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15 Best Quick and Easy At-Home Workout Moves

15 Best Quick and Easy At-Home Workout Moves

At-Home Workout Moves - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

Being a homebody doesn’t mean your body needs to mold into the furniture you own. These days, much more time is being spent at home because of the pandemic, which doesn’t have to add to the list of being inactive.

At the end of the day, truth being told, all you need is your very own body to exercise. Mindset, well that is an entirely different matter, which means keeping it simple and basic is certainly favorable.

The fact that you don’t even have to leave the house to exercise can make anyone feel just the slightest bit guilty making the choice to continue avoiding movement.

Even more simple than finding an app on your phone or something on social media, I’ve got a list of exercises practically anyone, practically anywhere can do in their very own home.

Before trying any exercises on this list, be sure to consult your physician and understand what your body is capable of, limited to, and what is appropriate for your goals and needs.

Everyone can exercise and should, but not every exercise is meant for every person. It is also important to find what you like and pick exercises you enjoy rather than despise, otherwise, the motivation and consistency to do them will probably falter.

We are given one body, and it is so important that we take care of it. There will never be a perfect time or situation to exercise, rather, you must make it a priority and a workout routine.

Being flexible about your approach is also important. Every day presents different demands, and sometimes you just have to do what you can do versus skipping the workout entirely.

Some are better than none, and it is common to fall off the exercise wheel after just missing a couple days.

Your mind defaults to the next day and the next, until you put exercise on the low end of the totem pole and fill your time with something else.

Time is usually the number one excuse. Between work and relationships, there isn’t a lot of extra time in a day, but what you need to get done, you can.

We sometimes have to let things go and this can include people. It’s common to let work consume you and it’s common to get in relationships and become wrapped up in spending time with that person which does not include exercising.

The concept of at home exercises takes away the excuse of time just a bit because you save time not traveling to the gym or a location.

You might even save time and do it in your pajamas because you don’t have to be in front of other people or pack a gym bag.

Exercises at home also take away the excuse of expenses because any of the following exercises can be done with just your own body. Exercising at home can also take away the excuse of childcare.

If of the appropriate age, you don’t have to keep such strict supervision because the kids are occupied and safe at home with you.

Take a look at the following 15 at home exercises, and maybe these moves will be just the tricks you needed up your sleeve to get back on the workout wheel.

Dips

1. Dips

This exercise targets the back of the arms, specifically the triceps but also engages the shoulder complex.

This upper body workout requires you to bend your elbows and lift the weight of your body to return the arms to the straight position.

The key is to keep the elbows inward, not out to the side which is what the body would naturally do. Keeping the elbows in engages the triceps which is the target of the exercise.

Many women, especially with age, do not like the way their arms look and may have excess skin hanging down.

Dips are a good way to work the area. However, if you have wrist or shoulder problems or injuries, this exercise would not be advised.

There are other alternatives to work the triceps with dumbbells and machines if available. Starting with 12 to 20 repetitions for 3 to 5 sets is a general recommendation.

A chair can be used for dips or a bench. The bottom comes off the surface as you lower yourself to about a 90-degree angle by bending the elbows. Again, keeping the elbows in is the key.

There are 3 levels of challenge for this exercise. Beginners can keep their feet flat on the floor.

Intermediate can be on their heels, while advanced can keep the legs straight out in front.

Even more intensity can be added when weights are placed on the thighs for extra resistance. Dips can also be done on the floor.

To do this, the person begins in a sitting position, puts their feet bent and flat out in front of them, and then bends the elbows to raise and lower the body.

It’s a good idea to use a mat or pad if the floor surface is hard on the palms of the hands.

2. Planks

This is a type of core exercise that truly challenges the entire body. The plank calls upon the upper and lower body to hold itself up, but this is done by using the core to do so.

Planks can be done for time and progression is easy to track as you are able to hold the position longer and longer.

The standard plank takes place by holding the body in tabletop position with the arms and feet shoulder width apart.

The wrists, shoulders, and elbows are in alignment and the neck is neutral looking about six feet in front of you on the floor.

There are three progressions of the plank. Beginners can do it on their knees. Intermediate level is done on the hands instead of the forearms in a pushup position.

Advanced would be on the forearms holding the tabletop position. A good starting point is to do this for 30 seconds and build up longer and longer over time.

