You don’t have to have a gym membership or a studio full of fancy fitness equipment to work out and see results. While treadmills, weight benches and rowing machines are all great options, they’re also expensive and just not right for everyone. If you’re a beginner or are simply looking to spice up your fitness routine, try adding one of these seven quick and effective exercises to the mix. The best part? There’s no gym or equipment required. All you need for these just a little space, a pair of tennis shoes and your own body weight.
Planks are fantastic because they help strengthen your core, which can help you in other fitness endeavors. To complete a basic plank, place your hands directly under your shoulders and get in push-up position, taking care to keep your body in a straight line. Don’t let your middle sag or rise. Squeeze your glutes and abs and hold the move for as long as you can. (Try for 30 seconds to start and go from there).
For a proper push up, your feet should be hip-width apart and your hands should be right under your shoulders. Just like in a plank, your body should be straight and not angled up or down. Lower yourself, keeping elbows in. Rise and repeat. If a regular push up is difficult, you can put your knees on the floor and keep the rest of the motion the same.
To complete a basic lunge, you’ll begin standing with the area in front of you clear. Then, extend and bend one knee, folding your arms forward in a running position. Pull your leg back in and repeat on the other side. There are all kinds of lunges — you can lunge on the side, to the back or even add a jump in the mix. Be careful to move slowly and deliberately so you don’t pull anything.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your chest out. Bend your body into the squat, keeping your back straight and making sure your knees don’t go past your toes. (Your weight should be in your heels, not your toes.) Your arms should fold forward as you squat. Repeat in accordance with your circuit.
Start in a standing position. Bend at your torso and touch the floor with your palms, walking your hands outward until you’re in a push up or plank stance. From there, walk your hands back to your feet and rise. Repeat. (To add difficulty to this move, consider adding a push up before you walk your hands back in.)
This is an invigorating yoga move you can really feel, and it targets everything from your calves to your arms. Start in a plank position and engage your abdominals. Lean back and up, let your arms follow and end with your hindquarters high in the air and your hands still planted firmly in front of you. Make sure you exhale as you raise your body. Then, inhale and return to your starting position.
Lie on your mat (if you have one) with your legs and arms stretched straight out. If looking at you from above, your body should be a straight line. Then, exhale as you lift both your legs off the floor a few inches. Be sure to point your toes to the wall behind you. At the same time you’re lifting your legs, lift your arms, too. Your head should be in line with your spine. Don’t arch your back or unnaturally lift your head. Hold the upward stage of this exercise for a few seconds, then inhale and lower back to the starting position. The Superman targets your back, hips and shoulders.
Note that just because you’re ditching weights and machines doesn’t mean you can skimp on form. These exercises are basic, yet you can really feel them when they’re done correctly. When performed incorrectly, though — well, you won’t see results and you could hurt yourself.
Working out doesn’t have to be done on big machines. Combine any (or all) of the above into a 20- or 30-minute living room routine. To do this, pick your exercises and note how many sets you want to complete of each. You’ll also need to determine how many reps (exercise repetitions, in fitness parlance) will be in each set. We think a circuit of 3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise should provide a good challenge. Start with the plank and then end with the Superman, resting as little as possible in between exercises. That’s one circuit. Take a minute or two to catch your breath between circuits, aiming for at least three to get your blood really pumping and to see those results.