We all know the deal. Eating sensibly and exercising regularly leaves us healthier, feeling energized and looking great. Watching the diet is not too difficult—after all, we all need to eat every day. But beginning an exercise plan can at first seem imposing. Sticking to the regime is even harder.
We want to be tighter, toned, and in some cases much more muscular. Yet being a newbie at the gym, and indeed the costs involved, can put many people off. But your journey to fitness doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s easy to complete effective workouts at home, that will provide real visible results. Even with with little to no equipment.
This article explains the best workouts that can be completed without going to the gym. It illustrates their benefits and provides links to some powerful exercises to make your own workout plan.
No beach body is complete without the familiar ‘six-pack’. A great ab workout can achieve this goal, with dedication. But it is not all about sporting tight, clearly defined abdominals.
Working the abs is an excellent way to strengthen the core (pelvis, abdomen and the hips). This comes with further benefits, it can:
- Prevent back pain – strengthening core muscles can support healthy posture. It also alleviates chronic back issues.
- Improve posture – having a stable and strong core prevents the back taking the strain, which can lead to spinal curvature.
- Enhance breathing – deep breathing requires the abdominals. This is especially important for exercising or sport respiration.
The back is probably the most ignored part of the body when it comes to working out. This is unfortunate. Most actions we complete throughout the day involve this important group of muscles. Walking, sitting, leaning over the keyboard and showering; these all utilize the back.
Giving the back a good workout can:
- Raise health – exercising the back muscles allows nutrients to feed the intervertebral discs.
- Improve flexibility – this makes daily actions easier and reduces the likelihood of sprains or injury.
- Enhance posture – exercising back muscles will pull the shoulders back. Studies have shown that it is an effective way to correct poor posture.
- Improve performance – if you are involved in sports, a strong back can improve performance levels. Furthermore, even exercises designed for arms, legs or chest involve the back—working them out can reduce the chance of injury.
My personal favorites are the ‘flying dog’ and the ‘superman’. They work every one of the five major back muscles shown here: at-home back exercises.
Arm workoutsThe arms are the most visible of all the muscles. If you are like me, you want others to know you are working out and looking after your body. Having tight and toned arms is the perfect advertisement.
In addition to looking great, building and strengthening arm muscles can:
- Strengthen bones – working out the arms increases bone density. This reduces the likelihood of fractures and lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improve sporting performance – if you play football, tennis or baseball etc., the arms are essential. Strong arms equal more power.
- Enhance daily routines – whether taking out the trash or moving furniture, a powerful set of biceps and triceps will make your chores easier.
The best arm workouts will cover all the muscles in the arm, both upper and forearm. Dips and push-ups are the traditional and best exercises for these groups.
If you are going for an all-over toned physique, the shoulder muscles are literally on the top of the pile.
Anyone who has seen a ‘typical’ bodybuilder will have witnessed the defined neck ‘slopes’ to the shoulders. In addition, they have ‘cannonballs’ at the top of the arms. Working out the shoulders can give this dynamic impression.
Perhaps obtaining a hulk-like physique is not your thing. Exercising the shoulders can also help to prevent injury and enhance arm strength.
I always recommend that the crab walk and the single arm plank are essential in any all-round workout. You can find these exercises here: shoulder workout at-home.
Often jokingly referred to as “missing leg day,” chest, arms and abs are often exercised and the legs forgotten about. Ensuring that you have toned and muscular legs means that your body will be in proportion. You will not have the unfortunate ‘chicken-legs’ appearance.
Whether running, walking or using the stairs, your legs are being pushed. Even the act of standing up or sitting down requires these muscles. Strong and healthy quadriceps and calves makes daily life more comfortable. They improve sporting performance and enhance posture and stability.
In my personal workouts, I always include the important exercise sets of squats and leg raises. These will quickly improve leg condition. These and other leg exercises can be found here: leg workout for beginners.
Typically referred to as the ‘pecs’, the chest muscles are the powerhouse in the body. These ‘push’ muscles are involved in such daily actions as opening doors, using the vacuum cleaner and pushing the lawnmower.
A tight and toned chest looks impressive under a T-shirt. It also takes the strain off the back when performing strength actions, such as lifting. In addition, working the chest will:
- Improve posture – the chest is pushed outwards and the shoulders back, avoiding the ‘round-shoulder’ look.
- Assist with weight loss – resistance exercises have been shown to burn calories.
Some weights are often required to really push the pectoral muscles hard. For me, the bench press and lying fly are serious chest builders. These and other chest exercises can be found here: chest workout at-home.
How to Make Your Own Workout Plan?
The above links to individual muscle group workouts can be used in isolation. So, if obtaining large arms is your aim, just follow all the exercises included in that particular workout.
However, I would recommend combining elements from these individual workouts for a total body session. This will help prevent injury and give you an all-round proportioned body.
Choose one exercise from each section (one from chest workouts, one from shoulder workouts, etc.). Then complete 12 repetitions (one set) of each exercise. Take a three minute break in between.
Alternatively, use the individual muscle workouts on different days to really push every muscle hard.
Lastly, I want to stress the importance of combining strength training with cardiovascular training. There are a number of reasons to combine the two, but in my personal opinion, the higher V02 max is the main reason I’m doing it.
I highly recommend getting at least 1 piece of cardio equipment for your home. You might want to check the informational pages of this site about treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes. These pages are specifically written to help you pick your preferred cardio exercise machine.