With the influx of employees working remotely and people opting to stay home while in quarantine, there’s a problem that none of us is talking about: unwanted weight gain and poor exercise habits. When we combine these facts with the current lockdowns on our local gyms and fitness clubs, getting in shape and burning fat becomes something that many people ignore.
What if there were a way to get in shape, feel amazing and improve our energy output without breaking lockdown restrictions or leaving the comfort of our own home? Luckily for us, fitness practitioners and health experts discovered a simple truth years ago: we don’t need an extensive array of workout equipment for awe-inspiring transformations to occur.
If you’re ready to get a jump start on your health and wellness goals for the tail end of 2021 and the years that follow, here are ten at-home workouts for beginners that you can perform without equipment! Just remember: a little bit of daily exercise surpasses working out for hours on end once a month!
1. The Plank
Argh, matey, walk the plank! All pirate-themed joking aside, planks are a brilliant exercise that targets your abs, obliques, lower back, triceps, glutes and hip flexors. Planks can efficiently target our hard-to-reach abdominals muscles when we’re pressed for time or about to start our busy workday. Within a matter of seconds, our entire midsection, lower back and outer arms begin to ache in bliss as new muscle fibres manifest into existence.
To start things off, find a comfortable spot in your home with a padded surface. If you’re fancy and have all-wood floors in your residence, a padded blanket or yoga mat will suffice. Place your stomach down on the floor with your forearms resting gently under your shoulders.
After getting into position, push your entire body off the floor like a push-up exercise, supporting your weight on your forearms. Hold yourself in the plank position for roughly 30 seconds, or until you begin to hate life. The 30-second interval counts as one “set,” and our goal is to achieve five sets of equal duration. Although planks will cause your core to burn in no time, you’ll thank us later!
2. The Classic Crunch
The classic crunch sounds like a meal off the menu of a fast-food restaurant, but this movement is one of the best at-home workouts for beginners and burns calories like a churning fire. And if that wasn’t motivating enough to get you off the couch and into your workout gear, we can perform the crunch while lying down!
Like the plank, you need a comfortable padded space to lie on the ground with your chest facing the ceiling. Once you’re situated, place the tips of your fingers near your ears and bend your knees slightly. Once you’ve planted your feet on the floor, perform a “sit-up” action while keeping your hands in place.
The goal is to bring your elbows close to your knees, but don’t overextend to make the connection. While the classic crunch may seem like one of the more basic ab workouts at home, you’ll see how effective it can be after a few sets!
3. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbing may seem like a hobby reserved for outdoorsy types, but it’s also the name of an amazing home workout exercise that few people use in their routine. If this sounds a bit confusing, think of mountain climbers as a modified version of the planks you performed earlier. The only difference is that you rest your body weight on your hands rather than your forearms and elbows.
Once in position, bring one of your knees upward towards your wrists and extend your opposite leg behind you. After reaching full extension, move your angled leg back to full extension while bringing the opposite knee towards the corresponding wrist. When performed as intended, the movement looks like you’re scaling up the face of an impressive and steep mountain face!
4. Windshield Wipers
Don’t you hate changing your old windshield wipers? Well, the news only gets worse when you discover the gruelling nature of this next exercise! To kick things off, lie down with your arms at full extension to the side of your body in the shape of a lowercase “t,” with your palms flat on the floor.
Next, tuck your knees slightly upward and push them to the side of your body while keeping your upper core region, chest, back and head in the same position. Once in place, move your legs from the left side of your body to the right while keeping your torso, arms, shoulders and head in place. Trust us when we say this exercise is not for the faint of heart.
5. High Steps
One thing that will stop you in your tracks before you can think twice is climbing multiple flights of stairs. Whether you’re fresh and starting your day or making your way back to your apartment, the thought of trekking up sets of stairs is, without a doubt, a nightmarish vision.
Knowing this, how could we possibly turn our hatred for staircases into a tool that improves our bodies for the better? Luckily, we can perform high-step exercises in our home to elevate our heart rates and transform our core from lacklustre to something that resembles a Greek statue.
