Two of the biggest obstacles between most people and regular workouts are time and cost. Not everyone can dedicate two hours to a trip to the gym, let alone pay the high monthly membership fees.
This bodyweight workout addresses both of those problems. This is a full workout circuit which can be completed in just 20 minutes, and requires no special equipment. Let’s take a look at what you can do right in your own living room, cubicle, or out in the park.
One of the most effective bodyweight exercises out there, push-ups work several large muscle groups all at once, making them the gold standard of at-home workouts.
Bring yourself into a high plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and allow your chest to lower down until it touches the floor. Then push completely back up to a high plank position.
Begin by doing 10 reps, and increase as appropriate as your ability increases.
You can do stationary lunges or walking lunges, whichever feels more comfortable to you.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on hips, and toes pointed forward. Take a giant step forward with your right foot only, and bend your right knee until it is at a 90° angle. Your left knee in the back should also bend to 90°, but should not touch the floor. From here, you can either press back up to a standing position, or proceed into a walking lunges routine where you alternate left and right lunges.
Do 10 reps on each side. Increase the number of reps for more of a challenge.
Still one of the best ab exercises out there, crunches are quick, easy, and can be done almost anywhere.
Lie flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place both hands on the back of your neck and keep your elbows out wide as you lift your shoulder blades off the floor and curl inward toward your knees. Lower back down in a controlled manner.
To begin, try to do 20 crunches without stopping. Add more as you are able.
Squats work your quads and glutes, and can also help with flexibility and balance.
Begin by standing up straight with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. Keep your knees and toes pointing forward and push back with your hips as you bend your knees to a 90° angle (imagine you’re trying to sit in an invisible chair). Come back to a standing position.
Begin by doing 10 squats in a row, and add more reps as you get more comfortable.
Plank is somewhat like the beginning of a push-up, but the challenge is in holding the pose.
Bring yourself into a push-up position with a straight back, then lower down onto your elbows so that you are balancing on your forearms and your toes. Keep everything in line from the crown of your head down to your heels, and try to hold this position for 30 seconds.
As your ability progresses, add five-second intervals onto your plank time.
Whatever apparatus you’re using for pull-ups, make sure that it is sturdy enough to hold your weight. (So, no closet bars or shower curtain rods.)
Tightly grip a bar that is above your head, keeping your arms about shoulder-width apart. Engage your arms and upper back to pull yourself up until your chin goes above the level of your hands, then slowly lower back down.
Pull-ups are very challenging, so if you are an absolute beginner, make it your goal to simply do one. It may take a while before you can, and that’s okay!
You can also get your heart going with some bodyweight exercises, and jumping jacks are great mix of cardio and calisthenics.
Stand with your feet close together and your arms at your sides. Jump your feet wide apart, keeping your toes facing forward, and bring your arms up to a wide “V” over your head. Jump your feet back together as you bring your arms back down to your sides.
Try 15 of these to start, and increase as you can.
One last exercise to focus on your arms. Get a kitchen chair and stand in front of it, facing away. Bend your knees at a 90° angle until you are at the same level as the seat, but still in front of it. Grip either side of the seat with your hands, then bend your arms to a 90° angle, keeping your elbows facing back. Push back up until your elbows lock, and repeat.
Do 10 tricep dips for your first set. Add more if they feel comfortable.
Exercise does not have to be a matter of expensive gym equipment, memberships, or hours and hours of free time. If you have 20 minutes and just enough space to move around, you can do a full-body workout circuit in your home.