Beginning a workout routine can be challenging for many reasons. But often, some of the first challenges people encounter are finances and resources. People believe that, in order to get an effective workout, they need to spend money on a gym membership. Fortunately, this simply isn't true. There are many at-home exercises that can help you reach your fitness goals with a minimal amount of equipment.
The Equipment You'll Need
At-home exercises usually rely on body weight to provide resistance. Still, there are inexpensive pieces of equipment that can expand your repertoire and allow you to increase the difficulty level of your at-home workouts.
Although you may not be able to do a pull-up right now, having a sturdy bar allows you to work your way up to that particular exercise. While large, stand-alone bars are available, most people find it more realistic to invest in bars that can be mounted to doorframes. These come in a variety of options, ranging from those that can be removed as needed to models that screw directly into the doorway structure.
These large, inflatable rubber balls provide an unstable surface on which many exercises can be performed. This type of training -- aptly called "unstable surface training" -- can help improve your balance and coordination.
A small, lightweight yoga mat provides a slightly cushioned surface and minimizes pain and discomfort while working out on the floor.
While at-home exercises don't require it, extra resistance can be added in a variety of ways. Medicine balls, dumbbells, and wearable weights are relatively small, inexpensive ways to increase the challenge of your workouts.
Here are a few at-home exercises you can use to build an effective workout. Plan your routine by mixing and matching the right exercises for your personal goals.
Start with your hands on the ground, directly under your shoulders, and your legs straight out behind you. Your elbows should be slightly bent and your back should be straight throughout the movement. Slowly bend your arms to lower yourself to the ground, and then straighten them to return to the starting position. To make it easier, increase the height of your hands, and to add a challenge, increase the height of your feet.
Stand upright with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your arms relaxed at your side. Bend your knees and pivot at your hips to lower yourself to a sitting position. Keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the exercise. At the bottom of the movement, your thighs should be slightly below parallel. Slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position, and work on going as deep into the squat as you can.
Lie on your back under a low bar or other sturdy surface with your legs straight and your hands grasping the bar. Your palms should be facing away from you. Keeping your core tight, pull your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows to lift your chest toward the bar. Slowly lower yourself back to the ground. To reduce the challenge, bend your knees slightly and plant your feet on the ground. This exercise helps prepare you for doing a pull-up.
Stand with your hands grasping a pull-up bar, slightly wider than shoulder width. Your palms should be facing away from you. Pull your shoulder blades together and bend your arms to pull yourself up until your chin is past the bar. Then slowly lower yourself back down. If this is too challenging, start with the same position but jump upward to reduce the load on your arms. Slowly, and with control, lower yourself back to the starting position. Gradually use your legs less and less.
Place your hands on the floor, under your shoulders, with your feet on the ground and your legs straight. You should be in a downward-facing dog position with your hips as high as your flexibility allows. Bend your elbows to lower your head toward the ground, keeping your core tight and your back straight. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position. To increase the challenge, place your feet on gradually taller objects.
Get into a push-up position with your legs straight behind you. Keep your core tight and your back straight. Hold this position for as long as possible.
Why not let your living room become your gym? Doing any combination of these at-home exercises is a strong step toward a healthier you. Get creative with your routine, and make sure you always listen to your body in order to avoid overdoing it.