Over recent years, there has been a shift towards working out at home, with the rise of online programmes, apps and fitness wearables. Here at 1life – we want to support your fitness and wellbeing journey to complement your classes, swimming or gym sessions, by offering support and guidance on easy exercises to do at home. We’ve selected 6 exercises, which require no equipment and help build lean muscle, burn calories and boost endorphins when combined into a short HIIT session, designed to train the whole body in just 20 minutes.
Make sure to warm-up before hand, try simply marching on the spot for 1 minute and perform just a couple of each exercise to get your heart rate up and activate the muscles needed before you start. Then complete one circuit of all 6 exercises with no, or just 20-second rest in between each. By going from one exercise to the next, without little or no rest, you keep your heart rate up, burn more calories and get the most out of your exercise time. Do as many circuits as you can within 20 minutes.
Exercise 1: Push Ups x 10-15 reps
A great all-round exercise for targeting the upper body, but it also engages the core muscles. Not everyone can support his or her full body weight at first, and that’s okay. The variation bellows explains a modified technique for you to start with, if you are beginner.
Table Top version
- Start on your hands and balls of your feet on the floor, with a flat back in a tabletop position. With your arms straight, your shoulders should be over your wrists and your lower back flat.
- Tighten the core and squeeze the buttocks.
- Then lower your body to the ground. When your nose reaches the floor, press up with your arms and return to the starting position.
Push-Up on Knees
- Begin on your hands and knees in a modified plank position. Your arms should be straight, with your shoulders above your wrists.
- Rest your knees on the ground (preferably with a towel or mat beneath them), legs together, with your feet suspended in the air. Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor, while maintaining a straight line from the crown of your head to your knees. Next, press upwards, engaging your chest and core.
Exercise 2: Squat – 20 reps
Squats are a full-body fitness staple, which works the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and even the core.
- Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees and knees over ankles.
- Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement to ensure pressure isn’t put on the lower back.
- Then bend at the knees and begin lowering yourself down unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backwards as the knees begin to bend – as if you are sitting down onto a chair.
- While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine.
- Engage core and explode back up to standing, driving through the heels. Repeat.
Exercise 3: Burpees – 12 reps
One of the most demanding bodyweight exercises out there, which gives you a fantastic cardio workout, this is largely due to the fact a burpee calls on every major muscle group!
- Squat down and place your hands just in front of you
- Then jump both feet back into a plank position, remembering to keep the core strong and not drop the lower back.
- Then drop down to a push up position either table-top version or on your knees for an easier option (see Exercise 1 for technique)
- Push up to return to the plank
- Jump the feet back in to the hands
- Then explosively jump up with your hands in the air. Repeat
Exercise 4: Static Lunges – 10 reps on each leg
Static lunges are great for working all the major muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs; if to start with you need to hold a wall to balance you can, but as you progress your balance will improve.
- Stand with right foot forward, left foot back about 3 feet apart.
- Bend the knees to lower the body towards the floor. Keep the front knee behind the toes and be sure to lower straight down rather than forward. Think of a 90-degree angle that you are making with your front knee and try and get the back knee as close to the floor as possible.
- Keep the core straight and abs pulled in as you push through the front heel and back to starting position.
Exercise 5: Tricep Dips 10-12 reps
This exercise targets the back of your arms (bingo wings). In order to complete this exercise you will require a sturdy flat surface i.e. bench, chair or stair.
- Start with your back towards the chair, arms straight at your side, lower yourself down enough to place your hands behind your body about shoulder width apart, hold onto the chair with your knuckles facing forward.
- Move your feet so that your legs are at a 90-degree angle in front of you.
- From the position bend at the elbow and lower yourself down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Once here push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat.
Exercise 6: Plank – hold for 30 seconds (increasing to 45 seconds and then 1 minute)
Planking is a simple but effective bodyweight exercise. Holding the body develops strength primarily in the core—the muscles that connect the upper and lower body—as well as the shoulders, arms, and glutes.
- Place the forearms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to the body at about shoulder-width distance.
- Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze the glutes to stabilise the body. Your legs should be working in the move too, but be careful not to lock your knees.
- Neutralise the neck and spine by looking at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond the hands. Your head should be in line with your back.
Phew! Don’t forget that after the 20 minutes you’ll need to loosen muscles by stretching to cool down.