Do you need a full body workout that is challenging, yet doable and easy despite where you are? Don’t have time for a full workout? Don’t have any weights to use? Let me be your personal guide!
Try these exercises today and prove to yourself how easily adaptable exercise can be… for where ever you are!
A. Lunges (Stationary or walking): 2-3 sets of 10-15 on each leg
- Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides. This will be your starting position.
- Step forward with your right leg around 2 feet or so from the foot being left stationary behind and lower your upper body down, while keeping the torso upright and maintaining balance. Inhale as you go down. Note: As in the other exercises, do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down, as this will put undue stress on the knee joint. Make sure that you keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.
- Using mainly the heel of your foot, push up and go back to the starting position as you exhale.
- Repeat the movement for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform on opposite leg.
B. Wall Sits (Regular or single legs): 2-3 sets of 10-60 min holds
- Lean against a wall with your feet shoulder width apart and far enough in front of you that, when squatting, your knees do not exceed your toes.
- Make sure your legs are at a 90-degree angle, ONLY if that does not produce knee pain. If it does, slide up the wall until there is no pain.
- Press your back against the wall, and hold it until you absolutely can’t hold it any longer.
- Variation: Place your hands on top of your head or hold them out in front to add a little work for your shoulders. But whatever you do, don’t cheat and rest them on your thighs!
C. Single Leg Bridges (or double if unable to perform): 2-3 sets of 10 times each leg
- Lay on the ﬂoor with your feet ﬂat and knees bent.
- Raise one leg off of the ground, pulling the knee to your chest. This will be your starting position.
- Execute the movement by driving through the heel, extending your hip upward and raising your glutes off of the ground.
- Extend as far as possible, pause and then return to the starting position.
D. Push-Ups (Regular or knees): 2-3 sets of 10-15 each
- Lie on the ﬂoor face down and place your hands about 36 inches apart while holding your torso up at arms length.
- Next, lower yourself downward until your chest almost touches the ﬂoor as you inhale.
- Now breathe out and press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest.
- After a brief pause at the top contracted position, you can begin to lower yourself downward again for as many repetitions as needed.
- Variations: If you are new at this exercise and do not have the strength to perform it, you can either bend your legs at the knees to take off resistance or perform the exercise against the wall instead of the ﬂoor. For the most advanced lifters, you can place your feet at a high surface such as a bench in order to increase the resistance and to target the upper chest more.
E. Tricep Dips (off stationary chair or desk): 2-3 sets of 10-15 each
- With the desk or chair perpendicular to your body, and while looking away from it, hold on to the surface on its edge with the hands fully extended, separated at shoulder width. The legs will be extended forward, bent at the waist and perpendicular to your torso. This will be your starting position.
- Slowly lower your body as you inhale by bending at the elbows until you lower yourself far enough to where there is an angle slightly smaller than 90 degrees between the upper arm and the forearm. Tip: Keep the elbows as close as possible throughout the movement. Forearms should always be pointing down.
- Using your triceps to bring your torso up again, lift yourself back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
- Variations: You can place your legs on top of another ﬂat, sturdy surface in front of you in order to make the exercise more challenging. If that variation also becomes easy, then you can have some weight placed on top of your lap.
F. Planks (regular or knees; straight arm or forearm): 2-3 sets of 10-60 seconds each
- Get into a prone position on the ﬂoor, supporting your weight on your toes and your forearms. Your arms are bent and directly below the shoulder.
- Keep your body straight at all times, and hold this position as long as possible. To increase difﬁculty, an arm or leg can be raised or feet can be elevated off the ﬂoor.
- Variations: If you are new to the exercise, try dropping both knees onto the ﬂoor to decrease difﬁculty.
G. Sit-Ups (Regular AND Rotational): 2-3 sets of 10-15 times each
- Lie ﬂat on your back with your feet ﬂat on the ground, or resting on a bench with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If you are resting your feet on a bench, place them three to four inches apart and point your toes inward so they touch.
- Now place your hands lightly on either side of your head keeping your elbows in. Tip: Don’t lock your ﬁngers behind your head.
- While pushing the small of your back down in the ﬂoor to better isolate your abdominal muscles, begin to roll your shoulders off the ﬂoor.
- Continue to push down as hard as you can with your lower back as you contract your abdominals and exhale. Your shoulders should come up off the ﬂoor only about four inches, and your lower back should remain on the ﬂoor. At the top of the movement, contract your abdominals hard and keep the contraction for a second. Tip: Focus on slow, controlled movement – don’t cheat yourself by using momentum.
- After the one second contraction, begin to come down slowly again to the starting position as you inhale.
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
- Variations: There are many variations for the crunch. You can perform the exercise with weights, or on top of an exercise ball or with your feet elevated on a chair.
- To perform rotational sit-ups, perform same as above, but rotate elbow to opposite knee. Return to starting position and then rotate to opposite side.
H. Leg Lowers: 2-3 sets of 10-15 each
- Raise both legs toward the ceiling. Place hands in the small of your lower back to protect your back.
- Breathe in and tighten your abs.
- Exhale and slowly lower your legs until they are about four inches above the ﬂoor (or as low as you can go without lifting the small of your back). Raise both legs toward the ceiling.
- Breath in and tighten your abs. Breath out as you raise your legs back to the starting position.
I. Single leg calf raises: 2-3 sets of 10-15 each legs
- Hang on to a sturdy object for balance and stand on the ﬂoor or an elevated surface.
- Contract your calf muscles to elevate your heel off the ﬂoor and press your weight onto your toes. Exhale during the execution of this movement. Contract the calf hard at the top and hold for a second.
- Slowly return to start position.
J. Bird Dog: 2-3 sets of 10 each side. Hold each position for 3-5 seconds.
- Kneel on the ﬂoor with hands ﬁrmly placed about shoulder width apart.
- Brace the abdominals, and at ﬁrst, practice lifting one hand and the opposite knee just clear of the ﬂoor while balancing on the other hand and knee. Half an inch will do until you get the idea of it.
- When you’re ready to do the complete exercise, point the arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg to the rear.
- Hold for 3-5 seconds then return to hands and knees on ground position.
K. Burpees: 2-3 sets of 10 each
- Begin in a squat position with hands on the ﬂoor in front of you.
- Kick your feet back to a pushup position.
- Immediately return your feet to the squat position.
- Leap up from the squat position into a standing position. (the higher you leap, the more challenging the exercise).
- Repeat, moving as fast as possible, however, if you are new to this, keep the movement controlled rather than fast!
L. Light hopping, jumping, and jogging in place: 15-60 second intervals or whatever
your ﬁtness level allows you to perform safely