It seems like every time a new year begins, every fad diet and workout on the market launches an advertising blitz. Why? Well, with summer only months away, the powers that be want you to start worrying about your waistline.
Let’s face it, not everyone has the time to go to a health club five days a week. Or maybe you don’t want to shell out thousands for your very own home gym. And even if you have the money for a home gym, you may not have the space available to set it up. After all, you don’t want your house guests to have to sit on your smelly weight bench when they stop by for drinks. If any of the above excuses apply to your situation, then you are in luck.
There is a movement out there for people in your situation, and the good news is that it is free. There are lots of exercises you can do around the house that incorporate both cardio and simple weight training components, and you might mange to squeeze in some house cleaning while you are at it. So read on for some ideas on how your living room can function as your own personal home gym.
Yes, the couch – probably the place where you spend most of your time watching television. However, the couch can also be used as a key piece of equipment for at-home exercise. Here’s how:
Since couches are heavy, they are great for stretching since they won’t slide all over the place. Lean into the couch and work your legs (individually) from a standing position. Make sure to hold each stretch for a 20 count (and don’t bounce!). Stretching is an important thing to do before and after your workout.
The couch is a great place to do a variety of push-ups. For incline push-ups: stand back from the side of the couch and then lean forward to the armrest. You can adjust the angle you do the push-ups from by stretching out your body. Do at least 3 sets, and increase the repetitions as you build up your strength.
Decline push -ups can be done from the front of the couch. Simply keep your feet on the cushions, and then stretch your body out from the couch (you can also reverse this with your feet on the floor and your hands on the couch). Again, focus on doing 3 sets, increasing the repetitions as you strength increases. Finally, you can always do regular push-ups on your floor (like you didn’t know that!). A good routine will utilize all three, and you will notice the difference in your arms, chest and abs in a relatively short period of time.
Sit-ups are the surest way to get the six-pack that you have always dreamed about, and the couch can help you to get there. The traditional sit-up involves fixing your feet under an object or person, then raising yourself up using your ab muscles so that your elbows touch your bent knees. This exercise can be done very simply by lodging you feet under the couch. You can vary the sit-up by alternating between a center sit-up, then doing the left and right.
Another way you can involve the couch is by lying flat on your back and placing your legs (from the knees to your feet) up on the couch. This will change the angle slightly, and work different muscles. A quality six pack will come from doing many different types of ab exercises, so be prepared to do multiple sets and reps.
Lunges involving extension and stretching, and help to work your legs, butt and back. Simply start up the vacuum like you normally would, but incorporate both a left and right lunges into your cleaning routine. This won’t add any extra time to your cleaning, but it will give you a nice little element to add in to your home workout.
If you have a closed door, a door handle, and about 3 feet of elastic rope, you can do a wide variety of exercises. Many home gym systems incorporate resistance training into their machines, with many utilizing very simple types of technology. That same simple technology can be achieved with an elastic cord and a door handle. Once you have secured the cord to the door handle, you can do triceps pull-downs, curls, flyes, just to name a few.
There are self-extending poles you can purchase that can lodge between any doorway. The poles are very inexpensive, and once installed will allow you to chin-ups and pull-ups. The best part about this inexpensive device is that you can leave it up and it is not that noticeable, but it is also easy to take down and replace.
There are probably lots of things around your house you can use for weight lifting, but the trick is in keeping the weight consistent. One way of achieving this is by using water filled containers. It may sound crazy or lame, but many portable health equipment systems also utilize water filled weights.
Arm curls, flyes, and even the bench press can be achieved with a couple of ice cream buckets or milk jugs filled with water. If you need a ‘bar’, all you do is notch a broom handle and you are good to go. The bench can be a sturdy coffee table, or even the floor.
You might laugh at some of these ideas, but being creative is the name of the game. If you have limited space, time or budget, it is easy to use one of those excuses to avoid doing a workout. By utilizing what you already have and a little imagination, you can achieve a lot of the benefits you would get from belonging to a health club without ever leaving the house.
And remember, the ends justify the means – no one will care how you got the six pack, they will just be impressed that you have one.