Can't hit the gym or your favourite spin class because of the coronavirus outbreak? It's okay—stay indoors, stay hydrated and work up a sweat in the comfort of your home! This way, no poor weather or fear of crowds can keep you from staying fit.
Besides performing bodyweight movements, you can look around your house for common household items—such as bottles, a duffel bag, a chair or a towel—to use as equipment for your home workout.
2 x 1.5-litre bottles
Large drinking bottles filled with water or sand can serve as awesome substitutes for dumbbells. Find a bottle with a skinny waist so it will be easier to grip, and make sure the bottle is screwed tight without leakage.
Grip the bottle firmly in your hand and try these:
Front arm raises
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and start by holding two bottles down your sides, one in each hand. Raise both arms to shoulder height while keeping them straight and with the bottles parallel to the ground, palms facing downwards.
90° internal rotations
With a bottle in each hand, start with your elbows at 90°, and your palms facing forward. Keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders, slowly rotate your forearm forward till it is parallel to the ground—with your palms facing downward—then rotate it back up.
Start by raising your arms such that you are holding the bottles slightly above your shoulders. Your elbows should be bent out to your sides at 90°, and your palms should face forward. Push the bottles above your head by extending your arms, then return to the start position.
Towels do more than just wipe the sweat off your face or the floor, you can use them to tone up too! Your regular dish or face towels would work great, as long as they can be folded into square sliders. Towels will add an extra burn with more resistance to these exercises.
Pikes are best done on a smooth surface. Start in a high plank position with both feet on the towel. Keeping both legs straight and your back flat, push your feet in towards your head as much as you can.
Place a folded towel in a square under your right foot and start in a standing position. Shift your weight to your left leg and slide your right foot behind you to a lower lunge position. Your left knee should bend at 90° as you lower yourself.
Hold each end of the towel in each hand and lie flat on your back. Extend your arms over your head and pull yourself up into a sit-up. This is a core exercise, so engage your core as you pull yourself up.
You'll need two face towels for this—fold them into squares and place one under each foot. Keep your core tight in a high plank position and slide your feet alternately towards your chest.
Duffel bag or backpack
Fill a duffel bag or backpack with objects like books or clothes (depending on how heavy you want to make it). This acts as a sandbag for you to try these exercises with:
There are different ways you can use a bag as a weight for walking lunges—by hugging it to your chest, rested upon your shoulders or held overhead with your arms straightened. Once you have positioned the bag, lunge forward with your left foot until your leg is bent at 90°. Your right leg should be bent behind without touching the floor. Stand up with your left foot and bring the right foot forward into a lunge immediately. Repeat on opposite side.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while gripping the duffel bag by your sides. With knees slightly bent, hinge at your hips and lower the bag while keeping your back straight. Lower it until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and glutes, before slowly straightening back up. This movement should be slow and controlled, and you should keep the bag as close to your shins as possible.
Stand with feet slightly wider than your hips, and have the duffel bag racked on your forearms (instead of holding a dumb-bell or kettlebell). Keep hugging the bag and with your back straight, lower yourself into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground, before coming back up.
Sit on the floor and raise your legs off the ground, with them bent at the knees. Lean back slightly so your torso and thighs form a V shape. Keeping your balance in this position, twist your torso side to side with the bag, without moving your legs.
Find a chair that’s stable and sturdy (your dining chair should suffice) and a space clearance. The chair serves as a substitute for a bench, so you can do these exercises:
Dips target the muscles on the back of your arms (the triceps). Start by sitting on the chair with your palms facing down and fingers gripping the edge of the seat. Your feet should be flat on the floor, hip-distance apart.
Next, move your torso forward and lift your butt off and away from the seat. Lower your body towards the floor (but do not touch the floor!) as you hinge at your elbows and bend them to 90°. Then push yourself back to the start position with your arms fully extended.
Bulgarian split squats
Start with one foot on the chair behind you, and your other foot on the ground. Stand tall, with most of your weight on your front leg. Lean forward slightly as you squat your hips down and back, until your back knee nearly touches the floor. Then push your front foot into the floor as you stand back up.
Lying on the floor facing up, rest your heels firmly on the chair. As you press your heels into the chair, squeeze your glutes. Raise your hips and form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Lower your back to the start position and repeat.
Standing up straight, hold onto the back of the chair. Push down on the balls of your feet to raise your heels, until you are standing entirely on your toes. Lower yourself slowly to the start position and repeat. You can also make calf raises more challenging by carrying a backpack with weight.
Broom or mop
A broom or a mop acts as a non-weighted barbell. A bamboo pole or an umbrella works too.
Hold the broom or mop above your head with your arms straight. Raise one knee to start. Quickly, step down on this raised knee and alternate with the other knee, for three counts. You should end with the same raised knee you started with.
Standing bicycle crunches
Place the broom or mop on your shoulders behind your neck. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward. Twist your torso to the right as you bring up your right knee, so that your left elbow meets the right knee. Repeat for the other side.
Standing oblique side crunches
This has the same start position as standing bicycle crunches, with the broom or mop on your shoulders behind your neck. This time, bring your left knee up and bring your left elbow down to meet it. Repeat for the other side.
Armed with this list of exercises, you can now create your own home HIIT circuit! Start with choosing 5 to 6 exercises, and use the format of 30 seconds work/15 seconds rest to make 1 round. You can then do 3 to 5 rounds to make a set, with 1-minute rest between sets.
Despite being in the comfort of your home, always be careful when handling household items as equipment! Don’t push yourself too hard, and always listen to your body. Remember to also keep yourself hydrated and boost your immunity by keeping fit. Together, we can ride out this tough period as a fit and active community!