Ditch the I can’t get to the gym excuses because there’s no place like home.
- I have young kids and can’t get away to make it to the gym.
- I worked late and the gym was closed.
- My car is getting fixed and it’s a pain in the ass to bus across the city to the gym.
And on and on go the excuses for not being able to get to the gym.
As much as people think working out requires a certain amount of space and equipment only a gym can accommodate, this simply isn’t the case. Just you and your body have the ability to deliver a badass workout in just 8-by-8-feet of space and little to no equipment.
Here are five basic exercises you can do at home. Believe me, even though I’m only giving you five exercises, the options are limitless to turn these into interesting strength and/or conditioning pieces.
But first, don’t forget to warm-up. Check out this video where I go through a basic full-body warm-up. All you need is a skipping rope, a band, and your body:
- 2 minutes of skipping: to get your heart rate up and the blood pumping.
- 25 Band Pull Aparts: keep your arms straight and focus on pulling with your lats.
- 20 Good Mornings: a simple hip hinge, but with a band to add some resistance. If you don’t have a band, just do a regular hip hinge. Focus on sending your bum and hips back, keeping your shoulder blades together, your spine neutral, and your shins perpendicular to the ground (don’t let your knees come in front of your toes).
- 10 Cat Camels: focus on moving through your spine one vertebrae at a time, controlling your movement slowly and fighting to get as much range of motion as you extend and flex your spine.
- 20 Bird Dogs: on all fours, lift one arm at the same time as the opposite leg and focus on getting as long as possible.
- 20 Shoulder Taps: in a plank position, focus on keeping those hips quiet and steady (avoid swaying back and forth) as you raise an arm and tap the opposite shoulder.
- 30 Glute Bridges: laying on your back, lift your hips and squeeze your butt cheeks together, hard.
1. At-Home Workout: Squat Variations
Though we tend to think about squats as needing to be loaded, bodyweight squats, or "air squats" are also incredibly valuable, especially for increasing muscular endurance.
Another option is to add a tempo, where you take, for example, five seconds to lower into your squat. Or you can work on isometric holds, where you hold the bottom of the squat for 30 seconds, for example.
If you’re a rockstar, you can always turn these air squats into single-leg pistol squats or explosive jumping squats, which give your legs a pump like no other. Finally, split squats are another valuable squatting variation.
Check out the video, where I demonstrate an:
- Air Squat
- Tempo Squat
- Isometric Hold
- Single-Leg Squat (or pistol)
- Jumping Squat
- Split Squat
2. At-Home Workout: Lunges
Whether forward lunges or reverse lunges, lunges are another great tool for your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
3. At-Home Workout: Push-Ups
If full push-ups are too challenging for you, try an incline push-up first with your hands on a chair or a low table if you’re at home.
Adding a tempo to your push-up is useful for building strength. For example, take three seconds to descend and three seconds to hold at the bottom of the push-up.
4. At-Home Workout: Burpees
No matter how fit you are, the simple motion of getting down on the floor and standing up tall à la burpees can get your heart rate up like no other—a phenomenal conditioning tool.
5. At-Home Workout: Sit-Ups
We have all done sit-ups before. If these get monotonous, check out the video for a demo of sit-ups, tuck-ups, v-ups, and hollow rocks. All are great movements for building abdominal strength and control.
At-Home Training Sessions
Now that you have some useful tools, it’s time to take these movements and put them into training sessions.
If you’re looking for more of a strength workout, consider adding lots of rest between your sets and play around with tempo.
Try five rounds of the following three movements. Rest 30 seconds between movements and alternate the movements:
- 10 split squats per side with a tempo of @3311 (meaning three seconds to lower and three seconds to hold at the bottom of the split squat).
- 10 perfect push-up with a @2222 tempo (2 seconds to lower, to seconds to hold at the bottom, two seconds to press up, and two seconds to hold at the top).
- 20 tuck ups or v-ups.
Or, if you want to huff and puff, select two or three movements and turn it into a high intensity interval workout such as:
30 seconds on, 30 seconds off x 10 rounds:
- Jumping squats
Or, if you’d rather do a slow and steady 30 minutes of aerobic conditioning, select four or five movements, for example, and try something like this:
For 30 minutes, go through the following as many times as possible:
- 5 Push-Ups
- 10 Lunges
- 15 Air Squats
- 20 Skips
Please Don't Make Home Workouts Complicated
The point is, fitness doesn’t have to be that complicated. You can legitimately come up with thousands of different workouts with just five basic movements. Learn the right technique first, build the strength, and then you can start adding speed and intensity—yes, even in the comfort of your own home.
Check out this list of fun workouts and simple exercises to do when stuck at home.