In order to do basic home workouts, there is no need for any equipment or a home gym. All you need is some open floor space and the desire and dedication to commit to a home workout plan. This can be as simple as basic stretching exercises that are derived from yoga, pilates, and different martial arts.
If this is too basic, you can always incorporate some cardio exercises (with or without resistance bands or hand weights) into your home workout routine. The final step, before investing in a full gym, would be to buy a single piece of exercise equipment. This could be a stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical. You need to be aware, though, that they do take up floor space and cost far more than a yoga mat.
The best home exercises and equipment for you should be based on what results you’re looking for. What do you want to get out of workouts at home? Are you interested in home workouts that will be a part of general healthier living or ones that have a more detailed outcome like strengthening, weight loss, or toning?
When looking at home workout plans, many require little to no equipment. It is always best to check with your primary care professional before starting. Then choose one that is realistic and fits into your existing schedule. You don’t want to become discouraged because you have set yourself an impossible goal.
It’s best to start off slow, especially if you haven’t been doing any type of home exercises. You might want to begin with basic stretching, some light cardio, or some core-strengthening exercises. These types of home workouts can be done three to five times per week to begin and can take about 30 minutes of your time. Here are some basics to keep in mind:
- Start and finish your home workouts with stretching.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Eat a well-balanced diet to support a healthy lifestyle and provide nutrition for energy during your at-home workout.
- Continue to exercise during your period. This can help alleviate bloating and cramping and improve your overall mood.
- Get adequate rest. You need to sleep in order for your body to repair and recharge.
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One nice thing about doing arm exercises at home is that they are not difficult, require little space, and can be done almost anywhere you can sit or stand. Most arm exercises are geared toward the muscle you want to target. The following are home exercises for specific muscles in the arms:
Biceps — The biceps are located in the front of the upper arm
- Basic curls — Start with your arm extended down by your side. Then, with your hand in a fist, bend your elbow and bring your hand up toward your shoulder. Do 3 sets of 10 on each arm. Start your workout without any equipment and then gradually add resistance bands of different strengths or hand weights (canned goods work too).
- Wide-grip curls — Using the same motion as with the basic curls, add a stick, pole, or bar. Grip this with both hands with both palms up or down (two different exercises). Lift the stick slowly with both hands in one fluid motion, and lower slowly down. Do 3 sets of 10.
Triceps — The triceps are located at the back of the upper arm.
- Overhead extensions — In a standing position, clasp your hands together and raise your arms above your head. With your arms stretched toward the ceiling, bend your elbows and allow your hands to drop behind your head toward your neck. Straighten your arms again. Do 3 sets of 10. If this becomes too easy, you can always add a little weight at a time (a soup can works great for this).
- Arm kickback — Lean forward with a straight back, with one knee and one hand on a bench, chair, or sofa. Now bend your elbow 90 degrees with your fist toward the floor. Slowly straighten your arm back along the side of your body and then back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10 for each arm.
- One arm press — Standing next to a wall, place your left or right side against the wall with your shoulder touching it. Then take your opposite hand and put it on the wall in front of you. Then move your feet about 12 inches away from the wall. Push your shoulder away from the wall with your hand and lower it back. This should be a slow and controlled motion. Start with 10 repetitions on each side to begin, and work up to as many sets as you are comfortable with.
Full arm exercise — One of the easiest is a modified push-up.
- Wall push-up — Stand about arms-length away from a wall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the wall, slowly lower your chest to the wall and then press back out again. When you get back to the starting position, do not lock your elbows. Keep them slightly bent. This will reduce the strain on your elbow joint. Start with 10 repetitions of this and increase as tolerated.
Strength training at home
The best strength training at home can be as simple as basic floor and standing exercises that strengthen the core muscles of the abs, legs, arms, and shoulders. Some of these home exercises include the following:
- Abdominal crunches
- Push-up (regular and with an exercise ball or chair)
Remember that strength exercises aren’t just for building bulk. They can be done to tone the muscles and provide better shape and definition.
Best home workouts with no gear
Some of the best home workouts don’t require any gear and are completely free. These can include cardio exercises such as running in place, jumping jacks, burpees, etc. Stretching exercises inspired by yoga, pilates, and martial arts can be done for general physical fitness, strengthening, and stress reduction. There are even home exercises that utilize your own body weight. Some of these were discussed above and work great in the absence of weights or resistance bands.
Ultimately, you can create a really good home workout plan without spending any money on gym memberships or special equipment. Be creative with your exercise workouts, and create some additional exercises that work for you.