Let's face it, sometimes getting to the gym is just not in the cards. Whether it's the chaos of a morning routine or a late meeting at work, we all have valid reasons for ditching our workouts. While missing one or two sessions is not that big of a deal, skipping weeks of exercise can take a major toll on your body. We asked three fitness trainers to share their tips for working out at home, plus their favorite fitness routine.
Tips for Working Out at Home
Before you clean out the basement or designate the guest bedroom as your exercise space, consider these expert tips for working out at home.
Make Good Use of Your Space
Whether you're working out in the bedroom, living room or basement, fitness trainer and performance coach, Jennifer Cohen says one of the first things you need to do is make sure you have enough light and space around you so you don't risk injuring yourself or others.
If the distractions at the gym interfere with your ability to focus on fitness, make sure to eliminate those same distractions at home. Cohen says to turn off the TV and to let everyone at home know that it's your personal time.
Always Include a Warm-Up and Cool-Down
Tony Carvajal, Certified CrossFit Trainer with RSP Nutrition, says to allow yourself 10 minutes for a warm up and 10 minutes for a cool down. When doing your warmup and cool down, Carvajal says to make sure to include light stretches and involve the same movements you will be performing during the workout at about 45- to 55-percent intensity.
Trainers Share Their Favorite Challenging, At-Home Workouts
Carvajal's Time Priority Workout
If you want a body toning, calorie-crushing workout, this full-body metabolic conditioning workout will tax your cardiovascular system, fire up your metabolism and help you build lean body mass.
You will be moving non-stop at a high intensity pace consistently throughout the workout. Set a timer for 20 minutes and perform AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) of the movements and reps prescribed below:
- 20 Prisoner Air Squats: Use a resistance band wrapped around your thighs, right above your knees. Put your hands behind your head, keeping your torso tall and your chin parallel to the ground. As you squat, keep your feet planted and drive your knees out; the band will provide resistance forcing the glutes and abductors to fire off.
- 15 Double Dumbbell Snatches: Stand holding two dumbbells at your side with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bending at the hips and knees, reach down and touch your dumbbells on the ground. Once your weights tap the ground, push through the legs, stand up and lift the dumbbells over your head all in one fluid motion, locking out both arms with the dumbbells stacked over the shoulders.
- 10 Hand Release Burpees: Start in a standing position and bring your hands down to the ground with your palms flat. As your hands touch the ground, kick your feet back into a push-up plank position. Then lay down flat on the ground and disengage your hands from the floor (your palms should be off the floor while your whole body is still flat on the ground). Next put your hands back on the floor, push-up then bring both feet back up and stand. This can be performed with the band placed around the quads for more resistance.
Note: Try to perform these movements at a consistent effort through the entire workout; you shouldn't take more than 10-second breaks between sets.
Corey Phelps Back to Basics Body-Weight Workout
Fitness trainer and instructor Corey Phelps likes to create challenging, at-home workouts that incorporate body weight and high reps. Here is one of her "go to" routines that includes three, 20 rep strength movements and one 60-second cardio blast.
Do each exercise for 20 seconds followed by a 60-second cardio blast. Take a 30-second break at the end and repeat four times.
- 20 Air Squats: Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, your hips stacked over your knees and your knees over your ankles. Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking your hips and setting them back as your knees begin to bend. Make sure your chest and shoulders stay upright, and your back stays straight. Keep your head facing forward, gazing straight ahead for a neutral spine. Optimal squat depth is hips below the knees. Engage core and explode back up to standing, driving through your heels.
- 20 Push-Ups: Begin in a plank position. Lower your chest toward the ground and pause. Press back up to a plank and repeat.
- 20 Supermans: Begin by lying face down. Squeeze your abdominals and glutes, then reach your arms and legs out long. Simultaneously, lift your upper body and lower body. Extend your arms out through the crown of your head as you lift your chest while also raising your legs (the only part of the body remaining on the floor should be your hip bones and lower abdomen). Hold at the top for a breath, then lower and repeat.
- 60 Seconds of Mountain Climbers: Begin in a plank position with your hands placed under your shoulders, your core and glutes engaged, your hips in line with your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Draw your right knee in towards your chest and then the left knee. Alternate back and forth between legs at a quick pace.
For an added challenge, perform this round of Tabata-style planks at the end of the workout: Get into plank position and hold for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat for a total of eight rounds.
Cohen's Top Two Core Moves
Feel free to perform these two core moves as a stand-alone mini workout or add them to one of your longer routines.
- Russian Twists: All you need for this exercise is a couple light dumbbells or a medicine ball—or nothing at all. Grab two dumbbells and sit down with your knees slightly bent and your heels on the ground. Lean back slightly, keeping your core tight, and lift your heels about an inch off the ground. From here, twist your torso to the right, bringing the dumbbells with you. Pause for a moment and then twist your torso to the left side, bringing the dumbbells with you once again. Alternate back and forth until the 20 seconds is up.
- Clam Opener: All you need is a light resistance band. Sit on your side with the band around your knees and your head resting on your arm. Open your legs resembling a clam opening its mouth. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.
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