9 Essential Exercises that Don’t Require You to Have a Home Gym

9 Essential Exercises that Don't Require You to Have a Home Gym

by the Kroger Health Staff

For most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our daily habits in a significant way. These new routines and restrictions can lead to increased levels of anxiety and stress. There are many ways to manage this, but one particularly effective method is to exercise. And we aren’t just talking about long runs or 60-minute virtual bootcamp sessions; research shows that even just 10 minutes a day can go a long way. As an immediate impact, exercise can help lift mood, boost energy and promote better sleep. Exercising with others can be a fun way to engage socially, whether with those on video or in your living room. Regular exercise has also been proven to improve brain health, reduce disease, strengthen bones, improve muscles and even lower your risk of anxiety and depression. Exercise also empowers you with a sense of control amidst this challenging and ever-changing environment.

Don’t worry if you have no access to a gym or even to a set of weights. This 10-minute, 9-step workout can be done at home and adapted to all fitness levels. Modifications are provided and, as you progress, you can increase the intensity.

9-step quarantine workout

To complete this workout, perform 10 repetitions for each of the 9 exercises below. Each exercise is shown with modified and intensified options. Try to keep rest to a minimum between exercises. As you become comfortable, you can challenge yourself by going through this 9-step circuit more than once.

1. Jumping jacks: Start in a standing position with arms at your sides; jump and land with legs spread and arms in the air. Jump again to return to the original position.

  • Modified: Decrease the speed and width of the jumps. To avoid jumping altogether, step each foot outward, then inward.
  • Intensified: When jumping outward, lower your hips into a squat position. Jump back to standing position with both feet together.

2. Squats: Start in a standing position and lower your hips as if you’re going to sit in a chair. Rise back to the original position.

  • Modified: Sit onto a chair behind you, then stand up.
  • Intensified: Wear a backpack filled with household items.

3. Lunges: Start in a standing position, then step one leg forward, dipping until your front leg reaches a 90-degree angle. (Your front knee should not go past your toes.) Perform 10 repetitions per leg.

  • Modified: Have a table next to you, using your hands for support during the exercise.
  • Intensified: Perform elevated lunges by stepping up to an elevated platform. Hold equal weight (dumbbells, household items) in each hand.

4. Burpees: If you’re not familiar with the term, a burpee is essentially a squat and pushup, followed by a jump squat.

  • Modified: Instead of going to the ground, place your hands on a stable chair or bench in front of you while stepping backward, one leg at a time. Then reverse this motion back to a standing position. Eliminate the jump and rise onto your toes instead.
  • Intensified: Increase the repetitions. Increase the difficulty of push-ups performed.

5. Pull-ups or bicep curls

  • Modified: For pull-ups, using pull-up bar, place one leg on a stable chair to assist with the motion. For bicep curls, use a lighter weight household item or dumbbell.
  • Intensified: For pull-ups, using pull-up bar, wear a backpack filled with household items. For curls, increase the weight and/or repetitions.

6. Push-ups

  • Modified: Perform on hands and knees.
  • Intensified: Increase repetitions. Move your hands together, creating a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs.

7. Dips (using a chair)

  • Modified: Bend your legs at a 90-degree angle, moving your feet closer to the chair.
  • Intensified: Extend your legs straight outward, with one foot crossed over the other.

8. Mountain climbers: Never done a mountain climber? It involves alternating legs, bringing your knee to your chest while your body is parallel to the floor in a plank position.

  • Modified: Instead of being on your hands and feet, use your hands and knees.
  • Intensified: Increase repetitions. Do cross-body movements by bringing your left knee toward your right shoulder and right knee toward your left shoulder.

9. Planks

  • Modified: Lower the time to 10 seconds.
  • Intensified: Increase the time to 60 seconds.

Start small and watch yourself grow stronger both mentally and physically. In just 10 minutes, this workout provides you benefits to both overall strength and cardiovascular health. Even long after COVID-related quarantine ends, this simple routine can be your go-to for making sure you include movement in your day.

Explore more healthy living advice from our team of experts.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.