Top 8 At-Home Workouts
The spread of the coronavirus is changing the way we go about our day-to-day, and that includes how we workout. As we work to control the spread of this virus, it’s important we stay at home and avoid going out in public places. However, to maintain our mental and physical health, we also need to stick to our normal routines as much as we can.
During this pandemic, we will have to make certain sacrifices, but thankfully, a good workout doesn’t have to be one of them. Whether you’re a fitness pro or just getting started, we’re here to help you find an at-home workout that fits your needs.
Below, we outline 8 exercise routines you can do right in your living room, even with minimal space and equipment. These at-home workouts can help you stay on top of your goals and keep you feeling your best.
How to Make Your At-Home Workouts Effective
Keep a Schedule
Just like if you were going to the gym, try to schedule in your workouts. Also, try to keep this schedule as close to your normal routine as possible. For example, if you typically go to the gym before work, try to maintain this schedule by getting up early enough to exercise at home before starting your work-related tasks.
Waking up and getting started at the same time each day can also establish your body’s internal clock. If you prefer to exercise in the evening, just be sure you do so at least 2 hours before bed. Exercise can stimulate the brain and make it difficult to fall asleep.
Stay Well Rested
Even though many of us are working from home right now, it is still essential to maintain a proper sleep schedule. As mentioned above, waking up at the same time each day can reinforce your natural circadian rhythm. This cycle syncs with the rising and setting of the sun and determines the time of day you feel sleepy versus alert. Keeping this schedule intact will help you fall asleep quickly each night and wake up ready to workout each morning.
Additionally, a broken down or sagging mattress can cause you to wake with sore joints and muscles—making it difficult to get moving in the morning. Look for a mattress that contours to the curves of the body and provides pressure-free support—such as memory foam. A bed suited to your needs will ensure you find the best sleep possible—making your at-home workouts even more effective.
With the spread of the coronavirus across the country, stress levels are bound to be high. Unfortunately, stress and anxiety disrupt our sleep and general well-being. Maintaining a consistent workout routine at home will help you sleep better and naturally reduce anxiety. Studies show regular aerobic exercise can improve sleep quality, help you fall asleep faster, and allow you to sleep more deeply.
Have a Designated Space
Even if you don’t have a home gym, it is helpful to have a designated space for at-home workouts. If your living room offers the most space, this would be a great place to start. If you have a yard and the weather is nice, doing your workout outdoors allows you to get some fresh air and sunshine—which is excellent for reducing stress.
When working out at home, it is essential to have the same focus you would when at the gym or in a fitness class. To make this process easier, avoid your phone—turn it to silent and put it up somewhere where it will not be a distraction. If you have kids at home, make sure they have everything they need before getting started on your routine—this will prevent you from having to start and stop your workout.
Mix It Up
Varying your workouts between high intensity, low intensity, strength, and stretch training, will reduce boredom, delay plateauing, prevent injury due to overuse, and build new muscle groups. When working out at home, this is especially important since you may not have equipment such as a treadmill or elliptical. With the 8 workouts provided in this article, you are sure to find the variety you need to stay engaged and get the full-body workout you need.
Target Heart Rate
Whether you work out regularly or are establishing a new fitness routine, it is important to know your target heart rate. Your heart rate (pulse) will tell you if you are doing too much or too little. When you hit your ideal heart rate, you will burn fat and get the most out of your workout.
Resting Heart Rate: First, it is helpful to know your resting heart rate. This number will give you a baseline before determining what your ideal active heart rate should be. To determine your resting heart rate, take your pulse first thing in the morning (before you’ve had breakfast or coffee) by simply counting the number of heartbeats per minute. A normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute, but keep in mind this rate can also be influenced by stress, medications, hormones, and activity levels.
Below, we include a chart to help you identify your target heart rate during both moderate and intense activity.
|Age||Target HR Zone: 50 to 85 percent||Average Maximum Heart Rate: 100 percent|
|20 years||100 to 170 bpm||200 bpm|
|30 years||95 to 162 bpm||190 bpm|
|35 years||93 to 157 bpm||185 bpm|
|40 years||90 to 153 bpm||180 bpm|
|45 years||88 to 149 bpm||175 bpm|
|50 years||85 to 145 bpm||170 bpm|
|55 years||83 to 140 bpm||165 bpm|
|60 years||80 to 136 bpm||160 bpm|
|65 years||78 to 132 bpm||155 bpm|
|70 years||75 to 128 bpm||150 bpm|
8 Best At-Home Workouts Plans
To bring you the 8 best at-home workouts, we sat down with Nutrition Specialist and Fitness Trainer, Audrey Dunham. She has helped us create 8 workouts that vary in intensity and target specific areas of the body.
