Summer can be a busy time of traveling, beach trips, work outings, vacation days, and carting the kids from one summer camp to another. As much as we can love our fun out in the sun, it can definitely mess with our workout routine – and especially if you already struggle to make time for good-quality exercise on a regular basis!
Being at home shouldn’t have to hinder your workout progress, though. In fact, there are some exercises you can do in your living room (or let’s face it, out on the lawn, since its beautiful out!) that will help maintain a strong core, increase muscle, and keep you in overall good shape. The overall goal here is that you’re doing something that you enjoy – and you’re moving. Exercise can be done just about anywhere, so don’t get tied up by the fact that a temporary summertime routine might have you out of whack with your normal gym flow.
Let’s take a look at five different movements you can incorporate into your day to keep that summer body strong and healthy!
A compound upper body exercise that strengthens the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core, a push-up can be modified to work for almost anyone! From being in a full push-up position on the floor to beginning in a standing position and utilizing a wall, push-ups are a fantastic upper body movement that can be done anywhere – and when done correctly, can strengthen and tone your abs as well!
How to perform:
- To begin, lay on the floor with feet together so you’re on your toes.
- Placing your hands near your chest, engage your core and squeeze your glutes, pressing firmly through your hands to come up to a plank position (arms extended fully) without arching your back or hiking your hips.
- Pause at the top, ensuring proper form.
- Slowly lower yourself back down to the floor, maintaining a tight core and keeping your head in line with your spine.
Do 3 sets of maximum repetitions with 2-5 minutes between each set, 3 times per week.
Unintentionally doing this motion more times during a day than we probably realize, squats are an important exercise to work into a strength and stability routine. Not only do squats work the glutes, hamstrings, and quads, but they also strengthen the core – imperative for preventing injury and maintaining good posture! It’s no wonder squats are known as the “king of exercises”.
How to perform:
- Standing shoulder-width apart with toes pointing forward, engage your core and sit your hips down and back till your knees are at at least a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your spine nice and straight during the movement – rounding your back is to be avoided, except at the very bottom of the movement (where your spine will naturally round out).
- Pushing your weight through your midfoot, squeeze your glutes as you return to a standing position with hips fully extended.
Do 3 sets of 10 – 20 repetitions with 2-5 minutes rest between each set, 3 times per week.
Yet another strengthener for the glutes, quads, and hamstring, lunges are fantastic for building leg muscle and torching some calories. Able to be varied by lunging in different directions, lunges are great for developing mobility and stability in the lower body as well.
How to perform:
- Stand with feet shoulder with apart and back straight.
- Take a step forward with one leg and slowly lower the back knee towards the ground (ending up in a semi-kneeling position, with both knees at a 90-degree angle).
- Keeping your torso upright, drive through your front heel and squeeze your glutes to return to a standing position.
- This movement can also be done by stepping backward, or out to the side.
Do 3 sets of 10 – 20 repetitions with 1 – 2 minutes rest between each set, 3 times per week.
If you’ve got something to hang from, you can do a pull-up! A backyard jungle gym, a deck, or even just a ledge are all usable when it comes to performing a pull-up. If you’re a big fan of them, you can even invest in a pull-up bar for your home. There are multiple different types, including:
- Ones that bolt into the wall or ceiling
- Free-standing standing pull up bars, or
- A variation that secures into a door frame
How to perform:
- With your palms either facing toward you or facing away and about as wide apart as your shoulders, you’re just pulling yourself up!
- With an engaged core, remember to bring your shoulder blades down and back as you’re pulling up, in order to engage your lats.
- Once you have pulled yourself up, slowly descend back to the starting position.
Pull-ups can be a difficult movement to master, but you’ll begin to notice strength and muscle gains throughout your back as well as through your biceps and shoulders with consistent practice.
Do 3 sets of maximum repetitions with 2 – 5 minutes rest between each set, 3 times per week.
5. Side Planks
A different variation of the typical front plank (the top part of a push-up), side planks work to engage your obliques and lower back and encourage overall core strengthening as well as upper body stability.
How to perform:
- Starting on the floor, lay on one side with your legs extended out straight.
- Raise your upper body off the ground and support yourself on one arm (either on your palm or on your elbow/forearm), keeping your head in line with your spine.
- Engage your core, and slowly lift your hips off the floor. Your shoulder should be directly over your elbow, and spine straight.
- When ready, lower back down towards the floor.
This movement is held for a time, so beginners to advanced exercisers can all benefit from this core sculpting move.
Start with 3 sets of holding for 30 seconds. Gradually increase the amount of time you hold the position for.
Summertime Exercise Modifications
These five exercises are just a handful of the movements that can be done at home to sculpt, strengthen, and stabilize muscles and joints. Some other ideas include dips, crunches, and bridges, just to name a few!
If you notice that the movements start to become too easy for you, you can always add some resistance. Stability balls, kettlebells, resistance bands, and dumbbells are all available online, and can be added into your routine to bump up the difficulty. They can also easily be stored at home in a convenient location.
We’ve provided a guide, but you can also play around with how many reps and sets you do for each exercise – the more volume with these movements, the more you’ll feel the burn!
However you choose to work out – whether it be at a commercial gym, your local park, or even in your own backyard – make sure that the exercise you do is something you enjoy, and you’ll reap the health benefits for years to come. Now, go enjoy the summertime!