Don’t go to the gym this week, instead try these simple workouts right in your living room while dinner is in the oven!
1. Kevin McAlpine, Master Trainer at Burn 60: Push-Up
McAlpine’s favorite on-the-go exercise is a classic for a reason: Push-ups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises around. “Primarily, this move will target your chest, triceps, and your anterior deltoid muscles (the front of your shoulders),” says McAlpine. It also seriously works your core. Plus, there’s something that just feels badass about working on push-ups and seeing yourself improve over time. “I personally love that feeling of strength that comes from this simple move,” says McAlpine.
- Start in a high plank position with your hands flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart, wrists stacked under your shoulders.
- Keeping your body in one long line and your core engaged, inhale as you bend your arms to lower your chest to the floor. If you can’t maintain a flat back or bend your arms fully so that your chest almost reaches the floor, lower your knees to the floor to do a modified push-up from that position.
- Exhale as you push back up to starting position.
Reps suggestion: McAlpine suggests doing as many reps as you can while still maintaining good form, and repeating for 3 to 5 sets total (resting for about 1 minute in between each).
2. Erika Bloom, Pilates Instructor and Founder of Erika Bloom Pilates: Air Swimming
“This is one of my go-tos for home workouts because of how it strengthens the postural muscles,” says Bloom. In other words, it’s excellent for targeting your posterior chain (or the backside of your body), and that’s important for improving posture, preventing back pain, and making sure you have balanced strength—which is a major key to healthy overall movement, both in and out of a gym.
- Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead by your ears.
- Lift your chest, arms, and legs off the floor and squeeze your glutes.
- Flutter your arms and legs up and down while still keeping them off the floor.
Reps suggestion: Inhale for four seconds, then exhale for four, and then repeat both again, for a total of 16 seconds. Do 3 sets, resting up to one minute in between each.
3. Jason Walsh, Founder and CEO of Rise Nation: Superman Punch
Similar to Bloom’s choice, one of Walsh’s go-to exercises works on the backside of the body. “This is a great move because it hits what tends to be the weakest areas of the posterior chain,” says Walsh. “It really works the back, shoulders, and butt, if you’re doing it right.”
- Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead by your ears.
- Lift your chest, arms, and legs off the ground and squeeze your butt.
- Keeping your arms and legs off the ground, pull your elbows in toward your sides, then punch overhead. Repeat this punching motion, hovering your arms and legs above the ground and engaging your glutes the entire time.
Reps suggestion: Start with 10 seconds, and repeat for three to five sets. As you get better, try to increase the number of seconds, suggests Walsh.
4. Amelia DiDomenico, Owner of Amrose Fitness Studio in West Hollywood: Bulgarian Split Squat
While a Bulgarian split squat isn’t technically a zero-equipment move, they can still be done pretty much anytime, anywhere. “It activates many muscle groups and can be performed with any lifted surface, like a couch, bench, small table, or even an airport chair,” says DiDomenico. The move is a major lower-body burner—you’ll feel it in your quads, glutes, inner thighs, hamstrings, and even your calves.
- Stand with your back to your “bench.” With your left foot on the floor a few feet in front of the bench, place the top of your right foot on the bench, shoelaces down.
- Place your hands behind your head and engage your core.
- Bend your knees to lower down into a split squat. Your left knee should ideally form a 90-degree angle so that your thigh is parallel to the ground, and your right knee is hovering above the floor. (Quick position check: your left foot should be stepped out far enough that you can do this without letting your left knee go past your left toes—if you can’t, hop your left foot out a bit farther away from the bench.)
- Driving through your left heel, stand back up to starting position.
Reps suggestion: Aim to do 15 to 18 reps on one leg, says DiDomenico, then switch sides. Do four sets on each side.
