The coronavirus shutdown is affecting our lives and everything we do, including how we exercise. Social distancing may have stopped us from hitting the gym, but we can keep up with our fitness goals in the comfort of our own home. Let’s get started!
There’s no reason cardio has to be boring. These exercises get you off the treadmill, add variety to your cardio routine, get your heart pumping, and burn calories!
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Run in place and alternate bringing each knee up toward your chest as high as you can while pumping your arms, like you’re marching in place. Keep your chest lifted, core tight, and land lightly on the balls of your feet.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hips back, like you would at the start of a squat. Now jump up as high as possible, bringing your knees to your chest. Land softly on your toes back in the starting position. Here’s how it’s done:
Start in a traditional push-up position with arms fully extended. This looks like the start of a push-up. With your core tight, bring your right knee forward under your chest, with the toes just off the ground. Return to your starting position. Switch legs, bringing the left knee forward. Keep your form tight, continue switching legs and pick up the pace to a steady running in place motion.
Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and your knees slightly bent. Squat down, placing your hands on the ground under your shoulders between your feet. Push your feet back into a full plank so your body forms a straight line from heels to head. Keep your core tight.
Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor to perform a pushup. Extend your elbows and push yourself back up into the plank position. Push your feet back towards your hands, and shift your weight into your heels, dropping your hips between your knees to a crouch position. Jump up, clapping your hands overhead. Land softly, keeping your knees and hips slightly bent.
Here’s how it looks:
Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides. Jump and spread your feet wide – approximately shoulder’s width, while raising your arms over your head. Reverse the movement as you bring your feet back together and lower your arms back to your sides. Here’s how they look:
Stand in front of a stepper, sturdy box or stable chair with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Jump forward and up onto the stepper, box or chair, landing with your knees slightly bent. Step back down and repeat. See it here:
With your hands at your sides and feet hip distance apart, “step-up” onto a stepper, bench, sturdy box, stable chair or regular step with the right foot, following with your left foot. Keep the right heel planted on the platform as you step down and back up with your left foot for the required number of steps. Repeat with the opposite foot. See it here:
The back is one of the more complex and largest areas of the body. The primary muscles of the back include the traps, lats, rhomboids and spinal erectors. The following exercises cover all areas of the back for complete development.
Begin by lying on the floor face down with your arms stretched out overhead. Lift your upper body into a slight back arch by lifting your chest away from the floor and contracting your glutes and back muscles. Keep your chin tucked so that you are looking towards the floor.
From there, lift your right arm up away from the floor and at the same time lift your left leg away from the floor. Lift your arm and leg approximately one foot off the floor.
Then as you lower your right arm, lift your left arm and as you lower the left leg, lift your right leg, in a swimming-like motion. Keep your glutes tight during this exercise and don’t lift your legs too high as this can cause you to arch your lower back too much. Here’s how they look:
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms straight out in front of you (like Superman does when he flies). Raise your arms and feet off the floor, keeping your core flat on the ground. Hold the raised position for three seconds and then lower your arms and feet back to the floor. Here’s how they’re done:
If you don’t have a chin bar available, you can use a very sturdy kitchen table. Be advised the table should be very strong! Simply lie down on the floor and keep your body straight, use a slightly wider than shoulder width grip, pull your upper body up towards the table. Think of your arms as hooks and start your pull with the back. Again, be sure your table is strong and as stationary as possible. Safety first! Here’s how it looks:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Alternatively, you can place them on the edge of a couch or chair. Hold your arms out straight in front of you.
Tilt your chin slightly, leaving a few inches between your chin and your chest. Pull your upper body up while “crunching” your abs. You will only come up a few inches. Lower your upper body and repeat. See it here:
Lie flat with hands under your glutes. Keep your knees together and pull them in towards your chest while moving your upper body towards them. Tense your abs, hold for a 3 count and then slowly return to starting position. Here’s how it looks:
Lie flat on your back with your hands beneath your hips. Bend your knees and lift them towards your head when tensing your abs. Lower your feet back down just above the floor to complete one repetition. See it here:
The core is not just about the abs. This area includes the pelvic floor muscles, abs, obliques, erector spine, and the diaphragm. A complete core routine utilizes the hips, spine, and lower back. These exercises will help strengthen your core for better stability, improved functional strength, and better balance.
Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder. Tense your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet. Your body should be several inches off the floor and in a straight line. Hold the position without letting your hips drop, then repeat on the other side. Here’s how it looks:
Sit on the floor and bring your legs out straight. Lean back slightly so your torso and legs form a V-like shape, tensing your core. Balancing here, twist your torso from side to side without moving your legs. Here’s how they’re done:
Alternate Arm Leg Plank
Make a straight line with your body from your shoulders to your heels. Hold your core engaged and squeeze your glutes. Lift one arm and the opposite leg off the floor, hold for one second then return to the starting position and switch sides. See it here:
Lie down on the floor. Start with your legs straight, and your arms out straight behind your head. Bring your upper body and lower body up at the same time. Touch your toes, then bring your upper body and legs back down. Here’s how it’s done:
Lie flat on your back with your arms straight out from your sides. Maintain a tight upper body and rotate your legs side to side. You can make the move easier by bending your knees. Alternatively, you can hand from a chin bar and swing your legs back and forth while keeping your core tight. Your swing should be controlled, don’t let momentum do the movement for you. See it here:
Lie on the ground with your lower back flat on the floor and your head and shoulders raised up slightly. Place your hands lightly on the sides of your head; don’t hook your fingers behind your head. Lift one leg just off the ground and extend it out. You’re performing these as if you were pedalling a bicycle and touching each knee with the opposite elbow. Keep the speed of this exercise controlled. Here’s how they look:
Lying Leg Lift
Lie on your back with your legs straight and together. Keep your legs straight and lift them all the way up towards the ceiling until your butt comes off the floor. Slowly lower your legs back down until they’re just above the floor. Hold for a 3-count, repeat. See it here:
Lie on your back and extend your legs up to a 45-degree angle. Keep your arms straight and in line with the floor, palms facing down. Lift your head, neck and shoulders slightly off the ground. Keeping your legs stick straight and glued together with your toes pointed, start lowering one leg. Raise it back up again and lower the other, focusing on keeping your core engaged. Continue the movement, alternating between legs. Here’s how they’re done:
The basic plank is done by assuming a modified push-up position with your elbows bent 90 degrees and both forearms resting on the floor. Position your elbows directly underneath your shoulders and look straight toward the floor. Your body should form a perfectly straight line from the top of your head to your heels. Hold this position as long as possible. See it here:
A complete upper body routine includes exercises for the chest, deltoids, biceps, triceps and forearms. Of course, the back is also included, and we added pullups here and as you’ve already seen, there’s a separate section that covers all the muscles of the back.
Get down on all fours, placing your hands flat on the floor slightly wider than your shoulders.
Straighten your arms and legs. From this position lower your body by bending at the elbows until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up. This is the bodyweight version of the bench press. Similarly, you should be pushing from the chest, deltoids and triceps. The legs remain stationary. See it here:
Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a bench or stable chair. Slide your butt off the front of the bench or chair with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Straighten your arms, keeping your elbows slightly bent. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle.
Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press yourself back up to the starting position. Perform a slow and controlled movement. Also, you can bend your legs to modify this exercise, if needed. Here’s how they’re done:
This exercise requires a chin-up bar to be done correctly. If you don’t have one, perform the bodyweight row described earlier in its place. Alternatively, you can do this exercise outside as shown in the video.
To do this exercise, grip the bar with both hands, palms facing away from you, shoulder-width apart. Hang with arms and elbows fully locked out. Tense your back and your core. Think of your arms as hooks, not as the primary muscles.
