Are you among the 67% of Americans who waste money on unused gym memberships?
We all know we should be exercising consistently – at least 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity, according to Mayo Clinic. What starts as an admirable goal to get in shape soon settles into the reality of busy schedules and excuses to avoid the gym.
But going to the gym isn’t the only way to stay fit. “It’s a common misconception that the gym is the only way to complete a successful workout and reach your fitness goals,” says a spokesperson from fitness expert Breaking Muscle. “It is, in fact, possible to target multiple areas in your body with a workout that you can simply do at home.”
Instead of spending $60 or more monthly on a membership card collecting dust next to the sweat socks in your gym bag, consider the benefits of these exercises you can do from the comfort of your home.
The air squat is a highly effective exercise that targets your thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.
Position your feet slightly wider than the width of your shoulders, and then drop into a squat position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your hands near your chest while maintaining a vertical stance around your upper body, and then return to the starting position.
Jump squats are excellent for developing your strength while simultaneously targeting the glutes, quads, hips, and hamstrings.
For this exercise, you’ll need to position your feet slightly wider than shoulder width and squat down partially with your thighs above a parallel level. Drop your hands down to your side, then bring your arms up near chest height while you quickly stand and jump into the air. Land softly in a squat position and transition to the next rep.
While the squat hold can be challenging, it will develop lower body strength and core control and improve your balance.
Start by bringing your hands to chest height and lower your body into a deep squat position. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground but aim for a deeper position if possible. Push your feet into the floor and engage your glutes and core to remain stationary. Ensure your torso is upright, and don’t lean forward as you hold the stance for 20 seconds. The burning sensation throughout your body means that you’re doing it correctly! Push through the discomfort and keep going!
While push-ups will target your chest, arms, and shoulders, they also protect your lower back and shoulders from injuries and improve flexibility.
If you need to work your way up to a full push-up, find a coffee table or bench– you’ll need to position yourself around an arm’s length away from the bench with your feet matching the width of your hips. The next step is to bend your elbows slowly towards the bench while your back remains straight, with your elbows bent at around 45 degrees.
If you’re up for taking it to the next level, you can try floor push-ups: to perform these, you must get on the floor and support your body on your toes and hands while your hands are set slightly outside shoulder-width. As you maintain a straight line from your neck to your ankles, bend your elbows to lower your whole body and press to full lockout. Start with ten repetitions, and reduce the amount for each set down to one rep.
Bird Dog Hold
Bird dog holds strengthen your back muscles and relieve lower back pain. They also target the upper and lower body by boosting your core and glutes.
To start with, position yourself on all fours on the ground, placing your knees below your hips and your hands below your shoulders. As you engage your core and keep your back straight, lift your left arm and stop when it is in front of you at the same level as your shoulders. Push your right leg out until it is completely straight.
Hold for a minimum of five seconds before swapping to your right arm and your left leg. If you struggle to lift both of your legs and arms at the same time, you can always select the easier option by lifting only one of them at once.
Home Workout Checklist
Put on your favorite workout music and start with push-ups and begin with ten reps. Lower the number of reps until you reach one rep upon completion, making it ten sets overall.
Bird dog holds are the next exercise to tick off in your routine, and you should aim for three sets of 8–12 reps.
Next, start the lower body exercises with air squats, performing three sets of 12-15 reps. For optimal results, avoid resting before your next exercise.
After air squats, move on to hold squats. Attempt three sets of 12-15 reps, each lasting 20 seconds. Regular exercisers should complete two consecutive sets before resting, but if you’re more advanced, try to complete three sets before taking a rest.
Finish off your workout with jump squats. Try to complete three sets of 10-15 reps – but if you can handle it, attempt the fourth set.
Tone Your Body While Fattening Your Wallet
Now that you have a plan for working out from home, you can fit a workout into the amount of time it took you to drive to and from the gym. So if that unused gym membership isn’t pulling its weight, throw it out guilt-free, knowing there’s another legitimate alternative.
“Movement is extremely important for not just our physical health, but our mental health too,” the Breaking Muscle spokesperson notes. “We encourage everyone to implement exercise into their everyday routine, especially now with the opportunity to do it from home.”