9 Exercises You Can Do at Home to Get in Shape Without the Gym

Your busy schedule may make it hard to get to the gym on a regular basis, but don’t that let that stop you from working up a sweat daily. There are plenty of ways to exercise without spending hours at the gym, or even venturing outside your home.

Here are nine effective workout routines or individual exercises that you can squeeze into a few minutes. All you need is space on your living room floor.

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Routines

If you are looking for complete workout routines, Adam Griffin recommends exercises that use high-intensity, full-body movements and a lot of cardio. Griffin, founder and CEO of a company called Bodeefit that’s focused on exercising without equipment, suggests a circuit that includes burpees, squats, skater’s lunges, and diver’s pushups. You can find details about the routine at Greatist.

Pushups, pull-ups, planks, and lunges are parts of several routines suggested by Men’s Fitness. Some of the routines require free weights or other light equipment, while others use only your own body weight. All are based on multiple sets of a few different movements that do not require a lot of space. Check out the magazine’s complete routines on their website.

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Cardio

If you are trying to lose the fat, but don’t have the time or inclination to venture into the cold for a long run, try these home cardio workouts from Men’s Fitness. They include jumping, pushups, and abdominal exercises.

Some of the workouts – such as one that calls for circuits of a jumping jack, a pushup, and a mountain climber – rely on your own body weight and quickness. Others use free weights or jump ropes (if you are looking for gym-equipment substitutes that you might have lying around the house, check out this list from Livestrong).

Browse the complete workouts on Men’s Fitness to find one that works for you.

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Strength

Pushups are a great way to build strength. They also have the added benefit of working your core and lower body.

To complete a perfect pushup, Greatist says to make sure your back stays perfectly flat throughout the movement and keep your eyes focused about three feet in front of you so you don’t strain your neck.

If you find pushups boring, mix things up by moving your hands and knees. Greatist suggests trying pushups on bent knees, one hand at a time, or even balancing your hands on a medicine ball.

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Lower Body

If you want to focus on your quads, glutes, hamstrings or thighs, try a few simple squats or lunges – no equipment needed.

Lunges and high knees are great ways to work out your lower body, according to Bodeefit.

The company also recommends mixing up your workout with a variety of squats, including jumping at the end of the movement or holding your squat at its lowest point. You can try squatting on one leg, keeping the other straight throughout the movement so that it extends straight out in front of you at the bottom of the squat.

If squats and lunges aren’t your thing, Hot5 Fitness recommends this lower-body routine. The routine involves balancing on one knee while raising or kicking the other leg. You can find the complete routine at MyFitnessPal.

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Core

Exercises that focus on your abs are some of the easiest to complete at home. Many require no equipment.

You might think of sit-ups, crunches or planks when you think of core exercises, but there are plenty of variations of these movements to try.

Instead of a simple sit-up, extend your arms straight over your head and do half a sit-up, suggests Men’s Fitness. Or, try a flutter kick. Lie on your back and raise your heels about six inches off the ground, Men’s Fitness suggests, then quickly flutter your legs.

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Yoga

We know yoga increases flexibility and it is calming for many people, but it also has unexpected benefits. According to Men’s Fitness, it can improve digestion and boost your immunity, as well as improve your brain function.

But yoga can be difficult to master without some help. So Fitness Magazine recommends some beginner poses, including mountain pose, bridge pose, and triangle pose.

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How to create your own routine

If you want to create your own routine at home, tailored to your needs, WebMD recommends that it include five key elements.

First, the workout should include a warm-up, such as an easy walk. Then, it should include a cardio element, such as a faster walk, run, or an exercise involving jumping. A workout should also include resistance exercises, which could be squats, pushups, or exercises with small weights. Finally, WebMD recommends your workout include stretches or yoga to increase flexibility, and finish with a cool down.

To stick to your workout, WebMD suggests mixing up your exercises or working with a partner to avoid getting bored. Schedule your workouts so they become an important part of your daily routine.

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