Workout at home? Yes you can!

A complete weight training workout can be perf...

There are lots of excuses for not exercising…the gym is too far away; it costs too much money; I don’t know how to use any of that stuff’ it’s not open when I want to workout; I don’t want strangers looking at me, etc. Don’t let excuses hold you back.

You can exercise at home with minimal equipment. For some exercises, your body weight is all you need. For less than $50, you can buy a stability ball, and at least one pair of dumbbells or one kettlebell. A typical gym membership for one person for a year is $500.  You can save that money to buy yourself a treadmill, elliptical, row machine, stationary bike, more dumbbells or various weights, and a slew of DVDs (most of which can be played in a computer), and save more time and money by not driving to the gym, parking and walking in.

The first thing to do is develop a plan.

1)      Where can I exercise in my house/apartment? The basement, spare bedroom, office, etc.

2)      What time am I more likely to exercise? Waiting until you get home from work does not happen for most people even with the best intensions. If you like to relax and have a glass of wine after work, you may need to go to bed and get up a half hour earlier to work out in the morning instead. You will find yourself sleeping better so you won’t miss that half hour too much!

3)      What equipment do I have? Your son’s old weight bench and some used ankle weights are a welcome addition to any home gym.

4)      What do I need to buy? I think the must haves would be a yoga mat (for cushion on hard floors), a stability ball, and two sets of dumbbells (or one set of adjustable weights).  Adjustable dumbbells are an excellent investment if you can afford it. They take up a lot less space and you can actually perform exercises with a different weight in each arm. Men and women may need different amounts of weights. Here are two options: or

Develop a strength training routine. Write down a routine including name of exercise, weight, reps and sets, and then make note of what you completed. The key to strength training is to challenge your muscles. If you have been doing three sets of 10 of the same exercises for years you are probably not noticing any difference in your body composition. Re-write your routine every six to eight weeks so that muscles are frequently getting a taste of new exercises. You could meet with a personal trainer to help develop a program for you to do at home, get some books from the library or look on-line.

Develop a cardio routine. The surgeon general recommends 30 minutes of moderately intense activity (walking, jogging, raking, swimming, cycling, etc). When the weather is a tolerable temperature for you and not slippery, try to get outside for a brisk walk or jog, ride your bike or do some yard work. If you have a road or mountain bike, you can buy a stationary trainer that allows you to ride your bike inside.  There are DVDs of walking programs that you can perform indoors.

Sample routine:

Perform a dynamic warm-up using some of these stretches, followed by 30 seconds of jumping jacks, burpees or high knees to get your heart pumping.


Supersets are a great time saver as you quickly move from one exercise to another with no rest. Perform each superset two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t complete eight reps, you need to lower the weight or start in an easier position; if you can perform more than 15 reps you need to raise the weight or make the exercise more difficult. Use items around your house if you can’t buy another set of dumbbells (i.e. soup cans, milk jugs filled with sand or water).

Superset #1: Push-ups (with hands on wall, kitchen counter, floor or stability ball) and hamstring curls

Interval: 30 seconds of mountain climbers

Superset #2: DB Rows and body weight squats (progress to holding dumbbells)

Interval: 30 seconds of butt kicks

Superset #3: YTWLs  and planks or knee tucks

Interval: 30 seconds of imaginary jump rope

The possibilities are endless! Depending on how much time you have the more exercises you can add. If you find you really like the stability ball, search for more exercises you can do with it; if you want to try something new like a kettlebell or TRX Suspension System make sure that you do some research before jumping right into it.

What are your favorite exercises to do at home?




About Sarah Schultz

Sarah is a Licensed Athletic Trainer at Sports, Spine and Work Center. She provides Athletic Training services at Campbellsport High School and provides Industrial Services to the community through WorkSTEPS testing, the Work Hardening Program and doing ergonomic evaluations. She is an avid cyclist and barefoot runner. Sarah’s other interests include dynamic stretching, core strengthening, rehabilitation, muscle recovery techniques, and sports nutrition.

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