The best at-home exercises to get your blood pumping
In times of “self-isolation”, “social distancing” and “quarantine” amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s getting harder for gym-lovers and adrenaline junkies to keep fit and get that exhilarating fix. However, there are still ways that we can get our hearts racing and blood pumping, without even needing to leave the house.
We’ve put together some of the best at-home workouts you can do, isolation or not, that will be sure to quicken your pulse and keep you in shape. From HIIT circuits to bodyweight exercises that you can pick and choose from, there’s something for every level of ability and goal.
HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of cardiovascular exercise that alternates short periods of more intense anaerobic exercise with fewer recovery periods. The great thing about HIIT workouts is that you can keep going until you physically can’t carry on, which is great for burning any pent-up energy.
Here’s an at-home HIIT workout you can follow:
- 14 x crossover squats - stand with your feet hip-width apart and slightly turned out. Engaging your core, send your hips back whilst bending your knees. Once your hips are at 90 degrees, touch your right hand onto your left foot. Stand back up, tensing your core and glutes. Repeat the movement again, touching your left hand to your right foot.
- 12 x jumping lunges - start off with a normal lunge. Aim to get both knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your torso is tensed and your body is upright. From there, use your energy to launch yourself up in the air, switching the position of your legs in the air so you land into another lunge with the other leg forwards.
- 10 x burpees - starting off in a standing position, drop down and place your hands on the ground next to your feet. Next, kick your feet out behind you so you’re in a press-up position. Jump your feet back to your hands, stand up and jump into the air. Then repeat.
- 8x Push Ups - put your palms on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulder width and with your elbows pointed slightly outwards. Extend your legs out behind you. You’ll now be in a plank position. Squeeze your core and glutes as you lower your chest to the floor, then back up again.
- 6 x plank thrusters - take on a high plank position with your shoulders over your hands and glutes squeezed. Jump your legs forward to the outside of your hands, taking your hands off the floor. Then, put your hands back down and jump the legs back to the start position.
- 4 x Russian twists - sit on the floor with your feet in front of you with bent knees. Lift your chest and put your shoulders back. From this position, rotate your upper body from left to right, tapping both hands on the floor either side. Up for a challenge? Incorporate weights if you have some available, or try taking both feet off the floor whilst doing the movement.
- 2 x V-Ups - lie on your back and extend your arms behind your head. With your feet together, toes pointed and legs stretched, lift your legs off the floor and simultaneously raise your upper body. Really engage your core muscles as you try to touch your toes. Make sure to use control to lower yourself down slowly.
We’re pretty confident that this HIIT circuit will get you sweating and panting. Which is exactly what you want.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have gym equipment at home. These exercises can be done in any room without the need for special equipment. Incorporate these into your own HIIT circuit for a full body workout, or create a routine that focuses on enhancing your strength, power, endurance, speed and flexibility.
- Deadbug - lie flat on your back with your arms held out in front of you pointing to the ceiling. Bring your legs up so your knees are bent at 90-degree angles. Slowly lower your right arm and left leg at the same time, exhaling as you go. Keep going until your arm and leg are just above the floor. Make sure you don’t raise your back off the ground. Then slowly return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite limbs.
- Press-ups - get into a press-up position. Your hands should be placed shoulder-width apart and your back flat. Lower your body until your chest is an inch from the ground then drive up by fully extending your arms.
- Side plank - lie on your left side with your legs straight and prop yourself onto your elbow. Brace your core and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line. Hold this position while breathing deeply. Roll over and repeat on the other side.
- Crunches - lie on your back, keeping your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your head as you engage your core muscles to lift your shoulders and upper body off the ground towards your knees. Ensure your lower back does not lift up. Relax back to the ground and repeat.
- Lower back curls - lie on your front, legs stretched out and arms placed by your side. Lift your chest up, keeping your arms down and face and chin facing forward. Once you reach the furthest point, hold the position for a second before lowering back down.
Pro tip: You can incorporate weights or resistance bands into any of these exercises. If you don’t have dumbbells of your own to use at home, don’t worry! It’s time to get imaginative and use other everyday objects, such as books, packets of pasta or rice, tins of beans or laundry detergent bottles etc. You could even fill a bag or backpack and create a customisable weight that you can increase or decrease as you require.
When working out at home, you might feel like you’re restricted to certain movements. However, there’s still plenty of cardio-based activities you can do to get your blood pumping.
- Shadow boxing
For all you would-be boxers out there, or for anyone who just needs a physical release, shadow boxing is ideal. Take on a fighting stance and bounce on the balls of your feet as you shadow box. No need to punch anything, just dip and weave as you please and punch directly in front of you.
Shadow boxing encompasses cardio, strength, legs, core and arms and can be a good way to raise your heartbeat. So, if cabin fever is setting in, press play on an upbeat playlist (or Eye of the Tiger perhaps?) and unleash your inner Rocky!
- Jumping jacks
Another great cardio exercise that requires no equipment. To begin, stand tall, feet shoulder width apart and arms down by your side. In a burst of energy, jump into a wider stance and raise your arms up to either side of your head. The fully extended position should mirror the shape of a star.
Ten minutes of intense jumping jack action can burn up to 100 calories!
- Jump rope
If you can get your hands on a jump rope (or skipping rope), this is a great calorie-crushing cardio exercise to build into your home workouts. For the most impactful results, use your wrists to spin the rope, rather than your arms. As the rope comes over your head to your feet, jump only high enough to clear it.
Challenge yourself by building up speed and trying variations such as one-footed jumps, alternating feet, high knees and double turns.
- Staircase exercise
It’s time to switch the step machine for actual stairs! Simply walking or jogging up and down the stairs can be a great at-home exercise to get your heart pumping and the steep incline and decline adds resistance which works those leg and glute muscles too.
You can also just use the bottom step, jumping on with both feet and then off, repeatedly or, alternating one foot on, other foot on, one foot off, other foot off, continuously. Again, these are great cardio exercises that also engage specific muscles which makes them that much more impactful.
So, there you have it, plenty of at-home exercises that will help you stay on track with your fitness goals and keep your adrenaline running high.
If you’re planning to try any of these, or have any other suggestions for our fellow #AdrenalineAddicts, we’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.