Simple but Effective Exercises You Can Do in the Comfort of Your Own Home

Body Weight Squats

– The squat is a full-body exercise that trains the muscles of the lower back, hips, buttocks, quadriceps, and hamstrings.  It also helps strengthen bones, ligaments and tendons throughout the posterior chain.  The squat is considered an essential exercise for increasing strength and size of the legs and buttocks.  It also helps develop core strength which is necessary for many other lifts as well as linking upper and lower body strength and stability.

To perform the squat correctly,  using only body weight, the head should remain neutral; the back remaining straight; the hips sit back as if sitting into a chair; knees stay behind the toes; the hips should go to parallel with the floor; and bodyweight remains on the heels.  Once you reach parallel simply stand back up to a full upright position being sure that the hips and shoulders move together at the same time.  You can also do this exercise holding onto a chair, bar, or counter for support.  Repeat 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.

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Reverse dips on a chair/couch

-For this exercise you will need to place a bench behind your back. With the bench perpendicular to your body, and while looking away from it, hold on to the bench on its edge with the hands fully extended, separated at shoulder width. Your legs will be extended forward, bent at the waist and perpendicular to your torso. This will be your starting position.

As you slowly lower your body inhale by bending at the elbows until you lower yourself far enough to where there is an angle slightly smaller than 90 degrees between the upper arm and the forearm. Be sure to keep your elbows as close as possible throughout the movement. Forearms should always be pointing down.  ‘

Using your triceps to bring your torso up again, lift yourself back to the starting position.

Repeat for 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.

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Push-ups

-Start this exercise on your hands and knees, extend your lower body in the opposite direction of your upper body to allow space for you to go all the way down to the floor.  Keeping your arms at shoulder width apart and elbows close to your sides slowly lower yourself down to the floor.

Keeping your core muscles tight and back flat slowly push yourself up to start position by using your chest and triceps muscles.   Be sure as you push up not to let your buttocks separate from your upper body, keep the motion in sync moving together at the same time.

Repeat for 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.

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Sit-ups | Crunches

-Lying flat on the floor with your knees bent, place your hands behind your head or in a comfortable position near your head.  Tighten your core muscles (abdominals) and crunch your mid section together raising your upper body towards your lower body.  Be sure to exhale as you move up and inhale as you slowly lower yourself down to the floor.

Do not pull on your head as you raise yourself up, use your tightened core muscles to raise your body up.  Also be sure to keep your feet flat on the floor as you do the exercise, they have a tendency to move or raise up, if you continue to have problems try locking them under a couch or have someone hold them in place.

Repeat for 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions.

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Stretching

There are many ways to stretch and many body parts to stretch.  Be sure to incorporate antagonistic sides, meaning if you stretch your hamstring; be sure to stretch your quadriceps as well to keep things balanced.  Do not favor one side verses the other, be sure to stretch your left as well as your right.

Lower Extremities:

Hamstrings

Place one leg on a chair; bend forward at the waist until you feel a comfortable stretch across the back side of your leg.  Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

Calves

There are many ways to do this stretch, one variation includes standing up straight and staggering one leg about 2 feet behind you with equal weight distribution.  Holding onto a chair or table, slightly shift your weight forward onto the leading leg keeping the back leg straight and bending the front leg.  You should feel a comfortable stretch across the back side of your calf muscles.  Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

Quadriceps

Lift one leg behind you, either grabbing ahold of the foot or placing it on a chair, while holding onto a chair or table to stabilize yourself.  You should feel a stretch across the front part of your leg, if needed slightly pull the leg back with your hand to increase the stretch.  Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

Hip flexors

Standing up straight stagger one leg about 3 feet behind you with equal weight distribution.  Holding onto a chair or table, slightly shift your weight forward onto the leading leg keeping the back leg straight and tilting the pelvis slightly forward.  You should feel a stretch across the front part of your hip.    Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

Glutes

Sitting down, place one leg on top of the other as if crossing your legs.  Slightly bend forward at the hips; you should feel a stretch along the buttocks area.  Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

Upper Extremities:

Chest

Stand facing a wall or doorway set your arm in front of you against the wall/doorway.  Slightly turn your body away from your arm to increase the tension in your chest muscles for a better stretch.  Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

Biceps

In the same position as the chest stretch against the wall, put your palm out so it is flush against the wall and turn the body away from your arm, this will extend the stretch from the chest into the bicep area (front part of the arm).  Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

Triceps

Take your arm above your head and bend at the elbow.  With the other hand grab the elbow and gently pull the arm towards the back until a comfortable resistance is met.  Hold 10-20 seconds and switch sides.

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Lunges

Forward lunges

Standing straight lung one leg forward while keeping the other leg stable and behind your body.  Lunge forward far enough that your knee keeps in alignment with your toes and not beyond it.  Squat down as you lung forward keeping your trailing knee just off of the floor, do not bounce it off the floor.  Gently pushing forward on the trailing leg, stand up straight and repeat.  Perform 10-20 repetitions total.

Side lunges

Using the same technique as the forward lunge, go from standing straight up and down to the side instead of straight forward.  Be sure not to let your knee go past your toes and gently push the leading lung leg back to an upright position.  Perform 10-20 repetitions total.ImageImage


Bicep curls with a gallon of milk or canned goods

Standing in an upright position with hand weights, gallon of milk, or canned goods (whatever is readily available), start with arms straight in the bottom position and bending at the elbows, curl the weight up towards the top part of your body without moving your shoulders.  Lower the weight slowly to the start position and repeat.  Repeat 10-20 repetitions total.

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