3-Move Cardio and Strength Circuit
This circuit targets most muscle groups and is easily modified to increase or decrease intensity. You will want to repeat this circuit 3 to 4 times. Do your best to avoid resting in between exercises, but do take a minute to rest between each round of three.
- 20 Wide Squats: Put your arms straight out in front of you, and don’t let your knees go over your toes. You can make squats more intense by bringing your feet in closer together (about shoulder-width apart) and pointing both toes straight ahead—this will affect the muscles used.
- 15 Push-Ups: Feel free to put your knees down if you need to, but keep your back straight no matter what. You can vary your push-ups by changing how far apart you place your hands—this will allow you to hit different muscle groups. If you’re a beginner, start by doing push-ups while standing and facing a wall.
- 25 Crunches: Put your hands behind your head, but do not pull on your neck. Focus on pulling your chest up to the ceiling. You can increase the intensity of the crunches by lifting the legs off the ground and holding them at a 90º angle, by straightening them on the ground, or by holding them up towards the ceiling and crossing the ankles.
10 Minute HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) Lower Body Workout
This workout targets most major muscles in the legs, including the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. You can repeat this circuit 2 to 3 to increase intensity. Rest for one minute in between each round of four, but try to avoid resting during the circuit.
- 10 Step-Ups (on each leg): Find a chair, bench, or another sturdy surface to perform the exercise. Step up on the surface, ensuring your entire foot is flat and your heel is not hanging off the edge. Start by stepping up with your right foot, and push through your heel to best target the glutes. Straighten both legs, tap the ball of your left foot at the top, and then slowly step down. Do this 10 times on each leg. To increase the intensity, you can push the number of reps up to 15 or 20.
- 25 Walking Lunges: Step out with one leg and lower your body until your back knee touches the floor and your front knee is parallel with the ground. Make sure your front knee never goes over your front toes. Then, step forward with your back leg to perform the next set. You can increase the intensity by performing more than 25 reps.
- 15 Split Squat (on each leg): Take a fairly big step forward, as if you were performing a lunge. Your shoulders, knees, and toes should all be facing forward. Bend both knees at the same time, but stop just before the back knee touches the floor. The back heel should be raised slightly. Then, immediately straighten both legs again. Perform this 15 times on each leg. If you need help staying balanced, you can hold on to a chair or countertop.
- 25 Back/Side Leg Lifts (on each leg): Standing with hands lightly touching a chair or countertop for support, put one foot behind you with only your toes touching the ground. Ensure both the standing leg and the leg behind you are completely straight. Then, lift the back leg as high as you can while keeping the chest lifted. Repeat this 25 times on both legs. When done, rotate the leg to the side and complete the same exercise on the side, only this time, leading each lift with your ankle bone.
15 Minute HIIT Full-Body Workout
This workout targets the whole body and focuses on burning fat. HIIT workouts also produce excess post-oxygen consumption, which raises your metabolic rate for 24 hours. You can repeat this circuit 2 to 3 times to increase intensity—resting for only one minute after each full circuit.
- 15 Burpees: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Then, bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat, bend forward and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Next, jump your feet back into a plank position and drop the chest down to the floor to complete a push-up. Lastly, push yourself up and back while pulling the legs in, and jump up with your hands reaching for the ceiling. Repeat this 15 times.
- 20 Mountain Climbers: Start this exercise in the plank position with arms and legs straight and the abs pulled in. Then, pull your right knee toward your chest and quickly switch to the left knee. Repeat this process 20 times.
- 20 High Knee Jumps: Start in a standing position with arms relaxed at your sides. Rapidly jump upwards while drawing your knees into your chest, alternating legs. Repeat this process 20 times.
- 20 Jump Squat: Stand with your feet shoulders width apart. Then, bend both knees slightly while sticking glutes out behind you. Then, jump with both feet leaving the floor at the same time, aiming to get as a high with each jump as possible. As you land, immediately bend your knees to prep for the next jump. Do your best not to rest in between each jump.
- 20 Ab Leg Lift (on each leg): Laying flat with the legs straight and the arms at your sides or straight out from your body, lift one (straight) leg, so it’s perpendicular with your body. Then, slowly lower it to the ground. You can increase the intensity by lifting both legs at once.