An easy way to envision this exercise is to think of yourself on an exaggerated run. Rather than moving around through the neighbourhood or your local track, you’ll run in place in an area with sturdy floors while wearing protective footwear.
When your knee comes upward towards your chest, bring the knee higher than you would with your normal stride. If you’re somewhat confused, place your hands in front of your waist with your palms facing the floor.
Your goal is to ensure your knee lightly touches the surface of your hands with each stride. And when your knee is travelling towards your hand, gently flex your abdominal muscles. Before you know it, your stomach, core muscles and legs will be on fire!
6. Flutter Kicks
Don’t worry, we’re not going to make you put on a karate outfit and pretend you’re a ninja, but you won’t want to miss out on the action! With a name like “flutter kicks,” you may mistakenly assume this movement is too comical to provide an effective workout for our core, but you’re in for a rude awakening!
Find a comfortable surface to lie down on facing upward and put your hands on the floor with your palms facing downward. Extend your legs to their full capacity while pushing your toes downward into a ballerina pose.
Once in position, hold your legs at full extension while briskly kicking up and down as if you were kicking a ball or small object. Keep kicking for an entire minute to complete one set, but keep in mind that you still have four remaining intervals to go!
7. Reverse Crunch
If the crunch we used earlier caused you to tap out in agony and anguish, we’ve lightened the load with a friendly alternative that sculpts your core and abs without any equipment involved. Place yourself on the floor in the same way you did with the classic crunch, but this time you’ll extend your legs out to capacity and place your palms on the floor.
Once you’re ready, lift your legs off the ground in unison while keeping the inner portions of your ankles touching. Bring your legs directly above your lower abdomen, and stop around an 80 or 90-degree angle. Once your feet are above you, squeeze your abdominal muscles and maintain flexion while lowering your feet back into their original position.
8. Knee-to-Elbow Things…
For transparency’s sake, we don’t believe anyone knows the original name for this next exercise, but it’s one of the best ab workouts at home. For that reason, no home workout is complete without elbow-to-knee standing crunches!
Unlike many of the exercises listed above, this movement needs us in a standing position to work correctly. Just like our classic crunch, we need to place our fingertips on our ears, our back at an upright angle and our feet secured on the floor.
Your goal for the next sixty seconds is to bring your knee upwards towards your chest while bringing your elbow on the opposite side of your body downwards and across your abdomen towards your kneecap. Although this sounds complicated, it will give you an abdominal and core workout as you’ve never had before!
9. Lying Glute Bridge
The glute bridge can, quite literally, transform how you look at fitness and exercise. The beauty of this exercise is that it not only burns excess calories and sculpts your core, but it develops the muscles in the hamstrings, calves and glutes as well!
Begin the movement by lying on a padded surface with your chest facing the ceiling. From here, secure your feet onto the floor under your bottom at a 90-degree angle. Once ready, push your heels into the floor and elevate your legs and core off the ground while keeping your upper back, neck and head on the floor’s surface.
Hold this position for roughly thirty seconds to one minute before relaxing. If you’re an avid fitness practitioner and find this movement too novice for your skill level, try modifying your foot placement with household objects and extending your time under tension.
10. Russian Twist
After completing this next exercise, you will never want to hear the words “from Russia with love” again! Russian twists recruit muscles located in the core responsible for maintaining stability and force them to work overtime.
Once you find a workout area, sit with your bottom on the floor and your legs straight out. The key with the Russian twist is to keep your legs and feet in front of your body while making sure they don’t make contact with the ground. When you’re ready to get started, move your hands to either side of your hips, pretending to pick up an object. Once you’ve grabbed your imaginary item, move it to the other side of your hips and repeat the process.
When going through the object-pickup-then-drop-it motion, make the conscious effort to keep your legs, ankles and feet elevated from the floor and your abdominals flexed. We won’t lie: The Russian Twist exercise is the hardest of the bunch and will require mental fortitude to push through the burning sensation, but you’ll be glad you did!