Exercises You Can Literally Do Without Leaving Your Bed

Exercises You Can Literally Do Without Leaving Your Bed

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Diana Kelly
Feb 11, 2018

Ever have a day where you plan to get in a morning workout—but when the time comes the thought of getting out of bed feels basically impossible? Or meant to work out in the evening, but a Crown binge beckoned first... and now you simply cannot abandon those warm covers? If you still want to fit in some kind of movement, you can actually do some exercises without leaving your bed. (No, not that kind of exercise, although one study showed sex can burn about 3.6 calories per minute for women, so…)

While many trainers and fitness experts might balk at the idea of you doing a workout on your mattress, we rounded up a few who have suggestions to get blood flowing, stretch you out, and do a little bit of toning without changing out of your PJs. Consider this your "better than nothing workout." It shouldn't be your only workout plan—it's more about getting blood flowing and stretching your body out a bit. You can also do all of these exercises on a yoga mat or the floor.

Worried that a pre-bedtime workout might interfere with sleep? That's more likely with an intense cardio workout, as your body temperature needs to drop to help you ease into sleep. In fact, exercise, or physical activity in general, is generally good for shuteye, regardless of the time of day the activity is performed, according to a 2013 Sleep in America poll.

If you're doing stretches with muscles that haven't been warmed up, remember to be gentle and don't push too hard to avoid injury.

Work Your Butt, Abs, and Then Stretch!

Butterfly bridges: Lie on your back with knees bent and then place the bottoms of your feet together with knees open (like butterfly wings), arms by your side, palms pressed into the mattress. Drive the feet into the bed and lift your hips up, while keeping your knees wide apart. Lower down but before your butt touches the bed, drive your hips back up again. Aim for 20-30 reps.

(Image credit: Hippo Wong/AT Wong)

Lateral Leg Lifts: Lie on the left side of your body, left knee bent and foot behind you, supporting your head propped up with your left hand. Keeping your hips stacked and right leg straight extending through the heel, lift up the right leg towards the ceiling. Lower down and before the right leg makes contact with the left leg, raise the leg back up. Perform 20-30 reps on one side and flip over to repeat on the other side.

V-Up: Lie on your back with enough room behind you so arms can extend overhead and legs are straight out in front of you. Lift your lower and upper body simultaneously so that your hands meet your toes. Lower down and repeat for 15-20 reps. Not enough room to do this in bed, position yourself perpendicular to your mattress if you need more room.

(Image credit: Hippo Wong/AT Video)

Leg Raises: Lie on your back, hands underneath your butt, palms pressing down on the mattress, legs straight in the air, perpendicular to the bed. Brace your core and lower your right leg towards the bed. Before it touches the mattress, raise it back up to the starting position. Alternate legs for one rep. Aim for 20-30 reps.

Twisting Plank: Start in a forearm plank position (on your elbows, body raised off the bed). Brace your core and drop your hips toward the right. Lift them back up to center and drop the hips toward the left. That's one rep. Make sure your butt doesn't stick up in the air and your hips don't drop down. Your feet will naturally twist as you do. Since you're on a wobbly surface on your soft mattress, this exercise might be more challenging in bed to keep your body in line. It'll work your abs more to keep your body in line on this unstable surface. You might find it easier to do this—and any planks—on the floor if you're a beginner. Aim for 20 reps.

Happy Baby Pose: Begin lying on your back with both knees drawn in toward the chest. Grip the feet directly with your hands. You can hold the center of the foot with each hand or wrap your fingers around the big toes. Keeping your back on the mattress, gently begin to open the knees wide while gently drawing the soles of the feet toward the ceiling. Your ankles should be in line with your knees and the legs should have bent knees but be perpendicular to the floor. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds, stretching your hips and groin.

Supine Twist: Lie on your mattress on the right side of your body in a fetal position. Bend the knees to 90 degrees and place the arms straight in front the right shoulder. To support your head, lie on a pillow. Inhale and lift the top arm up and rotate left to the point of comfort. Some people can open completely into a lying spinal twist. If you can't open that far, rest your left hand on top of pillows stacked next to you. Let your gaze your follow the left hand. Hold for 20 seconds and bring left hand back to meet the right arm. Flip over and switch sides so you stretch the other side.

-Mike Donavanik is a Los Angeles-based personal trainer and fitness influencer.

Total Body Tone and Stretch:

(Image credit: Hippo Wong/AT Video)

Glute Bridges: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Exhale and squeeze your abs and butt to lift your hips up while pressing your heels into the mattress, inhale and slowly lower back down. Do 15-20 reps.

(Image credit: Hippo Wong/AT Video)

Cross ankle hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the mattress. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh. If that stretch feels like enough, gently press on your right thigh and hold for about 20 seconds. For a deeper hamstring (back of thighs) stretch, lift the left leg off the mattress and clasp your hands behind the top of the left thigh. You should feel the stretch in the back of your left thigh and this will help open up the right hip. After holding for a few breaths switch sides.

Child's pose with mattress hold. Turn over so your knees are directly under your hips and toes are pointed behind you with the big toes touching. Stretch your arms in front of you and grip the top of your mattress to hold the stretch while taking deep breaths. Allow the forehead to rest on the mattress; and exhale as you fold deeper into the pose, widening your knees as needed. Try to hold this for 5 to 10 deep breaths. This stretch is great for your back and shoulders and, allows hips to release tension.

-Nikki Walter, TEAM Bodybuilding.com Athlete

Work Your Abs, Stretch Your Shoulders:

(Image credit: Hippo Wong/AT Video)

Plank: Roll over onto your stomach with elbows under your shoulders and forearms flat on the mattress. Hold your body up in the air in a forearm plank position for 30 seconds, 45 seconds, or one minute. This is more challenging work for your core on a soft surface so hop to the floor if you're a beginner.

Bicycle Crunch: Lie on your back, with knees in the air until your thighs align vertically to the mattress with 90-degree angle at the hips (also called a tabletop position). Drive your right knee towards your chest in a straight line and allow the knee to bend to a deeper angle. Straighten your left leg out away from you while keeping it elevated off the floor. Contract your abs to curl up, lifting your left shoulder blade off the floor and rotating your trunk slowly to drive your left elbow towards your right knee that's bent toward you. Try to bring your elbow close to the opposite knee. Make sure your low back stays on the bed. Hold and then repeat on the other side, switching the leg positions. Do 15 reps on each side.

(Image credit: Hippo Wong/AT Video)

Crossover arm stretch: Bring your right arm across the body. Use the left hand or forearm to hold the right arm in place for 15 seconds. Switch sides. This is a great stretch for the shoulders.

-David Freeman, Life Time Fitness' National Manager, Alpha & Group Training

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