Core and Arms Circuit Workout
This circuit targets the core and arms. You can repeat this circuit 2 to 3 times. Try not to rest between exercises, but you can rest for about one minute after each round of five.
- Plank (20 seconds): Lower to your knees and place your hands directly in front of you, under the shoulders. Then, push your body up and straighten your legs as if you’re about to perform a push-up. Toes should be on the ground, back should be flat, and glutes should be stable.
- 20 (10 per arm) Plank Forearm Reach: While in the plank position, reach out one arm until it is straight and bring it back in. Repeat this 10 times on each arm.
- 20 Skaters: Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Then, bring one leg behind you at an angle while keeping the front knee at a 90º angle. While swinging arms frontwards and backward, jump out toward the side and move the front leg behind you. Repeat this process 20 times.
- 20 Burpees: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Then, bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat, bend forward and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Next, jump your feet back into a plank position and drop the chest down to the floor to complete a push-up. Lastly, push yourself up and back while pulling the legs in, and raise to a standing position. Repeat this 15 times.
- 20 Tricep Dips: Sitting on a chair or a bench, start with the legs in front of you at a 90º degree angle, place your arms behind you on the edge of the seat and lift up. Then, lower your body off the seat while bending the arms. Aim to keep your elbows pointing directly behind you. You can make it more intense by stretching the legs out straight and then performing the dip.
15 Minute Full-Body Plank Workout
This workout targets the whole body while remaining in a variation of the plank position. You can repeat this circuit 2 to 3 times while resting one minute between one full circuit.
- 10 to 12 Plank Up Downs: Starting in a plank position, bend one arm down to the forearm, then bend the next to the forearm until you are in a low plank position. Then, reverse and straighten each arm (one at a time) back to a standing plank position with the palms on the ground. Repeat this process 10 to 12 times.
- 10 Plank Jack: Start in a plank position with your arms straight, palms flat, and feet together. Just like a jumping jack motion, jump your legs wide and then back together again. Be sure to keep the pelvis steady and the core active. Repeat this process 10 times.
- 10 Forearm Plank Rock: Starting in plank position, lower down to your forearms. Then, rock your whole body forward while coming up on your toes and allowing the shoulders to move past your elbows. Then, rock back to the starting position. Repeat this process 10 times.
- 10 Plank Side Twist (per side): Starting out lying on your side, then move your bottom arm underneath your body and push up until your arm is straight. Legs should be stacked together and straight. Hold this for 20 seconds on each arm.
10 Minute Arm Workout With No Weights
This workout targets the arms and requires no additional equipment. Repeat this circuit 2 to 3 times with a one minute break between each circuit.
- 10 Plank Tap (per arm): Starting in plank position, move one hand up to tap the opposite shoulder while keeping the other arm straight. Repeat this 10 times on each arm.
- Side Plank (20 seconds per arm): Start out laying on your side, then move your bottom arm underneath your body and push up till your arm is straight. Legs should be stacked together and straight. Hold this for 20 seconds on each arm.
- 20 Incline Push-Up: Place your hands on the edge of a chair or bench slightly wider than shoulder-width apart (hands should be at your sides when you lower down). Be sure to keep the legs and body straight. Then, bend your arms and lower your body until your chest is at the edge of the chair. Next, push up until your arms are straight. Repeat this process 20 times. For those more advanced, perform normal push-ups.
- 20 Decline Push-Up: Lower to your knees with your back facing a sturdy chair or bench. Place your hands on the ground in front of you with your shoulders above your wrists. Push into the hands and lift your legs onto the chair, couch or bench. Toes should be placed on the chair and legs should be straight. Then, bend the arms and lower the chest to the ground as far as possible without touching. Next, push back up until the arms are straight. Repeat this process 10-20 times.
15 Minute Arm Workout With Weights
This workout also targets the arms but requires dumbbells. If you already have dumbbells at home, this workout is excellent for building and maintaining arm strength. Be sure to choose a weight that allows you to perform 15-20 reps, the last 5 reps should feel challenging.
As you grow accustomed to the routine, you can increase the weight. (If you don’t have weights at home, consider the above arm workout that requires no equipment).
Repeat this circuit 2 to 3 times with a one minute resting period between each round.
- Basic Bicep Curls and Overhead Press: Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells at your side, bend the elbows and bring the weights up to the shoulders. Next, straighten the arms above your head. Reverse this process by bending the elbows and returning to the starting position. Complete this process for 90 seconds.
