December 05, 2020
Who knew at-home workouts would be one of the few silver linings of this tumultuous year? If you're still unsure whether your laptop or phone can step in as an effective personal trainer, you just might change your mind today. We often think of getting in shape as a complicated and dire routine requiring varied gym equipment and a strict trainer. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The at-home workouts on our list don’t necessarily require a bunch of equipment—or any equipment at all—other than your own bodyweight and dumbbells (or dumbbell substitutes). Ranging from simple cardio and stretching to HIIT and yoga, there's an at-home workout routine suitable for anyone and everyone on this list.
The at-Home Workout Routines to Add to Your Schedule
If we could give you one piece of advice on starting to safely exercise at home, it would be: Find a routine you truly enjoy and stick to it. Sometimes, finding a good at-home workout can take up more time than doing the routine itself, which can be quite off-putting.
Since the beginning of the first state lockdown in March, many trainers, gyms, and workout studios in California have come together to provide virtual exercise classes, tips, and routines. We rounded up some of our favorites to give you one less excuse to avoid making at-home workouts a part of your lifestyle.
No matter what routine you’re thinking about adopting, one thing’s for sure: You need to have a warm-up regimen. The goal should not be to tire your body out, but rather to loosen your stiff muscles, raise your heart rate, and prep your body for a workout.
Examples of quick warm-up exercises and stretches to get your started include:
- Jump rope
- Side reach
- Hip rotations
- Lateral lunges
- Walk-out planks
- Jumping jacks
Do each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, and of course, make sure to not push yourself too much. Contrary to popular belief, working out should not be painful. Move at your own pace—you’ll know when your body is ready for more.
Easy Ways to Do Cardio at Home
You know you should do cardio; it’s good for your health and involves a lot of sweating. But beyond that, what exactly is cardio? Cardio exercises are the ones that raise heart rates. People often think that cardio is for exercisers trying to lose weight—but that’s not quite right. Cardio should be a part of everyone’s at-home workout routine since it improves the function of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Here are some cardio exercises you can easily do at home.
Stand with your legs together and arms at your sides. Lift one knee towards your chest and lower it. Repeat with the other leg, and continue alternating while also pumping your arms up and down. (The opposite of this move is butt kicks, which involves kicking your heels back up to your buttocks instead of raising them to your chest.)
Start in a curtsy lunge, with both knees bent and your right leg diagonally behind you. Bend your right arm and straighten your left arm. Push off your left leg, bringing it diagonally behind you as you move your right leg forward. Remember to switch between your arms as well.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, and squat like you normally would. As you come up from the squat, jump and swing your arms upward. Make sure to land gently on your toes to avoid hurting your knees.
Alternating Toe Touches
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your arms to your side. Lift your right leg straight up in front of you and reach for your toes with your left arm. Repeat, alternating between legs and arms.
Alternatively, tune in to an online Zumba class to start your day dancing for the ultimate cardio benefits. Bmore Fitness Studio, based in Santa Clarita, regularly holds online Zumba classes for those exercising from their homes.
Back Exercises at Home
Strong upper-body muscles—especially back muscles—are key for an overall defined look. Regularly doing back exercises at home will help prevent pain, injury, and poor posture down the road.
Lateral Arm Raise Plank
Start in a regular plank position with your palms in line with your shoulders. Keeping your hips and back as still as possible, lift your left arm up sideways to shoulder height, and lower back again. Alternate between arms.
Get a pair of light-weight dumbbells (or water bottles), and stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Lower your torso so it's parallel to the ground, then shift your hips back. Turn your palms to face each other, bend your elbows, lift the weights up to shoulder height, and lower again. Repeat the movement while keeping your core and glutes engaged.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows
Get a dumbbell. Start with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees as you shift back your hips, lowering your torso until it's nearly parallel with the ground. Push your right leg back for support, and draw the dumbbell up with your right arm, bending your elbow straight up to the ceiling. Make sure to do equal reps with both arms.
Yoga is famously known to help with posture. If you’d like to tune in to an online yoga class, Yoga Works from Culver City offers a free 14-day trial.
