If your schedule doesn’t allow time for schlepping to and from a gym, you're in luck. Not only can you get in shape at home, you can do so with little or no equipment. Add a few inexpensive pieces of exercise tubing, an inflatable (preferably burst-proof) exercise ball and a couple of dumbbells, and you have even more workout options and a way to add resistance as you become stronger and improve your fitness.
Full-body workout you can do at home
Try this total-body workout three times a week, 12 to 15 reps, for two to three sets. Warm up by walking in place for five minutes or run up/walk down stairs.
Body-weight squats (works legs and glutes)
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, eyes focused straight ahead, hands on hips or out in front of you. Initiate the movement by bending at the knees and hips, keeping knees aligned over toes. Push your hips back as you continue lowering until thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause and push up through your heels to starting position. Avoid locking your knees out at the top.
To tone arms: Hold onto dumbbells in each hand, palms neutral, facing in. As you rise with each squat, bring one arm up and rotate palm up towards your shoulder, lowering as you lower hips. Alternate arms with each repetition.
Alternating lunges (firms glutes and legs)
Stand tall, hands on hips. Step forward with right leg, landing on the heel, then forefoot. Lower body by bending knee and hip of right leg until left knee almost touches the floor. Return to starting position by pushing off and straightening the right leg. Alternate with leg leg forward and repeat 15 repetitions per leg.
To add shoulders: Hold onto dumbbells, bringing arms up and out at right angles like goal posts; as you step back from each forward lunge, straighten arms overhead, bringing dumbbells up and towards each other; bring back to starting position before the next lunge.
Hip raises (works hamstrings)
Lie on your back with your feet up on a sturdy chair, knees bent at right angles and toes pointed up. Dig in heels as you slowly raise your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes; pause and slowly return hips to the floor.
Increase the challenge: Cross one ankle over opposite knee and lift hips using one leg.
Push-ups (tones chest, triceps and core muscles)
Place hands on the floor shoulder-width apart with arms straight (not locked), legs straight behind you on the balls of your feet, keeping your body in a straight line. Slowly lower yourself until upper arms are parallel to the floor. Pause, then slowly push yourself back up.
Add a back toner: Grasp dumbbells on the floor (works best with square dumbbells) instead of placing hands flat on the floor; perform a one-arm "row" as you rise with each push-up by alternately bringing one elbow up towards the ceiling, squeezing your shoulder blade towards the middle of your back, and then lowering back down.
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