5 Workouts You Can Do At Home

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No time to go to the gym? Too tired? Can’t afford a gym membership?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

But these excuses, valid or not, should not prevent you from experiencing the many benefits of regular exercise.

COVID-19 forced lot of people to find new ways of training, and many have had their eyes opened to just how convenient and rewarding a home workout can be.

While a home workout may lack some of the finesse of a commercial / public gym, with all the machinery and heavy equipment you would expect to find in one, if set up and executed correctly, you will still exercise your muscles in the same way. And that’s really what matters, right?

A home workout can even help cut costs, save you the time you would have spent traveling to the gym, and allow you to exercise in the comfort of your own home.

This article is here to help those of you who are unfamiliar with getting a sweat on at home and point you in the right direction. We’ll show you 5 vital categories of exercise that can be done using your own body weight. The only equipment you’ll need is some resistance bands (two different types; these should cost less than $50 total). Of course, you can just disregard the exercises that require bands if you want an completely equipment-free option.

We’ll also take a look at a range of different workouts that can target either specific muscle areas or your whole body.

5 Different Types of Home Workouts

#1: Isometric Workout

An isometric exercise is one in which a muscle or muscle group contracts, but doesn’t lengthen. They’re static muscle contractions because the angle of the joints involved remains the same. While isometrics can help to maintain strength, as well as augment your strength training routine, they’re most useful when rehabilitating tendon injuries such as medial and lateral epicondylitis, and patellar and quadriceps tendonitis. The below workout aims to provide a simple routine you can use for the whole body. It can be performed in a small environment, making it a quick, simple, and effective home workout.

Hollow Body Hold (Abdominals)

This is a great isometric exercise for engaging the entire core, but primarily your abdominals. You can start with the beginner progression described below, and gradually move into the more advanced full hollow body hold (see video).

  • Lie on your back, with your head making light contact with the floor. Bend your knees into the air and bring your head up so you can almost see forwards without straining your neck.
  • Straighten your arms at the same time to get into the hollow hold position. Hold for as long as you can.
  • Rest and repeat five times.

Forearm Plank Hold (Abdominals)

Everyone has seen the plank. It’s another great exercise for the core muscles.

  • Position your body horizontally, with weight on both your toes and forearms.
  • Tilt your pelvis underneath your body slightly without allowing your hips to sag.
  • Push your chest towards the roof in order to engage your core as strongly as possible
  • Hold position for as long as possible for one rep, before resting and repeating again four times.

Wall Sit (Quadriceps)

Wall sits are especially good for maintaining strength in the quads, and for anyone experiencing pain the patellar and / or quadriceps tendon.

  • Stand close to a nearby wall, with your back leaning against it.
  • Place a piece of apparatus, i.e.: a small medical ball, between your knees (optional).
  • Move down into a sitting position, hold it for five seconds and release. Repeat 10 times.

Wall Push (Pectorals / Triceps)

The wall push will help you develop strength in your chest and triceps, and develop a strong push (duh!). You’re going to need a wall for this one that will take the force of pushing hard against it (no dry wall, please!). Unlike the two exercises above, this exercise needs to be trained through the full range of motion in order to get the most benefit from it.

  • Stand in front of the wall and place one foot forward and one back to create a stable pushing base.
  • Start in the close position, with your body close to the wall and your arms heavily bent.
  • Push against the wall as hard as you can, maintaining the close position (i.e., don’t actually push off the wall). Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets
  • Repeat at middle and extended arm positions (i.e., arm half bent, arm almost fully straight) for full range of motion activation.

Isometric Bicep Curls (Biceps / Forearms)

These are fantastic for creating a good strong bicep curl. Like the wall push, they must be trained through a full range of motion to prevent imbalances in strength (i.e., if you only train this in one curl position, the strength gains will only be in that curl position, and not in others). Also like the wall push, you’re going to need something ‘immovable’ against which to contract arm muscles. A large towel (e.g, a beach towel) is ideal.

  • Place your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, standing on top of the towel. You should keep your feet in this position throughout the rest of the exercise.
  • Pick up the towel so that your arms are almost fully extended.
  • Keeping your core tight, try to bring your hands up to your shoulders. Hold intensely for 15 seconds. Rest 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.
  • Repeat at middle and high arm positions (i.e., arm half bent, arm almost fully bent) for full range of motion training.
  • You may need to get down on one knee to achieve the middle and high arm positions.

Static Deadlifts (Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Glutes / Back)

Static deadlifts can help train all of the major muscles in the lower body and back, especially when trained through the full range of motion. This is going to require that large towel again to use as an immovable source of resistance. Be very careful to maintain good deadlift form and don’t pull too hard.

  • Place your feet roughly shoulder-width apart, standing on top of the towel. You should keep your feet in this position throughout the rest of the exercise.
  • Bend your knees and pick up the ends of the towel and grip tightly.
  • Keeping your back straight, try to stand up straight. Hold intensely for 15 seconds. Rest 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.
  • Repeat at a low, middle and high deadlift position for full range of motion training.

