From the Florida Keys to the north Georgia mountains, many of us are under house arrest, either due to mandatory evacuations, or, from declared states of emergencies that have caused conscientious employers to allow us to work from home so we can avoid the impact of Hurricane Irma. However, the fact that we’re all confined to our homes — as the Internet memes have pointed out — simply means we are stuck indoors with stockpiles of nonperishable foods to consume as we ride out the storm.
This is never a good thing.
Instead, I say: To keep your sanity and stay in shape, let’s not make excuses to keep from moving! I have now gone to enough fitness classes, used enough apps, and worked out enough with friends to know that it’s possible to get a full body workout without any weights, equipment, or fancy gyms. Using a series of exercises that leverages your own body weight, you can tone up and get your heart rate up right in the comfort of your own home, without wasting too much time either. Here are some of my favorite movements to do at home when I can’t make it to the gym, thanks to what I’ve learned at LA Fitness, Orange Theory, the Nike Training app, and from friends.
My recommendation is to complete the series three times, using about 10-24 repetitions for each exercise, depending on the exercise listed below. So first, get through each exercise once, move to the next, until you have gone through entire list here at the specified repetitions. Once you’re done with one round, start back at #1 and go through the series two more times. Feel free to modify as needed to suit your fitness level or physical needs.
1. Push Ups
This is one of the standard exercises that leverages your own body weight. I personally cannot do real push ups, so I do the modified version with my knees on the floor, and I still feel it in my chest and shoulders the next day.
Lying down on your chest with your hands at either side of your chest (between your shoulders and armpits), you push off from the ground and continue to keep a slanted, but straight (not curved) back, and then slowly lower yourself down to the ground again with control so that you are just above the ground without actually touching it.
- Repetitions: 15 reps
- What it works: Shoulders, chest, biceps
2. Side Planks with Arm Extension (Option to crunch)
Just like it sounds, this is a plank on the floor, but on your side, so you make a triangle shape with your body and the ground. Hold yourself up using your arm with your elbow to the ground, and feet stacked sideways, one on top of the other. Use the other arm to rotate on your side, bringing your arm through the space below your armpit and other side, and extend your arm out into the air again. For a harder workout, add a side crunch by lifting your knee sideways to your elbow.
- Repetitions: 12 on each side
- What it works: Shoulders, Arms, Obliques
3. Cross-body Mountain Climbers
Start in a plank position and bring your leg up and toward your chest swiftly in an alternating motion, as if you’re running in place facing the ground.
- Repetitions: 12 each side
- What it works: Full body
4. Floor-Touch Jump Squats
For this type of squat, you essentially jump up and down with your chest up and straight, using the power of your legs to hop up and down and work your thighs, calves and glutes, making sure to get low enough so that your fingertips touch the floor.
This type of squat is one that I picked up from Orange Theory fitness, and man, does it get you worn out fast.
- Repetitions: Increase in each set, starting with 10, 12 then 18.
- What it works: Glutes, quads, calves
5. Pulsing squats
To keep it simple and still feel the burn, I like to do pulsing squats. This is just a squat where you “pulse” while you’re low, essentially bobbing your butt up and down for a count of three while you are low before raising up again.
- Repetitions: 24, counting at “1-2-3 -1”, with the “1-2-3” counted at the bottom of the squat for the pulse.
- What it works: Glutes, thighs
6. Big scissors
Lying on your back on the floor, raise each leg straight up in the air one at a time, without bending, and continue to alternate legs without letting either leg completely rest on the floor, as if your legs are scissors.
- Repetitions: 20 (10 each leg)
- What it works: Lower abdomen
Lying on your back on the floor, bring one knee up towards your chest and your opposite elbow to the knee, while keeping the other leg extended and off of the ground. Alternate the motion like you’re riding a bicycle, making sure to not drop the legs to rest. Hold for a second each time you bring your leg up to your elbow.
- Repetitions: 20
- What it works: Abs
8. Tricep dips
If you hate working your triceps like I do, this one is a killer. With your back to a table, couch, or bench start in a “seated” position in the air and use your arms to lift and lower your body up and down. Once you’re stabilized in place here, continue the motion, but this time, with your legs extended out in front of you instead of in the seated position.
- Repetition: 10 repetitions
- What it works: Tricep
On the floor, facing the ground, lift your body off the ground onto your hands and toes, chest- or hip-distance apart, as if you’re doing a push-up, but instead, hold this position in the air for a minute, without arching your back or sticking your butt in the air. For a modification, hold yourself up on your elbows instead of your hands.
After you finish one set, go through two more rounds. It’ll get your blood pumping if you’re going stir crazy and snacking at home like I am!
Stay safe in the storm. It’s almost over!