Amid a global health crisis, we all need to work on staying healthy now more than ever. And for many of us who are mandated by the state to stay at home, we can no longer claim to have no time to exercise. But just how can we exercise when the gyms are all on a lockdown?
Here is a 30-minute body weight resistance-training program you can do at home. It’s a great way to stay active while on home quarantine. It’s also a great way to boost your happy hormones during this time of uncertainty.
An exercise mat would be nice but you actually don’t need gear or equipment. The key is just committing to finding 30 minutes for it on most days of the week.
30-minute body weight resistance-training program
The program consists of 6 different exercises that will cover most of the major muscle groups in your body. For each exercise, perform 15-20 repetitions for 2-4 sets, taking 1- 2 minutes of rest between set. (Start with 2 sets and gradually increase until you can do up to 4 sets). Don't worry, if the movement is too easy, there are progressions. If it is too hard, there are regressions.
Do this on most days of the week for 8 weeks and in as little as 4 weeks, you’ll surely see and feel the results. After that, change it up and try to progress your program. Make sure to stay hydrated and get clearance from your doctor if you have any preexisting medical conditions. Enjoy!
Before you begin, do this short warm up:
10 Arm Circles
30 seconds Plank
30 Jumping jacks
1. BODY WEIGHT SQUATS
Stand up straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart, and toes pointed slightly outwards. Push your hips back and then squat as low as you can while keeping your lower back straight, heels on the floor, and knees pointing where your toes are pointing. At the bottom position, push off the floor then push your hips all the way forward to the starting position.
1A. Easier: Box squats on a chair
Squats too complicated or too hard for now? Do it with a chair behind you. Go to the starting position, push your hips back, and sit on the chair. Then stand up. That easy!
1B. Harder: Jumping squats
Body weight squats getting too easy? Perform the squat but add a jump at the end. Jump as high as you can, but make sure to land softly and the floor.
2. Pushups (for chest and arms)
Start with your chest and your thighs on the floor, and your hands in line with your lower chest. Keep your elbows right above your wrists. Push your body off the floor using your chest and arms until your elbows are straight. At the end position, your hips will be about as high as your shoulders. Lower your body until your chest and thighs touch the floor, and repeat.
2A. Easier: Modified pushups
Same with the pushups but do it on your knees instead of on your toes.
2B. Harder: Inverted Pushups
Do the pushups but with your feet on a chair, bed, or bench.
3. Front Lunges
Stand straight, with feet hip-width apart, and then lunge forward with one leg. Bend your hips and knees while keeping your lower back straight until your rear knee almost touches the floor. Your front heel should be flat on the floor. Push off the floor with your front leg until you return to the starting position, and then repeat with the other leg lunging forward.
3A. Easier: Stair step-ups
If front lunges are too challenging, do this instead. It will be more simple and less challenging while working the same muscles. Go in front of a flight of stairs. Step with your right leg about 2-3 stairs up, and then return slowly return to the your starting position. Repeat with your left leg. You can use your arms for support and stability.
3B. Harder: Jumping lunges
Lunge forward, and then jump off the floor as high as you can, land as softly as you can, then repeat with your other leg.
4. Chair Dips
Put your wrists shoulder width apart on a chair, feet forward until your hips are hanging and your knees slightly bent, and then slowly bend your elbows and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Press up with your ams until you return to the starting position.
4A. Easier: Modified chair dips
Same with the chair dips but lower your body only as low as you are comfortable with. Also try to keep your hips as close to the chair as possible throughout the movement.
4B. Harder: Close grip pushups
This works the same primary muscles on your arms as the chair dips, but this is more challenging. Same as the pushups but position your wrist and hands closer, about 12 inches or so apart. The closer together you position your wrists, the harder the exercise will be.
5. Reverse crunches
Start lying face up on the floor with your feet not touching the floor, and then bend your knees towards your shoulders with your hips going off the floor. Slowly return to the starting position until your feet almost touches the floor.
5A. Easier: Crunches
Lie facing up, bend your knees, and contract your abdominals while keeping your head and neck in a neutral position as much as possible.
Same starting position as with crunches, but sit all the way up and forward at the end of the movement, and then slowly lower to the starting position.
Lie facing the floor, position your elbows right above your shoulders the whole time, and then raise your chest, hips, and knees until you reach the position shown in the picture. Your head should be in a neutral position, with your shoulders, hips, and knees forming a straight line. Hold the position for 30-60 seconds.
6A. Easier: High plank
Same as the plank but support your body using your arms. This is the same position as the end of a pushup. Keep your back nice and straight, and your wrists right below your shoulders the whole time.
6B. Harder: Slow tempo mountain climbers
Go to the high plank position, and then with slow and controlled movements, try to touch your right knee to your right elbow. The slower and more controlled the movement is, the more challenging the exercise will be. Return to the high plank position and then repeat on the other side, for 12-15 repetitions per side.
(The author is a fitness professional with more than 12 years experience, and is certified by the American Council on Exercise.)