woman stretch

You don’t need to log long hours at the gym (or any hours at the gym) to get in a highly effective workout. Instead of falling into the all-or-nothing exercise trap, consider that you can actually get just as good a workout (if not better) from the comfort of your own home.

By maximizing the time you do have, instead of mourning the time you don’t and skipping your workout, you can reap the many benefits of exercise without leaving your living room, or just outside your front door. In fact, many health and fitness professionals recommend engaging in short workouts involving maximum effort over long duration, high intensity cardio. Studies show that “chronic cardio” can cause oxidative stress (the over-production of free radicals that can cause cell and tissue damage) and might be doing you more harm than good in the long run, which is why mixing up your routine with quick and easy, at-home workouts is hugely beneficial. With that in mind, read on for five easy workouts you can do anywhere, anytime.

woman stretch plank

All of these exercises are common and can be easily searched online if you have questions about proper form. Begin each workout with the following dynamic (movement-based) warm-up routine. Remember to always listen to your body’s pain signals, and any exercise that causes excessive pain or you feel is not appropriate for you should be skipped or substituted for another movement.

 

Dynamic Warm-Up

  • 30 seconds jogging in place
  • 10 body weight squats
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks
  • 10 arm circles front and back
  • 10 alternating reverse lunges
  • 10 alternating lateral lunges
  • 10 shoulder shrugs forward and backward

 

At-home Workout #1: Tabata Challenge

  • 4 minutes: 20 seconds squat jumps or high knee jogging in place, 10 seconds total rest; alternate for 8 rounds.
  • Rest completely for 2 minutes.
  • 4 minutes: 20 seconds speed skater (check out the video below from Kai Wheeler), 10 seconds total rest, alternate for 8 rounds.
  • Rest completely for 2 minutes.
  • 4 minutes: 20 seconds forearm plank, 10 seconds total rest, alternate for 8 rounds.

 

At-home Workout #2: Hill Sprints

  • After your dynamic warm-up, jog in place or around the block for a few minutes to finish warming up your body for sprints.
  • Any hill will do for these sprints, as will stairs.
  • Sprint at your maximum effort for 30 seconds up hill.
  • Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Repeat these 30 second sprints 8 times.
  • Cool down with 5 minutes of walking.

sprint stairs

 

At-home Workout #3: Butt and Thigh Blaster

  • 10 sumo squats (wide legs, aka plie squat)
  • 20 alternating reverse lunges (10 each leg)
  • 20 sit-to-stands using a chair or the edge of a bed (10 each leg)
  • 10 regular, body weight squats
  • 20 alternating lateral lunges
  • Rest 2 minutes then repeat the circuit twice.

woman lunge

 

At-home Workout #4: Core Power

  • Rest for 20-30 seconds in between each exercise, or as needed.
  • 30 seconds side plank hold on each side (forearm or palm)
  • 30 seconds reverse crunches
  • 30 seconds bicycle crunches
  • 30 seconds supermans (lying on your stomach, see below)
  • 30 seconds forearm or palm plank hold
  • Rest 2 minutes and repeat the circuit twice.

superman

 

At-home Workout #5: Jump Rope

  • The only equipment necessary for this one is a jump rope, or, in a pinch you can just “pretend” jump-rope for a similar effect. Increase your rest time if needed.
  • 1 minute basic jump rope
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 1 minute alternating foot jump rope
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 1 minute combo (30 seconds basic, 30 seconds alternating)
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 1 minute high knee jump rope (same as basic for with high knees)
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 4 minute endurance jump rope (basic jump, pace yourself)

woman jumping rope

 

Whether you’re looking for regular, at-home workouts to jump start your exercise plan or you’ll need some alternatives for the upcoming holiday season, these five, quick and easy at-home routines are sure to produce results. As a bonus, by not exercising at the gym and instead opting to head outside you might also boost your overall wellness by getting more vitamin D, connecting with nature, saving money, and generally avoiding workout boredom.

Remember that maximum effort means your maximum effort, which will look very different for everybody. On a one to ten scale of exertion, you might reach an eight or nine by walking up-hill for 30 seconds, while someone’s else’s eight or nine might mean sprinting up-hill for one minute. You are the best judge of how hard you are working, and whether you need to take it up or bring it down a notch.

Always remember to stay safe and drink plenty of water, making sure to listen to your body’s cues, and have fun!