Many of us hear that and immediately think about going for a run or hitting the gym, but those aren’t the only ways to work out. There are tons of fantastic exercises you can do without ever having to set foot in a fitness center.
The following is our list of ten great exercises you can do at home with little to no equipment. They don’t require any fancy or expensive gear, and you can do them in your living room while watching TV or listening to music. We all have some time that we could use more productively, so why not use it for working out?
Our guide is divided into two sections: upper-body exercises and lower-body exercises. You can either mix and match or do one set of upper-body exercises followed by a set of lower-body exercises on the same day, resting for at least two days afterward before you tackle the entire workout again.
The focus is primarily on strength, so if you want to develop muscle tone more than build sheer power, you may want to increase the number of reps you perform a bit, but no more than 15 or so per set. You can also add in some cardio by varying your intensity – do two sets at one level and follow it up with two sets at another level.
Push-ups are a classic exercise that’s been around forever. In the past, you probably had to do them with your nose and chest on the floor as well as your hands closer together. The newer “military” style push-up allows you to go a little lower, which means you can start doing more reps since it doesn’t take nearly as much effort. If you need to, you can always have a stool, bench, or another sturdy object nearby for you to rest on if the floor gets too hard.
#2: Single-leg squats and partial one-legged squats (pistols)
This is one exercise we recommend practicing without any weight before using added resistance. You’ll need lots of room to get your feet far enough apart so that your nonworking leg can stay off the ground. Try standing with one foot slightly forward and the other back, then slowly bend at the knee of your working leg until you get a few inches above the floor.
You’ll have to shift how you balance once you’re down there but try and stay standing on the working leg and lower your butt towards the ground without applying too much pressure to the knee of the non-working leg. Once you’re at about 90 degrees, switch legs and repeat. Try not to bounce or use momentum when switching back and forth – you want slow, controlled movement throughout each rep.
#3: Tricep dips
There are several different ways to do this exercise. For most, you’ll want to find something sturdy enough to support your weight that won’t break if you place part of your weight on it. You can put your hands on the seat of a sturdy chair or bench, use the edge of a sofa, stable coffee table, or another similar edge, or, if you’re tall enough, simply place your hands on the floor and perform the movement from there.