Written by Kim Lowry, dietetic intern for Triad to Wellness
Edited by Sarah Achleithner, BS, Nutrition Communications Coordinator for Triad to Wellness
After a long day at work, it can be hard to gather motivation to trek to a busy gym and fight for an exercise machine. Even though we can all agree that exercise is important for our health, we have all had those moments where going to the gym sounds dreadful, exhausting, and time-consuming. Thankfully, you don’t always have to have a gym membership to get your sweat on; body weight exercises are just as sweat-inducing and heart pumping as other weight-related exercises. So, to save on time and inconveniences, we have compiled six easy exercises that you can do at home to help build muscle tone and increase your cardiovascular rate. The best part is that this routine requires no equipment and can easily be completed in less than 30 minutes. This routine leaves you with no excuse to skip out on your daily sweat session!
What does it target? Strengthens abdominals, glutes, quads, and shoulders.
How to do it? Elbows should be placed under your shoulders and feet should be together. Hold yourself up in this position while keeping the back straight.
How long? Stay in plank position for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds and begin again. Continue this cycle for 5 minutes.
Beginner tip: Beginners can modify this exercise by dropping to their knees.
What does it target? Strengthens the back, buttocks, hips, and shoulders
How to do it? Lay flat on your stomach on an even surface. Extend your arms out in front of your head with the palms facing down. Simultaneously lift the arms & legs, holding for the allotted period of time.
How long? Hold the Superman for 45 seconds and rest for 30 secs. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Beginner tip: Having trouble keeping both legs and arms up at once? Modify this exercise by lifting up one arm and the opposite leg. ( ie Left arm and right leg)
3. Jump Rope
What does it target? Strengthens the legs and cardiovascular system.
How to do it? Having the correct jump rope length is key to this exercise. Ideally, the rope should reach just up to your shoulders when folded in half. Hold the ends of the rope in your heads. Extend your hands and forearms approximately a foot away from your body. Position your feet so the rope is behind your heels. Use your wrists to whip the rope over your head and jump!
How long? Jump for 90 seconds – 2 minute. Rest for 1 minute. Repeat this exercise 3-5 times.
Don’t have a jump rope handy?No problem! You can still perform this exercise. Move your wrists in a circular motion as you would with a real jump rope and jump away!
4. Mountain Climbers
What does it target? This is a full body strengthening exercise that also challenges your cardiovascular system
How to do it? Assume a push up position with your arms straight. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe with a slight arch in the lower back. To begin the exercise, raise your right knee toward your chest. Return to the starting position and bring the left knee to your chest. Continue alternate bringing each knee to your chest.
How long? Mountain climb 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps per leg (20-30 total)
Beginner tip: Start out slow to learn the rhythm of the exercise. Gradually increase your speed as you become more confident in the movement!
5. Pilate Boxing
Where does it target? Strengthens the arm and shoulder muscles.
How to do it? Position your feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Bring your fists up to your shoulders. Alternate a boxing motion with each fist.
How long? Box for 45 seconds to a minute. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat the exercise 3-4 times.
Looking for a challenge? Instead of the rest period go straight into pushups. Do 5-7 pushups and then return to boxing!
6. Wall Squats
What does it target? Strengthens the glutes, abdominals, quads, and calf muscles.
How to do it?
Stand with your back straight against the wall and your feet about two feet from the wall. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Slide your back down the wall until your legs are in a 90 degree angle. Hold this position.
How long? Hold the wall squat position for 15-20 seconds. Rest for 45 seconds.
Want to work your arms too? While in the wall squat position hold your arms out parallel in front of your body.
* All exercises are certified by the American Council on Exercise. Visit their website to learn more about each exercise and other safe body toning exercise.