Being a busy college student makes finding time to work out very difficult. In between going to classes, studying, attending extracurricular groups and events, going home to visit family, and everything else that life throws at you, it can be hard to set aside time to take an extra trip to the gym. I have found that there are many exercises that you can do in the comfort of your dorm room, living room, bedroom, or where ever else you may need to get in a quick workout sesh.
Here are a few of my favorite at home workouts that are equipment free and won't bother your neighbors below you!
1. Squats: Normal & Jump Squats
How to do a Regular Squat:
Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows or clasp the fingers. Sit back and down like you're sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels. Keep your body tight and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
How to do a Jump Squat:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
2. Lunges: Forward & Reverse Lunges
How to do a Forward Lunge:
Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on your hips or behind your head. Step forward (about 2 feet) with your right foot, and plant it firmly on the ground. Bend both knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. In this positioning, your shoulders should be directly above your hips and your chest should be upright (not leaning forward or back). Your right shin should be perpendicular to the floor and your right knee should be stacked above your right ankle. Your butt and core should be engaged. Push through your right foot to return to standing.
How to do a Reverse Lunge:
Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on your hips (as pictured) or behind your head. Step back (about 2 feet) with your left foot, landing on the ball of your left foot and keeping your heel off the ground. Bend both knees to create two 90-degree angles with your legs. In this positioning, your shoulders should be directly above your hips and your chest should be upright (no leaning forward or back). Your right shin should be perpendicular to the floor and your right knee should be stacked above your right ankle. Your butt and core should be engaged. Push through the heel of your right foot to return to standing.
3. Planks: Regular & Side Planks
How to do Regular Plank:
Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Lower your forearms to the floor with elbows positioned under your shoulders and your hands shoulder-width apart. If someone looked at you from the side, your arms would form a 90-degree angle. Step your feet back, one at a time. Maintain a straight line from heels through the top of your head, looking down at the floor, with gaze slightly in front of your face. Now, tighten your abs and hold.
How to do Side Plank:
Start on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder. Contract your core and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet. Hold the position without letting your hips drop for the allotted time for each set, then repeat on the other side.
4. Push-Ups: Normal & Variations
How to do Push-Ups:
Start in a high plank position with your hands flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart, wrists under shoulders. Keeping your body in one long line, bend your arms and lower yourself as close to the floor as you can. Your elbows should be at about a 45-degree angle to your torso. Push back up to start.
You can adjust the position of your hands, feet, legs, or use other objects to make your push up easier, harder, or focus on training specific areas of your body. Check out this article for more variations of push-ups.
5. Sit-Ups & Crunches
How to do Sit-ups and Crunches:
To perform a proper sit-up, lie down on your back. Bend your legs and place feet firmly on the ground to stabilize your lower body. Cross your hands to opposite shoulders or place them behind your ears, without pulling on your neck. Curl your upper body all the way up toward your knees. Exhale as you lift. Slowly, lower yourself down, returning to your starting point. Inhale as you lower.
Check out this article for different variations of sit-ups and crunches.
6. Hip Raises
How to do Hip Raises:
Lay down on an exercising mat with your back resting on the mat. Position your feet flat on the ground and fold your legs such that your knees are in a bent position. The profile view of your legs should be that of an inverted 'V'. Move your arms out by your sides, away from the body. Position your hands such that your palms are facing upwards. Applying the force from your heels, raise your hips in the upward direction. Keep raising your glutes in the upward direction until your thighs, hips and back are in a straight line. Stay there in this position for a count of one and return back to the starting position by lowering your hips back to the floor & pause for a while and repeat the above steps
How to do Supermans:
To begin, lie straight and face down on the floor or exercise mat. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you. This is the starting position. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor and hold this contraction for 2 seconds. Tip: Squeeze your lower back to get the best results from this exercise. Remember to exhale during this movement. Note: When holding the contracted position, you should look like superman when he is flying. Slowly begin to lower your arms, legs and chest back down to the starting position while inhaling. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions prescribed in your program.
For more instructions & variations, click here!
8. Donkey Kicks
How to do Donkey Kicks:
Begin on all fours and lift your right leg off the floor until your knee is in line with your hip. Flex your foot and squeeze your glute to raise your heel an inch toward the ceiling. Continue these small, concentrated pulses for 30 reps. Open your right knee out to the side, keeping your foot flexed, and pulse your leg one inch to the left. You are not trying to lift the knee up but try to keep it level as it moves behind you. You should feel your glutes firing away for all 30 pulses. Maintain this leg position, and without moving your foot, raise and lower your knees in a small range of motion, about an inch. This movement is really isolated to the hip socket.
9. Flutter Kicks
How to do Flutter Kicks:
On a flat bench lie face down with the hips on the edge of the bench, the legs straight with toes high off the floor and with the arms on top of the bench holding on to the front edge. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings and straighten the legs until they are level with the hips. This will be your starting position. Start the movement by lifting the left leg higher than the right leg. Then lower the left leg as you lift the right leg. Continue alternating in this manner (as though you are doing a flutter kick in water) until you have done the recommended amount of repetitions for each leg. Make sure that you keep a controlled movement at all times.
10. Tricep Dips
How to do Tricep Dips:
Start seated with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands behind you, directly under the shoulders, with finger facing your hips. Lift hips to a hover. Bend elbow straight back and use your triceps to press back up.
No one wants to gain the dreaded #freshman15 or any weight at all! Getting in a little bit of exercise every day, along with eating a balanced diet, will help you to lead a healthy lifestyle! So, try out these at-home, equipment-free, and easy-to-learn exercises for whenever you have a spare minute to get in a good work out!
Check out this list of easy, at-home exercises from SELF magazine!