With all the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it’s easy to lose track of our normal fitness routine from time to time. Instead of giving up when you miss a few workouts, give in and get active at home. Below are five moves you can do to break a sweat from the comfort of your couch. Mix and match them to build your own at-home workout.
Muscles targeted: triceps, forearms, chest, shoulders
Strong triceps aren’t just aesthetically pleasing; they also help stabilize the shoulder joint. With dips, you’ll isolate the muscle while using your own bodyweight to build strength. The compound movement also engages nearby muscles in your forearms, shoulders and chest.
1. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of your couch with your palms down and your fingers facing forward.
2. With your legs extended in front of you and your arms straight, lower your body by bending your elbows.
3. Keep lowering your body toward the floor until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle.
4. Press your palms into the couch to push back up to the starting position.
Muscles targeted: lower chest, shoulders, triceps
Push-ups are likely already in your go-to arsenal of toning movements, but incline push-ups have an added benefit–they’re easier for beginners or those looking to get back into fitness. With incline push-ups, you’ll target your pectorals–as you would with a traditional push-up–but you’ll also reduce the stress placed on your elbows.
1. Facing your couch, place your hands at the edge with your legs straight behind you. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width, and your arms should be straight without having your elbows locked.
2. With your body in a straight line, bend your elbows to lower your chest until it touches the couch. Make sure your elbows stay perpendicular to your body and close to your side (not flared).
3. Press your body away and back to the starting position.
Try rotating reps of incline and triceps push-ups for a balanced upper body workout.
Muscles targeted: hips, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, core
If you’re looking for a lower-body challenge, lean on the lunge. The single-leg variation allows you to work on stability as you tone and strengthen your hamstrings, quads and glutes. As a bonus, the effort it takes to keep your torso upright during the ascending and descending portions means you’ll also engage your core.
1. Stand a few feet away from your couch with your back facing the couch.
2. Bend one leg backwards and rest your toe on the couch behind you, then slowly lower your front (standing) leg until your upper leg is parallel to the floor. If necessary, adjust your positioning to make sure your front knee doesn’t surpass your toes. Keep your chest out and your back straight.
3. Slowly return to your starting position by straightening your front leg.
Try 20 lunges on one leg and then 20 on the other, and repeat that cycle three to four times.
Muscles targeted: Lower abdomen, thighs, hip flexors
Turns out you can tone your stomach while lying down. Leg raises allow you to give your lower abs some love. Just remember to lift and lower your legs slowly and not to rely on the momentum of the movement.
1. Lie flat on the couch with your legs straight. Place your hands under your glutes, palms facing down.
2. Keeping your legs parallel, allow a slight bend in your knees as you raise your legs straight up in the air. They should stay squeezed and move together.
3. Hold your legs for a second when they’ve reached a 90-degree angle with the floor, then slowly lower them back to hover above the couch.
Try doing three sets of 20 lifts or as many lifts as you can in 30 second intervals. If you want to mix up this exercise more, lift one leg at a time while keeping the other at a hover above the couch.
Muscles targeted: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes
You don’t have to stray far from the couch to target your glutes. Air squats are a compound, lower-body movement. Incorporate the couch to make sure you’re going low enough. At the bottom of each squat, lightly tap the edge of the couch with your bottom before coming back up. Just make sure not to fully sit down and relax.
1. Stand about a foot in front of your couch with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Get into position by driving your hips backward, keeping your back flat and your knees following your toes (don’t allow them to bow inward). Your chest should be up and your shoulders down and back.
3. Lower your body by bending your knees, not allowing them to surpass your toes. Lower until your bottom slightly grazes the couch, then return to standing. Flex your glutes to help drive your body upwards.
Try doing three sets of 25 squats or rotate squats with leg lunges and leg lifts for a well-rounded lower body workout.
In other news – Everything You Need to Know About Stretching
Love it or hate it, stretching is an essential component of any fitness program. But how many of us actually reserve time in our workout to give our muscles the TLC they really need?
If you’re like a lot of people, getting in one more set of burpees or squeezing in five more minutes on the treadmill often takes priority overstretching. Learn more