When your gym is closed and you're stuck at home, you may be tempted to give up on your fitness goals. However, there's alternatives that you can pursue at home. Bodyweight exercises are an effective way to increase muscular strength and cardiovascular health or, at the very least, avoid losing your gym gains until you can get back in. There are many bodyweight exercises to target most of the muscle groups in your body; here are five exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home for a good workout.
An old standard, the push-up is the ultimate upper-body exercise that uses no equipment. There's a reason it's probably the single-most practiced exercise in the uniformed services. When it comes to building arm, chest, shoulder, and back strength, you can't get much better than the push-up. It's also very flexible in that you can increase the intensity by elevating your feet, performing hand-release push-ups on the ground, or holding the down position, and slightly shifting your hand position or the angle of your hands targets different muscles throughout your arms. You can also still get a good workout by doing them from your knees if you're a beginner or you've reached muscle fatigue. You can do push-up pyramids, sets/reps, or any other variation you can think of.
For lower-body exercises, the humble bodyweight squat is one that targets your glutes, your hamstrings, your quadriceps, and your calves. You can get a great lower-body strengthening workout by focusing primarily on squats, and they require no equipment to complete. You can do them as speed reps for a cardiovascular workout, or you can do them for reps. Without weight, you'll probably have to increase the amount of reps, but try doing three sets of 40 reps of bodyweight squats. You can even add jumps at the end to add some cardio conditioning in.
If you're in the market for a bodyweight workout that'll give you your daily dose of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), look no further than the burpee. A staple of CrossFit workouts everywhere, the burpee is a full-body smoker that will help you burn fat and get fit. Start at a standing position, then squat down and put your hands on the ground in front of you. Kick both your feet out behind you, do a pushup, then jump your feet back under your body. Come to a standing position and then finish the repetition off with a jump. Try increasing your rep counts as you get stronger.
You've covered upper body, lower body, and cardio, but you haven't done anything that specifically targets your core. While your core should be engaged for all three of the above exercises, there's one bodyweight exercise that is specifically designed to strengthen your abdominals, and that's the plank. Start in an up push-up position with your arms fully extended, then lower yourself down onto your forearms while keeping your core solid. Start at 30 seconds and then increase your time as you get stronger. You can do planks on each side as well for an oblique burn.
Since your lower-body muscles are such large muscles, you need to really blast them to see results. Hence another lower-body exercise making this list of bodyweight exercises: the frog-hop. Starting from a low squat, hop forward three or four times, and then backwards the same amount (space dependent). Keep going for time or reps, and throw in lateral frog-hops as well to work different parts of your legs. This will also get your heart rate up and will really get you a great burn in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Pair with a squat workout for a leg day that's almost as tough as a day at the gym.
Without a workout plan, including all of the great apps and streaming workout options available at home, it'll be tough to develop all of your body the same way you can at the gym. The back, for instance, is hard to target without at least a pull-up bar (although push-ups do hit back muscles as well). However, you can get creative and come up with a solid workout plan that incorporates some of these exercises that you can do with very limited space and no equipment. Don't let this time pass you by, and stay in shape for the time when you can get back to the gym.
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