Working from home during quarantine means that you’re likely spending a lot of time on the couch—which is comfortable and all, but it definitely isn’t great for your body. In fact, sitting down for extended periods of time without exercise is linked to a number of health concerns. But getting outside and moving around, even for just 45 minutes a day, has a ton of health benefits, including helping to prevent high blood pressure, disordered sleep patterns, diabetes, and depression.
That being said, we are in a pandemic right now, and getting to the gym is not an option for many people. If you want to stay (or become) active, there are plenty of ways to do so without heading to your local
petri dish gym. These five exercises can be done in your backyard, at a local park, or in any other area that allows for safe and adequate social distancing. Designed by Meghan Hayden, an expert personal trainer, the moves are quick and simple—meaning you’ll definitely have time to squeeze them in between your Zoom meetings.
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Hayden studied exercise physiology at the University of Miami and is the director of training at GHOST Brooklyn, a luxury fitness space in Williamsburg. Formerly a top personal trainer at both Equinox and Performix House, Hayden is well-versed in various training techniques and loves sharing them. She’s particularly passionate about resistance, mobility, and injury recovery. You can follow along with Hayden’s customized outdoor workout below.
1. TUT Strength
The best way to strength train with no equipment is to utilize the principle of “Time Under Tension”. As you lengthen the amount of time that stress is placed on the muscle, more needs to be recruited to help get the job done. This mimics the amount of muscle needed to be recruited for heavily loaded lifts, therefore creating similar adaptations and results. For this circuit, move at a slow 4-4 second count to really feel the burn.
Lat Lunge Glides
Kick with your dominant leg and keep your hands straight as they approach the ground. Then, straighten your legs and body upward. Do this for 30 seconds.
2. Power EMOM
If you want to become explosive, you need to train explosively. The recipe is to work at near max intensity for a short duration, followed by a long rest, usually three to five times longer than the exercise bout. EMOM stands for every minute on the minute. Work for only six reps for each move at max intensity, then rest for the remainder of the minute. The faster you go, the more rest you’ll have. Before moving explosively, make sure you start with a solid warm-up that warms up the specific movement patterns and primes you for each exercise.
Jump upwards with legs straightened and land in a squat, bending your knees. Then, use the momentum from the squat to power the following jumps.
Plyo Push-Ups From Bottom
Alt Beast Kick Through
Beginning on all fours with your knees bent, kick one leg below the other and twist your body to face in the direction the leg is pointing. Your kicked leg will be straight while the other remains bent.
3. Full-Body Dynamic Circuit
If you’re someone who loves adventure, has kids, or likes to break it down to your favorite songs, this circuit is for you. You don’t live like a robot, so your movements shouldn’t mimic one. Have fun with this multidirectional circuit that will test your core and athleticism. If these moves are new to you, work slowly and focus on form, then start to speed it up and test yourself. Do three to four rounds with 45 seconds of rest between exercises, and do each exercise 10 times per round.
Push-Up To Forward Kick Through
Do a traditional push-up; then, when your body rises from the ground, hop into a squatting position, and kick one leg forward while keeping the other straight.
Crab Toe Crunch Under Switch Tap
Rotating Plyo Lunges
Squat Jump To Reverse Lunge
Jump with straightened legs and land in a deep squat. Then, step into a lunge on both your right and left legs, making sure to hit both sides before jumping again.
4. Mobility Circuit
Life is unpredictable. Without thinking, we do so much as humans to hunch over, tighten up, and create muscular imbalances. Mobility is a beautiful tool to check in with our body, assess the range of motion, and open back up.
Flexibility is how far our body can move passively, where mobility is how far our body can move with control. The difference between the range of motion our joints can passively and actively move is an opportunity for injury.
This full-body mobility circuit is perfect for your morning/bedtime routine, or as a warm-up before a dynamic workout. Do these moves 1one to two times through.
