So I hear all the time that people don’t have the space OR the equipment to get in a great workout at home.
That is ABSOLUTELY ridiculous.
And I just did a workout in my kitchen to prove it….using just a little hand towel. (Which now is a bit dirty but at least I cleaned my floors!)
So here is my Small Space at Home Workout – 5 great moves you can do with just a hand/dish towel!
- Towel Backwards Lunge – The backwards lunge is a great move to work the glute and when you use a towel/slider, you increase the intensity AND engage the glute even more. Make sure to really squeeze the glutes as you come back to standing. To perform the move, place the towel under one foot and slide that foot back into as deep a lunge as you can handle. Make sure to really sit back on that front heel. Then driving through that front heel, come back to standing.
- Towel Side Lunge – This is a great move to work the glute and adductors. Please be careful the first time you try this lunge as it is easy to go too far out and not be able to get back up since there is no traction. To do this move, place the towel under one foot. Slide that foot out to the side, sitting back into the lunge. Then to stand back up, drive through the foot not on the towel. Do not allow yourself to go forward. Make sure to really sit back and then drive off the heel.
- Towel Bridge and Curl – This one is great although not a beginner move. A beginner may want to start with the towel under only one foot and slide out one leg at a time. To perform the two leg curl, place both feet on a towel about hip width apart. Start in the bridge position and slide your feet out. Keep your hips off the ground and your glutes engaged as you slide out. Then curl the heels back in, bringing the hips up again in a glute bridge.
- Body Saw – This is another advanced move. To regress this, perform the move without the towel. Walk your feet backwards and then back in, elongating through your triceps and core. To do this with the towel, keep your body in a straight line with your belly button drawn in. Slide back on the towel, lengthening your body out as much as you can. Then pull straight back in to the plank position. Do not let your hips sag toward the ground or your butt go up in the air. You should not feel this in your low back.
- Fly to Push Up – A great two in one chest exercise. This can be done from the knees or the toes. Start at the top of your push up with one hand on the towel. Then slide the hand out to the side and perform a push up. After the push up, slide the hand back into the starting position. Even though this is a wider push up, don’t let your elbows flare way out by your ears!
So there you have it. Five moves done with just a dish towel and space that I could barely lie down in.
Here are two other bonus moves…Since I think most people do have a bath towel and two dish/hand towels lying around somewhere!
- Towel Taz – So basically anyone at any level can do this. And while challenging, it is rather fun. Move around as quick as you can in every direction and shake the towel down and up and in and out.
- Mountain Climbers – Place a towel under each foot and set up as if you are going to do a push up. Then, keeping your core tight, run your knees in toward your elbows, alternating legs.
AND if you are thinking…”Well my house is all carpet..”
Mine basically is too! To do all hand towel moves on carpet, all you need is a piece of cardboard…(I tore mine off of a box we used recently to move!)
What moves do you love that require no space and use things you just have lying around the house?
Here is how to build a COMPLETE home gym in five pieces:
1. Pull up bar – I love pull ups. And while I almost considered excluding this and instead including foam rollers, I felt that the pull up bar was just too essential (and it is too easy to foam roll with a ball you just have lying around the house). Even if you can’t do pull ups YET, a pull up bar can be used to do all the isometric holds to work up to being able to do a full pull up. You can also do scapular retractions on the bar as well as ab exercises. While the least necessary piece for beginners on the list, it is really probably the best piece for core and back work.
2. Jungle Gym straps – Best way to work your ENTIRE BODY. Honestly as long as you have a door or another place to hang them, this is the single best piece of equipment to have for your home. They are just like the TRX straps but a bit cheaper and in my opinion just as good if not better. You can literally work every muscle using these straps. And these straps can be used to make moves easy enough for the beginner or difficult enough for even the advanced lifter. Balance lunges with your foot up in the strap or single leg squats with only one of the straps for assistance can be extremely difficult! So don’t think that you need a ton of weights to get in a gnarly workout at home. There are always ways to progress moves for any body part on the Jungle Gym straps!
3. Sandbag – Since I love lifting heavy, I did want to include some sort of weight equipment on this list….and sandbags won out. They can be used to work any part of the body and the weight can be easily adjusted by pulling out some of the filler bags or not filling the bags completely full. They are also an extremely functional weight since they are awkward. They also really don’t take up that much room and you won’t really have to buy more pairs, like you would dumbbells, as you progress. Not as necessary for the beginner, but a great way to start lifting some weight.
