flat on the floor with your hands flat on the ground under your shoulders. Feet only a few inches apart behind you.
- Raise your body so only your toes, hands and forearms are touching the ground, and your body should be in a straight line from ankles to shoulders.
- Keep the core engaged throughout making sure there is no arching in the lower back or hips being raised too high.
Remember to focus on your breathing with this exercise, taking slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try doing this once as long as you can and time it. After that you can do 3 sets at 75% of your maximum and re-test yourself every 2 weeks to try and push your time further.
3. Push ups
Push ups are a great exercise to target the muscles in the upper body, primarily the chest, shoulders and triceps. The great thing about this exercise is that it's easy to progress so start at a level you can do. Beginners can start by pushing against a wall and as you get stronger, move down to the sofa, then on to the floor on your knees, and finally to full push ups on your toes.
How to start doing push ups:
- Make sure you keep a strong, straight posture throughout the exercise so no arching occurs.
- Hands should be directly below the shoulders or slightly wider depending on whether you want to target the arms or chest more.
- Take 1-2 seconds to lower yourself and the same on the way up. It's not about how many you can do, rather get the correct technique down.
Try doing 10 of these in the position you feel comfortable and work your way up to a point where you can do 10 full push ups and gradually increase the number over time.
If you want to work your lower body then this exercise is ALWAYS a must do as it simply is the best lower body exercise around. This is performed incorrectly so often though so make sure you follow these pointers.
How to do squats properly:
- Stand with your feet a couple of inches wider than your hips with feet turned the slightest bit outwards.
- Think about sitting in a chair so as you lower, move your hips backwards meaning the knees will stay where they are and not move forwards over your toes.
- Once you get your thighs parallel with the ground, squeeze your glutes and push back up through the heels of your feet.
- Always make sure your knees stay aligned with your toes and not turning inwards.
Try 10-15 repetitions and if it feels too easy then hold a weight or something in your house to add more resistance to the exercise.
Remember to stretch and rest your body after exercise – click here for tips on exercise recovery. Go on and give these 4 exercises a try and you'll be working your whole body from the comfort of your own home in no time. Enjoy.
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