As a fitness studio owner, there are still days that I have to work out at home for the sake of time and convenience. Strength training (even the body-weight moves pictured) is such an essential component to overall fitness. Here is an example of one of my simple, no-equipment, total-body strength home workouts.
I like to perform this workout based on time–rather than repetitions. Grab your phone, put 1:00 on the stopwatch and go! Rest 30 seconds between exercises. Repeat for 2-3 rounds. The first few times you do the workout just focus on your form and getting the move down. As you improve, work on increasing how many times you can perform each move within the 1:00.
The human body is the best work of art.
Move: Reverse Lunge with Front Kick (alternate the leg)
Works on: Unilateral Leg Strength & Balance
Why I like it: I tend to gravitate towards single leg (side) exercises that will help even out any muscular imbalances that I’ve created through my daily habits and my weekly running mileage. This exercise requires you to keep good alignment in the hips and knees while working on balance at both the bottom and top of the move.
Things to watch: Reach through the back leg and bend the knee at 90 degrees. Keep the front knee in line with the front ankle. Keep both hip bones pointing forward. Press through the front heel as you come up to standing or go into the front kick.
Move: Bridge with Marching (alternate the leg)
Works on: Hamstrings, Glutes & Core/Hip Stability
Why I like it: Posterior (back body) work counteracts so many of my bad habits, like slouching over the computer or hunching over my phone all day. Also, there is so much power to be gained in the hamstrings, glutes and back extensors if we pay attention to them.
Things to watch: Keep the knees in a parallel position as you raise the hips. Gain maximum length from your shoulders to your knees. Sink the weight into your heels. Keep the hips level as you switch the lengthened leg for “marching”.
Move: Tripod Plank (lift single arm or single leg or alternate)
Works on: Core Stability & Total Body Strength
Why I like it: Plank is one of my favorite exercises, but it can get boring doing the same thing every time. I like the extra challenge this version presents. It also ensures I’m creating balanced strength in each of my limbs by individually testing them.
Things to watch: Keep the pelvis and butt level as you raise the arm or the leg. Maintain a neutral (in line with the rest of the spine) position with the head.
Move: Rotating Squat Jump
Works on: Leg Power & Coordination
Why I like it: A single minute of these babies will get your quads burning faster than a million regular squats. I enjoy feeling the power as I get some air and shift my body to the opposite side. Since I do so much endurance exercise (lower heart rate) this anaerobic (higher heart rate) exercise is a great balancer for my cardiovascular fitness.
Things to watch: Use your arms to propel the rotating jump. Land your squat with the hips, knees and toes pointing forward. Even though the transitions are quick, aim to still sink into the heels as you ground the squat. Use your low abs to support the back without over-arching it.
Move: Reverse Push-up (take 5-10 seconds to lower and hover as close to the ground as possible)
Works on: Upper Body Control & Core
Why I like it: This is a great alternative to straight-up push-ups. Admittedly, push-ups have never been my strong suit and this allows me to work on chest strength while also training the core. It’s also a great one to connect to movement by having to control the lower.
Things to watch: Keep your spine aligned the whole way down. If your head starts to lead or the back starts to arch/ fold then you’ve reached the bottom of your range of motion. Keeping the abs turned on will do wonders.
Move: V-Sit Extension
Works on: Core & Posture
Why I like it: A lot of core work involves rounding the spine in flexion. I like that this one requires a flat back position so I can strengthen my abs and back at the same time. It also requires a lot of conscious engagement, making my mind to body connection stronger.
Things to watch: Keep the upper and lower body on the same level as you lengthen out. Ground through the tailbone and reach through the crown of the head. Stay light in the arms, simply using them for balance.
Move: Cross-Over Lunge to Lateral Kick
Works on: Quad, Glute, Hip Strength & Balance
Why I like it: A lot of leg exercises only emphasize the biggest muscle groups like quads and glutes. This works on both of those while also strengthening my hips which is really important for a stable pelvis. Anytime I work on lateral movement, I’m becoming a more balanced, stronger athlete.
Things to watch: In the cross-over lunge, reach the back leg over and back equally. Keep the front knee in line with the second toe. Bend the back knee at 90 degrees. As you go up for the kick, engage the outside of the leg for extra power. Follow through as far as you can in the kick by reaching through the heel.