3. Crunches

These are the most basic abdominal moves to work for that desired 6 pack. Crunches start by laying down on the floor, with the feet either in the air bent at 90 degrees or bent and feet flat on the floor.

Typically, if you have low back issues then the feet should be kept on the floor. From here hands are placed behind the head just supporting but not having the fingers laced.

Fingers go behind the ears in that general area. The shoulder blades then slowly peel off the floor as you bring your towards your knees.

The abs are then “crunching” together to work the core. If neck issues seem to arise, try placing your tongue at the roof of your mouth to relax the jaw and neck.

Starting with 20 repetition 3 to 5 sets can be a very basic start but doing more is certainly desirable even up to 100 at a time.

The reality is that a 6 pack isn’t going to take place overnight and nutrition is a critical element of having a flat stomach.

Pushups

4. Pushups

We had to do these in grade school for P.E. class and tests. Not everyone is great at pushups, because they are a challenging upper body move that targets the chest and shoulders.

The standard push-up workout takes place with the feet and arms shoulder width apart and the body held up in a tabletop position.

The wrists, elbows, and shoulders in alignment stacked on top of each other. The neck is neutral looking 6 feet in front on the floor ahead.

The body is slowly lowered towards the floor as the elbows bend and come down to level with the ears. For some, descending down to ear level is very difficult, but over time, the range of motion can improve as strength improves. There are different levels of the pushup beginning against the wall.

The body is in a standing position arm’s length from the wall. The elbows bend toward the ears and you push yourself towards and away from the wall.

This takes added pressure and body weight away at first. The next intermediate phase would be on the knees.

Instead of being on the toes, the person does the pushup on the knees with the same form as on the toes, descending down to ear level.

Finally, the pushups on the toes would be the advanced way of doing a pushup.

There are even variations of the pushups. The hands can be in a diamond position, wide apart, staggered, or closer together to target the triceps.

Tempo can also add intensity by slowing the descent and quickening the ascend. It’s difficult to assess how many pushups to begin with as levels and abilities vary but 10 is a good starting point.

5. Chair Stands

These are similar to squats, and are just as the name entails, you sit and stand in the chair.

The feet are shoulder width apart and you squeeze your glutes together as you stand up. The glutes, quads, and hamstrings are working to target the lower body area.

Weights can also be held for added resistance. This can be done for 15 to 20 repetition, 3 to 5 sets. Although it seems simple, the reality is that as we age it can get more difficult to get up and out of a chair.

Instead of sitting in a chair all day, we can use this basic piece of furniture to work the legs. Variations can include adding a calf raise or jump at the top of the stand.

6. Squats

This is the traditional lower body workout when we think about working the legs and buttocks.

The feet start shoulder width apart and the body descends to approximately 90 degrees. Range of motion can vary, and some versions of squats do go lower than 90 degrees.

This can depend on knee and hip functioning, why the person is doing squats, as well as what the goal is.

Generally, for injury prevention, 90 degrees is the typical range. If you do have knee issues, the toes can be slightly turned out to side to take pressure off the knees.

Weights can be held for added resistance or a weighted bar can be placed on the back. Doing 12 to 20 reps for 3 to 5 sets is the broad recommendation.

Keeping the chest up is important and pushing through the heels on the way back up is important. The heels do not want to come off the ground.

Lunges

7. Lunges

These are another lower body type of workout. Lunges have many different variations, which can be forward, reverse, to the side, or even like a curtsey.

All of these target areas of the lower body, mainly the quads, part of the glutes, and the hamstrings.

Range of motion is the 90-degree angle, but this can vary based on knee and hip mobility and even the tightness of the calf muscles.

Dumbbells can be held, or a weighted bar can be placed on the back. The key is to keep the chest up and take a long stride forward.

A broad recommendation is 15 to 20 repetitions per leg for 3 to total sets.

8. Wall Sits

Some of us had to do these for sports teams, usually as a punishment. The body is against a wall, feet are shoulder width apart, and you lower yourself to 90 degrees.

Sitting in this position the hands can be by the sides and you are holding under the tension. Duration can vary but progression can be tracked for how long you can hold this.

Start with 30 seconds and build up. The quads will start to burn. An extra challenge can be doing calf raises while in the position or holding the arms over the head and against the wall during the hold.