The below image is from All Things Strength and shows the static deadlift at the low, medium and high position using a rope as the source of resistance. If you have some rope, great. If not, use the large towel.

Static deadlift using rope

*When using these (and any) isometric exercises for strength training, a good method is to do them prior to standard, dynamic exercises.

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#2 Resistance band workout

If you have a set of resistance bands at home then you should definitely put them to use in your home workouts.

Resistance band workouts are ideal because they can be performed pretty much anywhere, anytime. In the bedroom, living room or kitchen. You’re not limited to using them at home either. Their small stature means they can be easily packed and used in places like a hotel room for anyone who travels frequently and wishes to maintain their strength and fitness.

While resistance bands can be used to build and strengthen all your major muscle groups, the workout below is heavily focussed on the lower body.

Booty bands, in particular, are designed to help you exercise your glutes, and can also help with hip activation and leg strengthening. Indeed, these funky and unique resistance bands are ideal for completing the below exercises:

Banded Sidekicks (Hips / Glutes)

  • Place your booty band just below the knee (changing the position of the band will change the leverage and activate different muscles to different extents).
  • Lean forward and bend your knees slightly, making sure to stay stable in that position. If it helps, hold onto an object with one hand to maintain your balance.
  • Ensure your feet are stuck together, and slowly lift one leg up to your side. Revert to original position, and repeat for five sets of 15 repetitions.

Banded Hip Thrusts (Glutes / Hips)

  • Using an exercise mat for comfort and protection, position your back and head flat on the floor with your arms stretched out in a forward position.
  • Bend your knees up to a 90 degree angle, with your feet positioned apart in line with your shoulders.
  • Position your resistance band above your knees and push your knees outwards to create tension in the band.
  • Push your pelvis up whilst keeping your heels on the ground.
  • Squeeze your glutes once you reach the maximum movement position and do 10 – 20 reps. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 sets.

The video below demonstrates a good way to do this, as well as a one-legged progression for anyone unchallenged by the normal banded hip thrust.

Lunge And Lift Exercise (Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Glutes)

  • Place your booty band around your thighs, and ensure your feet are apart in a standing position.
  • Crouch down and lunge forward with one leg, ensuring both feet are aligned and pointing directly forward.
  • Push your weight onto your front leg and kick upwards using your back leg. Revert to original position and repeat around 25 times. Do 2 – 3 sets.

Crab Walks (Glutes / Qaudriceps)

  • Place resistance bands above both knees.
  • Bend your legs and ensure you are in a semi-squat position.
  • Walk from side to side, before switching to left and right, and complete as many steps as is possible.

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#3 Jumping workouts

Jumping exercises are ideal for building explosive power through your legs and back, as well as developing your cardiorespiratory fitness (jumping exercises are intense!). Most jumping exercises are very simple to complete and can be done at home or anywhere with a bit of space around you and enough overhead space to not bash in your noggin.

Here are a few great explosive jump exercises that progress from basic to more advanced forms:

Standard Squat Jump (Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Glutes / Lower Back)

  • Hold your arms by your side and stand in a straight position, looking directly ahead.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees whilst slowly lowering your body. Your thighs should be close to parallel with the ground.
  • Jump as high as possible, lifting your arms up for extra power if required.
  • Repeat up to 10 – 15 reps. Rest for as long as needed to regain your breath and then go again for 3 sets.

Broad Jump (Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Glutes / Lower Back / Core)

  • Stand on the ground with feet slightly apart in a forward stance, ensuring you have a gap of a few metres to jump into.
  • Drive forward with the jump, swinging your arms whilst bending your knees.
  • Land on your feet in as soft a way as possible – the process of landing should strengthen your ankle joints.
  • Repeat for as many reps as you can maintain good form. Rest for as long as needed to regain your breath and then go again for 3 sets.

Split Squat Jump / Jumping Lunges (Glutes / Hamstrings / Quadriceps)

  • Assume a lunge position with one leg forward (hip and knee flexed 90 degrees).
  • Make sure feet are slightly staggered. Keep posture tall and core tight.
  • Explosively jump using your arms to launch you. Keep posture tight and switch legs as you land.
  • Repeat up to 10 – 15 reps. Rest for as long as needed to regain your breath and then go again for 3 sets.

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#4 Squat workout

It’s estimated that the squat activates over 200 muscles. No wonder it’s known as the King of Exercises. We’ve recommended a couple of different types / variants of squat exercises during this article, but squats are so effective that you can combine them into an entire workout at home.

Squats are most often associated with Powerlifters as they’re phenomenal for building size, strength and power in all the major muscles of the legs and posterior chain. And while Powerlifters generally do barbell squats, the exercises we’ll go into more depth here can be done without equipment. that said, if you have a barbell or even some dumbbells, you should definitely use them.

Bodyweight Squat (Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Glutes / Lower Back)

  • Place your feet around hip-width apart with your toes turned slightly outwards.
  • Keeping your back straight and core tight, bend your knees and at the hip to move down into the squat position.
  • Once your thighs reach parallel with the ground, push through your heels and force yourself back up to original position.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of as many reps as possible with 90 – 120 seconds rest between.

