With Covid-19 at large, we have lost access to some of the luxuries of our lives. One of these is, of course, gym memberships. Like many things in our lives, we are now realizing we took them for granted, and this is no different. But we cannot be fully dependent on the things we have lost access to, and again, this is no different. We must make the best of what we have at this time and always. When it comes to exercise, many of us are reliant on gym equipment, but there are many ways that we can stay healthy, even while quarantined at home. Some of us may have home gyms, but the majority do not. So, body weight exercises are going to be our main focus. We want to stimulate our larger, major muscle groups, because they help to burn larger amounts of calories during, and after your workout. They also speed up the metabolism, which helps the impossible-to-resist snacking, while we are spending our entire day 15 feet from our pantry. The major muscle groups I want to focus on are the ones in your legs, chest, back, and core (abdomen/lower back). Google should be able to help provide visual assistance of the exercises that I will mention.

1) Legs:

  • Squats
  • Wall Squats (with stability ball if you have it)
  • Lunges
  • Jump Squats
  • Stairs (1 or 2 steps at a time) (cardio)
  • Bridges
  • Calf Raises (technically should be called “Heel Raises”, but most people use the former)
  • Leg Raises from prone, all 4s, or plank position

2) Chest:

  • Pushups or modified pushups or wall push ups
  • Elevated pushups (feet elevated for more challenging, upper body elevated for less)
  • Any other push up variations (depending on your strength levels)

3) Upper Back (most difficult group to challenge without equipment, in my opinion):

  • Pull ups with body weight or modified (if you have somewhere to do them)
  • Wide Scapular Push ups
  • Row (if you have elastic exercise bands, if not, use towel)
  • Lying Prone Lat Pulldown (with towel)

4) Core:

4a) Lower Back:

  • Supermans
  • Alternating bird dog kickbacks
  • Reverse Snow Angels

4b) Abdomen:

  • Planks (on toes or knees)
  • Side Planks
  • Mountain Climbers (cardio)
  • Crunches
  • Sit ups
  • Supine Leg Raises (straight or bent leg) (together or alternating)

These are just a few of the MANY exercises that we can perform using only our body weight and some normal items around the house. There are many ways to make them more or less challenging. I suggest doing a couple of exercises for each muscle group each day.

For each of those exercises, do 3 or 4 sets of that exercise. And try to do approximately 15-20 repetitions per set. Everyone is on a different physical level, so I recommend that you modify and adjust the level of the exercise, the number of exercises you do, and the number of repetitions per exercise to the point that it challenges you and makes you uncomfortable… but do not over exert yourself, especially not on day 1. When we find that excited motivation to be active, it is a beautiful thing, but we must remember to pace ourselves and build a strong foundation within our bodies and gradually advance ourselves and we get stronger. Over-training ourselves can make our bodies vulnerable to injury and setbacks and put us in a worse position than when we started.

Knowing how to exercise at home isn’t easy. I would be lying to you if I told you that it’s easy to find the motivation to take an exercise break away from our families, comforts, responsibilities, televisions, couches, phones, naps, etc. There will always be many excuses to say, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Do it today.

Knowing how to exercise at home can also be inconvenient. How? We now have no excuse. Having all of this information and even others guiding us will do nothing for us if we do not get up and do it. So, get up and do it.

That being said, we have to be realistic. Set reasonable goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable. Put it in your schedule like any other obligation. Set alarms and notifications to remind yourself. If exercise is an option, we will talk ourselves out of it a lot of the time. Don’t make it an option. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day and there is a much greater chance that you will get it done.

Finally, stay positive+. Keep your spirits up and don’t allow everything to feel inconvenient. So much of exercise is mental. We have a lot to be grateful for. We may not have a gym we can go to… temporarily… but some others have never seen the inside of one due to lack of access, finances, or physical capability. Take advantage of the opportunity you have in your own home… then get back to the couch when you’ve earned it. You’ll never regret it.

-Johnny Kenaya is a Certified Personal Trainer and an ECRC Ambassador. You can follow Johnny on Instagram @JohnnyKenaya