Simple Home Workouts You Can Do Every Day
The gyms are shut, the rule is to stay indoors; home workouts and lockdown go hand in hand. It can be easier said than done to find the motivation to get through them, though.
But, even if your equipment is limited and your space small, there’s plenty you can do. Exercise is important for both physical and mental health, so here’s some inspiration for activities. The key is to mix things up.
Apartment/flat-friendly simple home workouts
There are a number of exercises that help you lose weight out there. But, staying at home definitely limits your options.
Plus, let’s face it, some neighbours won’t be happy if they hear the noise of you jumping around above them. However, that’s no reason to hold you back.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been popularised by the likes of Joe Wicks, great for burning fat and building muscle at the same time. It involves short bursts of intense, high-energy exercise alternated with short recovery periods.1
It’s a good option if you’re short on time but want results, or you’re bored of regular cardio.
Some more good news, it can be done even if you’ve got noisy floorboards and no access to a gym.
You can create a low impact HIIT workout at home (e.g. 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off), with the following exercises:
- Press ups
- Squat holds
- Hip dips
- Russian twists
- Superman raises
- Leg raises2
Alternatively, if you prefer to follow along with someone, YouTube has a range of apartment-friendly workouts you can try.
2. Strength training – dumbbells
You might not own the range of dumbbells seen at the gym, but strength training is excellent exercise – and shouldn’t annoy the neighbours. It boosts metabolism, raises energy levels and improves mood.3
Whatever size weights you own, use them. Focus on compound exercises such as:
- Squat to overhead raise (squat and press your arms overhead as you come back up)
- Shoulder presses
- Tricep kickbacks
- Lateral raises
- Chest presses
- Weighted squats
3. Strength training – resistance band
If you want to take on some strength training without the need for equipment storage space, resistance bands are a great tool. They work your muscles just as well as weights.
- Pull aparts
- Bicep curls
- Press ups
- Pull ups
- Squat to overhead press
- Side steps
- Glute bridges
- Donkey kicks
- Hip abductions4
How to exercise at home without equipment
If all you have is yourself – don’t be intimidated. You can still get a great workout, no fancy equipment required. Try creating a circuit out of the following, doing between 10-30 reps:
Raise and lower each knee as fast as you can – try to keep going as long as possible. This cardio exercise engages your core as well as all your leg muscles.5 Plus, it gets your heart rate up. It’s a versatile activity incorporated into many different circuits and routines.
Love them or hate them, burpees are a great exercise as they’re known for building muscle as fast as they burn fat.6 They’re a firm favourite among the HIIT crowd, a four-point move that involves dropping to squat from a standing position. Then, kick your feet back to a raised plank position. This bodyweight exercise targets a number of major muscle groups.
Also known as jumping jacks, these are a great full body exercise and a form of cardio.7 They’re not just a warm-up or a cool down either, but incorporated in many workouts, particularly HIIT. They raise your heartrate, burn calories and strengthen muscles all at the same time.
Looking to build your upper body strength and core muscles? You can do these on your knees or on your toes, but the trick is to ensure you lower your body until your elbows are at 90 degree angles. Also, ensure you don’t lock your elbows at the top, keep them slightly bent.8
Few exercises can rival the plank when it comes to building core strength. It’s not a cardio exercise as such, but it engages a range of muscles, and therefore boosts metabolism.9 Try staying in the position for at least 30 seconds and hold it for longer each time. Your elbows should be under your shoulders, with your forearms facing forwards.
Static lunges work the hips, glutes and thighs at the same time. Drop the knee with your other foot stepped back, holding onto a chair or wall if you need help to balance. Make sure you keep your torso straight, pushing through your front heel to come back to the starting position.10 Avoid locking your knees.
You can make things harder by doing walking lunges.
Crunches, or sit ups, are a household name among core exercises, targeting abdominal muscles. They’re beginner-friendly and require no equipment at all. When you lift your upper body off the floor, make sure you keep your head and neck relaxed. Keep movements slow to engage the right muscles.11
Rows, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, weighted squats… Adding some resistance to your exercise regime can be done without dumbbells. You can use water bottles, cartoons of juice, cans of beans – essentially anything that’s easy to hold and has some weight to it.
Easy exercise at home – how to mix things up
If squatting and burpees aren’t your style, good news – you’re not limited to that style of working out alone. There are many different exercises out there, you just need to find something you enjoy. That way, you’ll be motivated to do it every day. Here are some fun yet simple exercises for at home:
Yoga may not seem like a challenging workout, but it strengthens muscles and improves fitness while giving your metabolism a boost. For these reasons, yoga is great for weight loss. There are many different poses, such as the Warrior, Plank, Downward Dog – all of which target different muscles. All you need is a mat.
If you have gloves and a punching bag, great – you’re already set. If you don’t, not to worry, you can still get a killer workout. Get in fighting shape by jabbing, bobbing and weaving and throwing cross-body punches. Aim for 10 reps per side with a 30 second rest in between.12
Try going as quickly as you can – it won’t take long to feel the burn. Boxing is a killer cardio workout.
You’ll need some space, and that’s all. Change it up with jabs, followed by front and side kicks – channelling your inner fighter without leaving the house.13 Incorporate some squats and jumps in there too for a full body cardio workout. You can have fun, improve your agility and speed while burning calories at the same time.
All you need is a great playlist and you’re good to go – who said exercise had to be boring? There are many dance workout videos you can follow along with on YouTube. Dancing is a form of cardio, getting the heart rate up and targeting the whole body. Depending on the pace and type of dance you try, you could burn around 400 calories an hour.14
Tips for working out at home
If you struggle to stay motivated, you’re not alone, there are many in the same boat. These tips may help you stay on track:
- Set a schedule and try sticking to it
- Make time to do it, even if that’s setting aside 30 minutes
- Consistency is key
- Push yourself
- Remember your form to avoid injury
- Create a workout space
- Remove distractions (e.g. Netflix)
- Warm up and cool down
- 20 minutes is sufficient
- Always play music
- Don’t do the same thing every time – switch it up
- Target different muscle groups
- Gradually increase intensity
- Set personal goals
- Get a workout buddy
- Stay hydrated
- Don’t push yourself too hard
- Ensure you fuel post-workout with a healthy meal
- Factor in recovery sessions15