“I want to lose weight but I just don’t have the time to fit it into my schedule”: nowadays, this is one of the most common statements of all time. We get it; you have a busy life with work, the social scene, and potentially children, so exercise is normally the first thing to suffer when you start to cut back. However, we don’t believe this needs to be the case, and today we have some superb exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Not only can you save time with these exercises, but you can also save money; plus, the activities we have don’t require any equipment. Starting and maintaining a workout routine can be very easy and fun. Without further ado, let’s take a look at eight easy exercises to lose weight, gain muscle, and feel great.
If you want an exercise that’ll target several muscles at once, the pushup is the way to go. Whether you go for a full pushup with all your weight or keep your knees on the floor to start, you’ll soon feel it across your upper back, shoulders, chest, and all down your arms. Although people often think pushups are for building muscle alone, they allow you to burn calories and tone as you go.
For women, there’s a misconception that they’ll end up adding ‘too much’ muscle but it works more on the toning unless you’re going to commit several hours a day to build muscle and drink all sorts of muscle-gaining products!
How? – If you’ve never done a push-up previously, we recommend starting with your knees on the floor before then placing both palms flat on the floor in front (about shoulder-width apart). From here, allow your upper body to drop towards the floor while keeping your elbows tucked in nicely. If done correctly, there should be very little movement below the waist and your back should remain straight. Once you’ve reached a natural stopping point, push from your hands and allow your back to return to the starting point.
2. Bodyweight Lunges
To target the lower body, we recommend the bodyweight lunge since this will really hit your calves and glutes. In fact, the effects of lunges go further than this because they can correct any imbalances in your body. If you find one leg is stronger than the other, lunges will focus on correcting this because only one leg will be active at any one time.
How? – Starting with your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your hips for more control and balance. When you feel ready, take a long step forward and allow both knees to bend. For correct form, we recommend trying to make a 90-degree angle with both legs. Therefore, your front leg should have a straight thigh pointing outwards while the lower leg points straight down towards the floor. With the back leg, your knee can hover just above the floor to create a second 90-degree angle.
After a couple of seconds, push yourself up back into the starting position and do the same thing with the other leg. As we mentioned, only the front leg will be active which is why it can be great for correcting balance issues.
3. Lunge Jumps
Sticking with the lunges, why not start each lunge with a jump? After a few minutes, this will really get the heart going so don’t forget to have a towel and some water ready. Soon enough, you should feel the lactic burn in the legs and you’ll be burning calories like there’s no tomorrow.
How? – For the most part, this will follow the exact same process as the bodyweight lunges. However, the main difference will be your jump in between each lunge. Instead of returning to the starting point each time, you’re going to jump to an advanced position on the opposite leg before then finishing the lunge. To get started, we recommend taking it slow and getting the form correct otherwise you’ll end up jumping around the room causing a danger to everyone nearby.
Take one step forward, lunge, push up and jump to land with your legs switched, lunge with the second leg, push up and jump to switch again, etc. When done correctly, you should be able to remain on the spot without losing your balance. If you can’t get it right away, practice doing it slowly and you’ll soon build the knowledge of what you need to do to remain balanced.
4. Side-to-Side Lunge
Finally, we’ll bring one more suggestion from the lunge catalog and it requires you to jump from one side to the next. With lunges, people think they’re limited and not a great way to burn fat. As you’ve seen in the last two options alone, they’re actually a very creative way to utilize different muscles.
How? – With this lunge, you’re going to start with one foot on the floor and one just above the floor next to it. When in this position, push off at an angle with your standing leg and jump to the side. Of course, you’ll need to land on the leg that was previously in the air while the other hovers just above the floor next to it. By using just one leg at a time, you actually activate the core and improve your balance.
As we’ve said before, you don’t need to rush into anything so there’s no need to get frustrated if you don’t get it first time. Instead, start by using the second leg as security when you land. Over time, you can lift this leg up and land on just the one leg.
If there was ever an exercise that looks easy from the outside but is actually the polar opposite, it’s the plank. While watching somebody plank, you think they’re having a great time. Once you get down on your forearms and toes, your core will be screaming and you’ll have the biggest urge to just fall down.
How? – Compared to others, this is an easy one in terms of form but the challenge comes in holding it for as long as possible. In truth, the starting point is similar to a pushup but you’re going to have your forearms flat on the floor while your toes create the elevation you need. Despite being quite simple, the majority of people tend to make a couple of simple errors.
Firstly, they create an upside-down ‘V’ shape with their upper and lower body coming to a point. Instead, you should be flat like an ironing board. From your ankles up to (and including) your head, it should be as straight as you can possibly make it. Secondly, and we alluded to it in the first point, people tend to look up whether it’s towards a mirror, the TV, or even a friend. When doing a plank, your head should be an extension of the body in that your neck and back of the head should extend the ‘ironing board’; with this in mind, you should be looking towards the floor at all times.
6. Mountain Climber
To get the heart rate going and the core burning, mountain climbers are a superb workout and become even more effective when you start to pair it with other exercises. Not only will you feel it in your legs, you should feel the burn in your arms, core, and even your back.
How? – Starting in the pushup position, you’re going to simulate the act of climbing while on the floor so start by bringing one knee up to meet the chest; remember to ground your foot. If you pause here, you should have the same upper body stance but with one leg in the original position and one under your chest and stomach. Resuming once again, jump and switch the two legs as if you’re climbing the floor. As you keep switching the legs, it’ll soon burn in all sorts of areas and you can smile at a workout well done.
To finish, we’re going to discuss two exercises that will hurt and we aren’t going to suggest otherwise. This being said, they’re also two of the most rewarding exercises because it hurts and you feel great after finishing. To start, we’re offering you the inchworm which loosens the body and sees you simulate the shape of an inchworm; open a new tab and take a look if you’ve never seen one!
How? – Starting in the pushup position, you’re going to slowly walk your hands back along the floor while keeping your lower body straight. As you reach the upside-down ‘V’ shape we saw earlier, your legs can remain straight but you should allow your lower back to arch slightly as your hands reach your feet. If possible, hold this for a few seconds before then starting to walk your hands forward to the pushup position.
With this exercise, there isn’t an explosion of energy as we saw with the pushup and lunge jumps but it requires slow and deliberate movements. With this in mind, you should be looking to concentrate your energy on breathing. If you breathe deeply and slowly, you should find the motion easier.
Finally, we have the cruelest of all exercises and you’ll feel it right across your whole body. As well as building lean muscle, you can actually strengthen your heart but only if you have the correct form. Below, we’re going to try and explain the movements as closely as possible.
How? – During this exercise, you’re going to be in seven different positions and it starts with a normal standing stance. From here, fall down to the floor into a crouch with your palms flat on the floor either side of the knee. Then, you can jump your legs backward into a pushup position and complete the pushup. Feeling the burning in your upper arms and shoulders, get back into the crouched position, stand up, and finish by jumping as high as you can with your arms stretched outwards; make sure you’re using your legs to jump and nothing else.
At first, you can take it slow, learn the order of movements, and then get faster. If you repeat this 10-15 times, you’ll need to sit down and sleep for an hour. As we said though, you’ll feel great and as though you’ve achieved something with your day!
If you add these home exercises to your workout plan, it won’t be long before you start seeing results. Once you start to combine them and create your own workout plan, you can make a difference even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day!