At Home Workouts | The Best Exercises to Help You Stay Fit and Healthy (No Equipment Needed)

At-home workouts have become the new way of life as gyms and workout studios temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes over 59,000 confirmed cases in Quebec as of July 30. It is extremely important for people to find ways to exercise during this time. Regular and consistent exercise is necessary to maintain a healthy body and mindset, it also helps maximize your productivity, and keep a routine. For people who have a home gym, working out can be simple, but for those used to attending group fitness classes at gyms or studios, at-home workouts can be a bit of an adjustment. The good news is that at-home workouts do not require any equipment except for your own bodyweight - investing in equipment is not necessary to get a good workout in.

Warm Up!

No matter which at-home workout you choose to do, setting aside at least 5 minutes to warm up before starting your workout is extremely important to prevent injury, activate your muscles, and get your heart rate up. Getting started with the workout is your next step. Below, we’ve listed the best at-home exercises to try and incorporate into your routine that target the major muscle groups. To create a full workout, we suggest creating circuits; choosing 3 exercises (for one circuit) or 6 exercises (to divide into 2 circuits), completing each exercise for 12-14 reps, and going through three rounds for each circuit. Remember to listen to your body, rest when you need to, and create a workout that suits your fitness level.

Legs and Glutes Exercises

  • Squats: You can try many variations of the squat; military squats, side step squats, sumo squats, split squats, down-up squats, or even weighted squats. You can hold a large bottle of detergent, a gallon of water, or your even your baby to add some resistance to your squats.

  • Wall Sits: This is a simple and effective exercise that activates your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core! You’re basically holding a squat on with the wall that's supporting your back. Start with working for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds, then repeating the exercise 3-4 times until you feel the burn. If you want to challenge yourself, try increasing the intensity by holding this exercise for a minute. 

  • Step ups: This exercise is effective for building strength, balance, and stabilization. To do this, you will need to find an elevated platform such as a bench or a durable box. For extra resistance, you can try weighted step ups as well.

  • Lunges: Lunges are perfect for targeting the major muscles of the lower body. Try front lunges, back lunges, side lunges, walking lunges, crusty lunges, or jumping lunges for a more intense workout.

  • Glute bridge: This is a great bodyweight exercise that targets your glute muscles and engages your core. Once you feel comfortable with the regular glute bridge, work your way up to a single-leg bridge that will also activate your hamstrings.

  • Skater Jumps: Skater jumps are excellent for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. This exercise is great at targeting your lower body muscles, and helps you build balance between your dominant and non-dominant side. There are many variations to this exercise, we suggest starting with skater steps and progressing into large skater jumps when you feel comfortable.

Abs and Arms Exercises

  • Push-Ups: This is a great full body exercise that focuses on your upper body and core strength. Try starting with a regular push-up and consider dropping to your knees to the ground or doing inclined push-ups to make the transition easier. Slowly progress into a one-leg push ups and other variations for a more intense workout.

  • Planks: A simple and effective core workout that also improves your stabilization. Start with inclined planks on an elevated surface and progress into regular planks, side planks, and up-down planks at your own pace.

  • Shoulder Taps: Shoulder taps are a great exercise to build stability and strength; while holding a plank, consider incorporating shoulder taps. This exercise will also activate your transverse abdominals and obliques.

  • Dips: Dips are perfect at targeting your triceps. You will need a couch or chair to do this exercise. Remember, listen to your body!

  • Crunches: This is one of the most common exercises that works your core. Try the standard crunch, kickboxing crunch, modified bicycle crunch, reverse crunch, v-sit crunch, or twist crunches.

Full Body Exercises

  • Burpees: Burpees are an amazing finisher for any workout; It gets your blood pumping and improves endurance. Try working for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds, and repeat 4-8 times for a full body workout.

  • Tuck Jumps: This vertical jump variation is a perfect HIIT exercise. Jump vertically and tuck your knees to your chest.

  • Jumping Jacks: We’ve all done this at some point. Jumping jacks are great for increasing your heart rate while activating your core muscles along with your upper and lower body.

  • Mountain Climbers: This is a fantastic full body exercise that’s usually incorporated in HIIT workouts and works on building your strength, endurance, and stamina. Work at your own pace; going faster increases your heart rate, while going slower will engage your core for an effective abs workout.

  • Superman Holds: This is an effective way to build strength in your lower back. Hold this for 15-30 seconds and progress your way up to a minute.

Other Workout Ideas

At-home workouts can be a bit challenging when considering the planning that’s put into it. Compared to fitness classes, at home you are responsible for the whole plan: what exercises should you do? how many reps? how long should you rest? how do you target different muscle groups?

Luckily, your TV, laptop, or smartphone can become your personal trainer, and you can watch, stream, or save workouts for later. This can take a lot of pressure off of the planning, and help you focus on your workout. YouTube channels are a great place to start; we recommend MadFit and Natacha Oceane who have short 10-20 minute workout videos that can get you going. Otherwise, there’s many at-home workout programs that come with a monthly subscription fee that you can find here. Remember to always listen to your body and take things at your own pace, especially when it comes to programs with HIIT workouts.