When you don’t have time to get to the gym, or there isn’t a gym convenient to you, home workouts help you get – and stay – in shape. The key to seeing results is to stay consistent, exercising ideally at least 3-5 times weekly for 30-60 minutes. For optimal fitness, you need to incorporate cardio, strength training and flexibility work, either all in one workout or separated among different sessions.
For a quick regimen, you can alternate cardio and strength exercises as a circuit. The following list of 10 beginner exercises that hits all the major muscle groups with multi-joint, multi-muscle moves that get your heart rate up and tone your body. You can modify the cardio moves if you can’t tolerate the impact, but ensure that you are using a full range of motion and working hard. For the strength moves, as you progress, add dumbbells to increase intensity and results.
Start with a 2-3-minute warm-up, with marches in place, knee lifts, hamstring curls, toe taps, step touches, overhead presses, arm circles, bicep curls and triceps pressbacks. Do each exercise below for one minute; then repeat the circuit 2-3 times for a complete home workout.
1. Squats – With your feet hip width-apart, keep your weight in your heels and push back and down as you sit through your glutes. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor, and tuck your tailbone with a pelvic tilt when you come up.
2. Jumping jacks – Land lightly on the balls of your feet, but work to get your heels down as well. Do singles and doubles for variety.
3. Pushups – Perform on the knees or toes, keeping your arms wide and your body in a straight line, with the navel pulled into the spine.
4. Mountain climbers – With hands on the floor or a low step, alternate pulling your knees to your chest quickly, keeping your hips low and stepping back lightly.
5. Lunges – Step forward and keep your knee in line with your lower leg, with your knee over your ankle and shoulders and head level. Alternate right and left legs, trying to get the thigh parallel to the floor in the lunge.
6. Burpees – Using the floor or a low step, hinge down to touch your hands to the surface, extend both legs back together, pull both knees to the chest and stand or jump up. Move quickly.
7. Dips – Seated on the edge of a bench or stair, bend knees and drop hips down, bending elbows and keeping fingertips pointing forward. Lower and lift from the elbows.
8. High knees – Standing, lift one knee quickly to the chest, lower and switch. Jump or keep low-impact.
9. Crunches – Bend the knees, keep the feet flat on the floor and place the fingertips lightly behind the head for support. Contract the abs and crunch up and down slowly.
10. Plank – In a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders and feet together, pull the navel to the spine and keep the head and neck in line with the spine and legs. See how long you can hold the position, rest, and repeat.
After completing the final round of the circuit, cool down by walking around slowly and relaxing your breathing for 2-3 minutes to lower your heart rate. Then perform some basic stretches for your hamstrings, quadriceps, chest, back and hips, holding stretches 10-30 seconds each.
Performed regularly, these beginner exercises are a great way to improve your fitness with home workouts. Hit more muscle groups by adding dumbbells and lateral raises for shoulders and biceps curls for the arms.