9. Burpees

These are everyone’s favorite exercise…..NOT. Burpees are a calorie and fat burner because the whole body is involved to generate the movement.

To do a burpee, the person starts in the pushup plank position and jumps their feet in and then stands up and jumps at the top of the stand.

From the standing position, the person puts her palms on the ground and then jumps back into the position.

The movement pattern repeats by jumping the feet in and standing up to jump up at the top. If someone has back, hip, or knee issues, or even gets dizzy doing this, a chair or bench can be implemented to raise the elevation, so the person doesn’t have to go all the way down to the ground.

Jumping at the top isn’t required nor is jumping back and in. The person can step back and step in. A pushup can be added to the burpee also for another challenge.

Starting with 10 to 12 repetitions for 3 to 5 sets is a broad recommendation to get started.

Mountain Climbers

10. Mountain Climbers

This exercise not only works the legs, arms, and core, but it raises the heart rate for cardiovascular benefits.

Mountain climbers start by holding the pushup position and then alternating bringing the knee towards the chest.

It can be a fast-paced movement that almost never has both feet on the floor at the same time, or it can be slow and controlled.

Another variation is to jump the feet out and in, versus forward and back. Mountain climbers can be done for time or count.

If being on the floor is too difficult or modification is needed for injuries, a chair or bench can be used for higher elevation.

For time, 30 seconds is a good starting interval which can be increased over time. For counting, 15 to 30 repetitions per leg is a good starting place and more can be added over time.

11. Inch worms

This exercise starts standing straight up then slightly bending the knees (minimally to not lock the knees out) then lowering yourself down to touch the ground and walk the hands forward to then be in the pushup position.

Upon reaching the position, you then walk the hands back towards the feet and stand all the way back up. This exercise uses the upper body, mainly the shoulders to walk out and in, and hits the hamstrings and glutes as well.

Of all the body weight movements, this can be the most challenging for some, not just because of the movement pattern, but many people’s hamstrings are tight from being underactive in the seated position all day. Start out with 8 to 12 reps and build up to 3 to 5 sets.

12. Jumping Jacks

This is a basic cardiovascular move that elevates the heart rate. The arms and legs simultaneously laterally move as the person jumps.

The person jumps their legs out and raises their arms, then returns to the start position. This is normally done at a faster pace.

If someone has trouble jumping or injuries, a step touch can be done to replace the jump factor. For an added challenge, light dumbbells can be held. The movement can also be switched to in front of the body or over the head. Jumping jacks can be done for time or for repetitions.

To begin, 45 seconds to 1 minute is a good beginning or for repetitions 20 to 40 can be done for 3 to 5 sets.

This exercise is also a good warm up for other activities as well as other moves on this list to get the body ready to do more and have the heart rate elevated.

Squat jumps

13. Squat jumps

This is a variation of the squat that is done for cardiovascular purposes or to increase power or vertical range. From the squat position, the person then pushes off the balls of their feet to elevate off the floor and jump as high as possible.

The person wants to land softly, to avoid high impact on the knees as the feet hit the floor. Many athletes use this exercise to work on powerfully jumping higher and higher for their sport.

This is a tiresome move but start with 10 to 12 and see how many sets can be done to possibly complete 3 to 5 rounds. This exercise is not suitable for all levels.

14. Towel slides

This is a great kitchen move. Towel slides are a more advanced exercise that can be done by placing two kitchen towels on the floor about shoulder width apart.

The floor needs to be somewhat slick or slippery in order to generate movement of the towels. The person then places one foot on each towel and lowers themselves into the pushup position.

There are several moves that can be done with this exercise. Mountain climbers can be done by sliding one knee towards the chest and alternating.

Both feet can also move in at the same time. Another move is to have the feet alternate sliding laterally. The feet can also move laterally at the same time.

You can reverse mountain climbers by having the hands on the towels and alternating sliding the towel forward and backwards still in the pushup position.

Towel slides are another total body movement that challenge the person to hold themselves up. The shoulders are being worked as well as the core.

The upper and lower body are working too. Towel slides can be done for time or repetitions. A good place to start is at 30 seconds and increase duration over time. Repetitions can also be done with 15 to 30 on each leg for 3 to 5 sets.

15. Superman

This exercise primarily targets the low back. The core actually wraps around to the back, so it is being strengthened as well.

The low back can be a sensitive area to work with, and many people do have low back pain from sitting too much, posture, or other injuries.

