August 6, 2013
Turn these 10 at-home exercises into a circuit to get a quick, effective workout blast right in the comfort of your own living room! To start, perform each move listed below for 30 seconds before moving onto the next exercise, eventually working your way up to performing each one for one full minute. Complete a total of one or two rounds of the circuit for a total-body, heart-pumping workout.
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart in a tandem foot position, with one leg in front of the other. Quickly switch feet in a scissoring motion, while keeping your hands up by your cheekbones. Stay light on the balls of your feet and work on purposeful foot placement, both forward and backward.
Hold a light dumbbell in one hand (you can use a can of soup if you don’t have a weight handy). With your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, squat down while holding the weight near your shoulder, keeping your elbow pointing forward. As you lift up out of the squat, extend your arm into an overhead shoulder press, while simultaneously rotating the body. Be sure to get triple extension—a complete opening of the ankle, knees and hips—at the top of the movement. Switch the weight into your opposite hand halfway through the set.
Place a broomstick on the floor and stand to one side of it. Quickly jump from one side of the broomstick to the other—moving laterally—while keeping your hands up by your cheekbones. Stay in an athletic-ready position by landing in triple flexion, keeping the ankle, knees and hips flexed.
Perform push-ups by placing your hands at the edge of a countertop. Add power to this move by pushing away from the edge, getting some air between your hands and the counter surface. Keep your elbows angled below the shoulders and maintain a rigid, neutral spine by bracing your core.
Fast Toe Taps
Stand in front of a step stool or at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Quickly lift one foot and tap the toes to the top of the stool or step. Alternate your feet rapidly and pump the arms alongside your body just like you would if you were running.
Single-leg Bent-over Row
Hold a light dumbbell or a soup can in each hand. Stand with your back to a step stool or bottom step of a staircase, adopt a lunge position with your back toes lightly resting on the stool or step and lean your torso forward slightly as you keep your core engaged. Quickly row the arms one at a time, making sure that about 80 percent of your bodyweight is centered on the front foot. Switch to the opposite leg halfway through the set.
Start standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding your arms out at shoulder height. Quickly bring your legs and arms together, crossing them one on top of the other in front of the body before returning to your starting position. Rapidly continue this action, making sure to alternate the crossing of your arms and legs.
Lunge With Overhead Twist
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a broomstick overhead. Make sure to keep your shoulder blades set slightly back and down and avoid allowing them to shrug upward toward the ears. Lunge forward, bending both knees to 90 degrees—or even lower, if you can tolerate it—while keeping the body upright and gently rotate your spine toward the direction of the front foot. Avoid allowing the ribcage to pop forward by maintaining a rigid, neutral spine by bracing the abdominals muscles. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Keep the torso tall throughout the entire movement sequence.
Burpees With a Twist
Stand in front of a step stool or at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Quickly drop to a plank position by placing your hands on the stool or step and then thrusting your legs out straight behind you. Carefully rotate the whole body so that one arm is pointing up toward the ceiling and you’re balancing on the edges of your shoes. Return to plank position and then quickly jump the feet toward the stool or step, landing in a low squat position before jumping up to standing. Alternate the direction of rotation with each successive burpee. Be sure to maintain a rigid, neutral spine throughout the entire movement sequence by bracing your abdominals.
Curtsey Lunge With Front-arm Raise
Hold onto the ends of a light dumbbell or a soup can with both hands and straighten your elbows as you lift the weight in front of your body to shoulder height. Stand with the feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and cross one leg backward behind the other in a lunging action that mimics a curtsey. Bend both knees to 90 degrees or slightly lower if you can tolerate it. During the curtsey, lower the weight down in front of your hips before returning to your starting position and repeating on the opposite side.
Sabrena Merrill, M.S., is an exercise physiologist and ACE Education Content Development Expert. A 20-year veteran of the fitness industry, she is a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer as well as an ACE-certified Personal Trainer, Health Coach and Group Fitness Instructor. Sabrena holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education (sport science) as well as a master’s degree in physical education/biomechanics from the University of Kansas. A former full-time faculty member in the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department at California State University, Long Beach, Sabrena has a passion for educating others about current fitness topics as evidenced through her work developing curriculum for continuing education programs, writing for fitness-related publications, creating educational videos and speaking to fitness professionals at conferences and workshops nationwide.