Frog Squat (Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Glutes / Lower Back)

  • Position your legs apart, past shoulder width, and rotate them 45 degrees so that they are facing in opposite directions.
  • First, squat all the way down so that your as deep into your squat as you can go, keeping your spine in a neutral position as much as possible.
  • Begin to return to your original position by moving your hips and butt back up.
  • Stop halfway to maintain the tension on your muscles. From deep squat to half way back up is one rep.
  • Revert to starting position and repeat for as many reps as you can. Rest for 90 seconds then go again for 3 sets.

Freehand Jump Squat (Quadriceps / Hamstrings / Glutes / Lower Back)

  • Fold your arms across your chest up to shoulder-width, with your feet also shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground, before lifting off and jumping into the air. Keep your arms folded whilst you do this.
  • Repeat, ensuring to keep the same intensity whilst jumping.

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#5 Upper Body Workout (Push-Ups and Planks)

Push-up and plank exercises are both perfect in strengthening your upper body, as they focus on and target the major muscle of the anterior chain: Chest, shoulders and core. When done correctly, push ups also build strength in your triceps.

Standard Push-Up (Pectorals / Deltoids / Triceps)

  • Place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder width apart with your hands turned slightly outwards (this eases pressure on the wrists and shoulders). Place your feet a comfortable distance apart (roughly 2 – 10 inches)
  • Keep your back flat and core tight by gently tilting your pelvis underneath your body. This is your starting position.
  • Lower yourself down until your chest touches the ground, and then push back up.
  • Do 10 – 12 reps, or as many as possible. Go for 3 sets.

The video below doesn’t show the technique perfectly, but is good enough. Rotate your hands out a little more than this guy, and tilt your pelvis under a bit more.

Resistance Band Push-Ups (Pectorals / Deltoids / Triceps)

Mini bands like booty bands aren’t going to work for resistance band push ups. You’ll need some longer resistance bands such as the Rogue Monster Bands or the Rep Fitness Pull Up Bands. Depending on your level of strength, you’ll want to go with a light to medium band.

  • To start, wrap the resistance band around your mid / upper back and underneath both palms of your hands.
  • Repeat the above steps for a standard push-up. Unlike the standard version, this time the resistance band creates extra resistance and works the pecs, shoulders and triceps more intensely.
  • Push yourself back into the starting position and repeat.
  • Do as many reps as you can for 3 sets. These can replace the standard push-ups.

Pike Push-Up (Upper Pectorals / Deltoids / Triceps)

The pike push-up is a great push-up variant that intensely works the shoulders, triceps and clavicular head of the pecs (upper chest).

  • Place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder width apart with your hands turned slightly outwards. Place your feet a comfortable width apart. This doesn’t matter too much, so play with anything from a closed stance to wide stance to find what’s most comfortable for you.
  • Push your butt up towards the ceiling and your head in between your shoulders pointing downwards.
  • Your body should be in a nice straight, triangular shape (sometimes called ‘the A frame’). This is your starting position.
  • Lower yourself down until the top of your head touches the ground, and then push back up ensuring you keep your back and legs nice and straight.
  • Do 10 – 12 reps, or as many as possible. Go for 3 sets with 90 – 120 seconds rest between each.

Forearm Plank Hold (Abdominals)

Everyone has seen the plank. It’s another great exercise for the core muscles.

  • Position your body horizontally, with weight on both your toes and forearms.
  • Tilt your pelvis underneath your body slightly without allowing your hips to sag.
  • Push your chest towards the roof in order to engage your core as strongly as possible
  • Hold position for as long as possible for one rep, before resting and repeating again four times.

Side-On Plank (Obliques)

  • Position yourself on the ground on your side with one leg on top of your other, and both straight.
  • Position both elbows in line with your shoulders – one should be by your side, with the other pointing directly away from you in a straight line.
  • Hold yourself up off the ground using your forearm for as long as you can
  • Rest for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat for three sets

Make this exercise more difficult by holding yourself up on your hand rather than your forearm.

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Home Workouts Summary

All of these exercises are great if you’re looking to improve your muscular strength and overall health and fitness. Plus, they can all be done from the comfort of your own home. Moreover, each workout is short and sharp, and won’t take up too much time.

Now, you might be thinking that such short workouts won’t do much good. However, research has repeatedly shown that short bouts of exercise can be extremely beneficial to health, especially in reducing obesity and improving weight loss. The catch, perhaps, is that these short bouts still need to accumulate to a decent overall amount.

All that means is that if you do one or two of these workouts a day for 4 to 5 days a week, then you should be hitting the level you need to boost weight loss efforts, and improve your muscular size and strength.

If you prefer longer sessions, then just combine two or more of the workouts. For example, you might combine the squat and upper body workout together to create a fairly intense full-body routine. Or use the plyometric workout as a warm up to one of the other dynamic workouts, and then finish off with the jumping workout to really kick your own butt!

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