Pull yourself up to where your chin is just over the bar. Lower yourself slowly and controlled until your arms are fully extended and straight again. The key to getting the most out of any back exercise is to begin the movement with the back muscles, never with the arms. See it here:
Assume a standard pushup position on the floor. Your arms should be straight, and your hands should be shoulder-width apart. Now lift your hips so that your body forms an upside-down V. Your legs and arms should stay as straight as possible. From this V position, bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor. Pause, and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight. Here’s how it looks:
Strong legs complete a physique. When it comes to legs, the first exercise you think of is probably squats, and you either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Personally, I have always enjoyed squats in all their variations. While we have several included here, we’re including more variety for total leg development.
Stand with your feet pointed outward and legs 10 – 12 inches wider than shoulder-width. Hold your arms in front of you and keep your back straight. Alternatively, you can hold your arms straight out. Squat down until your legs are slightly lower than parallel to the floor. Slowly come back up to the starting position. Here’s how they’re done:
Start with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and arms at the sides. Bring one leg behind at a slight angle into a reverse lunge. The front knee will come to a 90-degree angle.
Swing the arms in front of that bent knee and leap the back leg forward to switch sides in a skating motion. Arms alternate as you switch sides like a speed skater. See it here:
Lunge Front Kick
Stand up straight, keep your back flat and your core tight. Look straight ahead as you step back with your right leg. Then step forward and launch the right leg into a front kick. Repeat for the opposite leg. See it here:
Single Leg Split Squat
Stand facing away from a bench or stable chair. Extend one leg back and place the top of your foot on the bench or chair. Squat down until the knee of rear leg is almost touching the floor. Return to original standing position and repeat with the opposite leg. Here’s how they’re done:
Single Leg Deadlift
Stand straight with your back flat and core tight. Shift your weight to the right leg and drive your left foot back while keeping your left leg straight. At the same time, bend over at the waist as if you were going to touch your toes.
Keep your upper body and right leg straight while bending almost parallel to the floor. Keep your left arm straight and at shoulder height. Hold your right arm out to the side, straight and at shoulder height.
At the bottom of the position, your body should be in a straight line from the top of your head to the bottom of your left foot. Then, begin pulling your left leg forward while keeping it straight, and lift your upper body up until you’re standing again. Repeat for the other leg.
When you think of the deadlift, you think lower back as well as legs. Similarly, this exercise also involves the lower back along with the legs. Here’s how they look:
Single Leg Squat
Begin with your arms extended out in front of your body. Balance on one leg with your opposite leg extended straight in front as high as possible. Squat down as far as you can while keeping the elevated leg off the floor. Slowly raise your body back up to the starting position. Repeat for the other leg. See it here:
Start on your hands and knees. Your shoulders should be directly above your hands and your hips should be directly above your knees. Keep your back flat, tighten your core and look down.
Lift your left leg away from your body at a 45-degree angle. Lower your leg back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. This looks just like it sounds, like a dog stopping at a fire hydrant. See it here:
Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed. Look straight in front of you, don’t look down. Keep your core tight. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Push back up to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg. See it here:
Lie face up on the floor with your arms at your side and knees bent, your feet firmly planted on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause in the up position, then slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Here’s how they’re done:
Walking Toe Touches
Stand straight, take a step, stop, bend over, raise your left foot at the heel and touch the toe of your left foot with your right arm. Stand up and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. See it here:
Stand straight with a tight core and flat back. Keep your hands at your sides or flat against a wall for balance. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Slowly raise yourself up on to the balls of your feet. Pause at the top of the movement, flex your calves and slowly return to the starting position. For a deeper movement, perform these on a step or stable block. Be sure you are holding on to something for support and safety. Here’s how they look:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out. Slowly bend at the knees and drop your hips to lower your body. Keep your upper body straight and tight. You can go parallel, or lower, if you want. At the bottom of the exercise pause for a 1-2 count and push back up to the starting position. Your descent should be slow and controlled, your ascent should be explosive.
The squat is one of the very best exercises you can do. It involves the entire body, especially the legs, glutes, lower back, and abs. See it here:
We hope you’ve seen you can effectively exercise, even if you can’t hit the gym. You don’t need a fancy home gym either. These at-home bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere you have space and will help you make the progress you want. With the coronavirus outbreak, it’s a good time to stay strong, healthy, and in shape.
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