May 19, 2021
Gyms might be opening back up, but many of us have found convenience in working out at home. Why tack time onto your day driving back and forth to the gym when you can get results toning your body from the comfort of your own space?
If the pandemic brought us anything positive, it’s that we don’t have to let our fitness goals fall away during stressful times. If anything, this is when we need our healthy habits the most, and developing effective home workouts is the cornerstone of a well-functioning body, mind, and spirit.
Exercise is the agent of change when it comes to maintaining a toned physique and achieving weight loss—if that’s your goal—but don’t discount the importance of eating right, staying hydrated, and getting proper sleep.
Here are some tools to incorporate into your at-home toolbox, no matter where you are in your exercise journey.
Basic stretches are the building blocks to toning muscles and getting them primed for fitness. Here are a few stretches to work into your daily toning routine.
This stretch is designed to release tension in the hip and thigh muscles that builds up during our normal daily activities.
Using a wall or chair for balance, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slowly grab the top of your right foot from behind, so your knee is facing the floor. Hold for 20 seconds. Rest and repeat with your left leg. Try it without holding onto anything to increase balance and core strength.
Hip openers reach the muscles around the hip joints and lower back. This exercise is integral to maintaining good hip function.
From a starting position of feet hip width apart, slowly step your right leg back into a lunge, ensuring your right knee does not come forward of your toes. Slowly lower until your right thigh is parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight and core tight. Hold for 20 seconds. Rest and repeat with the other leg.
The cross-arm stretch releases tension in the shoulder blades and triceps.
Stand hip width apart, and start by bringing your right arm across the front of your body at about chest height. Grasp your right arm below the elbow and gently pull until you can feel the stretch in your shoulder blades and triceps. Hold for 25 second. Repeat with the left side.
No matter what type of workout or level of tone you’re aiming for, full-body strength relies on building strong abdominals. Try these exercises at home.
This simple move engages the entire body, especially the core, and helps tone the body from head to toe.
Come down to a starting position on your hands and toes on the floor, feet hip width apart, with your body as parallel to the floor as possible. Be sure not to let your backside lift too high. Hold plank for 20 seconds. Aim for 5 20-second reps.
This variation on a basic crunch engages the oblique muscles, which run down the sides of the body.
Lying on your back, come into a crunch, then lift your right shoulder to your left knee, hold briefly, then switch sides. Perform 10 reps on each side.
Push-ups are a body weight exercise, and are effective at toning the abdominals and building upper-body strength.
Come down to the floor, hands wider than shoulder width apart and feet hip width apart. Slowly lower your arms to elbow height, then bring your arms straight. Be sure to keep your backside from lifting too high. Performs 15 reps two times, with a 30-second rest in between.
Plyometrics combines strength and power to help athletes level up endurance and explosiveness. Here are a few plyometric exercise moves to try at home:
The standing tuck is an effective exercise to increase explosive power from your quads and glutes.
Standing hip width apart, come down into a squat with knees over toes, then jump out of it, bringing your knees up toward your armpits. Use your arms for momentum and land with soft knees. Perform 15 reps.
This exercise raises the heart rate and simultaneously tones the legs.
From a neutral stance, jump into a lunge with your right leg forward and right knee in line with your right toes, right thigh parallel to the floor. From that position, jump into a lunge with the opposite leg. Use your arms for momentum. Perform two sets of 15 reps on each side, making sure the forward-lunging knee stays in line with the toes.
This plyometric move is a twist on the jumping jack, and combines air time with explosive stretches and squats.
From a squatting position with your knees bent below your hips, drive your arms overhead and jump into the air. At the top of your jump, raise your arms and spread your legs so that you’re making a star, or an “X,” with your body, then return to a squat. Aim for two sets of 15 reps.
Check it out if you a) want a plan to tone your entire body that is personalized for you, b) want daily feedback on your progress, c) want to be held accountable for completing your workouts, and, most importantly, d) want to finally achieve the results you’ve been visualizing for years.
Written by: Samantha Berman