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8 Simple Moves for an At-Home Workout
by Jessica Hines | Jan 02, 2018    Share


Workout at home

With work, kids, or extracurricular activities filling our schedules it isn’t always easy to find time to go to the gym. However, don’t let that be an excuse to put your health on the back burner. Athletic trainer, Emily Fix, AT, suggests 8 simply exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home and still see great results: 

Side Planks

Facing sideways keep your body in a straight line with one elbow on the ground and the other resting on your hip. Placing weight on your bent forearm, lift your body in the air. The beginner position is with knees bent and to increase difficultly balance on your feet.  The arms may shake a little, but that’s okay. Try to keep your body in a straight line as if holding yourself up in a narrow hallway. Perform 2 to 4 reps each side holding for 15 to 60 seconds.

Front Plank

On the floor, rest on your forearms/elbows, and your knees.  Keep your back straight, don’t let your low back arch.  Hold as long as you can with quality form.  If you have low back pain, try tightening your stomach muscles to help brace yourself more, or stop and take a break.  Hold 15 to 45 seconds, and do 3 to 5 times. If it becomes too easy, try doing a plank on your toes instead of your knees.

Lunges

Step out with one leg, and lower your body towards the ground without touching your knee on the floor. This can test your balance, so you may want to stand next to a steady object to touch or grab on to as needed. Your bent knee should not extend beyond your toes or buckle inward. Keep your back straight and avoid leaning forward or twisting your pelvis to one side. Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps (for each leg).

Bench/Chair Push Ups

The lower the surface, the harder the push ups will be. This can be done on counter tops, kitchen tables, the wall, the floor etc. Make sure the object you’re using is secure, or against a wall so it doesn’t slide away from you.  Keep your back/torso as straight as you can (don’t arch your low back). Tightening your abs slightly with the exercise can help you keep good form, just make sure you’re not holding your breath. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Bent Over Rows

Leaning over a bench or low table, let one arm hang down straight with a dumbbell in hand. You can substitute a dumbbell with a can of food or a milk jug filled with water/sand/dirt. Start with a smaller weight at first considering your shoulder history. Bend elbow and row upward like you’re slowly starting a lawn mower, making sure to squeeze the shoulder blade back and pinch it towards your spine. Make sure you’re not shrugging UP towards your ears.  If you’re unsure, watch yourself in a mirror if you can (or have someone watch you do it to give you feedback). Do 2 to 3 sets of 12 reps for each side.

Wall Squats/Wall Sits

Using a ball or placing your back directly on the wall, bring your feet forward far enough that your knees aren’t in front of your toes as you go squat down. If knees are sore with this, try turning your toes out slightly to the sides instead of pointing the toes straight ahead, or go down as far as you can without joint pain. Perform 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 25 reps. To increase the difficulty, try either holding the squat for 10-20 seconds, OR a single leg squat.

Bridging

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise hips up and hold for 6 to 8 seconds, REALLY focusing on squeezing your glutes (butt muscles). Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

If that is too easy for you, try the same move but straightening one leg out for 2 to 3 seconds, return leg, and lower hips back down to the floor. Repeat for the other side.  Do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 15 reps (less because it’s a bit more challenging).

Weighted Twist

Start with no weight at all or a very light dumbbell/soup can. Sitting, have knees bent slightly and feet on the floor. The farther you lean back, the harder it will be. Keep in mind, if you lean too far back and your abdominal muscles aren’t ready or strong enough it may result in back pain. 

Once you’re ready, twist side to side at a controlled pace (avoid whipping back and forth). Make sure you’re twisting your torso and not just moving your shoulders and arms. If you’re unsure if you are doing that part correctly, just think of turning your shoulders to the wall to the left of you (looking at the wall), and then turning your shoulders to the wall to the right of you (and looking in that direction). Do 1 to 2 sets of 8 to 15 reps (1 rep = turning to the left and then the right).

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