Shin Box With Step
Forward Long Lunge With Shoulder CARs
Scorpion Reach To Glute Stretch
Half-Kneeling T Spine Rotation
In a kneeling lunge position, hold your arms parallel to each other in front of you and then slowly move one arm to the side, rotating your body laterally as your arms open. Perform ten sets of this rotation, doing ten reps each time.
5. Advanced HIIT
Like efficiency? HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is an amazing way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. After 45 seconds of heart-pumping work, reset for 15 seconds before the next move. 20 minutes later, you’ll be drenched on the floor. Do 45 seconds on, 15 off, one minute of rest between rounds. Four rounds total.
High Knees To Tuck Jumps
Push-Up To Beast Plyometric
Side Plank INT Rotation To Side Crunch
Begin in a plank, then balance on one arm to perform a side plank. Rotate your body and bend one leg upward to meet your raised arm.
Move one leg toward the other in a quick sideways shuffle, but make sure to keep your body facing forward and your legs parallel.
Image: Julia Ballew / Unsplash
All videos courtesy of Ana Snyder
Sometimes, despite our very best intentions, we just can’t bring ourselves to go to the gym. It becomes especially hard in the winter when suddenly 50-degree weather feels warm (fake news) and the sky is a dismal gray until 4pm, when it’s pitch black. On a good day, I don’t want to go to the gym. But if I have to wade through dirty puddles of slush in the dead of night to get there, it’s absolutely not going to happen.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout in. I’m the type of person who has way too much energy if I don’t work out. When I got back to school after Thanksgiving, I was running down the halls singing Christmas carols at full volume because I had been cooped up on a plane all day. Case in point: I should’ve gone to the gym, but it was rainy and gross and I had just found out that I left the sunroof of my car open all Thanksgiving break and my car was filled with water. I’m such a responsible adult.
However, my friends are all gym whores so I was convinced to do some ~fun and quick~ workouts instead. I thought it was pretty stupid, especially because I was doing it in a sweater and UGGs (#athletic), but I’ve actually never felt so sore the next day. Guess all those bloggers are right when they say you can get a good workout at home in 15 minutes. We really can have it all! So I’ve rounded up a few workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home (but maybe put on some sneakers when you do these, unlike me).
My only qualification for giving these workouts is that I work out a lot and follow fitness bloggers on Instagram. But since that seems to be about the only qualification anyone needs to give fitness advice these days, you can obvs trust me.
This is especially fun if you do it with your friends. It’s nice because they can mock your form motivate you when you would rather die than continue planking. Pro tip: I always start with planking, because it sucks the most.
1 min plank: hopefully, you know what this is...
1 min side plank (30 secs on each side): ditto
50 crunches: To make sure your abs are doing the work (not your neck or your arms), try flexing your abs.
1 min of leg raises: Lay on your back, lift your shoulders slightly off the ground, and lift your legs.
1 min of Russian twists: Grab something heavy to hold as you twist side to side (I won’t judge you if it’s a Smirnoff bottle).
1 min of burpee + push-ups: Jump up, squat, do a push-up, repeat.
Repeat the circuit three times, or until you are tired and/or bored. Take breaks between each set to check Instagram catch your breath. This should last about 20 minutes in total.
Lower Body Workout
These exercises are good for your toning your butt and legs.
15 squats: Try to watch your form in the mirror. Sometimes I do these while brushing my teeth to entertain myself. Make sure that your knees don’t go over your feet and your back stays straight.
3 min of inner-thigh toning: If you have one of those yoga blocks, that would be helpful here. You can also just roll up a towel. Stand up, and put the block or towel between your legs. Then, tense your inner thighs around it. Go on your tippy-toes, and then back down. At first, it feels boring, but you’ll really hurt after a minute or so. Trust me on this.
1 min of lunges: Grab something heavy to maximize the workout—weights are ideal if you have them in your room, but a heavy book would work too.
2 min of butt raises: Lie on your back with your knees bent (the bridge position), then raise your butt and tense it. Hold for 15 seconds, then relax and collapse back onto the floor.
2 min of squat-kick combo: Do a squat, then side shuffle to one side, kick one leg out, side shuffle back to the center, squat, repeat on the other side.
