It’s a busy life that most of us lead, and with all the rushing about from place to place. When it gets that hectic, it seems like a lot of less important things get pushed aside, simply because we neither have the time nor the energy to handle such activities.
One such thing that tends to get neglected is exercise. After all, who can even think about dragging themselves to the gym after a long, tiring day and exerting even more physical strength and energy? That does not mean that exercise is unimportant — in fact, it’s one of the most important daily activities we should be doing. With regular exercise, we’re able to build up our strength and lose weight, as exercising burns fat and prevents obesity, as well as keeping chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer away.
So what is one to do when there really isn’t any time to head to the gym? You work out at home, of course. There are many simple exercises that you can do, right from the comfort of your own home, that can help you to build up your strength and keep you fit. Better yet, you won’t need to spend a fortune on an expensive gym membership, and can instead use that money to get some simple and inexpensive equipment for your home workouts.
Here are some home exercise equipment options, and full-body workouts for each piece of equipment so you can get gym-quality results right at home.
Pull-Up Bar Workout
Home workouts, especially those that aim to help you build muscle, usually consist of bodyweight exercises — like push-ups, squats, and lunges — and tend to be the go-to movements that many people make use of. However, missing from using bodyweight exercises — pulling muscles are usually ignored because there’s no effective way to train them without equipment.
Enter the humble pull-up bar. You don’t need to go all-out and have a heavy-duty bar drilled and installed in your home. Instead, there are those affordable bars that are able to fit into standard doorframes in your home, and you can use them to perform muscle-pulling exercises like chin ups and pull ups to increase back strength and improve your posture. Here’s a full-body circuit workout that makes use of a home pull-up bar.
To train your back muscles, chin ups are a very effective exercise. Start by hanging from the bar with your arms about shoulder-width apart. Relax as you hang, then using your back muscles as the primary pulling force, pull yourself up till your chin goes above the bar, before lowering yourself back down with control. That is one rep, and you should aim for at least 2 sets of 5 reps with a short break in-between. If you’re finding it too difficult to perform a full chin-up, start by doing negative chin-ups — grab the bar and jump upwards till your chin is above the bar. When you’re at the top of your jump, use your strength to hold yourself in place as much as you can, before lowering yourself down slowly until your arms are straight.
Fairly straightforward, push-ups train your chest and arm muscles and are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises for strength training. Start in a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor, and keep your body forming a straight line as much as possible. When you’re ready, bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor, and engage your chest muscles to push yourself back up. Repeat this for 10 reps, and do 2 sets of 10.
Split squats will work on your glutes and leg muscles. Stand with one foot in front of the other and shoulder-width apart, and keep your upper body straight up. Bend your knees until both form 90-degree angles, then hold it there for about 2 seconds before coming back up. You’ll want to perform this for 12 reps each leg, so a total of 24 reps. If you have dumbbells at home, you can up the intensity and hold these weights at your sides, and this will help to build your muscles even further.
This exercise is both a cardio workout that burns fat, and it is also good for engaging your core. Start off in the same high plank position as you would when doing push-ups. Lift your right foot and bend your knee, bringing it up toward your right shoulder, then bend back to the original position. Do the same with your left leg and alternate between them quickly. Do this for 1 minute, but don’t rush through the motions — make sure you bring your knees in as much as you can so that your abdominals feel a slight crunch.