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Ideas for Winter Workouts. Workout at Home. Best Indoor Exercises.

Updated on September 14, 2015

Exercising in the Winter

Coming up with exercise ideas is easy in the summer. You can run, bike, hike, swim, kayak, canoe, play sports or workout by doing strength training and cardio. In the summer I like to bike, hike and swim. In the winter it is cold, wet and slippery outside. The weather is not good for biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, etc. and my body is hidden under heavy clothes.

There are fewer options and fewer reasons to exercise in the winter. You probably can't do the same exercises you did in the summer and you probably don't have the same reasons to exercise. Come up with different reasons to exercise and different workout routines. Don't sit around being bored while you lose muscle and gain fat.

Doing a dumbbell workout.
Doing a dumbbell workout. | Source

Set Goals

To get yourself to exercise more in the winter start by setting goals. Figure out what you want to accomplish. Focusing on your looks works better when it is hot enough for shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits. In the colder months your body is going to be covered up. So it is better to focus on having fun and improving your ability to do something.

Think of things you would like to be able to do by the end of winter or before summer starts. One of my goals is to get good at doing difficult push up variations. If you are looking forward to the summer then think about what you want do be able to do when it arrives. I want to be able to bike to provincial parks with beaches. Eventually the heavy clothes are going to come off and you are going to want to do summer activities. It can take over 4 months to get ready for summer. Don't procrastinate and run out of time. Winter is a great time to build muscle or lose fat if you can come up with a list of exercises you actually want to do.

Play Indoor Games

While you are inside you can play video games that provide you with exercise like Wii Sports. Motion controlled games like baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, table tennis and boxing get you moving. Even the non sport games can provide you with some exercise. If you spend a lot of time playing them and you try to move around a lot then you will burn calories and maybe build a little muscle. I play Wii games more in the winter to help me stay active. It is better than sitting still.

There are also more traditional games like actual table tennis and air hockey. Games that provide people with exercise are not just for children. They are good for adults. Most adults spend too much time sitting still, especially when it is cold outside. Playing a game of cards is not going to provide you with the exercise you need to stay fit. Either is watching TV.

Use DVDs & Virtual Trainers

Getting yourself to workout and getting yourself to continue to workout requires a lot of willpower when you are by yourself, especially in the winter. You can watch exercise DVDs or workout with a virtual trainer like the ones on Wii Fit. Follow along and get a great workout. It is easier when you are working out to an exercise DVD or video game.

It does not matter if the person is real or virtual. Exercising with another person can make it easier. I don't use my exercise DVDs very often in the summer but I use them a lot in the winter. Even if you are not working on specific goals you can play a DVD or video game. Starting the DVD or game does not require much more willpower than turning on the TV. Just make sure you put the exercise DVDs and games where you will see them everyday. I have exercise DVDs and video games beside my TV.

Using a pull up bar to do pull ups inside.
Using a pull up bar to do pull ups inside. | Source

Get Exercise Equipment

You can use common household items such as towels and chairs as exercise equipment, buy inexpensive exercise equipment like a pull up bar or invest in more expensive equipment like an elliptical trainer. Use the exercise equipment you have not used in a while or get new exercise equipment to use. If you don't have them I recommend getting a stability ball, medicine ball, jump rope, punching bag, pull up bar and a dumbbell. I make good use of them in the winter.

Getting exercise equipment is not enough. Put the equipment where you will see it and where you will use it. Don't hide it.

Mountain climbers against a door.
Mountain climbers against a door. | Source

Learn New Exercises

There are probably lots of good exercises and workout routines that you have not tried. You can do cardio, weightlifting, or isometric training. Work at improving your strength, endurance, speed, balance, flexibility or coordination with exercises that are new to you. Brows the internet for ideas. Looking at pictures and videos is a good way to find exercises you would like to learn.

Wrist rolls.
Wrist rolls. | Source

Workout Neglected Muscles

Summer is mostly about abs, legs, biceps, chests and to a lesser extent triceps. People are in a hurry. So they are more likely to neglect some of their muscles. Winter is a good time to slow down and pay attention to the muscles that did not get enough exercise like the ones in your forearms. Not many people get ready for the beach by doing finger exercises. You have muscles all over. Maybe you neglected your forearms, shoulders, back, butt or triceps.

Compete in Challenges

Tucked push ups with feel in the air.
Tucked push ups with feel in the air. | Source

Doing challenges is a great way to get yourself to exercise. You could do challenges based on the number of repetitions, the duration or the amount of strength that is required. To be a challenge the workout needs to be difficult. You should feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish the workout and completing the challenge should change your body. Decide what the workout is going to be, how often you are going to do it and when you are going to stop.

I did a 100 push ups a day challenge for 3 weeks. Then I challenged myself to do push ups with my feet in the air. Some challenges can last for months. You can make challenges for almost any exercise including walking. If the exercise becomes too easy then change the routine so you don't waste your time.


Side plank
Side plank | Source

People often ask questions like how much weight would I lose if I jumped rope for 15 minutes a day for 7 days. Winter is a good time to answer your own questions by experimenting with different exercises and different workout routines. Take photos, weigh yourself, take your measurements and see how much fat you have. Do the exercises for a specified amount of time and then check your results. Are step ups a good exercise? Find out by doing step ups. Can you bulk up doing push ups? Learn about different push ups variations and then do a push up routine to find out.

In the summer I want a sure thing. I want to know that the exercises I am doing will give me the results I want. In the winter I take more risks. The exercise routine I tried recently made me fatter because it did not burn enough calories. It was good for increasing my strength and the size of my arms. I like being lean but I learned something and my heavy clothes cover up the extra belly fat. Now I know not to do those exercises when I am trying to quickly lose fat.

Switch the Way You Use Your Muscles

Find different uses for your muscles. Switch from cardio to weight lifting or from weight lifting to balance exercises. Switch from exercises that isolate the muscle to ones that work a lot of muscles at once. Do something completely different. Upper body cardio exercises can be a good alternative to weight lifting. Squats and lunges are a good alternative to running or biking.

Do Cross Training

Have you spent a lot of time doing the same exercises over and over again to stay fit. Cross training involves doing different types of activities. Train your body using a bunch of activities instead of just one. Doing a variety of exercise is better for you and it makes the workouts more enjoyable. I do a lot of long distance bike riding in warm weather but I don't like riding an exercise bike. Instead of taking 7 months off waiting for it to warm up outside I can do other exercises.

In late winter and early spring some good cross training exercises for me are running on an elliptical trainer, jumping rope, shadow boxing, step ups and planks. They provide me with good cardiovascular endurance, a strong core, strong legs and willpower. When I start biking outside again my body and my mind are ready. I don't keep training all year. I take a break from biking during the fall and through most of the winter. Then I do cross training for about 3 months before I start biking again.

Best Indoor Winter Exercises

push ups
mountain climbers
chest press
pull ups
jumping rope
bicep curls
step ups
shadow boxing
tai chi
shoulder raises
renegade rows
punching bag
ab wheel rollouts
bent over row
tao bo
russion twists
wrist rolls
seated rows
calf raises
lying leg lifts
chest throws

The list contains some of the best winter indoor exercise I have tried.

© 2014 Michael H


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