Gym closures and quarantine mandates in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic give no option for all card-carrying members of fitness centers all around the country to change their workout routine.
At the same time, exercise is especially important now, because you want to boost that immune system and keep your body in great shape.
If your current exercise regime is intended to build muscles, you can probably use makeshift weights made of household items like a bag of sands or gallons of water.
However, weightlifting is not required to build strength and sculpt the body, especially for women.
This is good news since the logistics are getting more challenging these days. In many cases, women can use their bodyweight to train and build muscles.
The following simple bodyweight workout routines are effective in helping you burn fat, tone muscles, and improve overall fitness without using gym equipment of any sort. You can do these in the comfort of your own home.
Remember to warm up before you start. Taking a few minutes of walking (inside your house, of course), stretching, and foam rolling should be enough to minimize soreness afterward.
Exercise 1: Bodyweight Squat
It is one of the easiest and most common movements in just about every exercise routine.
Stand as tall as you can and make sure your feet are at shoulder-width or slightly wider. Hold your arms straight at shoulder level in front of your body; the arms should be parallel to the floor.
Keep the torso upright and lower back a little bit arched as you lower the body as far down as you can. With the knees bent and the hips slightly pushed back, pause for some seconds before going back to the initial position.
Put in mind that you should not move the feet. This is one repetition. Repeat 15 – 20 times.
Exercise 2: Incline Push-up
An incline push-up is just like a typical push-up. The only difference is that your hands are positioned on a raised surface – instead of the floor – such as a chair or table.
Regardless of the surface you use, make sure it is steady and strong enough to support your upper body weight.
In this position, your body should be in a perfect straight line from the ankles to the head.
Bend the elbows to let your body move down closer to the supporting surface. Stop only when your upper arms and back dip slightly below the elbows.
Pause and push your body back to the initial position. This is one repetition. Repeat 12 – 15 times. The higher the surface, the easier the movement becomes.
If needs be, you can also lean against the wall. In case incline push-up is not challenging enough, you can always do the old-fashioned way.
Exercise 3: Hip Raise
For this exercise, you may need a rubber mat or skip the equipment and just use the floor.
Lie your back on the mat (or floor) and bend the knees so that your feet also are touching and parallel to the surface.
Stretch your arms out at a 45-degree angle (from your body) with your palms facing up.
Try and make your tummy as skinny as possible and hold it that way; practice chest breathing in this position to make it easier.
The purpose of the entire position is to give you a tighter core.
Squeeze the gluteal muscles (a group of three skeletal muscles, which form the buttocks and move the thighs) and then raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from the shoulders to the knees.
Pause for several seconds – while squeezing the gluteal muscles the entire time – before lowering the body back to the initial position.
That is one repetition. Repeat ten times.
Exercise 4: Side Plank
Lie on either right or left side. If you lie on your right side, then the right leg must be stacked on top of the left one.
The legs must be in a straight position, parallel to each other and the floor. Prop the body on the forearm and elbow; to achieve this position, bend the elbow at a 90-degree angle to the upper arm.
Remember that the upper arm must form a straight vertical line from the shoulder. Place the left hand on your hip. Once again, make your tummy as skinny as possible.
Now raise your hip and try to make your body as streamline as you can. Form a straight line from the ankles to the shoulders.
Hold this position for about 30 seconds before lowering the hip. Roll on the other side and repeat the entire sequence.
If side plank is too difficult, modify the movement by bending the knees at a 120-degree angle to the thigh. This means when you prop the body on the forearm and elbow, the right leg is resting on the surface.
In case that is still too difficult, pause only for 5 seconds after raising the hip.
Exercise 5: Floor Y-T-I Raises
It is a combination of three different movements of which you must do one after another without resting. Lie on the floor facing down with your entire arms, also resting on the surface.
Do not bend the elbows. Use your arms to form a “Y” shape. The palms must face each other.
Raise your arms as high as you can while keeping them in a straight line. Pause for a few seconds before lowering the arms again. That is one repetition. Repeat 12 times.
Immediately continue with a slight variation of the arms position to form a “T” and an “I” with the thumb side of the hands facing up. Make sure you do the same amount of repetition for each variation.
Taking Care of Your Body outside of the Gym
Having a regular exercise is only one part of the equation. To effectively build muscles at home, you also have to accompany the routine with other practices of a healthy lifestyle, including:
- Eating well: it really is quite simple. Eating well means consuming enough nutrient-dense foods to fuel the workout in addition to drinking a lot of water. Not eating enough prevents you from building muscles – you need plenty of carbohydrates and protein to get stronger and leaner. You know best how much eating is too much for yourself.
- Having enough sleep: aim for 6 – 8 hours of quality sleep every night. Cutting a few hours of sleep to have a longer morning exercise comes with more downsides than an advantage. Sleeping is crucial to maintain high performance and proper (not just quick) recovery.
- Keep on moving: workout routine should never be the only time you train the muscles. Engage in other physical activities inside your home anytime you can. Doing household chores such as washing your cars, mowing the lawn, sweeping the floors, doing the laundry, ironing the clothes, cleaning the gutter, and even cooking can help you burn calories and train muscles.
In times when outdoor activities come with the peril of viral infection, and you have no option but to stay inside, it is easy to be sedentary and fall into the habit of watching Netflix or playing games all day long in front of the screen.
Creating a daily routine that involves regular exercise and other physical activities should keep you sharp mentally and physically; as a bonus, you have the chance to focus on toning and building the muscles.
You are not stuck at home; you are safe at home, and you have every opportunity to make the most of it.