There may be several reasons you want to pursue the idea of home workouts instead of a traditional gym membership. Several commons reasons for beginning a home workout routine are:
- You don’t have time to go to the gym.
- You take care of children or other family members and trips to the gym don’t fit your lifestyle.
- A gym membership doesn’t fit into your current budget.
- There are no gyms close to you.
- You don’t feel comfortable in the gym just yet and want to improve your fitness before you join.
- You feel that if you work out at home you will be more successful at sticking to your routine.
Do any of those reasons apply to you? Whether you see yourself in one of the entries on that list or not, it should be good news to hear that you absolutely can get an incredible workout at home that burns fat and builds muscle. Not only that, but there’s a variety of at-home exercises you can do without purchasing any expensive equipment.
What Exercises can I do at Home?
When it comes to choosing workouts to do at home, the fact is you can do nearly any exercise available to you in the gym. With a few dumbbells and some creativity, you can tackle almost any exercise. However, you may not have any training equipment in your home. Let’s cover the best bodyweight exercises to do at home.
- Body Weight Squats
- Body Weight Lunges
- Glute Bridges
- Prone Back Extensions
With these exercises, you’ll target all the major muscle groups—legs, arms, back, chest, and abs. If you perform 20 reps of the first 5 exercises followed by a 60-second plank, all with 30 seconds rest in between, you’ve got a great beginner home workout. Repeat that sequence for 20–30 minutes and you’ve just completed your first home exercise routine.
What cardio can I do at home?
This question comes up frequently when people ask how to create the best home workout plan—how can I do cardio without a gym? Even more importantly, how can I do cardio at home without purchasing any special equipment?
Create a Cardio Circuit
There are dozens of exercises to do at home that will boost your heart rate into the aerobic zone, work several muscles, and get you burning calories. The thing is, most of these workouts are best done for a short period of time, mostly because no one wants to do burpees for 20 minutes straight!
One of the best ways exercise at home is to create a cardio circuit. You can follow our aerobic-focused circuit training plan, which was created to be performed anywhere and requires no special equipment, or you can follow the simple cardio circuit laid out below.
Perform each exercise for 1 minute, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat the circuit 2–3 times.
- Jumping Jacks
- High Knees
- Butt Kicks
- Jump Squats
- Jumping Lunges
- Mountain Climbers
- Long Jump and Jog Back
- Step Ups
If it gets too easy, lightly jog in place during the 30-second period between exercises to maximize your calorie burn.
Get into a Cardio Rhythm
Maybe a cardio circuit doesn’t appeal to you because you prefer the meditative Zen of a continuous workout. This type of endurance exercise may help you get into the zone and power through to your potential. While you may feel this kind of cardio experience isn’t possible without leaving the home, there are a few ways to achieve it.
While jogging in place and shadowboxing can be done in your home, one of the best cardio exercises for your home requires a very simple and inexpensive piece of equipment—a jump rope.
A good jump rope, such as this one made by Epitomie Fitness, can provide one of the best-sustained cardio workouts in or out of a gym. Start small, by jumping rope for a few minutes at a time with rest periods. Then, work your way up until you’re jumping rope 10, 15, or 20 minutes nonstop. Still, think jump rope is a kid’s game? In 20 minutes of jumping rope, you can burn up to 400 calories.Amazon product
What Exercises Can I Do at Home to Build Muscle?
A good home workout plan can include a wide variety of workouts, and by choosing the right exercises you can focus your home workout on muscle-building. Remember, your muscles aren’t built by the machines in the gym; they’re built by your effort and dedication.
Step Up your Bodyweight Game
Maybe you’ve mastered the bodyweight exercises we discussed above. Perhaps you’d like to try a few more strength training exercises at home. That’s no problem. Here are some great exercises, along with the muscles they target, that turn a basic bodyweight workout program into a strength training master class.
- Bulgarian Split Squat – Start by putting one foot behind you on the seat of a chair. Then, bend your support leg until it’s in a lunge position and come back up. A great exercise to target your quads.
- Pistol Squat – Essentially a one-legged squat with no support. This will improve both balance and leg strength.
- Incline Push-Up – Perform this push-up with your legs elevated on the seat of a chair. Targets shoulders and upper chest.
- Diamond Push-Up – Bring your hands together until the forefingers and thumbs of each hand touch, creating a diamond shape. This will blast triceps and chest.
- Handstand Push-Up – Best done with your back/legs against a wall for support. You’ll get a great shoulder workout.
Invest in a Few Home Gym Essentials
While there are plenty of great workouts to do at home that don’t cost anything at all, you may want to consider some equipment to improve strength training workouts at home. If so, there are a couple of essentials that will take your home workout to the next level.
The first of these is the simple pull-up bar. Our pick comes from Iron Age. Designed to stay in place while you work out and not damage your home, this is exactly what you need. Pull-ups are one of the best exercises anyone can do. They provide an intense back and bicep workout and there are a number of variations that pinpoint different muscles.Amazon product
Our pick for the best home gym equipment would have to go to a set of adjustable dumbbells, like this from Bowflex. By adding a set of dumbells you not only provide yourself with the ability to perform a wider range of exercises, from bicep curls, to tricep kickbacks, to bent over rows, you also get the chance to add weight to your bodyweight exercises. Squats and lunges take on a whole different meaning when you’re holding dumbbells overhead during the exercise. Not to mention, trading in those handstand push-ups for an overhead press can be a welcome change of pace.Amazon product
How can a Beginner Start Working Out at Home?
The key is to just start. This article provides a great template to begin working out at home. By beginning with the fundamental bodyweight exercises listed at the top, you’ll have taken on one of the best workout routines for beginners at home.
From there, as your skills and confidence progress, try out the cardio circuit or add in a bit of jump rope. Soon, you’ll be trying out those advanced bodyweight exercises to create your own intense home workout. Just remember, the best home workout program is one that you can stick to and makes you happy with the results.