At-Home Exercise Programs With Little or No Equipment Needed

Jefferson’s director of fitness and wellness offers pointers on how to stay fit while socially distancing.

With social distancing practices, some health-conscious Americans find themselves in an unexpected predicament: How can they get a solid workout in if their regular gym is closed?

Toril Hinchman, Jefferson’s director of fitness and wellness, urges people to be mindful of their physical and mental health during isolation and says they can replace most in-gym workouts at home with minimal equipment needs.

“Try to find the thing that will work for you,” Hinchman says. “Look at what you have at home and design a plan around it. Don’t have weights? You can make a weight out of cans of soup. No pull-up bar? A sturdy branch can help.”

Exercise at home
A deep-static squat-hold position improves body shape routines at home.

Minimal equipment, including small dumbbells, jump ropes and rubber resistance bands, can help replicate in-gym workouts. However, if you don’t have them, many exercise options exist for you as well.

One 15-minute program—called Ram Fit—is performed three times per week on non-consecutive days and can be combined with a cardio workout of choice or complete on its own. Perform each of the following exercises for 40 seconds, with 20 seconds of rest before moving onto the next exercise:

The Living Room Fat Blaster is a 10-minute program to get your heart pumping and body moving:

  • 0:00-0:30. High Knees
  • 0:30-1:30. Squat Jumps for 20 seconds then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.
  • 1:30-2:30. Mountain Climbers for 20 seconds, then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.
  • 2:30-3:30. Burpees for 20 seconds, then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.
  • 3:30-4:30. Alternating Jump Lunges for 20 seconds, then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.
  • 4:30-5:00. March in place.
  • 5:00-10:00. Repeat entire sequence.
Exercise at home
Push ups are key to any at-home fitness routine.

The 10-Minute Cardio Circuit involves eight exercises performed for 30 seconds, with 30-seconds rest after four exercises and is repeated twice.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squat Jumps
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Butt Kicks (followed by 30 seconds of rest)
  • Burpees
  • Wall Sit
  • High Knees
  • Plank Jacks (followed by 30 seconds rest and then repeat sequence twice)

The Total Body Strength workout program includes some of the same exercises, which are performed from 30 seconds to one minute each. The exercises, to be repeated three times with a minute recovery in between each set, are:

The University’s Exercise Support Group offered four at-home workouts, including abs, arms/back, legs/glutes and cardio. For the abs/arm/glutes/legs exercises, do 15 reps. For cardio, Hinchman recommends 30-second or 1-minutes per exercise.

Don’t have weights? You can make a weight out of cans of soup. No pull-up bar? A sturdy branch can help. —Toril Hinchman

The “500 Ab Challenge” hones in on the abdominal muscles with a series of exercises, done in repetitions of 25:

Finally, Hinchman offered a quartet of workouts that can be completed in 15-, 20- or 30-minute intervals.

  • 15-minute full-body circuit workout: 10 pushups, 10 squats, 10 sit-ups. (Repeat 10 times.)
  • 20-minute upper-body workout: 10 pushups, 20 chair tricep dips, 10 pushups, 40 reverse flys. (Repeat four times.)
  • 20-minute lower-body workout: 50 jump squats, 50 alternating curtsy squats, 50 alternating lunges, 50 squats, 90-second wall sit. (Repeat circuit twice).
  • 30-minute full-body circuit workout: 10 pushups, 20 burpees, 30 mountain climbers, 40 squat jumps, 50-second plank. (Repeat five times).

The University’s fitness and recreation team will continue to post at-home workouts via their website and on Instagram. Also of note, some group-exercise instructors soon will offer Zoom classes.

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