In this “Coaches Corner”, Daniel DeMoss of DumbbellsReview.com brings you 5 Easy Home Workouts During Lockdown. Here is a quick intro to Daniel and DumbbellsReview before jumping into the workouts:
“My name is Daniel DeMoss and I’ve packed my knowledge and passion for home gym equipment and bodybuilding into easy to digest educational content at DumbbellsReview.com. I save time and money for my dedicated audience by providing clear, concise, and helpful learning resources.”
There’s no doubt we’re living in a very unique time. Most of us are in quarantine, stuck in our homes.
Maybe you are lucky and have plenty of space to move along with a fairly well-equipped home gym. Perhaps you have less space and not that much equipment.
Regardless of what situation, staying active is essential both for your physical and mental health. Here are some easy workouts you can do at home during this time!
Kickboxing is a pretty intense high-intensity cardio workout that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
A typical kickboxing class takes between 30 minutes to an hour. It is mostly done on your feet, but it can sometimes include some mat exercises for your core.
All you need is a good pair of workout shoes. I don’t recommend going barefoot as it could put more pressure on your joints and increase the risk of injury.
Shoes will provide stability, especially during jumps and kick movements. You will also need a mat for the core exercises, but the carpet or a towel can be just as good.
You can find many at-home kickboxing workouts for free on YouTube, so you can start exercising right away.
2. Calisthenics/Body Weight Exercises
Often overlooked in favor of weight lifting, calisthenics is a fantastic way to improve your strength and your endurance.
As the name itself says, the exercises are done using only bodyweight, so no equipment is required.
Studies show calisthenics can help you have more lean muscle mass, increased insulin sensitivity, increased resting metabolic rate, and more. (3)
Don’t know where to begin? Bodyweight exercise can be very simple, yet very effective.
You probably know more of them than you realize because you’ve done most of them if you’ve workout before.
Squats, lunges, sit-ups, planks, burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers are only a few of the many exercises you can do. You can target any and every muscle group with calisthenics.
3. Tabata Workout
Tabata is a form of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) where each exercise has a fixed structure: workout for 20 seconds, rest for 10, repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.
A simple, bodyweight Tabata circuit that only takes 16 minutes, could look something like this:
- squats (4 minutes)
- push-ups (4 minutes)
- burpees (4 minutes)
- reverse lunges (4 minutes)
As you get more advanced, you can do more exercise, but if you’ve never done Tabata before, this will probably feel like a lot.
If you are out of ideas during quarantine, you can find a lot of free workouts online.
For instance, Active has several Tabata workouts, such as this great 30-minute one, that requires no equipment.
Don’t forget to include a warm-up and a cool down. Otherwise, the circuit will feel brutal and you might injure yourself.
Alternative Home Equipment Using Household Items
If you want to take your calisthenic or Tabata exercises to the next level, but don’t have any professional equipment, no worries!
You can find quick and easy alternatives using household items.
Dumbbells can easily be replaced with water bottles.
A full 16-oz bottle weighs approximately 1 pound. If you fill it with sand, the weight increases by about 3 pounds. If they are too light for you, do more repetitions or buy cheap ones if you had the time.
For variety, or if you’re simply trying to avoid plastic water bottles, you can use milk cartons, which will give you the same 1-2 pound weight when full.
Glass bottles work as well, but be careful and avoid hurting yourself.
Kettlebells can be replaced by detergent bottles or a gallon jug.
When full of water, a gallon jar will weigh approximately 8 pounds. If you fill it with sand, however, you can get up to 13-14 pounds.
Sliders can be a great addition to lunges or mountain climber exercises.
If you are on a carpet, use paper plates. If you are on a smooth floor, towels will do the trick.
We all know tricep dips using a bench are great to target those muscles. But did you know a sturdy folding chair can be a perfect replacement to the bench?
Use your backpack as weights when doing squats or walking lunges.
If you want to add more weight to your squats and walking lunges but feel the water bottles aren’t enough, another trick is to use a backpack.
Fill it with as much as you want and wear it during exercise.
Pay close attention to your posture, make sure you don’t slouch forward because of the weight. Some find it easier for their posture to wear the backpack in the front.
Experiment and find what works for you.
All exercise helps reduce stress, but yoga is probably the winner in this category. You don’t have to take my word for it!
Studies have shown yoga decreases cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone. (4)
Another study highlighted the positive effects yoga has on both anxiety and depression.
Yoga is also great for flexibility and balance. And depending on which type of yoga you choose to practice, it can also prove to be fantastic for building strength and endurance. (7)
There are a lot of free yoga videos available online. You can start with the DoYogaWithMe platform, which has hundreds of videos from every style of yoga.
If you prefer to stick to YouTube, you can start with one of the most famous channels in this area, Yoga with Adriene.
So where do you start and what do you need? The most important equipment in yoga is the mat. It should be a yoga mat because you’ll need the anti-slippery properties it provides.
Simple fitness mats come with more cushioning, which can be a bad thing in yoga during some balancing exercises.
They also don’t have the same adherence as a yoga mat, which means a higher risk of injuries.
Depending on the type of yoga you want to practice and your flexibility, you might benefit from additional equipment – called yoga props – such as blocks, a strap, and a bolster.
The props are usually not mandatory, but they can help you get deeper into certain postures. For those less flexible, they can also be great ways to ensure the posture is executed correctly.
Alternative Yoga Equipment Using Household Items
But what if you don’t have any props? Can they be replaced with household items? Absolutely!
The easiest way to replace yoga blocks is to use books.
During exercises like triangle pose, side-angle, or half-moon, books can be used exactly like blocks – to bring the floor a little closer to you, when your flexibility doesn’t allow you to get to the floor easily.
Blocks are used as support as well during restorative exercises such as supported bridge or fish and again, books come to the rescue.
A typical yoga block is 9” x 6” x 4”, so try to find a book with similar dimensions, or just stack more one on top of the other.
You might also see yoga workouts in which sitting on a block is recommended if your hips are tight and sitting cross-legged is uncomfortable.
Books can again come to the rescue, but even more comfortable in this case are pillows. Pillows are also the perfect replacement for bolsters, a common prop during yin yoga (but not very used in any other style of yoga).
Finally, the yoga strap can be replaced with a belt, a scarf, or even a towel.
This prop is used mostly when the flexibility in your hamstrings and thighs isn’t great.
The list of workouts during lockdown wouldn’t be complete without Zumba. It is a dance cardio workout and it is usually medium to high intensity. Don’t worry if you are not a good dancer!
Yes, Zumba classes are done to music and there is choreography, but the steps are usually easy to learn and they are a mix of dance moves and aerobic exercises.
In short, anyone can do it. For those who want to take the level higher, there is Zumba Fitness, which incorporates weights for some strength training.
For simple Zumba classes, you don’t need any equipment.
Workout shoes are recommended, but the impact of the joints won’t be as high as in kickboxing.
Staying active during lockdown is easier than you think.
There are a wide variety of workouts you can choose from, and you can do them all from your living room with minimal to no equipment. Try them all and choose the ones you like.
For the best results, try to alternate between workout types. That will keep your body guessing and will prevent you from hitting plateaus.
Not to mention you’ll have fun trying a new workout every day!