By Suzanne Antigone
Gyms and studios are closed and you may have limited workout equipment. This easy full-body routine utilizes common household items so you can still do your strength training.
Just grab a few items you can use as weights and test out what works best with the exercise. Here are some ideas:
- Large water jugs/paint cans/pails/laundry detergent containers
- Small piece of furniture, a tool, books, pot of heavy items
- Two water bottles/canned goods
- bags of rice/beans/flour
- bags of fruit/onions
- Fill two identical sized bags with items of equal weight
Try this routine as a circuit, going through all the exercises two to three times with little or no rest between or do each exercise for two to three sets, resting for 30 seconds to one minute in between. Do 12-15 reps (on each side if applicable) for every exercise. If you are a beginner, do the exercises without weights to master the form first. For more of a challenge, increase the intensity by grabbing something heavier or try a more difficult variation.
Squats with Hip Thrust
This is one of my favorite leg and glute exercises and the added front lateral raise works the shoulders as well as increases the heart rate.
How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with the toes turned slightly out, arms in front. Bending at the knees, squat until your legs are at a 90 degree angle as you raise your arms (with your weight of choice) until they are parallel to the floor. Return to standing and push the hips forward at the top, squeezing the glutes.
There are lots of variations from doing push-ups on an incline (easiest and best for beginners), on your knees, legs extended, or for the most difficult on a decline.
How to do it: Arms are a bit wider than shoulder width apart, fingers facing forward. Shift your weight forward to get your hips even with your shoulders. Bend your arms and lower your body until the arms are bent at a 90 degree angle.
This exercise also has lots of opportunities for variations. You can step up staying on one leg or alternate each time, you can lift a leg at the top to challenge balance, you can step up sideways or even cross your step up. Feel free to hold onto weights in each arm.
How to do it: Find a sturdy chair and lean forward slightly as you step up and push yourself to standing. Work on slowly lowering down, maintaining the weight in the bent leg on the chair. This will increase control and work on the bent leg.
Bicep Curl with Shoulder Press
This multi-joint exercise will work on toning the upper arms and shoulders.
How to do it: Grab two equal sized/weighted items, and hold them by your sides with your palms facing inward. Keeping your elbow by yours sides, bend your arms and bring the weights close to your shoulders, then extend the arms over your head, directly over your shoulders.
This is great for the low back and hamstrings and can be done with knees slightly bent or legs straight (avoid rounding of the back). For increased challenge, try one-leg deadlifts.
How to do it: Stand with feet slightly apart, with a slight bend in the knees, bend at the hips until your back is parallel to the floor. Be sure to keep arms and weights close to the legs as you descend, as well as when you come up.
This exercise focuses on the lower legs and can help to work the stabilizer muscles of the ankles. By doing this on a step, your range of motion increases, but this can also be done on the floor. For more difficulty, do them on one leg first and then finish off with another set using both legs.
How to do it: Stand on the edge of a step and slowly lower your heels down slightly lower than the step. Push through the balls of your feet evenly to come up as high as you can.
These are great for strengthening the backs of the arms and are so easy to do in the house. Keeping the legs closer to the body will make this easier while extending the legs out straight in front of you will increase the difficulty.
How to do it: Sit at the edge of a sofa or a chair and place your hands (fingers facing the same direction as your legs) by your hips. Bring yourself off the edge of the chair and lower your body down until your arms bend at a 90 degree angle. Be sure to keep your elbows close to your sides.