Repeat twice for about a 20-minute workout.
You don’t need a treadmill to get some cardio in. Literally just do these exercises and you’ll get your heart rate going.
1 min of jumping jacks
1 min of pulsing lunges: Pulse for 15 secs, then switch legs
1 min of burpees
1 min of high knees: Just like you’d do in middle school gym class!
1 min of push-ups
2 min of sprinting up and down the hallway: If you have neighbors who won’t report you to your landlord.
Repeat four times for a 20-minute workout, or more if you want it to be longer. For a nice full workout, I’d recommend picking two or three of these so you can really make your entire body feel like it was run over by a truck the next day.
If all of this still seems confusing, I’d recommend downloading a fitness app. My favorite is 8-Fit because they have lots of different 10-15 minute workouts you can do anywhere without needing any equipment. You can download this app for free (though, of course, they’re going to try to convince you to spend more money on a meal plan that’s totally unnecessary). Each move comes with a video demonstrating it. They also play music the entire time so it’s #hype. There are also different levels so if you’re only comfortable doing the bare minimum instead of being a hardo, they got you. Or you could check out this list of fitness apps worth downloading here.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (5)
As much as we respect the girl who gets up at the crack of dawn to make her 6am SoulCycle class, not everyone can do that, and not everyone wants to do that. I mean, being fit is important, but so is an extra 2 hours of sleep, so like, one has to take priority. If you spend all day sitting in a desk and
are too lazy don’t have time to squeeze in a workout before or after work, it’s still possible to get a legit ab workout while sitting at your desk. No one even has to know you’re doing it, so like, you’re basically getting paid to get a six-pack. Do each of these moves for 45 seconds, and then repeat the circuit for 2-3 times total:
1. Leg Lifts
This move is exactly what it sounds like, but the key is to lift your legs up while engaging your core, so you’re actually using your abs for the movement and not your legs. When sitting at your desk, keep your legs relatively straight and slowly lift them off the ground and then back down. The trick is to go as slow as possible with these, so if you’re getting like 20 reps in without feeling the burn, you’re not doing it right. Make sure to lose the momentum in your legs and to focus on squeezing your abs with each lift.
2. Torso Twists
Torso twists are the seated version of the Russian Twist, so if you can add some sort of weight to this move, it would be ideal, but if not, don’t start searching around the office for a dumbbell. You’re not going to find one. While seated, twist your torso to the right while engaging your core, and touch the right side of your chair. Then, alternate to the left side without swaying your hips. The key is to keep your upper body still. Make sure you’re twisting with the movement and not just turning from side to side.
3. Side To Side Sweeps
This move is based on the same movement as the leg lifts, but instead of keeping your legs straight in front of you, you’re going to bring them from one side to the other when raising them. This move engages your oblique muscles, which are the defined lines you’ll have on your upper abs if you keep this up. Lift your legs on the right side of your body, then literally sweep them over to the left side and lower. Alternate from side to side and you’ll feel the burn pretty quick.
4. Flutter Kicks
Flutter kicks are hard enough to do when lying down on a mat, so sitting in a chair without your back supporting you doesn’t make them any easier. However, they’re amazing for your lower abs, so it’s time to kick. Lift your legs up in front of you (they can be slightly bent), and literally kick your feet out in front of you in a little flutter motion. You should feel your lower abs working as you kick, and the movement should be small and controlled. Just make sure you don’t have random wires or a printer under your desk that could be broken. Like, we want abs, but not enough to get fired over them.
5. Elbow Side Crunches
This last move works the sides and middle of your abs, so make sure you don’t half-ass these just because you’re getting lazy and your co-workers are all leaving for lunch. Put your hands behind your head or your hips, and lean all the way to the right side, crunching your torso on the right and feeling the stretch on your left side. Then, switch sides and do the same thing. If you have a stronger core, you can keep your legs elevated the whole time to make it harder. It might hurt when you laugh tomorrow, but then you’ll remember it’s only Tuesday and you’ll stop laughing anyway.