If you’re bailing out of a workout, the easiest excuse to lean on is the, “I don’t have time” line. Whatever way you swing it, you can likely justify it, even if you do have some spare time.
Many people are skipping the gym in favor of plopping down in front of the tube for a little channel flipping or binge-watching Netflix in our day and age of choice. It’s your choice, after all.
Considering how busy we are, winding down and zoning out for a bit is reasonable. Let the entertainment begin!
If you’re ditching out on the gym, you can manage to squeeze in a little burn and sweat during your marathon. These exercises can easily be accomplished while you’re watching or during commercial breaks.
If you’re watching Netflix or Hulu, try setting a timer or doing a few reps in between watching episodes, considering there aren’t any commercial breaks for you to take advantage of.
We’ll also help you try to master form with detailed instructions, so you can really work to safely and effectively incorporate these workouts into your daily routine.
All of these exercises require no equipment, although you might benefit from setting down a yoga mat. Beyond comfort, it will help you get in the TV-workout zone.
Squats are a fantastic exercise. We believe it’s the one movement everyone should master. While they’re known for their emphasis on working the glutes, they’re not just a booty exercise!
They work most of the muscles in the legs, and they help strengthen the core too as you really want to brace it as you settle into this movement.
Squats can take on a lot of variation, too, making them work for most people. You can do wide-leg squats, narrow-leg squats, or pistol squats (with one leg!) if you’re up for the challenge.
Just a few here and there will help you build some strength and stretch out your hips out.
- Begin in a standing position with your feet around the same width as your shoulders.
- Move the hips back and bend the knees at the same time to descend into squat position.
- Keep your back straight, knees and feet facing forward and heels on the ground. Keep your arms out straight, and your chest and face forward.
- Your knees should not go over your toes at the bottom but rather be in line with your toes. Imagine drawing a vertical line from your knee to your third or fourth toe. It should be a straight line. If your knees go too far forward over the toes, bring them back in line; if they rotate inwards, make sure to open them up so they are in line with your feet and toes. Ensure you’re keeping your back straight in position and your spine long, don’t collapse forward too much.
- Return to the standing position, using your quads to power up and squeezing the glutes as you get back to the standing position.
If you want to learn more about squat variety, proper form, or set yourself up for some serious squatting, try our 30-Day Squat Challenge.
Oh, the plank. You love it or you hate it, but either way, it works. If you’re not accustomed to a daily core routine, just a minute of planking can leave you feeling the burn the next day. That burn?
It’s confirmation that what you’re doing is working. Don’t fear the plank! It’s one of the easiest bodyweight workouts to adjust to your skill level, too.
You can rest on your forearms (like in the photo above), or your hands with your arms straight out. You can use your knees rather than standing on your toes, too, which relieves a lot of pressure.
Start with 20-30 seconds and aim to go for longer each time you practice. Don’t give up! Set a timer on your phone, and be your own competition.
- Start either with forearms on the ground (pictured above) or arms straight out, resting on the palms – careful not to hyper-extend arms. If you choose the latter option, rest easy on the palms and spread your fingers out in front of you without stressing the elbows.
- Balanced your legs on your toes, pressing them into the ground. Squeeze the glutes, and make sure not to use your legs. You should stabilise with the core and your bum.
- Keep the neck and spine neutral, and look directly at the ground. Your back should be straight.
- Hold the position for as long as you can or the desired amount of time.
To mix it up, try a side plank! Keep the foundations in mind, and start in the standard plank position. Simply rotate to either side, resting on the side of your foot and the side of your arm instead, or keeping your arm straight out.
Repeat on the other side.
3. Mountain climbers
Ready to get your cardio in? Sure, you could just do a few jumping jacks, but mountain climbers will really get your legs moving, and you’re going to feel the burn.
This is a great exercise to get your heart rate up in a short period of time for some high-intensity intervals during Game Of Thrones. You’ll set up in squat position, making sure to remember the foundations of that which will help work your core if you keep that and your back straight.
