No Gym? No Problem! Work Up a Sweat With 5 At-Home Exercises
Let's face it: We don't always have time to get to the gym. And even when we do, we don't always feel like making the trek.
On days like those, we've basically got two options: We can sit at home and feel bad about missing a workout, or we can fit in a perfectly good ab and arm routine in the comfort of our own homes.
Valerie Orsoni is a big proponent of the latter. As a long-time health and wellness expert (and founder of her signature LeBootCamp program), Orsoni is an expert at working out under any circumstance — even with the furnishings and items in your living room!
Keep reading for five of Valerie's favorite at-home exercises, complete with step-by-step instructions for each:
You can do this move in your family room, on a wall, or if you cannot find a wall without a piece of furniture, paintings, or objects, then you can use your fridge.
Stand facing a wall/fridge, feet hip-distance apart, close enough to touch it with your arms straight out at eye level.
Place your palms on the wall/fridge and bend at the elbows.
Push your body back from the wall harder each time, moving slowly and maintaining control.
Beginners: 20 reps
Intermediate: 50 reps
Advanced: 100 reps
Valerie's Tip: "Increase the difficulty of this exercise by keeping your fingers off the wall or fridge, or by working only one arm at a time."
Triceps on the Sofa (With Cans or Water Bottles)
Hold a filled water bottle (1 liter) or dumbbell (5–10 pounds) in each hand.
Keep one leg straight while the other rests on the sofa. Keeping your back straight, hinge forward.
Start with the right arm. Hold a bottle in your right hand, elbow “glued” at your waist. Your elbow should forming a 90-degree angle, with your hand held out in front of you.
Slowly raise your forearm so that your arm becomes straight. Do not move your elbow! Hold the final position for 5 seconds then slowly release, controlling your move so that to avoid using momentum until you are back to the starting position.
Repeat according to your fitness level, then change sides.
Beginners: 20 reps
Intermediate: 30 reps, 15 sec rest, 30 reps
Advanced: 50 reps, 15 sec rest, 50 reps
Reverse Triceps on the Sofa
"You can do this at home using your sofa, your bed or a bath that’s securely bolted in place, or in the park using a bench," says Valerie. "After a few weeks, you’ll have toned, shapely arms and you’ll be able to wear sexy, sleeveless dresses without feeling self-conscious."
Stand with your back facing the seat or support. Place your hands behind you on the seat, hip distance apart, and face forwards.
Walk your legs forwards until they are at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your back straight, use the force in your triceps to lower your body until your bum is just below knee level — do not let your body drop too far.
Slowly lift your body back up to its original position, controlling your triceps as you do so. Do not bounce. Try and maintain full control throughout.
Beginners: 2 series of 10 reps; 15-sec rest between series.
Intermediate: 2 series of 25 reps; 15-sec rest between series.
Advanced: 3 series of 50 reps; 15-sec rest between series.
Squeezers on the Sofa
Targets: Inner arms, chest muscles
Sit on a sofa with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground.
Squeeze a pillow (or rolled-up beach towel, or small medicine ball, or Magic Circle®) 20 times, then release for 5 seconds.
Contract without releasing for 20 seconds and repeat the whole series until you feel the burn. Then, add one rep.
Butterfly Ab Crunches
Targets: Deep ab muscles
"This exercise allows you to work your deep abs, and get a flat and sexy tummy," says Valerie.
Sit comfortably on a gym mat or carpet with your legs in a diamond shape, with the soles of your feet touching. Don’t worry if you aren’t very flexible at the start; as you progress your knees will eventually reach the ground so that you create the perfect butterfly.
Place your hands under the nape of your neck. Inhale through your nose.
Raise your chest about 10 centimeters while exhaling through your mouth (not forcefully).
Lower your chest to the starting position as you inhale, then exhale as you go back up again.
Repeat 25 times and, as you progress, up to 50 times. (Yes, you can do it!) Ideally, repeat 4 times per week.
CAUTION: Do not push your head with your hands as this puts your neck at risk of injury. "The purpose of your hands is only to keep your head in alignment with your back and shoulders," warns Valerie. "You don’t want to curve your back like a turtle!"