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10 Quarantine Workouts You Can Do at Home

Recently, we’ve found ourselves in a world where even going to the gym can be risky. People are having to adjust with workouts you can do at home rather than the usual gym routine, and making do with little to no exercise equipment. Paired with the potential for negative side effects from working at home, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

That’s why we’ve worked with our physical therapists to gather some effective workouts you can do at home – ensuring that you’ll always have a way to work on your fitness, even if you’re stuck inside! We’ve made sure that these workouts can be tailored to any level of fitness, so whether you’re a beginner or a former gym junkie, here are our ten best workouts you can do at home.

1. Push-Ups

Push-ups are a tried and true fitness classic that is easy to do from the comfort and safety of your home.

Assume a high plank position, keeping your body in a straight line, and lower yourself towards the floor allowing your elbows to flare out at a 45-degree angle. Go all the way down and then push yourself back up to the starting position.

Our physical therapists recommend sets of 10 for beginners, increasing by 5 per rep depending on your fitness level.

2. Traveling Lunge

Lunges target your quads, hamstrings, and glutes with a natural motion. Our physical therapists recommend a standing lunge for beginners and traveling lunges for those who are at an intermediate to advanced fitness level.

Here’s how to do a standing lunge:

  • Assume a split stance with your right leg in front of your left leg. The right foot should be flat on the ground and your left foot should be up on its toes.
  • Bend your knees to lower yourself into the lunge position, stopping when your left thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Push yourself back up using your right leg to return to the starting position.

If you’re going for the traveling lunge, you’ll simply move forward as you lunge, switching legs each time as you slowly lunge your way forward. Traveling lunges increase your workout by adding stability, balance, and mobility to the standard move.

We recommend starting with 10 lunges on each leg and increasing depending on your fitness level. If you’re doing traveling lunges, challenge yourself by picking a room in your house and lunging from one side to the other!

3. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is a targeted ab workout that specifically engages your core muscles as you move.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Lie on your back and bring your legs up to what is called a ‘tabletop’ position (see image below). Bend your elbows, placing your hands behind your head.
  • Crunch by bringing your left elbow to your right knee, straightening your left leg while you crunch.
  • Release the crunch and repeat the motion with the opposite limbs, bringing your right elbow to your left knee.
  • Continuing this motion rapidly will create a movement much like pedaling a bicycle with your legs!

We recommend starting at sets of 20 reps for beginners and increasing by 10 reps depending on your fitness level.

4. Side Hip Abduction

It may sound complicated but the side hip abduction is actually an incredibly simple exercise! More importantly, it helps work out your hips, which can take a real beating if you are working a desk job (even more so if your work setup is less than optimal).

Here’s how you do it:

  • Lie on your right side and lift your body into a side plank using your right arm. If you are unable to do a side plank, you can do this exercise by simply lying on your side and propping up your head using your right arm.
  • From this position, lift your left leg up while maintaining the position (the motion should be similar to scissors cutting), making sure to keep your hips clenched.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps. Then do the same on the other side.

Our physical therapists recommend starting with reps of 10 and moving up in increments of 5 depending on your fitness level.

5. Bird Dog

The bird dog is a fantastic workout you can do from home, as it is easily customizable depending on your fitness level.

  • Get on all fours, keeping your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
  • Simultaneously extend your right arm and left leg, ensuring your hips stay square to the ground. Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and then alternate, switching to the opposite arm and leg for your next extension.

If you’re more advanced in your fitness level, you can increase the difficulty of this workout by starting from a plank position instead of on all fours.

Our physical therapists recommend sets of 10 (5 extensions on each side), increasing by 10 rep increments depending on your fitness level.

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6. Planks

Planks are a staple of many fitness regimes and one of the best bodyweight-toning exercises you can do. You can either rest on your forearms or extend and hold a push-up position for the duration of your plank. Resting on your forearms will likely be more difficult as it engages your core muscles more.

If you are having difficulty maintaining a plank you can start out by keeping your knees on the floor, switching to a full plank after you have built up some core strength.

We recommend starting with 15-second planks and continuing by holding until you require a rest (likely under a minute for beginner to intermediate).

7. Squats

Squats are a great workout that only requires your own bodyweight!

Simply stand in a resting position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your feet slightly turned out. Drop into a seated position, keeping your spine straight, and then return to your resting pose.

If you want to add an additional challenge to your squats, you can do them while holding weights. If you don’t have weights or a kettlebell available, you can substitute something small and heavy that you have lying around the house (milk jugs, pack of paper, etc.).

We recommend starting with sets of 10, increasing by increments of 10 depending on your fitness level.

8. High Knees

This is one is easy but effective. Simply jog in place, raising your knees as high as you can with each movement. A good trick is to hold your hands out in front of you and hit your knees to your palms as you jog in place, marking how high your knees are actually going.

Our physical therapists recommend starting with one minute of high knees and working up in duration according to your fitness level.

9. Cobra (Back Extensions)

Do you experience back pain after a long day at the (home) office? You’re not alone – more than 65 million Americans reported a recent incidence of back pain and around 16 million suffer from chronic or long-lasting back pain.

The Cobra, also known as back extension, is a fantastic way to strengthen your back muscles and reduce back pain. This is especially important for people who sit for the majority of the day or work a desk job.

Here’s how to perform the exercise:

  • Lie flat on your stomach with your hands by your sides, positioned directly under your shoulders and hands facing forward. Fully extend your legs and flex your toes away from your body.
  • Press your hips into the floor and pull your chest away from the ground while keeping your hips steady. Arch your low back and you should feel the muscles in your chest and abs stretch. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds depending on tolerance.
  • Gently lower your body back to rest position.

While this is a great exercise for back pain, if you experience sharp or increased back pain from this exercise, you should stop the exercise immediately and consult your physical therapist. 

10. Walking

At the end of the day, you may benefit the most from simply going on a walk! Walking has numerous health benefits for people of all age ranges and fitness levels, so no matter who you are it’s always a great idea to get in a nice walk.

You could use a treadmill to get in some aerobic activity, but walking outside is better for improving mental health and a way to get out of the house during periods of quarantine. Even walks as short as 15 minutes have a demonstrable positive effect on your physical and mental health so try to fit one into your daily routine. And, of course – remember to wear your mask if you’re walking outside in a populated area.

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