Try not to let it dip down which will be your natural tendency when the mountain climbers start to wear you down. Then, like you’re climbing a mountain, you’ll bring your leg to your chest, pushing it back as you bring the other up.
Rinse and repeat as quickly as you can.
- Begin in proper plank position. You will likely want to do mountain climbers with your arms all the way out (pictured above) for optimal mobility.
- Bring one leg upwards without letting your knee or back sag, toward your elbow. Bring it up as far as you can without hitting the floor, contract the abs, and push back, landing on your toes slightly bent. Try to get your thigh to touch your chest.
- Repeat with the other leg in a swift movement. As soon as your moving leg hits the ground again, you should be pulling the other one up.
- Set a timer and repeat the movement for the desired amount of time. Try 30-second intervals, and work your way up.
4. Walk outs
Unlike mountain climbers, walk outs will give you that slow and steady burn you’re after for a balanced workout. After you get your blood pumping, throwing in a few sets of these will help you stretch out and focus on some individual muscle groups.
This one brings in the legs, back, core, and arms for some full-body action. It’s a rather simple move, too, and it can help you strengthen both your plank and your push-up.
- Stand with your feet apart just below the hips. You want a less narrow position for this, so avoid keeping the legs shoulder-width apart.
- Bend over and place your palms on the floor in front of you. If you can’t reach that far, get as far down as you can, bending the knees slightly if you need to.
- Shift weight onto the hands and begin “walking” the hands forward until you’re in plank position, maintaining stabilisation in the core, glutes, and your back straight. Remember to keep shoulders and spine neutral. Face the floor on the way down.
- Reverse the movement. Walk your hands back until you’re standing up with hands on the ground, and straighten up. Repeat.
Step it up a notch! Do a push-up at the bottom of your walk out for a little upper-body/chest action.
Lunges are great exercise with tons of variants that you can experiment with. Whether or not you have a lot of space to move around in, lunging is a possibility, and that’s why we like it so much.
Like the squat, it uses all of the muscles in the legs while working the glutes for an awesome lower-body workout. You can do alternating forward lunges (pictured above), reverse lunges, or lunge to the side.
You can also do short lunges or long lunges with any variation. A short lunge will work your quads more, while a long lunge will help to centralize the glutes.
Whatever way you choose, here’s how to get started.
- Stand up straight while keeping your core engaged, shoulders back and relaxed.
- Step forward with a single leg and focus on lowering just the hips into this new position as both of your knees bend to a 90-degree position. You want to end with the front knee directly above the ankle – not pushed forward – and keep your other knee just above hitting the floor.
- Return to the starting position focusing on placing your weight back into the heels of your feet.
6. Tricep dips
The triceps cannot be neglected in a good workout routine. This workout is simple to do at home, even without a workout bench.
Your coffee table should be just about the perfect height for getting that arm pump going. The triceps are the focus here, so make sure to focus on the upper arm muscles at work rather than the forearm.
As always, it’s really helpful to keep your core tight during this one and use your middle body to keep you centered and upright, as you don’t want to weigh down on your legs too much (they will be off the ground).
To modify, extend legs all the way out and rest your bum on the ground.
- Position your hands behind you on a coffee table, chair, bench, or even on the ground shoulder-width apart.
- Extend your legs fully in front of you, or bend the knees slightly (pictured above), resting on the heels.
- Begin with your elbows at a 90-degree angle (pictured above), and make sure to remove all tension from the elbows, instead focusing on the triceps.
- Push back up until your arms are fully extended, return to the starting position, and repeat.
7. Oblique twists
To further engage the abs, you could choose to do some sit-ups or crunches, but we prefer these more dynamic moves that won’t hurt your neck or back.
The oblique twists works the side abs, and while you can’t target fat, you can work on building up muscle. This will put a little strength in those love handles!
- Lie on your back, bend the legs, and keep your feet on the floor.
- Place your right ankle on your left knee, or leave the legs extended (pictured above), bending the knee slightly and resting the backs of the heels on the ground.
