General

5 Best Indoor Workouts

Why should we do Bodyweight Exercises?

Think about it: the ability to move and control your own body weight is very important in your daily life, and most times you’re not even realizing you’re doing it. You squat down to sit on a chair, deadlift to pick something up from the floor and lunge when walking upstairs. A little bit of bodyweight training should be a part of your self-care routine as it can help you to get stronger, move better, and do all of these day-to-day movements more safely. 

There will be times where you can’t access your usual fitness classes, the gym, or play sports with your team, for example when traveling or during the current Coronavirus lockdowns. So it’s good to master some simple movements that allow you to get some exercise in, no matter where you are. 

The benefits are plentiful, even without fancy equipment: 

  • You improve your mobility and flexibility
  • You add muscle and burn fat
  • You develop a strong foundation for other sports
  • You can relieve stiffness and pain

5 Movements to get you started

The beauty of bodyweight exercises is that they can be done anywhere, anytime with zero or minimal equipment. Most of them can also be “scaled”, meaning you can make them easier for yourself until you build the strength to do the “proper” movement! While there a lot of exercises around, some are more beginner-friendly than others. We picked 5 movements that are a great place to start!

1 – Squat

With your feet about shoulder-width apart, stand head facing forward with your chest up and out. Start sitting back as if you’re about to sit down on an imaginary chair. If it helps with your balance, extend your arms or clasp your hands. Your upper body will turn forward, so make sure you keep your back straight. Get your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible with your knees over your ankles and pointing out, while pressing your weight into your heels. Push through your heels to get yourself back to the starting position while keeping your body tight.

To scale this movement, look for something at the right height and hold on to it while performing the squat to take some weight off your legs and help your balance.

2- Push-Up

Get on all fours, with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and your legs extended to balance your weight between hands and toes. Tighten your core so your body is in a straight line with no sagging or arching your back. Slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself, until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Then push yourself back up to the starting position, always keeping your body straight and your core engaged. 

To scale this movement, do it from your knees instead of your toes. This decreases the weight you need to push and helps with balance.

3 – Lunge

Stand upright and make a step forward with one foot, while your toes are facing straight. Lower your back knee to bring your hips down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, while your upper body remains upright. Make sure to keep your knees in line with your ankles. Keep your weight in your heel while pushing back up to the starting position.

To scale this movement, look for something at the right height and hold on to it while performing the lunge to take some weight off your legs and help your balance.

4 – Plank

To do a standard plank, get on the floor and place your forearms parallel to your body with the elbows aligned below the shoulders. Engage your entire body and especially your core to keep it in a straight line while grounding your toes into the floor. Look at the floor while keeping your head in line with your back.

To do a side plank, start lying on your side with your feet stacked on top of each other. Prop your body up on your elbow while engaging your core and keeping a straight line. 

To scale this movement, do it from your knees instead of your toes/feet.

5 – Jumping Jack

Start standing upright with your legs together and arms on your sides. Then jump into the air, and as you jump spread your legs out to be shoulder-width apart while you lift your arms up over your head. From there, jump back into the starting position

To scale this movement, start from the same position but instead of jumping, step to the side with your right foot while at the same time swinging your arms up over your head. Once the foot is stable on the ground, close your legs by moving your left foot to your right one and swing your arms back to the starting position. Repeat while alternating your feet.

What to do before, during and after the Workout

Before you jump into your workout, it’s a good idea to pick some music or a playlist that gets you excited and write your workout down on a piece of paper to avoid looking at your phone, which could potentially distract you. Allow yourself the time to practice this element of self-care without interruptions!

Don’t forget that your muscles might be cold and your heart rate low. In order to prevent injury, it’s always recommended to do a dynamic warm-up before moving to more strenuous exercises. 

You can run or jump in place, do some punches and kicks and swing your arms and legs if you have absolutely no equipment, or use a jump rope or stationary bike to get your heart pumping. 

During the workout, make sure to perform the exercises properly, valuing the quality of execution over speed. If you feel the first circuit is too easy, try to increase the numbers of repetitions for the next one or move from the scaled movements to the proper ones. If it’s too hard, scale your movements or lower the number of repetitions (but not too much, you still want to work up a sweat!).

After finishing your circuits, allow your body to cool down, rehydrate and do some stretches. Remember that muscle isn’t built while you’re exercising, it’s built during the rest periods in between! Make sure to take proper care of your body, eat nutritious food, get enough sleep and relax (maybe with some CBD?).

3 Workout Ideas to get you moving

1 – Full Body Workout

This workout should take around 15-20 minutes and engages all of your body. Try to complete the circuit without pausing too long between the exercises. Don’t worry, there is a rest period of 1-2 minutes before you go into the next round. Also, remember you can always adjust the intensity if necessary. You do you!

Circuit (3x rounds):

  • 20 Squats
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 20 Lunges (alternate legs)
  • 15 Second Plank
  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 1-2 Minutes Rest

2 – Cardio Workout

This workout should take around 15-20 minutes and get your heart pumping! As for the workout above, try to complete the circuit without pausing too long between the exercises and adjust if necessary!

Circuit (3x rounds):

  • 10 Squats 
  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 5 Push-ups
  • 10 Squats 
  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 5 Push-ups
  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 10 Lunges 
  • 50 Jumping Jacks
  • 1-2 Minutes Rest

3 – Core Workout

This workout should take around 15-20 minutes and really work your core! As for the workout above, try to complete the circuit without pausing too long between the exercises (apart from where it is explicitly mentioned) and adjust if necessary!

Circuit (3x rounds)

  • 30 Second Plank + 30 Seconds Rest
  • 10 Squats
  • 30 Second Side Plank (left) + 30 Seconds Rest
  • 5 Push-ups
  • 30 Second Side Plank (right) + 30 Seconds Rest
  • 20 Jumping Jacks
  • 1-2 Minutes Rest

About Anna Falk

Anna Falk is Head of Product at Harmony. Anna obtained her PhD degree in Organic Chemistry with highest honours and has a combined 9 years of experience in R&D, project, and product management across the fields of natural product synthesis, catalysis, and cosmetics. She has produced award-winning, internationally published research at the Universities of Berkeley, Edinburgh, and Cologne.

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