Who says you need a gym or exercise equipment to get a full body workout in? Don’t get us wrong, we love heading to the gym and working up a sweat there. Our point is simply this: no excuses. Just because you can’t get to a gym or can’t afford a gym membership doesn’t mean that you can’t get a total body workout (and a really good one, too) in. To be completely honest, if you really want to exercise, all you need is yourself (and may a piece of furniture or two). Are you ready? Without further ado, here’s how you can get a full body workout in without having to head to the gym or purchase exercise equipment.
Working on Your Upper Body
Upper body workouts are utterly rewarding. Now that’s not to say that working on the rest of your body isn’t. It’s just that upper body exercises are some of the easiest to do and also the part of your body where you tend to see results that fastest. But what exactly are we talking about when we say upper body workouts? When you target your upper body, you’re doing exercises that strengthen, tone and shape your arms, chest and shoulders. There are tons of great exercises that you can perform to work on this group of muscles, just remember that it’s important to practice proper form so that you can maximize the workout and avoid injury. Some of our favorite upper body workouts include:
- Push Ups: Push-ups are a classic upper body workout that get several muscles working such as the deltoids, triceps and pecks.
- Dips: If you’ve got a chair or a bench at home, then you can do dips. While dips work the same muscles that push-ups do, they’re also fantastic for the rhomboid muscles found in the back.
- Curls: This workout targets the double-headed muscle in the upper arm called the biceps. Try starting with three sets of 12 if you’re new to working out and build from there.
Working on Your Lower Body
We’re not going to lie to you. Lower body workouts are probably the least popular among the fitness community. After all, have you ever heard someone go, “Awesome, it’s leg day!” and look sincere about it? While spending a full hour punishing your lower body may not be the most fun, it’s still absolutely essential because it helps our bodies in the most practical of ways. It boosts our cardio performance, it gives us extra power in high intensity workouts and it’s just fantastic for everyday life. Add the following exercises to your routine to make sure you hit all of your lower body muscles:
- Squats: A fantastic overall lower body exercise to perform regularly is the humble squat. It strengthens the lower back, hips, glutes, legs and even your bones. Remember that with squats, it’s crucial to maintain proper form so as not to injure your knees. Some key things to remember about form is to maintain a straight back, keep your feet planted firmly on the floor, bend at your knees and don’t over extend them beyond your ankles.
- Step-Ups: Much like climbing staircases, step-ups are fantastic at helping you build lower body strength. To perform the most effective step-ups, choose a surface that is just a little lower than your knee. A park bench works well for this.
- Lunges: Another staple and favorite lower body exercise, lunges help target your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes.
Working on Your Core
Eager to get those lower abdominal cuts, ripped back muscles or 6-pack abs? If yes, then you’re definitely going to want to pay some special attention to your core. Funnily enough, some of the most effective core exercises actually come from the practices of Pilates. Many of their movements incorporate the use of most if not all core muscles to give you a total abdominal workout with as little exercises as possible. Our recommended exercises are great for firming and strengthening and will get you further than your standard ever day crunch. Try adding these exercises to your full body workout:
- Roll Ups: Think of the roll up as the more intense cousin of the sit up. It requires keeping your arms overhead and your knees bent as you slowly roll your body upward, exhaling as you go. The goal is to feel every vertebra in your spine as you roll up and down. Trust us when we say that you’ll feel the burn everywhere with each rep.
- Planks: There’s a reason that personal trainers love having their clients perform this exercise: it’s effective. Planks may be “basic” but they’re utterly challenging and will set your entire core on fire. If you’re just starting out, try holding your plank for 15 seconds and increasing your hold as you get stronger.
Round It All Up with Cardio
Nothing completes a whole-body workout better than aerobic or cardiovascular activity. Known simply as cardio, adding this time of activity to your full body workout (or any work out for that matter), is a great way to improve your heart health and strengthen your endurance. While cardio is great for your entire body as a whole, people do tend to dread it. The key here is to find a cardiovascular exercise that you really enjoy. Our favorite? Interval running.
Running or jogging doesn’t have to be a long boring affair. In fact, if you really want to get the most out of a run, the best way to do it is by adding intervals to the mix. This way, you can go on a shorter run but still enjoy maximum caloric burn. Start with a 2 – 5-minute jog to warm up, then switch between 1 minute of high-speed running and 1 minute of low speed jogging for about 10 minutes. End it with a 5-minute cool down through a light jog or some speed walking. Other great cardio options include stair climbing and Tabata workouts.