- Cross your arms over your chest, or place them behind your head.
- Raise the head, shoulders, and chest off the mat, and bring your chest forward to your right knee, or towards your centre. You’ll feel this in your core!
- Twist toward the right knee as you bring your chest closer and hold that position for 15-30 seconds. Repeat and alternate sides. If your legs are extended, simply twist as you pull in your chest closer to the legs and hold, or continue alternating.
If you choose to put your arms in front of you, try using weight in your oblique twist. Hold a light dumbbell or kettlebell as you rotate. You could even grab a milk jug or a heavy book.
This will help you keep your core engaged.
You didn’t think we’d leave out the push-up, did you? This dynamic move is great for toning up the arms, strengthening the chest, and tightening the core. Heck – it even works the glutes!
Push-ups can be tough, but they can also help you build strength to nail a pull-up (another great workout to do at home), and they come with tons of variations.
Even if you can’t do a strict push-up, you can start with your knees on the ground instead. If the push-up is a breeze for you, you can move your hands closer together for a narrow-stance push-up, or you can even try a one-armed push-up.
Get wild with it.
- Starting in the plank position with arms outright but with your arms a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep those foundations in mind. Core tight, squeeze the glutes, neutralise the spine and the neck. Look slightly ahead – not straight down.
- Position your feet in a way that feels both stable and comfortable for you. This might be narrow with your feet touching, or it might be further than shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure your bum is in line with your back. It shouldn’t be sticking up. Your lower back will have a tendency to sag in this position, but keep it nice and straight. The body should be aligned top to bottom.
- Move the body towards the floor, clenching the glutes and keeping your core tight. Make sure your elbows don’t flare out. Straight and narrow is the name of the push-up game. Once the chest touches the floor or the arms reach a 90-degree angle, push back up with some explosiveness. Use both the arms and the chest.
9. Gluteal bridge
The gluteal bridge is a wonderful workout to get your bum toned. It also helps to work the core (a common theme with many bodyweight exercises whether or not it’s obvious), and the lower back.
This is a rather simple position to get into, and it promotes a more flexible body too. There are also lots of ways to improve your bridge. If you take it to the gym, you can add a barbell over the hips for some weight.
Practice your best form at home, and get a good stretch in while you’re at it.
- Lay on the ground and bend the knees. Pull in your feet close enough to your body so that you can just touch them.
- Bend the elbows at 90 degrees so your upper arms are on the ground. Stretch out the forearms, but don’t press them into the ground.
- Driving from the heels and upper back, lift your glutes off the ground. Keep your belly button drawn which will prevent you from hyper-extending the back. Make sure the knees don’t cave in!
- Squeeze the glutes at the top and lower back down. Repeat.
Take it a step further! You can lift one leg at the top of the bridge for an easy advancement. Furthermore, a full bridge looks like a back bend, and works the same muscles (plus provides a killer stretch).
You can start your back bend lying on the ground and lift off from there, use a wall to “walk” down with your hands, or do it without a wall (for the pros out there).
The latter requires more courage than strength.
10. Inverted hamstring
Otherwise known as the single-leg deadlift, this will get your hamstrings working. The hamstrings are quite prone to getting tight!
This move will also challenge your balance, offering you skills for additional workouts. You can add weight to the workout, too. This provides equal amount muscle activation and a challenging move for flexibility and balance.
It’s all about striking that combination in your workouts, and this one is a good one to begin or end with.
- Stand with arms straight out from the sides of the body, and stand with your feet around six feet apart.
- Stand on your left leg with the knee very slightly bent, and raise the right foot off the ground slightly.
- Bend at the hips while keeping the core and back straight/tight. Lower the torso until your mid-section is parallel to the ground. At this point, your right leg should be sticking straight out behind you. Pause.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side for as many reps as you like.
No excuses now! Whether you’ve dabbled with at-home workouts or you’re looking for a way to get more active while you relax, you don’t necessarily need the gym to get fit.
Try a variety of these for a quick and simple full-body fix from your living room floor.
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