Home workouts are the best solutions for people who don’t consider themselves ‘gym material.’
Not only are they easy on your wallet and time, they’re also easier to stick to because of a comfortable, known environment. Today we’ve lined up 10 best home workout exercises that you can do with minimal equipment. Take care to warm up for at least 7 minutes, then do some basic stretches, before starting. End with a 3-5 minute cool down session in which you take deep breaths while stretching and loosening all limbs. Please note that these exercises only apply to seemingly healthy individuals and not for people who have joint, obesity or other health-related ailments.
Skipping: This is a great cardio exercise and involves a great combination of the mind and body working together. You definitely won’t be thinking of the day’s frustrations once you start skipping. Ensure that your rope is suitable for your height; stand on the rope’s centre and bring up each side to your shoulders. The right size would be if the rope handles come up till your underarms.
Start with half skips and graduate to double skips. Your target should be to complete at least 500 revolutions in 5 minutes. This will prime you for a great workout.
Jumping jacks: Another great primer/precurssor to a great workout, the fun jumping jacks are effective in elevating your heart rate. Take a breather of at least 30 seconds before starting jacks. Ensure that you wear proper footwear with cushioned soles as your home floors won’t be as workout-friendly as a gym’s floors.
Remember to follow through with the full range of motion – all the way from your feet to your wrists. Keep your knees soft (not locked) and maintain a light, bounce-like gait that doesn’t pause at any part of the jack for too long.
High knees or knee raises: An excellent exercise for momentum, high knees or knee raises work well for your lower body while engaging your core. You can start slow, with a slight shuffle in between two high knees. The objective should be to mimic an exagerrated jogging stance in which your knees come all the way up to your navel, with your arms swinging with each knee raise.
You can do knee raises on a single spot, or move up and down a room for variation. Breathe out when you bring either knee up, and breathe in when you lower the knee/leg. As with the jacks and skipping, target 3-5 minutes of knee raises at one stretch. This can be quite gruelling so start with the time you find comfortable and slowly graduate to 3-5 minutes.
Squats: Effective for working your entire lower body while elevating heart rate at a seemingly lower momentum, squats are great for your quads, glutes and hamstrings. Remember the following postural tips for doing squats:
– Spread your legs – align them to the sides of your pelvic region (hip-width).
– Breathe in while squatting down and breathe out while standing up again.
– When squatting, ensure that you move your hips back first and only then move/bend your knees. This gives you a ‘4’ position, where your upper body, thighs, and calves mimic the number 4.
– Ensure that your knees never cross the tips of your toes.
– Keep your back straight and your shoulders square.
– Do not lock any part of the body at any point in the squats.
Target 20-30 squats, if completing just one set.
Lunges: Another great exercise, the lunges take care of flexibility, balance, core and lower body strength. Keep your hands on your hips, step forward and drop the back leg, bending at the knee, then bend the forward leg at the knee. Ensure that the forward bent knee doesn’t cross that foot’s toe.
Keep your back straight, shoulders square, legs wide apart when bending either one, and maintain a breathing rhythm (breathe out when pushing, breathe in when pulling). Repeat in a set breakup similar to the squats routine.
Tricep dips: Tricep dips will help you tone your arms and all you need is a chair and the floor. Place your hands on the chair handles, or seat, depending on how fit you are. Next, lower your body while anchoring yourself between your hands (on the chair) and your feet (on the ground). Breathe in while lowering yourself and breathe out while raising yourself.
Make sure that the chair is sturdy and well balanced. Also, make sure that your keep your shoulders square, i.e., pulled back against a straight back, so that you don’t put any unnecessary pressure on your neck, shoulders, and upper back. The closer your bottom is to the chair, the better you’ll work your arms. Start with 8-10 and slowly make your way to 20-30 in single bursts.
Push ups: Push ups engage the entire body and give you a full body workout while working your core muscles to promote balance. But correct form is key. Place your palms flat on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder-width. Brace yourself between your palms and feet. Keep your entire body flat and straight, with a tightened core and plank-like stance. Now lower yourself till you form right angles at your shoulders and elbows. Breathe in when you go down and breathe out when you come up. Maintain a fixed gaze a couple of inches ahead of you.
If you’re unable to do full push ups, bend your knees down on the floor. This is a much better choice than lowering or raising yourself incompletely with full push ups, as you continue engaging the entire body.
Crunches: While crunches are by no means the only solution to abdominal obesity or weak balance, they do pack quite a punch for core muscle development. Lie down on the floor with bent knees and arms behind your head. Breath out as you raise your upper back off the floor in a clean, non-jerky movement. Engage and tighten your core muscles and use them when you raise and lower your upper body.
Ensure that you don’t strain your neck and that you don’t bring your chin in too much, as this could create discomfort. Your feet and legs should be firm, and not loose.
Leg raises: The core includes several different muscles that run the length and breadth of our abdominal, front and back, region. Simple crunches, as mentioned earlier, take care of the upper core. To strengthen the lower core, leg raises are highly effective.
Lie down on an exerise mat and raise your legs off the ground. Exhale as you raise your legs, and inhale as you drop them back on the floor. Do not rest your legs in between separate leg raises. Maintain the up-down motion while tightening your core. Maintain square shoulders that dig into the back and keep your legs firm.
Pull ups: Most people find pull ups daunting and think of them as an exercise for ‘extreme gym jocks.’ However, pull ups are tremendously beneficial for any one, and engage every inch of your body, if done right. Start with a chair for leg support. Place this chair a little ahead of you, so you can gingerly rest one leg on it to brace the upward motion.
Remember that different grips engage different muscle groups. The forward grip engages your upper back, obliques and chest, while the inward grip grabs some strength from the biceps. Beginners should rely on the forward grip and, while using a chair for single leg support, lift themselves to chin level while exhaling. Inhale on the way down. Do not rest in between pull ups. Start with 1-2 pull ups and target 12.