We’ve all been there. You purchase a new gym membership or get a free month from an overeager relative, only to discover that the atmosphere in these sweat tanks does not precisely match your needs. Between the heavy grunting and awkward glances, the gym is not for everyone.
The solution? Turning your living room, den, garage, basement, or spar room into an at-home workout area. Optimal fitness without equipment begins with using your own body weight against itself. This foundational beginner workout is designed to boost your muscle mass while improving your mobility.
The goal here is simple – get the home exercise you want without heavy-duty machines and someone behind a desk judging how often you visit. Stop waiting in line for the nearby elliptical and follow these simple workouts for a quality and comfortable home workout routine.
#1 – The Mighty Squat
Squats are one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your legs, abdominal area, and lower back muscles. More importantly, performing well-executed squats lowers your chances of injuring your knees and ankles by strengthening the tendons and ligaments around your joints. You’ll find this beginner workout in pretty much any “how to” or TikTok video for starting exercises at home. To do a squat:
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Keep your chest up and shoulders back.
Lower your body down by bending your knees.
Don’t let your knees go past your toes.
Keep your core engaged throughout the movement.
Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Once you’ve mastered this essential exercise, you can add variations by holding weights or lifting one foot in the air at a time. Don’t worry. The foundational squat is more than enough to engage the muscles you need to jump, climb, or simply get up from the couch after a Netflix marathon.
#2 – Perfect Your Lunge
If you want gorgeous thighs and glutes, you must get your lunge game in order. This leg workout gets overshadowed by the squat, but it is just as important and valuable for all-around home exercise. Besides the massive boost to your lower body strength, you also get to work on flexibility and balance – two core elements of a happier, healthier life. To perform a lunge:
Begin in a standing position with both feet about shoulder-width apart.
Step forward with one leg and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
The back knee should hover above the ground.
Push back to the starting position and switch legs.
You are basically stepping forward, bracing your foot, then pushing back to a standing position. There are ways to get more from this exercise by getting “deeper” in your lunge, but start small. You want to improve your knees, not harm them.
#3 – Power of Planks
Yes, abs are indeed made in the kitchen, not the gym. That being said, you cannot serve a meal without setting the table! This is where planks come into play. This easy-to-perform fitness without equipment exercise strengthens your core, back, and shoulders – without breaking much of a sweat. As a fair warning, if you’re doing planks correctly, you are going to shake. That just means you’ve nailed the position. To do a plank:
Place your hands directly under your shoulders onto the floor.
Move your legs straight back into the “front leaning rest” position like a push-up.
Hold your body in a straight line from head to toe as if there was a “plank” strapped to your back.
Engage your core and keep your back straight.
Hold for as long as you can, usually 60-90 seconds to start.
This beginner workout exercise is the epitome of “still waters run deep.” That is because it works your core so very well and lays the foundations for a stronger, balanced body. If you want a spicy twist to this home exercise, try resting on your forearms or using side blanks for your obliques.
#4 – Push-Up Your Way to Strength
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more quintessential for a beginner workout than the push-up. Everyone, from jailed thieves to military heroes, begins and ends their workouts with push-ups. If you want upper body strength around the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core, this is where you get it from. No dumbbells or kettlebells – just simplicity. To perform a push-up:
Begin in a plank position (front-leaning rest) and lower your body down by bending your elbows.
Push back up to the starting position while keeping your body straight.
You want to begin by going no lower than 90 degrees on your elbows. Eventually, you’ll go deeper.
This is a “two for one” home exercise because it both strengthens your upper body and conditions your chest. If you want to boost the gains from this fitness without equipment, try wide-grip or diamond push-ups.
#5 – Pull-Up Challenges
The pull-up may bring on nostalgic days gone by of sitting around the high school gym, wishing for a sudden storm to send everyone home. In reality, these are critical beginner workout essentials because pull-ups work the biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists, shoulders, core, and pretty much anything else upper body you would want. It does require a bar, but you can get creative with a sturdy tree or basic doorframe bar. To do a pull-up:
Hold the bar or branch with your palms facing away.
Fully extend your arms.
Pull your body up until your chin clears the bar.
Lower your body back down.
Go easy on yourself! This will take time, especially if you have never developed these targeted muscles before. Switching things up with mixed grips or chin-ups (palms facing toward yourself) may also be a good idea for added home exercise benefits.
#6 – Elevate with a Shoulder Press
The shoulder press is a fantastic finisher for your beginner workout. It doesn’t require weights or kettlebells. Using something as simple as two heavy water bottles will do the trick. While the exercise targets the core, shoulders, and neck, it is also highly beneficial for improving your posture and decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. To perform a shoulder press:
Stand tall, holding a pair of water bottles at shoulder height.
Press them up above your head and bring them back down.
Go slow and feel the movement instead of moving fast.
Shoot for 10-12 reps at a high rate in sets of 2 or 3.
You will want to watch a YouTube video on the shoulder press to ensure you’ve nailed all the movements correctly, but this is a fantastic way to finish your home exercise because you already are standing with a water bottle in hand to walk away and move through the rest of your day. If you want to add extra pressure, try rotating your palms during the press (the Arnold Shoulder Press).
Wrapping it Up
More and more people are embracing home fitness without equipment. It is easier on your mental commitment – not to mention your piggy bank. Embracing these six foundational beginner workout staples creates a well-rounded regimen.
While you’re at it, you may want to up the ante of your cardio. For that, we highly recommend any of our convenient and versatile treadmills from our team at Redliro. Revolutionize your lifestyle with a great home exercise routine and live a healthier, longer life. Start today!