- Bent-Over Tricep Kickback: Standing with the feet shoulder-width apart, bend slightly at the waist, so your torso is angled toward the floor. Extend the arms behind you as far as you can while holding the dumbbells. Bend the elbows and bring the weights to the shoulders. Perform this exercise for 60 seconds and gently pulse the movement for 15-seconds before moving on to the next exercise.
- Bicep Concentration Curls: Sitting on a chair or bench with your knees placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, pick up the dumbbell with one hand. Place the elbow of the arm holding the dumbbell on the top of the thigh on the same side. Extend the hand holding the dumbbell toward the ground without touching. Continue curling the dumbbell forward and back while contracting your bicep. Complete this process for 90 seconds on each arm.
- Cross Body Hammer Curl: Standing with the dumbbells at your sides and legs shoulder-width apart, raise one dumbbell across the body and up toward the opposite shoulder. Repeat this for 30 seconds per arm.
- Tricep Overhead Press: Standing with the dumbbells at your sides and legs shoulder-width apart, raise both dumbbells above your head until the arms are straight. Then, slowly lower the weights back behind the head and lift back up. Be careful to keep the elbows in close to the ears. Perform this exercise for 90 seconds.
10 Minute Full Body Stretch Routine
This stretch routine is best done at the end of a workout or could be used on its own. Just avoid doing this upon waking up in the morning as cold muscles are more likely to become injured while stretching.
Gentle stretching before bedtime can help to alleviate stress and help you unwind. When you go to bed relaxed, you are more likely to fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly.
- Forward Bend (20 seconds): Stand with legs together and fold at the waist. Let your head and arms hang forward with the spine curved. With the left hand, grasp the right elbow and, with the right hand, grasp the left elbow. Remain in this position for 20 seconds
- Butterfly (20 seconds): While sitting straight, move your legs in till the bottoms of the feet are touching, and the knees are out to the side. Don’t worry if the knees are not flat on the ground. With a straight back, reach your arms forward and hold this position for 20 seconds.
- Lying Hamstring Stretch (20 seconds per leg): While laying on your back, with one leg straight and the other lifted, gently pull the raised leg toward the chest. Hold each leg for 20 seconds.
- Calf Stretch (20 seconds per leg): Stand about an arm’s length from a wall and place your palms flat against the wall. Place one foot behind you and press the heel into the floor with the back leg straight and the front leg slightly bent. Hold this for about 20 seconds per leg.
- Ankle to Knee (20 seconds per leg): While laying flat on your back, bend one knee and keep your feet flat on the ground. Then, place one foot on top of your bent thigh. Hold this for about 20 seconds per leg.
- Lying Torso Twist (20 seconds per side): While laying flat on your back with your legs straight, bend your right knee into your chest and roll your body to the left, so your upper body is turned to the side. Then, gently roll back to a flat position and lower the leg. Repeat this with the left leg pulled into the chest, but this time, roll to the right. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds per side.
- Runner’s Lunge (20 seconds per side): Starting in a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart, step forward with one leg while bending the other leg 90º and dropping the hips. You can place the tips of the figures on the ground for support or on the hips if you feel comfortable with your balance. Once in position, lower the back leg until it is directly above the ground but not touching. Ensure that the front knee stays safely above the ankle. Hold this position for 20 seconds per side.
- Shoulder Stretch (20 seconds per side): Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, lift one arm up to shoulder height and pull the raised arm with the other arm across your body. Pull the arm to the body to increase the stretch. Hold this position for 20 seconds per side.
- Tricep Stretch (20 seconds each side): Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, lift one arm and reach up. With the other hand, grab your elbow. Then, let your lifted arm bend and let the hand rest in the middle of your back. Next, gently pull your elbow down to increase the stretch. Hold this position for 20 seconds per side.
- Forward Bend (20 seconds): Repeat forward bend position for another 20 seconds.
As with all exercise, you should do what feels right for you. While it is essential to push yourself, you also don’t want to overdo it. Start with exercise #1, our 3-Move Cardio and Strength Circuit. Once this feels comfortable for you, move on to one of the HIIT workouts. The strength exercises listed above are appropriate for all levels, and our stretch routine is excellent for reducing stress and anxiety.
As we protect ourselves against the coronavirus, it is more important than ever that we maintain good health and manage stress levels. Regular exercise remains one of the best ways of accomplishing this.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.