4. Sliders – Sliders can be used to progress exercises for any part of the body and can be a good substitute for weighted activities. They make exercises more difficult because they create a more unstable environment. For example, there is no traction when you slide out to do a side lunge and then try to drag the slider back in toward the standing leg (I always tell people NOT to go out as far as they think they can the first time because they won’t make it back in). Sliders are also fairly cheap and a small piece of equipment that you can basically store anywhere. They are a great way to progress moves without needing weights. And shoot, if you have hardwood floors you can even make your own sliders out of socks!
5. Resistance bands – While I was at first hesitant to put these on the list because you can basically strengthen the exact same body parts with the Jungle Gym straps, they did end up making the list because they are probably the easiest and best piece of equipment to carry with you if you travel a lot. Also, I had considered putting on mini bands for glute activation exercises (since glute activation exercises are extremely important yet everyone skips them) BUT you can make modifications so that you can sub resistance bands for mini bands! Anyway, the point is resistance bands are super versatile, easy to store and can be used by everyone from the beginner to the advanced lifter. Also, unlike dumbbell lifts, moves done with resistance bands have a lot more tension and resistance throughout the full range of motion of the lift, which is an added bonus.
So now you know the only five pieces you really need for a COMPLETE home gym.
BUT what if you can’t get all five?
If you can only get two items from this list, I would suggest getting only the Jungle Gym Straps (or resistance bands) AND a sandbag. HOWEVER, if you want to spend less, resistance bands and sliders can be a great way to increase the intensity and add variety to any of the bodyweight or home workouts you may be doing.
As I mentioned before, foam rollers almost made the list. And it was a very hard decision NOT to put them on there.
They honestly didn’t make it because a tennis ball or rolling-pin will work 95% of the time and most clients I’ve encountered have one or the other (or would rather spend the few dollars on one of those instead of shelling out $50 to $100 bucks for a true trigger point tool). However, if money isn’t an issue and you have space for a bit more equipment and are serious about getting great results, I would suggest investing in some trigger point tools to target exactly your problem areas!
What are your favorite pieces of home equipment? Need some help creating your home gym and designing workouts? Let me know!
NOTE: In posts to come, look for exercises using each of these pieces.
So our gym is closed until January 1st for reconstruction. Numerous members were upset because they wouldn’t be able to workout for an entire week.
This got me to thinking about workouts you could do at home.
If you are like me, you have dumbbells, resistance bands, pull up bars, push up stands, yoga mats and a foam roller.
If you are the average person, you probably have walls, chairs, floors, towels and other household furniture and supplies.
But the average person, who doesn’t own even a single piece of equipment, can get in a great home workout just by doing these 10 moves! (The following are in no particular order…they are all awesome…ok but Burpees are definitely the best!)
1. Burpee – If you doubt why this move is on the list, than you’ve never done a burpee. This cardiovascular move is sure to make you feel out of breath and work up a sweat.
2. Push Ups (handstand, decline, one foot off the ground) – Be it the basic push up or something as crazy as a handstand push up, this move is one of the best upper body exercises out there! It will also work your abs!
3. 1 leg squats (to bench) – If you don’t have weights, isolating one leg can make your lower body work harder than it would if you did a simple body weight squat. You can start with a squat to chair and then work up to a pistol squat.
4. Dips from chair (with feet up) – If you put your feet up, you will make a
bench chair dip more difficult. This is a great way to work your triceps and can even be done right off of the couch!
5. Balance lunges – Again you are isolating one leg and forcing yourself to use your abs more to balance. Just find something to put your back leg up on and lunge, making sure your front knee doesn’t go beyond your front toe.
6. Climbers (decline or one foot off the ground) – Decline climbers in my opinion are like the best shoulder exercise if you don’t have weights. Your feet are up on a chair or couch and you start on your forearms. Then pushing up you climb up to your hands and then back down. Keep your abs tight and your butt down. Climbers is also a great exercise for your abs!
7. Plank crawl – On your forearms and toes, crawl forward keeping your butt down. Once you crawl across the room, move backwards. You will need to take small steps. Really this is a great exercise for your full body!!! And it definitely kills the shoulders and abs!
8. Jump Squats – Plyometrics of any kind are a great way to get in some cardio and really work the legs!! Plus they don’t require anything but your own body weight. Just make sure to land softly if you live in an apartment!
9. Wall sit – You can read a book or even freaking watch TV while you do this move. All you need is a wall so you can do this about anywhere. To make it more intense, do a 1 leg wall sit.
10. Mountain Climbers – Another great way to get in some cardio, work your abs and burn out your shoulders. When my legs are tired, I also really feel it in my quads.
Runners up: Cocktail lunges, sit ups, jumping jacks, split squat jumps, planks (front and side), glute bridge, supermans,