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How to turn your home into a gym without spending a penny

September 25th, 2018 by Charlie Summers

Want to work out but hate the hustle and bustle of the gym, or you simply can’t afford a membership? Don’t worry if the gym just isn’t your thing, because there’s a cheap and easy workout option that’s hiding in plain sight: your home!

There’s no need to buy expensive equipment - all you need is some floor space and a little enthusiasm. Here are ten simple life hacks to help you work out at home - free of charge and all in your own time.

Give these a go, and try to aim for a whole body workout. Why not try two or three sets of 12 to 15 reps for each exercise - making sure to drink lots of water as you go along!

1) Pull up a chair

Grab a sturdy chair to perform press-ups, tricep dips or step ups. If you want to add resistance and weight, carry a backpack full of books or anything else you have lying around.

Tricep dip

2) Tie up loose ends

Use a pair of old tights and tie them in a knot at the toes. This will act as a makeshift resistance band that you can use either for stretching (an example exercise would be a lying hamstring stretch) or for placing around your thighs to perform squat exercises that will engage the glutes.

3) Knowledge is power

Use a book or DVD instead of a block in between the thighs and squeeze to engage in your plank, chair pose or bridge. This will increase strength in the inner thighs and deep in the abdominal muscles. Maintain a strong core throughout keeping your back nice and straight, and think about drawing your lower abs in.

4) Bottle it up

If you don’t have any weights at home, use water bottles filled with water or sand instead. This will do the same job as standard weights for bicep curls, shoulder presses and any other muscle-building exercises!

5) Let things slide

For this home workout, use towels or oven gloves on your hands to challenge your core by sliding your hands out in front of you (similarly to how you'd use an ab wheel).

Plank (sliding hands forwards)

Alternatively, slide your hands out to the side and bring your hands wider than your shoulders, either one at a time or both at the same time (whichever you’re comfortable with).

6) Up your plank game

You can use the towels or oven gloves in a similar way by placing them on your feet to challenge your plank.

Try planking on your hands by placing the towels underneath each foot and sliding one foot out to the side one at a time. Try to really engage through the core and keep your hips still. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders.

7) Ab fab

Another way to challenge your plank is to start in high plank and, keeping your legs straight, slide your feet inwards towards a pike position. You can also draw your knees in towards your chest in an alternating ‘mountain climber’ motion. These exercises will really fire up the lower abs!

Plank (mountain climbers)

8) Upstairs, downstairs 

Run up and down the stairs to get your heart racing. If you’re comfortable doing this, try running up and down for 20 seconds as fast as you can and then recover by walking for 1 minute. Try this intermittently for 10 to 15 minutes.

9) Increase your load

Use a heavy backpack full of books or, even better, get your kids to help you out: get playful with them on your back and perform squats or lunges to activate your quads, hamstrings and glutes. Make sure your back is nice and straight, keep your knees out and in line with your toes, and don’t forget to breathe!

Squat with bag for extra weight

10) Carry that weight

Just done your shopping? Grab a heavy carrier bag or two full of shopping in each hand and walk around your house, flat, garden or wherever you are as if you’re doing a farmer’s carry. Remember to take short, quick steps and keep your back nice and straight. Again, don't forget to breathe!

Stay in your comfort zone

I hope these simple yet effective home exercises will inspire you to get moving this week.

However, while being fit and healthy is important, you don’t want to overdo it. If you have a medical condition, speak to your GP before attempting any vigorous exercise at home. As Jim Rohn once said,

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.”

Happy training!

About Charlie

Charlie is a London-based personal trainer and founder of CVS Fitness UK, a bespoke fitness service catering to all levels of physical ability. For more fitness tricks and tips, check out Charlie’s Instagram here.

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