If being more active this year is part of your New Year’s resolutions, but you’re still a bit wary of exercising around people in gyms, working out at home is more than enough. You can still reap the benefits of moving your body from the comfort of your own living room without needing a ton, or any, equipment.
Leslie Allen, a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer of Grace, Goals & Guts in Manhattan, designed a simple seven-move workout that can easily be done at home. She also included modifications to make the moves fit your fitness level, whether that necessitates something a little easier or more challenging.
“It’s good to have overall body strength and if you have imbalances in some muscles, it can create some imbalances in your body or your posture, and it can lead to injuries over time,” Allen said. “That’s why you want a good variety of exercises that are working all of the major muscle groups.”
For a beginner, Graves recommends repeating each move 10 to 12 times (reps) and repeating the whole workout two to three times (sets). Workout two to four times a week, and on the “off” days, try to remain active by stretching or taking a walk.
Before working out, do a brief five- to seven-minute warmup (like butt kicks, jumping jacks, arm circles and more) to prepare your muscles for movement and afterward, cool down and stretch for about five to 10 minutes.
As you become stronger and adjust to moves, consider increasing the number of reps or sets you do or modify them to be more challenging.
Above all else, Allen advised people to listen to their bodies and adjust accordingly, talk to a professional if they have any questions, and use correct form to prevent injuries.
“If something doesn’t feel right, maybe you need to try a different exercise or maybe you’re not doing it quite right so we need to double check on the form,” she said. “Really just listen to your body and don’t overdo it, especially if you’re just starting out.”
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out. Press into the ground with your heels as you use your glutes to sit back into a squatting position until your thighs are about parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees are not extending past your toes.
Beginners can use a chair to sit back into to help build proper form until they can do it without one. Keep your back straight and do not round your spine. Slowly stand back up. That’s one rep. Repeat.
Challenge: As you come up from a squat, do a jump and land back down into a squat or hold weights as you squat.
Kneel on the floor and extend your arms below you, placing your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Bend your arms until your chest barely touches the ground and elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Slowly come back up as you straighten your arms. That’s one rep. Repeat.
Beginners can start out by doing standing push ups against a wall.
Challenge: Start in a plank position by balancing your body on your hands and toes, keeping it in a straight line as you push up and down.
Lie on your back, face up, with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet firmly planted above your knees as you raise your hips, squeezing your glutes as you go. Keep your upper back touching the ground. Lower your hips. That’s one rep. Repeat.
Challenge: Extend one leg out as you do your reps. Repeat on both sides. You also can hold a weight across your hips as you do the move.
Much like a pushup, lower yourself toward the ground and balance your body weight on your elbows, forearms and toes. Tuck in your bottom so your body is in a straight line. Hold this position for about a minute, or as long as you can depending on your fitness level.
For slightly easier versions, you can stand next to a wall and place your hands in front of you on the wall. Take a couple step backs, straighten your body, and hold this position. You also can modify the position by balancing your weight with your knees planted on the floor instead of your toes.
Challenge: While you are in the plank position, raise one leg straight into the air and back down. Repeat on the other side.
Standing in front of a sturdy stool, chair or stairs, step up onto the platform with your right foot, then left foot. Step down with your right foot first, then your left. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Repeat.
Challenge: Use a higher step or bench.
Lie down on your stomach with your legs straight and arms outstretched in front of you. Raise both your legs and arms at the same, creating a sort of bowl shape. Bring your limbs back down. That’s one rep. Repeat.
Beginners can modify this by just raising their upper body.
Challenge: As you raise your limbs, bring your arms back into a 90-degree angle as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Lie on your back, pressing your lower back into the ground with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head, elbows facing out. Bring one knee at a time toward your chest, straightening out your other leg, as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground and twist your torso to have your opposite elbow meet your knee.
Try not to pull on your neck as you do this, making sure you’re using your abs to move and lift. Return to a neutral position. Repeat on the other side. This is one rep. Repeat.
For an easier version, instead of extending your legs as you crunch to either side, keep your knees bent at all times.
Challenge: As you crunch, keep your feet and knees from touching the ground.