When everyone is heading to the gym this January—you might want to avoid the crowds by kick-starting your workout routine at home. I love group fitness classes—particularly cycling and dance classes—but the New Year masses can turn me off. I think it's great that people are making steps to get healthier, and I hope their fitness resolutions stick; but I find that as a regular gym goer, this time of year can be a bit annoying.
Waiting in line for cardio machines, jostling for space in a group exercise class (watch out for newbies during cardio kickboxing!) and thinking about all the germs being passed around on fitness equipment makes me want to add more home workouts into my routine.
Luckily, with a fast Internet connection, there are a ton of subscription services to try (like Beachbody On Demand, DailyBurn, Crunch Live, Yoga Download, FitFusion TV) and even free workout videos on YouTube.
Don't own any fitness equipment (or don't have the room for it)? No problem. You can still get a great workout just by using your own bodyweight. Search for workouts on those services above that are "no equipment," or try these fitness expert-approved home workouts that don't require a piece of equipment. (If you prefer, you can also check out our workout ideas using stuff you likely already have around the house.)
The Simple Six Workout
"For a solid workout, try these six exercises and aim for 15 to 20 minutes total, repeating the set after a short break," suggests Chris Heuisler, the Global Run Concierge for Westin Hotels & Resorts.
8 Bridges: Start lying down on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and positioned as close to your butt as you can bring them. Squeezing your butt, curl your hips off the floor and hold for one count, then lower down. Your upper back will remain on the floor. Keep your abs tight.
8 Push-ups: You can do these on your knees or opt for a full push-up with arms extended. Challenge yourself to do regular push-ups!
8 Bodyweight squats: Start with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Raise arms in front of you for balance or place fingertips behind your head lightly. Sit back until you get to a 90-degree angle with your knees, keeping your chest up. Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) every time you return to the standing position.
45-Second plank: Hold this on your forearms for a more challenging plank or with arms fully extended for an easier plank. Squeeze abs and your glutes.
8 Alternating Side Lunges: Stand with feet parallel about hip-width apart. Slowly step to the right while keeping your weight over your heels, both feet forward. Once the right foot is planted, bend at the hips, pushing them backwards while simultaneously shifting your weight towards the right foot. Your butt will sit back. Push off with the right foot and bring leg back to starting position. Alternate with the left leg.
8 Superman lifts: Lie on your belly, and then simultaneously lift your arms and legs at the same time a few inches off the ground (think of Superman flying through the air as your visual). Hold for a moment while squeezing your glutes.
Bodyweight Strength Circuit
Sculpt your entire body with this no-equipment workout from trainer Nikki Walter, TEAM Bodybuilding.com athlete.
Wall Sits: Stand with your back to a wall and walk your feet about one foot away from the wall. Sit down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, back is flat against the wall, knees not going past the toes. Hold this position for 30 seconds—you'll feel the burn!
Alternating Lunges: Lunge forward with one leg, transferring your body weight into the forward foot placed firmly on the floor, making sure your knee doesn't go past the toe. Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until the front thigh becomes parallel with the floor. Firmly push off with your front leg (using your thighs and butt muscles) to return to your upright, starting position. Switch sides, placing other foot forward. Do 30 on each side.
Bridges: See description above for this glute exercise. Do 20 reps.
Push-ups: Aim for 15 to 20 pushups on your knees or full extension of the arms. Write down how many you can do in 30 seconds, eventually working your way up to one minute. Keep track of the number of pushups you can do in this time so you see your progress!
V-Ups: This abs exercise might be an intermediate move, but try a few reps to see how you do. Lie on your back with your arms extended behind you and legs stretched in front of you. Simultaneously raise your legs and arms toward each other, squeezing your core as you complete the movement. You're trying to create a V-shape and bring your toes and hands as close together as you can reach them. Aim for 5 reps to start with.
Bear Crawls: Place your hands on the floor and get into a crouched position trying to keep you back flat. Your knees will be off the floor, abs engaged. Move the left hand and the right leg forward to start crawling. Alternate the arm and leg movements while keeping the back straight and the hips and shoulders at the same height. 'Walk' forward using your hands and feet, 'crawling' on the floor like a bear and go as far forward as you can in the space you're working out in. Then, back up by 'crawling' backwards if you're coordinated enough, or, turn around and crawl forward again. This intermediate exercise works your entire body.
Crunches: Do 30 of these with feet flat on the floor and curling your upper body up towards the ceiling. Don't pull on your neck and make sure your chin is raised.
Try this circuit as many times as you can in 20 minutes with a one-minute rest in between.