Ab Workouts at Home
Put on your favorite workout playlist, and get ready for ab workouts at home that aren't sit-ups and crunches.
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Raise your legs so your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Lift your shoulder blades off the mat, using your hands to support your neck. Rotate your right elbow towards your left knee while extending your right leg straight, lowering your leg as close to the floor as possible. Alternate between legs and make sure to engage your ab muscles.
Start in a plank position. Touch your left shoulder with your right hand and lower your hand back down. Alternate between arms, keeping your hips and back as still and straight as you can.
Sit on the floor, and lean back enough to feel your ab muscles engaging. Lift your legs and bend them to a 90-degree angle. Clasp your hands and bend your elbows. Rotate your torso to the right side so that your right elbow is hovering just above the floor. Repeat the same move towards your left side.
Chest Workout at Home
Strong chest muscles make your life easier—we all want to carry all of our grocery bags in one trip. These chest workouts at home will definitely give your pecs the strength and toning they need.
Lie down on your back with your knees slightly bent. Grab your dumbbells (or water bottles) and press them above you with your elbows slightly bent. Pull the dumbbells toward your chest and raise them back up.
Start in a plank position. Bring your right knee towards your chest, and then drive it back to a straight position. Repeat with your other leg.
Start in a plank position, with your hands coming together to make a diamond shape. Bend your elbows inward and lower your torso to just a few inches above the floor. Press back up and repeat.
We also suggest trying an online class from the San Francisco-based The Bar Method for other fun workouts (check out the best outdoor workout spots in the Bay Area) that'll have you feeling stronger than ever before.
Leg Workouts at Home
You don’t need stair-climbers or squat bars to give your legs a proper at-home workout. You can do the exercises below anywhere, anytime. You’ll be thanking us later.
Single-Leg Glute Bridges
Lie on your back with your knees bent. Lift your left leg up straight, pointing your toes towards the ceiling. Lift your hips from the floor and squeeze your glutes. Keep your body in a straight line and lower your hip back down. Do equal reps on both legs.
Plié Squat Calf Raises
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out, and place your hands on your hips or in front of your chest. Squat down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor, going as far as you can. Stay in the squatted position, lift your heels from the ground and hold for 2 seconds before releasing. Repeat the movement.
Start with your feet hip-width apart. Take a wide step to your left, then bend your left knee and lunge down, keeping your right leg stretched out straight. Repeat the move alternating between legs.
Full-Body Workout at Home
Looking for moves that will engage multiple body parts at once? Don’t go anywhere, we have you covered.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and place your palms on the floor. Kick your legs back so that you're in a plank position. Then, jump and move your feet to a squatted position, placing your legs towards the outer part of your hands. Stand upright and repeat.
Touchdown Jumping Jacks
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly. Bend your knees and lower body down into a squatting position, keeping your back straight. Tap the floor with your left hand and jump straight back up. Repeat the move, alternating between hands.
Panther Shoulder Taps
Place your hands, knees, and toes on the floor. Keeping your back flat, lift your knees a few inches above the floor. Tap your right hand to your left shoulder, and then your left hand to your right shoulder. Keep your hips as still as you can while doing this move.
HIIT Workout at Home
HIIT is an abbreviation for High-Intensity Interval Training and is a method of exercising that boosts your metabolism, strengthens your muscles, and makes you sweat—a lot. Try this HIIT workout at home for a quick glimpse into what a full-fledged HIIT workout entails.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Spread your arms out wide, lift your right knee towards your chest, and bring in your arms, wrapping them around your shin. Lower your right knee. Repeat the move, alternating between legs.
Start in a regular plank position. Place your forearms on the floor, and clasp your hands. Jump your legs out to the side so that they're wider than your shoulders. Then, jump back into the starting position, and repeat.
Start in a regular lunge position, with your left leg forward and bent at a 90-degree angle and with your right knee bent back similarly. Have your left arm straight and right arm bent up, in line with your chin. Jump up and quickly switch the positions of your legs and arms.
Read on for tips on how to stay motivated for your workouts on this season.
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