This exercise is done lying on your belly. The hands are placed behind the head and the feet do not come off the floor. Slowly, the chest is raised off the floor and the back is arching.

Keep the neck neutral and only look forward. Performing 15 to 20 repetitions of 3 to 5 sets is a good place to begin.

Don’t overdo this exercise at first and see how it feels in the next couple days. Back pain is not enjoyable, so be sure to evaluate how your body responds.

There will be slight exercise related pain from soreness to the low back, but that doesn’t mean it has been hurt. There is a difference in pain types, but only you can be the judge of that.

Superman

Conclusion

A good way to keep yourself accountable and motivated is to keep a journal of doing these exercises. You can record repetitions and time to monitor your progress. Make goals for yourself to work towards.

Reward yourself when you reach them. Post pictures of yourself on social media to keep yourself accountable by checking in and showing others you are doing it. This might even inspire others to do some of these at home exercises.

Try to get your friends and/or family involved. You can even Zoom or Facetime and do these exercises together. Having others do it with you makes it fun, motivating, and can help you stay consistent. You are also being a role model of a healthy lifestyle.

Exercising at home can also go hand in hand with eating more at home and preparing your own food at home.

This is the best way to know what you are eating because you are putting the ingredients together. It feels really good to take care of yourself.

Eating out can be costly and most times the food has more salt, sugar, and fat than you might think. Eating out can also lead to overeating and having beverages that pile up more and more caloric intake.

Start inviting people over for dinner. If you do get friends or family to workout with you, maybe you can set up a schedule of who hosts dinner from time to time. You can also include in your journal what you are eating.

Taking pictures at home and weighing yourself can also be good tools to keep you on track. Head to the bathroom mirror and take progress pictures every 4 to 6 weeks to watch the changes in your body that are taking place. You can also track progress on the scale.

Jeans are also a good way to tell if you are reaching your goals. See how they fit when you start compared to how they fit when you put them on again. You can also take circumference measurements, but this will require the help of someone else.

In general, areas to measure are around the bicep area of the arm, around the chest, around the stomach, around the hips, and around the thigh. Write any or all of this data in your journal and feel proud of the continued progress you are making.

Because you are at home, you can also hang motivational sayings or reminders around the house. Common areas are on your bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator.

You can also use a white board or chalkboard and write out your workout plans and track your progress here. You can keep a reward jar handy, by putting money in each time you workout and when the goal is reached you reward yourself with whatever it is that you want.

Do not feel like you need to do all of these 15 exercises every single day. Do not feel like you can’t do anything on this list, because you can. Go at your own level and at your own pace.

Aim for 3 to 4 days per week of exercise and try to increase for how long, or how many repetitions, or how many days you exercise over time.

Jumping right into this and making unrealistic goals only sets you up for disappointment that is unnecessary and discouraging.

Find just a few of these exercises to focus on, and again find selections that you enjoy. Over time it is important to change what you are doing, otherwise the body adapts, and you will slow down progress.

Variety is really important to continue to challenge the body in order to keep reaching your goals. The bottom line is that no one can exercise for you and there will never be an entirely empty calendar in front of you.

Poor health sets people back in so many ways. Your performance on just about anything suffers, your mental health is tampered with, and physically you aren’t able to do what you want to do when you want to do it. Your body doesn’t always bounce back when you ignore it and don’t take care of it.

Don’t put yourself in that situation. You can overthink and over plan and over analyze how you are going to go about adding exercise to your life, but the truth is that you just have to start and you just have to do it. Even ten minutes a few times a day adds up to a good workout day. You don’t have to spend 2 hours on this.

You can watch your favorite T.V. shows and listen to whatever music you want because you are in your own home. You can even do squats and planks while reading if you wanted to. Distract yourself however it may be so that it doesn’t feel like exercise.

We are capable of so much more than we think, and physically we can become even more capable when we do exercise because exercise is medicine to the body. These 15 exercises show that you don’t need anything at all besides your very own body to exercise.

Easier said than done, but over and over again you just have to tell yourself to get it done….. and you will. Good luck and good health to us all.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
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Megan Johnson McCullough

Bodybuilder, Author, and Fitness Model

Megan Johnson McCullough is the owner of Every BODY’s Fit, fitness studio in Oceanside CA. She is an NASM Ma...

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