We’ve all been there. For whatever reason you’ve decided not to shell out on a gym membership, yet you still want to stay in shape and keep your hard-earned muscle.
Fortunately there are several exercises you can still do in the comfort of your own home to maintain your physique or get even fitter.
Here are 4 of the best exercises you can easily do from home:
If you haven’t lifted weights before or worked out much this is a great place to start.
Pushups are even great for seasoned bodybuilders.
The standard press up works a number of muscles including primarily the chest, shoulders and triceps.
First try and improve your performance with this exercise then, when you can do 20 or 30 with no trouble, try some of the more difficult variations including;
- Try a very wide grip for more chest engagement or a very narrow one to work the triceps more.
- Experiment with the tempo of the movement. Lower yourself slowly to the floor, pause for a couple of seconds the rise slowly to tax the muscles more.
- Alternate lifting one foot off the floor during a rep then the other.
- Find some way of adding weight to the exercise. If you have a backpack fill it with weights. If you don’t have weights fill some large plastic bottles with water, you’d be surprised how heavy it can feel!
The key is to keep progressing and challenging your muscles. If one variation becomes too easy find a way to make it harder so your muscles still have a chance to grow.
Another good exercise for the chest and triceps, dips can be performed anywhere you can suspend your body in mid-air between two points.
The ideal home equipment for this would simply be two chairs or even the side of a sofa.
Make sure they are the same height, and not priceless antiques first though.
Place them parallel, around a shoulder width apart and facing away from each other.
Grab onto one with each hand and push your body off the floor, keeping your legs out behind you.
Lower slowly and press back up again, then repeat.
Again, if the bodyweight dip is too easy look to make it more difficult by putting on a weighted backpack or holding a dumbbell between your feet, or varying the tempo of the movement.
For a more triceps-dominated dip keep the chairs close to each other and for more chest engagement move the chairs further apart and lean forward slightly during the exercise.
#3 Pull Ups
If you’re going to be doing chest exercises you’ll also need to work your back to avoid muscle imbalances.
One of the best upper body exercises inside or outside the gym is the pull up.
These can be done at home if you buy a pull up bar that hooks over the door frame.
If you’re not willing to part with your hard-earned cash they can be done by draping a towel over the door and grabbing either side with each hand, or finding a nearby park, preferably at a time of day when you won’t be depriving children of the facilities and/or worrying their parents.
If you can’t do a full pull up, hang from the bar at the bottom of the movement with a wide grip, palms facing away from you.
Try to improve the amount of time you can hang on for and soon you should be able to do the full movement.
There are a number of different hand placements on the bar which affect the primary muscles being worked and the difficulty of the exercise.
A narrow grip with palms facing towards you recruits more of the biceps as well as the back while a wider grip works the lats primarily.
Once you can do ten or so wide grip pull ups with good form you can think about adding weight, though this is a difficult exercise and just using bodyweight can be an effective muscle builder.
If you want to avoid becoming too top-heavy, which you should, then you will need to do some lower-body exercises as well.
The bodyweight squat is a decent exercise for beginners and should be done before learning how to squat with a barbell, but it won’t be any kind of challenge to someone who has worked out much before.
The one-legged, or Pistol squat, however, is decidedly harder..
Lowering yourself on one leg, place both arms and your other leg straight out in front of you for balance, then try to push back up using just the one leg.
If you can work your way up to doing a few of these at a time then you should have impressive strength and balance.
Supplement this with some walking lunges, ideally weighted ones if you have some dumbbells lying around, and box jumps, and you should have a solid programme to stay in shape or even make some muscle gains.
So just because you don’t have a gym membership and access to all the fancy equipment doesn’t mean you can get a good workout in!