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How to get a great workout at home when you can't make it to the gym

Updated on December 21, 2011

Fast "at-home" weights needed

Everyone is able to come up with some type of excuse to not exercise or make it to the gym. Some of these excuses are valid, while some others are just ways to blame some outside circumstance or variable for our laziness or lack of motivation. I have been in both boats at one point or another. The truth, though, is everyone needs to exercise. It's a fact of life. Our bodies require blood flow, increased heart rate, increased respiration, sweating, etc. in order to function properly and more efficiently. It's like a take care of it, it will last longer. If we care for our bodies, they will last us longer, and be in better condition during that time. Nice phrase to sum up the biggest benefit of exercise is "Quality of Life." Quality of life is simple. More energy, better sleep, less pain and stiffness in joints, less effort to accomplish everyday tasks of life.

Having said all that, some of the biggest excuses I hear from people as to why they don't exercise are:

1. Time: This might be because of work, school, children, friends, family, volunteering, yadda yadda yadda. Everyone in today's world is busy. Sadly, exercise is not often a priority when someone has X amount of time and Y amount of things to accomplish. So, yes, time has some validity to being an excuse.

2. Money: Gym memberships, workout clothes, supplement drinks, new shoes, weight sets, treadmills, you name it. If exercise is something they aren't super passionate about, then someone is much less likely to purchase some of the above items, if any at all.

3. Responsibilities: This sort of encompasses broad fields. Could be the mother that has children in the home and can't leave them to get away for an hour, or can't leave them home alone. Could be the father that was at work all day and can't justify leaving for an hour to workout when he hasn't seen his wife or kids all day.

To eliminate excuses to avoid exercise, there is something everyone can do at home, without weights, for free, in a very short time. Because most, if not all, of us fit into one of these categories or something similar as a reason or hindrance to exercise, I have (not on my own invention) become passionate and actively involved in a form/theory of exercise called HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training. Without going into super science about it, though I would love to share articles I've read from very knowledgeable sources, I will summarize the premise of this practice. Short bursts of maximal output, with very short breaks in between exercises. What might this look like? Simple example: Sprint in place for 20 seconds, then take a 10 second break. Repeat this 4-6 times. This simple process can get your heart rate up in it's maximal range in an extremely short period of time (versus running on a treadmill and it taking 20-30 minutes to get heart rate up to that same target). So, in essence, you can workout for 4 minutes and get your heart rate up just as high as other longer forms of cardio exercise, which provides great benefit to your body. This HIIT can take many forms and is very easy to adapt to all levels of fitness, and you can always lower or increase intensity or number of sets or time of sets of each exercise.

Listed below will be a link to an article with all the true research and in-depth insight about the science behind HIIT.

So, if you aren't a believer, I challenge you to give a workout a try. I have put together a short workout with 5 exercises. If you follow my sets and times, it will take a total of 15 minutes. Which I guarantee will leave you quite tired, yet quite satisfied that you accomplished a great deal in a short time.

Interval "at home" workout
Intensity level: high

To do:
You will complete every exercise 6 times in 20 second intervals with a 10 second rest. (20 seconds squat jacks, 10 second rest, 20 second squat jacks, 10 second rest, etc). You will do all 6 sets of exercise 1 before moving on. So, you should only be on each exercise total of 3 minutes. Total workout done in 15 minutes. If you have something that you can set to beep every ten seconds, that is ideal. So you would do exercise two segments, then rest for one segment, on for two, off one, etc. That way you aren't wasting time looking at a clock and using that as an excuse to pause every once in a while.

1. Squat Jacks
2. Ski abs
3. Jump lunges
4. Side Plank (alternate left/right each time)
5. Burpee Sit Thrus

Video examples of each exercise are below to help you out.

Make sure you drink water before and after the workout. Good luck.

Here is an online timer that is perfect for intervals...

Give it a try, and see what you think.

Squat Jacks

Ski Abs

Jump Lunges

Side Plank

Burpee Sit Thru

Quality of Life

What is the biggest thing that keeps me from getting the exercise I need?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks much for posting guidance with tips for an important aspect of our lives that is too often neglected!

    • kunynghame profile image

      kunynghame 6 years ago from San Antonio, TX

      It's true, there is definitely ways for everyone to get a workout in, especially at home. Hopefully people will start finding motivation to become more active and make a positive change in their lives.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice hub. It's easy to get a good workout at home or simply away from the gym and with very little equipment.