It is a known fact, that an average individual who works 9 to 5 doesn’t usually have the luxury to go to a gym for an hour after a long and hard day of work, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives to a gym.
In this article I’ll share some stretches and workouts you can do at home. These stretches and workouts don’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes, you can do them before leaving for work in the morning or in the evening.
Okay so, here are some stretches you can do for more flexibility.
1- High leg swings.
How to – Get good balance first, then you swing your leg as high as you can in four directions- Front, Side, Back and Diagonally to the left.
2- Butterfly Stretch.
How to – Sit on the floor or any flat surface, legs folded, knees gently bent with the soles of your feet touching in front of you, now move your knees up and down.
3- Side stretch kicks.
How to – Hold on to something, like the back of a chair, then, slowly stretch your legs to the side, as if you’re kicking in slow motion. Get them as high as you can. Remember, these are not swings, you need to hold your leg out straight using only the chair/wall for balance. Hold for 10 seconds. Do at least 10 reps each leg.
4- Upside down wall splits.
How to – Sit sideways to a wall, then spin your legs around so they are pointing up the wall and your posterior (butt) is as close to the wall as possible. Open your legs and let gravity do the rest, it’s kind of like the splits, but upside down.
5- Sitting leg stretch.
How to – Sit on the floor or any sturdy flat surface, spread your legs as much as you can while being relaxed, then lean forward. Relax your muscles and concentrate on your breathing rather than on stretching as you relax, then slide your palms under your legs and edge your legs further apart while repeating your breathing.
Remember, the trick to stretching is not concentrating on the stretch, it’s to concentrate on your breathing. Keep your breathing relaxed and calm. Why? Because you subconsciously tense the area that you’re stretching, the more you tighten it up, the less effective your stretch will be, in fact, it could lead to some muscle or ligament tear in certain areas of you body. As you exhale, relax and let yourself sink into the direction you are stretching. That’s it. A simple little mind trick to improve your stretching.
Now for some workouts –
1- Basic Crunches – Useful to develop upper and mid abdomen. A variation of crunches is the reverse crunch and the double crunch.
How to – Lie down on a flat surface, hands behind your head, legs pulled in towards your body. Then lift your body with your abdomen and upper back, do not put pressure on your neck or head. 30-50 reps per day is recommended.
2- Reverse crunches – This exercise works your abdomen (more specifically lower abdomen) without putting too much strain on your back or neck, unlike the basic crunches.
How to – The reverse crunch is done by folding your legs and pulling them up towards your torso, then extending them upwards. 30 reps per day for beginners is recommended. You can do them in sets of 5-10.
3- Leg pull-in – This exercise develops your lower abdomen and also works your quadriceps at some level if done with a dumbell.
How to – Lie down on a flat surface or sit on the edge of a bench or bed, put your hands beside your body, close as possible. Now without fully lying down, extend your legs outward and pull them back in. You can also do this exercise with a dumbell between your feet, to add additional challenge. At least 20-30 reps daily is recommended.
4 – The double crunch – This exercise works simultaneously on your upper and lower abdomen.
How to – Lie down on a flat surface. Feet together fully extended, hands behind your head. Now lift your feet up and bring them towards your torso, at the same time, bring your body up with the same movement as a basic crunch. Make sure to not hyper-extend your body while doing this exercise.
5 – Sit-ups – This is an exercise that is very similar to crunches. Some will often recommend this exercise over basic crunches.
How to – Lie down on a flat surface, legs slightly bent (almost straight), hands behind your head, then just sit up and go back down, without touching the ground. At least 25-30 reps recommended. You can do these in sets.
6 – Plank – This is one of the best exercises to develop your core muscles. They will definitely get you fast results. There are many variations of the plank. The method below is for the basic plank.
How to – Get into the push-up position, but instead of your palms, use your forearms to get into the position. Make sure your body isn’t touching the ground, only your forearms and toes should touch the ground. Also make sure that your posterior (butt) isn’t sticking out upward, it should be in a symmetrical position, aligning with your whole body, making you look like a ‘plank’ board. Relax your body and breathe through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Make sure you don’t let your abdomen loose, suck it in. Hold this position for 60 seconds minimum, then repeat. Doing at least 5 reps of this exercise everyday will do wonders for your core.
7 – Push-ups – This exercise, if done with proper form can help develop, chest, triceps, back and legs and abdomen.
How to – Get into the push-up position with your palms on the floor and just like the plank, make sure your body is not bending up or down, but is symmetrical, butt in, abdomen sucked in. Proper form is necessary for effective results. Start by going down fully, then coming back up fully. 20 or 30 reps recommended, 2 sets recommended for beginners. Remember your form in push-ups will determine the results you get from doing them.
8 – Pull-ups – This exercise will be a bit difficult to do for the ones who haven’t done them before, so try working on your shoulder muscles and your ‘Latissimus Dorsi’ muscle or ‘Lats’ first, do so with other exercises like dumbell presses, etc. to develop them.
How to – Make sure you have a bar at least 2-3 feet overhead, grab the bar, try to pull your body up without kicking down or jumping up to gain leverage, etc.
9- Running – This is the best cardio you’ll get. For those who want to lose weight and fat. You can do it on a treadmill if you have one. But, unless you have no other option, I’d recommend you to get out and get some fresh air in your free time, maybe on Sundays. Running doesn’t necessarily have to be like racing or something, it can be a fast walk. If you live near a beach, that’ll be even better, as it’s one of the best places to do it, the fresh air will help you a great deal. But if not, a local park or trail would do just fine. Walk/Run at least 30-45 minutes.
7- Jumping Jacks – This another cardio workout, but the kind you can do at home and it doesn’t even take 5 minutes to do.
Alright then, those were some workouts you can do at home. You don’t have to do them all in one day, just choose two or three of them, and do them at least 3-4 times a week. results will speak for themselves. Of course, there are other factors, such as your diet, your stress levels, etc. that will contribute to your results. I’ll go over those things in my future articles.
Hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it useful. Now, stop reading and start working out you! Good luck 😉
Oh and if you would like to connect with me and/or train with me in person, go here; https://www.facebook.com/MA4Fitness and talk to me 🙂