Home workouts without equipment can be just as challenging as the supersets your friendly gym trainer recommended you do on the fancy machines and free weights at the studio. To get that challenge you’re looking for in your home workouts, all it really takes is the right intensity of bodyweight exercises.
When you think about building strength as a fitness goal, many of you may be more inclined to imagine being able to chest press 250 pounds with ease. While that is a good goal you can work towards, it may not be the most practical one to aim for amid a pandemic. Moreover, gym equipment eats up so much of the limited space in your condo unit that could otherwise be dedicated to an online learning setup or a condo home office.
That there’s limited space in our condos and homes for bulky equipment is one of the main reasons why many have taken to virtual and fuss-free workouts. The less equipment needed, the better.
Simple yet challenging home workouts without equipment
There is absolutely no shame in keeping your workouts simple; it will do you good to unlearn the notion that lifting heavy is the only way you can challenge yourself or progress in your fitness. Because that’s not true at all. You can achieve so much through simple workouts, exactly because they are easy to do.
The easier they are to do, the easier staying consistent becomes. And consistency is the key to seeing better results – no matter what fitness goal you’re training towards. So make a routine of these seven bodyweight exercises and witness the results of consistency yourself.
1. Jumping jacks
Cardio workouts aren’t just limited to running, swimming, or cycling. You can also get your heart rate up through jumps.
It’s not hard to challenge yourself with this cardio workout, but if you needed some extra spice in your workout routine, you can give these jumping jack modifications a try:
- High Knee jacks
- Split jacks
- Squat jacks
- Hop jacks
During your workout routines, it’s absolutely essential that you keep your heart rate within the optimal zones for whichever goal. For example, if your goal is to burn fat, your heart rate should stay within zone 2.
If, on the other hand, you’d like to improve your cardiovascular endurance, aim for maintaining your heart rate within zone 4 for a short period of time like how it’s done during high-intensity interval training.
Not a lot of people are aware that planks are actually a full-body workout. Which is valid; planks do mainly target your core muscles. But it doesn’t only target your abdominal muscles.
Think about it: When you do a plank, you plant your forearms or palms flat on the ground and hold your entire body up off the floor and hold the position for a good 30 seconds to one minute. Is the burn really isolated to your core? Or do you notice it in the muscles around your shoulders, glutes, as well as in the hamstrings and quads, too? If yes, then that’s how you know you’re doing a plank right.
With the proper form (legs, hips, back, and head in one straight line), a plank will have you engaging those said muscles. To make this a challenging workout, you can do multiple variations like:
- left and right side planks;
- three-legged planks
- hip dip planks;
- spider planks;
- shoulder taps on plank or;
- commando planks
Another good way you can up the intensity of this workout is by gradually increasing the length of time you hold the position for. If today you can hold it for 30 seconds, maybe eventually you’ll be able to hold it for more than three minutes.
Another full-body workout you can do that has multiple workout benefits is the burpee. It’s a workout where, after coming from a push-up, you jump forward into a standing position, do a jump squat, then jump back into a plank position and push down.
From there, you could surely get a feel of how challenging this workout is as it requires the use of your upper body muscles down to your lower body. You won’t even have to modify this a lot to make it challenging; just try and do as much as you can for a set amount of time.
Crunches are another staple for core workouts that you can do if you want something more focused on the abdominal and back muscles.
Your typical crunches are done by lifting your upper body from the ground as you lay down with your legs bent and feet planted on the floor. There are many different ways you can do crunches, and implement modifications to make it more challenging, like:
- Russian twists
- bicycle crunches
- reverse crunches
- vertical leg crunch
- long arm crunch
- toe touches, and;
- oblique crunches
Try to do a mix of crunch variations that target the abdominal muscles as well as your obliques, for a balanced and solid core.
These are classic chest, shoulders, and upper back workout that you can also do to easily build up strength.
The motion is simple, but with your full weight held up by your core and arms, it requires you to engage the muscles in your back and shoulders so you can correctly accomplish the movement. You can amp up the challenge by increasing the repetitions or reps you do, or perhaps try these modifications:
- wide-handed push-ups;
- diamond push-ups;
- pike push-ups;
- sidekick push-ups;
- one-arm push-ups;
- archer push-ups
These modifications aren’t just good for variety, but the nuances in the hand positions or motions also help target different muscle groups. Take for example the sidekick push-ups (where you try to get one knee to touch your elbow as you dip to the floor) also help you target your lower abs.
Squats are another classic workout like push-ups. But unlike the latter, squats build up your lower body strength. It specifically targets your glutes and quads – your major muscle groups that help your knees and hips carry the weight of your upper body.
Adding resistance bands or weighted squats aren’t the only ways to add a little challenge to this workout. For some extra burn in your thighs and buttocks, you can mix up your regular squats with the following:
- squat jumps;
- sumo squats;
- wall squats;
- pistol squats;
- sidekick squats;
- squat walks;
- squat pulses, or;
- curtsy squats
7. Glute bridges
Looking for a booty workout that doesn’t hurt your knees? Then glute bridges are your best alternative.
This workout is perfect for strengthening your glutes and your hamstrings, all while protecting your knees. You do this laid down on the floor with your knees bent, feet, arms, hands, and shoulders planted firmly on the ground. From this position, you’ll simply have to alternately drop and lift your hips until your body forms a 30 to 45-degree angle perpendicular to the floor.
For a little added challenge, you can try these modifications to your glute bridges:
- Single-leg bridge
- Elevated bridge
- Straight leg bridge
- Banded leg bridge
Optimizing your indoor workouts doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to fill your condo with bulky equipment. With these seven essential workouts, you’ll experience a satisfying challenge, just as if you were working out with free weights.
For more tips on improving your condo lifestyle or dressing up your condo for anything – from working out to working from home – make sure to check the DMCI Communities blog.