”Question: I want to exercise at home. What is a good routine to get me started?
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- Get moving today with these simple at-home exercises
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These high-intensity workouts are not just good, basic home workouts — they’re also extremely simple exercises that make a great sweat session possible without breaking the furniture or breaking the bank.
The first step for at-home workout success is to find a space and keep it clean. Make it a refuge for your quick at-home workout. Then, find bodyweight moves that are familiar, effective, and work in a small space. This makes the living room workout more likely to get started in the first place — and that’s half the battle.
We’ve put together an easy at-home workout comprised of 15 strength and cardio moves that can be performed in your living room, in less than 30 minutes, making it a great, quick at-home workout. Together, the workout will tone your weak spots, get your blood flowing and heart pumping, and allow you to supervise (at least in theory) your kids nearby while you’re at it. String together the following in an order of your choosing and keep at it.
Sit-Ups. Basic, but effective. Aim for 20 to start, and work your way up to 50 once you’re a pro. Do not tuck your feet under a chair or table for assistance, to get the maximum effect.
Crunches. These bite-sized versions of the whole enchilada isolate smaller, deeper abdominal muscles in their motion. Shoot for three sets of 20.
Bicycles. Lie on your back feet in the air, knees bent. Place your hands behind your head. Begin pumping your legs in the classic bicycle motion, vigorously, for one minute.
Planks. Hands down the best overall bodyweight toning move you can do. Rest on your elbows and toes, keeping your back and legs straight. Hold for one minute.
Squats. Back straight, feet slightly turned out. Drop your seat to knee height. Do two sets of 10. Advanced version: do these with your kid on your back.
Lunges. This is the best quad toner in town. Start standing with your feet parallel. Take a big step forward with your right leg, landing with your knee bent and over your toes. Allow your back knee to drop down toward the floor while swinging your left arm forward for balance. Push off your right front foot to return to standing. Do two sets of 10 on each side.
Squat Jumps. Bend your knees as if you are going into the squat position, tucking your arms like a downhill skier. Spring off the floor and straighten your legs in the air, before landing in a squat once again. Advanced version: When you push off the floor into a jump, add a half-twist so you land facing the opposite direction. Do two sets of 10.
High Knees. Jog in place for one minute, lifting each knee as high as you can.
Bavarian Split Squats. It sounds hardcore, but it’s just a regular squat with one leg resting on a chair seat or low table behind you. Focus on keeping your weight over your forward leg, and don’t let your knee bend further than your toes. Two sets of 10 on each side.
Calf Raises. Face a wall and place your palms against it for balance and support. Rise up onto your toes and back down. Repeat 20 times. Advanced version: Let your kid ride piggyback for extra resistance.
Jumping Jacks. Time to get your heart rate up. Make sure to raise your hands over your head each time, and keep the cardio going for at least one minute.
Burpees. Get from a perfect plank to a jump with the hands in the air and back again as fast as possible. Start with 10 and work up from there.
Push-Ups. Drop and give us 20. Let your child sit on your butt for extra weight resistance.
Dips. Sit in a sturdy chair, hands holding the front edge of the seat. Push your butt forward until it is suspended in front of the seat and your weight is being supported by your arms. Bend elbows and drop your hips toward the floor. Straighten. Do two sets of 10 dips.
Dead Lifts. A modified version of the gym classic, you’ll need a heavy, low-to-the-ground object for this, such as two gallon-size jugs of water, dumbbells, or a duffel bag filled with shoes. Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, knees slightly bent. Keeping your back straight, reach down and grab hold of the weighted object on the floor in front of you. Return to a vertical position. Lower down; raise back up. Do 20 times.
More about the Expert:
Julia Savacool is a writer and editor in New York City, covering topics of fashion, fitness, health, wellness, and lifestyle. She is the Deputy Editor of HealthCentral and formerly a senior editor at Barneys New York, Articles Director of Fitness magazine, and Deputy Editor at Marie Claire. She has written for Men’s Health, Women’s Health, ESPN, and The New York Times, among others. She is the author of The World Has Curves (Rodale Press).
Savacool’s stories have won the United Nations Friends of the World Food Program Media Award, the NARAL Pro-Choice Media Award, and the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women Humanitarian Award for domestic violence coverage. She created the first-ever fashion feature photographed at the United Nations in New York City.
Her enthusiasm for sports and the performing arts began at an early age as a nationally competitive figure skater. She attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, NY, before heading to Wesleyan University where she majored in Classics and Dance. Savacool is a passionate sailor who double-handed her way from New York City to Bermuda and back, and an avid runner who has completed more than a dozen marathons.