health

No-equipment workouts. For anyone who can't bring themselves to leave the house.

Rain doesn’t mean you can’t have a good workout.

Everyone has those days when they just can’t bring themselves to leave the house.

Maybe it’s cold and horizontal-raining outside. Maybe your three-year-old is in a super-feral mood and you can’t possibly convince him to get in his car seat. Maybe you just don’t want to put pants on.

Whatever it is – I understand. I do. I’m currently visiting a ski resort in Canada where the temperature is an average of minus 20. Today, it hit minus 40. Nobody wants to go outside in minus 40, particularly when you have to be genuinely worried about your eyeballs freezing.

The only issue is that it’s kind of difficult to keep fit when you’re avoiding the great outdoors. So many workouts involve venturing outside and having to wear pants – going to the gym, going to boot camp, going for a run…

Some people have home gyms, but they can be really pricey to deck out with all the right equipment. And there are only so many times you can play boxing on the Wii or run up and down the stairs.

Happily, I have a solution for you. It’s called the no-equipment workout, and it needs to be embraced. It involves nothing but YOU. No treadmill. No dumbbells. Not even any of those stretchy bands or ankle weights or anything.

You’ll probably also need a bit of space in your house. But that’s easy to get – move a coffee table aside or something. And that’s part one of your workout done anyway. Happy days!

All you have to do? Take a bunch of different exercises and do a whole lot of reps of each of them. These exercises might include:

Going to the gym to lift weights seems silly when you can have a good workout at home

– Squats (both regular squats and wall squats)

– Push-ups (on your toes or on your knees)

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– Planks (again, on your toes or on your knees, or side plans)

– Lunges

– Burpees (KILLER)

– Sit-ups and crunches

– Star jumps

– Anything else you can think of

Pick a bunch of exercises that you’re going to do, and then decide how many times you’re going to do each one. This is the amount of repetitions (or “reps”, as the cool kids say) you’re going to do. Pick an achievable number, but a number that’s still going to challenge you. And then decide how many times you’re going to repeat the set.

For example, one workout might be…

50 x squats

20 x push-ups

5 x 1 minute planks

10 burpees

Repeated 3 times.

You can increase the amount of reps or sets as you get fitter. And you can mix up the workouts completely to suit what you’d like to work on. Personally, I’m trying to increase core strength in 2014 so I’m planking my life away. (It’s not going terribly well for me so far, but here’s hoping.)

Incidentally, if you’re not keen to invent your own workout, or you don’t even know where to begin? There’s a brilliant site run by a woman named Neila Ray, who has put together a whole lot of no-equipment workouts that you can simply download and print off. She tells you exactly what exercise to do, and how many times to do it, with options available for all fitness levels.

Oh – and the workouts are THEMED. Think Hunger Games, Stormtroopers, Star Wars… all kinds of awesome. Click here to access them.

Do you ever work out at home? What do you do?

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