It is possible to build muscle and burn fat without going to the gym. Here are 10 exercise that can be done at home, without the use of any equipment or machines. They are suitable for beginners and experts alike, and can be done quickly in a small space. This article will outline how to do each exercise, explain the form of each movement, and discuss the benefits of each exercise.
This classic move is a great way to get your heart pumping and your muscles flexing. It works nearly every major muscle group in the body, including your shoulders, chest, triceps, core and legs. If you want to tone your arms or tighten up your abs, push-ups are one of the best exercises to do at home.
Directions: Start by placing your hands on the ground and extending into a straight arm plank position. Lower your chest towards the ground, keeping your core tight and engaged. Once you feel comfortable with this movement, try alternating between a narrow base (hands directly underneath shoulders) and a wide base (hands out wider than shoulders). Another option is to place your hands on a bench or chair for an incline push-up.
2. Chair Dips
This powerful body weight exercise targets the triceps and core, making it ideal for toning and tightening those trouble spots. It also strengthens smaller muscles like the biceps, forearms and deltoids (shoulders).
Directions: Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench with your hands gripping the edge, fingers pointing forward and knees bent at 90 degrees. Use your arms to lift yourself off the chair while keeping your butt close to the bench/chair. Slowly bend your elbows so that your upper arms are parallel with the floor (make sure not to go below this point). Then use your arms to extend back up into starting position. Repeat as necessary.
This full body workout is a great way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing. It is excellent for burning fat and calories, as well as building strength in the arms, legs and abs.
Directions: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and then squat down while placing the palms of your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump both legs back so that you are in a plank position, then jump them back in towards your hands so that you return to a squat position. Finish with a jump into the air, raising your hands overhead. Land softly on the balls of your feet, and then repeat this movement as quickly as possible for 30 seconds or more if desired.
Squats are great for toning and tightening the hips, thighs and glutes (butt). They also work the calves, hamstrings and quads.
Directions: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward. Brace your core, tighten your glutes and sit back until you are parallel with the floor (or as far as you can go while keeping proper form – never let your knees go over your toes). Keep your head up and look straight ahead as you rise back to starting position. To make this exercise more challenging you can hold weights in each hand or do single leg squats (pistols).
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5. Knee Raises
The knee raise is a basic core strengthening movement that works both the abdominals and hip flexors (muscles in front of thighs), and improves flexibility of lower back muscles as a bonus! It is often used as part of warm-up routines, but can definitely be used as a standalone exercise too.
Directions: Lie on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees, your feet flat on the floor and hands resting by side. Engage your core muscles (abdominals) by pulling your belly button into the floor. Then bring both knees into chest using your hips flexors (the muscles in front of thighs). Pause for 1-2 seconds at top position before lowering back down to starting position under control. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.
6. Walking Lunges
This simple and effective exercise will help tone and strengthen the leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves). It also increases flexibility in the hip flexors and can be done anywhere there is enough room for lunging forward.
Directions: Stand with feet together and hands on hips or free at sides. Take a big step forward with one leg, lowering hips into a lunge while keeping upper body straight. The front knee should be directly over ankle. Return to starting position by pushing off front foot and bringing it back to meet the other foot, then repeat on opposite side with other leg leading this time. Keep alternating lunge sides as you walk.
7. Calf Raises
Calves can be notoriously hard to tone, but this exercise helps build strength in the whole lower leg as well as improve stability. Calf raises are great for improving posture as well, since they stretch out the Achilles tendon which often becomes shortened in people who sit for long periods throughout their day, such as office workers or drivers.
Directions: Stand holding onto a sturdy chair or table for balance. Rise up on your toes while keeping your heels on the ground; hold for 5 seconds then slowly lower heels back down to floor. Complete 2 sets of 15 repetitions, resting 1 minute between each set.
8. Leg Curls
To perform this exercise you will need either a set of dumbbells or an ankle weight attached around both ankles. This simple movement targets the hamstrings which are located on the back of the legs. In addition to strengthening these muscles, it can also help increase flexibility in the knees, hips and legs in general.
Directions: Standing straight up or sitting down, lift your right foot off the ground so that you are balancing on your left foot only (knee slightly bent). Slowly bring your right foot up toward your buttocks as far as possible, then lower it back down. Repeat this motion for the desired number of repetitions, then switch feet and repeat with your left leg.
9. Dumbbell Squat
This exercise is great for building the quadriceps muscles which are located in the front of the thigh. In addition to adding strength and size to these muscles, this exercise also benefits the gluteus maximus (butt), hamstring and calves. When performed regularly, this exercise will improve balance and help prevent muscle related injuries to the knees and lower back.
Directions: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing inward). Keeping your back straight, slowly squat down as if you were going to sit in a chair behind you. Continue squatting until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold this position for about two seconds and then slowly rise up again into a standing position. This completes one rep. Do 10-15 reps for a total of three sets.
10. Incline Pushup
This exercise targets primarily targets chest muscles but also strengthens triceps, shoulders and upper back muscles. It is best to begin with modified pushups until you develop enough strength to do full pushups properly without injuring your shoulder joints.
Directions: Place your hands on an elevated surface (like a kitchen countertop) that is waist height or lower (less elevation = more difficult). Your body should form a straight line from head to toe as you hold yourself above the ground. Slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your nose nearly touches the ground. Straighten your arms back up to starting position using your upper body strength to do so. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
There you have it, the top 10 exercises that you can do at home. The best thing about these exercises is that they will take you very little time, but the results will be fantastic. So, if you are not able to go to the gym for whatever reason, there is no need to worry about it. These exercises will prove very beneficial for your body, so do not hesitate and start working out now.