5. Astrid Swan, Celebrity Trainer and Barry’s Bootcamp Instructor: Bulgarian Split Squat to Decline Push-Up
If you’re ready to move on from classic Bulgarian split squats, Swan’s amped-up variation gets your upper body in on the action for a true total-body exercise. “This combination move works your legs, butt, chest, back, arms, and core,” she says. “And it not only hits all the major muscle groups—it also lets you work on balance.” Give it a shot and you’ll see why.
- Start in the position for a Bulgarian split squat (as shown above), with your left foot on the floor and your right foot on the bench. After bending your left knee to lower into a split lunge, bend forward at your hips and place both hands on the ground outside your left foot.
- Lift your left foot up and place it on the bench beside your right foot so you’re in a decline plank, then bend your elbows to lower your chest to the ground for one decline push-up. For an even bigger challenge, keep your left foot hovering above the bench, rather than placing it down.
- You may need to walk your hands a few inches forward before doing the push-up to be able to fully extend your legs, depending on how far you are from the box. You can also bend your knees a bit to compensate for distance (as shown) so that you don’t have to shuffle. Just make sure to keep your core engaged and back flat.
- Straighten your elbows to push back up, then bring your left knee in toward your chest and place your left foot back in its starting position on the floor.
- Remove your hands from the ground and stand back up to return to the starting position.
Reps suggestion: Do 6 to 10 reps on the same side, then switch sides, says Swan.
6. Andrea Speir, Celebrity Pilates Instructor and Founder of SPEIR Pilates: Single-Leg Tricep Dip
While many arms exercises are biceps-focused, this simple isolation exercise dials in on the triceps, or the backs of your arms. (If you do find your biceps working overtime, this is a great way to make sure you’re building balanced upper-body strength.) “By hugging your elbows in toward your body and using your own bodyweight, this area is majorly targeted,” says Speir. And it’s really easy to do anywhere. “The great thing about this move is it takes up the smallest amount of space,” she adds.
- Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, about hip-distance apart. Place your hands behind you with your fingers facing toward your body.
- Lift your hips up to bring your butt off the ground and shift your weight back into your hands, then lift your right leg toward the ceiling.
- Bend your arms so your butt’s hovering just above the ground. Keep your elbows tight in toward the center of your body, and avoid flaring them out at an angle when you lower down.
- Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
Reps suggestion: Do 20 reps on the same side, then do 20 reps with the other leg toward the ceiling, says Speir.
7. Noam Tamir, Founder of TS Fitness in NYC: Breakdancer
Tamir is a fan of breakdancers, also known as sit-outs. “The sit-out is a combination of mobility, stability, strength, and coordination,” he explains. They work your upper body, glutes, and entire core. Plus, once you get the hang of the movement, you can start to speed it up, turning it into a low-impact cardio move.
- Start on all fours, with your hands stacked under your shoulders and your knees stacked under your hips.
- Lift your knees slightly off the ground.
- Keeping your butt low, extend your right leg underneath your torso, rotating your body to open up to the left side. Hold your left arm in front of you (as shown). When you start to get comfortable with the move and want an extra balance challenge, extend your arm out to tap your right foot.
- Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
Reps suggestion: Aim to do 15 reps on each side (alternating back and forth), and 3 sets total, says Tamir.
8. Ashley Borden, Celebrity Trainer As Seen On Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian: Glute Bridge
Borden is a fan of all types of glute bridges for activating your glutes, especially when you’re on the road. “Traveling means sitting a lot,” she says. “When we sit a lot, our hamstrings [and] hip flexors all shorten and tighten up.” Over time, this can make it challenging for your glutes to engage the way they’re supposed to, in the gym and in day-to-day life (this is also known as dead butt syndrome). Incorporating glute bridges in your routine can help combat this.
- Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, knees bent, and feet flat on floor hip-width apart.
- Squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels to lift your hips a few inches off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top, then slowly lower your hips to return to the starting position.
Reps suggestion: Do 30 reps, and for an extra challenge, follow it up with 15 with your left leg extended toward the ceiling and 15 with your right leg extended, suggests Borden.
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