Skip the Gym Membership: Try These At-Home Workouts Instead
by Elizabeth S.
Looking to get fit? Or stay fit? Many people equate joining a gym with getting a good workout, but that’s not entirely true. While gyms do offer many different exercise machines, and often a wide selection of classes as well, you don’t have to join one in order to receive an effective and beneficial workout. Plus, gym memberships can get expensive and place a strain on your budget, especially after your introductory period is over.
Fortunately, with the right knowledge and a minimal amount of equipment, you can provide yourself with exercises that are just as effective as the ones you can get at a gym — all inside the comfort of your own home! By developing a home exercise routine, you can save yourself money, work out in the privacy of your own home whenever you want, and benefit from the convenience of having a gym readily available to you at all times, all while avoiding the time it takes to commute back and forth to a separate location.
Below, you’ll find several home workouts, most of which require minimal equipment, or items you’re likely to already have inside your home.
Strength and Toning
Easily one of the most well-known and effective workouts you can do practically anywhere, pushups are great for developing upper body strength and toning your arms, pectorals, and back area.
The key to a pushup is maintaining proper form. Here’s how to do it:
- Get down on the floor and place your hands palms-down, keeping them a little wider than your shoulders.
- Extend your legs behind you. Keep your body in a straight line and avoid either sagging or sticking your bottom too high in the air.
- Now angle your head looking in front of you slightly.
- Use your arms to lower yourself toward the ground and stay parallel.
- When you’ve lowered your body a few inches from the ground, raise back up.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times, doing three sets per workout.
If pushups are too hard for you at first, you can start by keeping your knees on the ground instead of your feet and move to doing the traditional method once you have more strength.
If you want more of a challenge, try doing your pushups while placing your hands on an incline, such as a stair, or a pair of blocks or bricks.
Tricep dips are easy to do if you have a table, desk, or chair in your home. As the name implies, these are a good way to work your triceps while toning and strengthening your arms.
To do a tricep dip:
- Stand with a STURDY chair or desk behind you
- Place your hands on it like you’re holding yourself up
- Extend your feet all the way out in front of you in a straight line and rest your heels on the ground.
- While keeping your legs extended, lower yourself down, with your elbows pointing behind you, and then raise yourself back up.
- Repeat five to 10 more times, with another set after.
Squats help strengthen and tone your lower body and are great example of a bodyweight workout you can do anywhere with a flat surface.
- Begin your stance by standing straight up, placing your feet shoulder-width apart
- Extend your arms and hands in front of you, which will help maintain your balance as you go up and down.
- Sit back as if you’re sitting down in a chair, remain facing forward, and slightly arch your back as your upper body bends forward just a bit.
- Lower yourself down towards the floor and shift your weight onto your heels, while keeping your thighs parallel with the ground, and your knees over your ankles.
- Lift off of your heels and raise yourself back up to your starting position
- Repeat five to 10 times, doing three total sets. (If you need a video example, click here.)
This exercise is for your core and lower ab area and is much more effective than your basic crunches or sit-ups.
- Start by lying faceup on the mat, with your arms straight out to the sides so your body forms a “T”
- Extend your legs straight up toward the ceiling and be sure to keep your back flat on the ground
- Keep your legs together and lower them to the right as far as you can without lifting your shoulders off the floor
- Swing them to the left while doing the same
- Alternate back and forth 10 times and perform three set
(You can complement this workout by remaining in the same position, with your legs extended in front of you instead. While keeping them together, raise and lower them to the ground, and back up to a 45-degree angle. This will work your upper and lower abs together.)
This is another easy core exercise, requiring only a floor, and ideally a rug or soft surface.
- Lie down on the floor with your knees bent, and feet flat
- Position your arms parallel to your body with palms facing down.
- Squeeze your stomach muscles, and then raise your midsection towards the ceiling, keeping your core tight, and then squeeze your glutes as well (You should now have a perfect line from your knees to your shoulders, like the photo above.)
- Hold the position for 5 seconds, keeping your muscles tight
- Lower back down.
- Repeat 10 times, doing three sets per workout.
High Knee Running
Running in place while bringing your knees up high can get your heart rate climbing, and all you need is your living room (or any room with a floor!)
- Stand with your lower arms parallel to the ground, and position your hands level to your belly, but where your knees can hit them.
- Begin by running in place, bringing your knees up as high as you can, touching your hands.
- Do this at a moderate pace for two minutes, and rest for one minute.
- Repeat for five full sets.
If the full two minutes are too difficult, you can begin with 30 seconds and gradually work your way up as your cardio health improves. (Watch this video if you are having trouble with your form.)
If you want to add some variety to your at-home cardio, consider using a jump rope, or doing jumping jacks. Intervals of three minutes and three sets should do the trick.
For helpful tips on saving money, budgeting, and travel, be sure to check out more from the Cash Store blog.
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