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Forget the Gym – You Can Do These Full Body Workouts Anywhere

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that home workouts can help you bulk up at no extra cost. If you’re looking for some gym equipment to put under your desk, check out the best resistance bands and adjustable dumbbells here.

Also, read on to find two full-body workouts you can do without hitting the gym. What’s more, they don’t require much space, so you can perform them from your bedroom, hotel room, or even your dorm room if you’re returning to school.

Neither require jumping, so your neighbors won’t jump, and both require no extra equipment.

Best Bodyweight Workouts

We spoke with Jamie Thorpe, personal trainer at PureGym Leeds, for some workout inspiration for those looking for a killer workout in their dorm room, hotel room, or bedroom. One workout uses only body weight, while another uses a suitcase or backpack—simply fill your bag with books (remember those?) or anything heavy to increase the intensity of your workout. Alternatively, if you have a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell, use those.

Workout 1: Bodyweight Workout

This workout can easily be made easier or harder depending on the changes you make, explains Thorp. If you’re new to an exercise, it’s always a good idea to have a personal trainer take a look at your form before increasing reps or adding weight to make sure you’re not at risk of injury. “Both workouts will help increase strength and endurance, and help keep your heart rate high with short breaks,” says Thorp.

Do the following six exercises in a circle, doing each exercise for one minute and then resting for 15 seconds. Repeat the circuit two to four times, depending on how much time you have. The whole circle should take you seven and a half minutes. To do this, you will need an interval timer or stopwatch on your phone.

push ups

Why: Push-ups work your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

How: To do a push-up, start by getting into a plank position with your weight under your shoulders and your palms flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and tighten your abs, thinking about pulling your navel into your spine. You should have a straight line from your heels to the top of your head. Slowly, with control, bend your arms and lower your chest to the floor. Pause, then rise to the starting position.

You can ease this by kneeling down. Here is more information on how to do push-ups and what modifications to try.

Rows of boards

Why: This exercise works your back, core, shoulders, and arms.

How: Start in a plank position, tighten your core, and place your hands under your shoulders. Raise your right arm off the floor and lift your arm up like you’re holding a dumbbell, keeping your elbow close to your chest. Lower your right hand back to the floor and repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating sides. Again, this can be alleviated by kneeling down.

Split Squats (1 minute per side, changing each pattern)

Why: This exercise really works the quads and glutes. If you want to make the exercise harder, add some weight (it could be a full backpack if you don’t have dumbbells).

How: To perform this exercise, lunge backwards from a standing position. The heel of the hind leg should be raised and the knee of the hind leg should be a few inches off the ground. Your torso should be upright. Squeezing your buttocks, stay here for a minute.

Inch worms and opposite knee touches

Why: This exercise is great for working out the whole body. To really feel the effects of this, be sure to go out until you feel a burning sensation in the core.

How: From a standing position, bend forward at the hips and lower your hands to the floor. Extend your arms out in front of you until you are in a plank position. Once you get there, touch your left hand to your right foot, then your right hand to your left foot before returning from plank to the starting position.

Side Plank Holds (1 minute each side, changing each round)

Why: Side planks are a great exercise when it comes to working your core. Read what happened when this writer made side plans every day for a week.

How to: To do a side plank, lie straight on your side with your legs crossed. Place your forearm on the floor and make sure your elbow is in line with your shoulder. Engage your abs and lift your hips and knees off the floor, keeping a straight line from head to toe. Only the forearm and foot should be in contact with the ground.

Don’t let your hips sag and keep looking straight ahead throughout the exercise. You can place your top hand on your hip or, to make the movement more challenging, lift it up towards the ceiling. You can ease the movement by resting your bottom knee or both knees on the mat.

The lower press holds

Why: Again, this is another great exercise when it comes to targeting the lower abdominal muscles.

How: To perform lower abs grips, lie on your back with your lower back pressed into the floor. Raise your legs to a tabletop position, then, while tensing your core muscles, straighten your legs so that they form a 45-degree angle. To make the exercise harder, lift your head and neck off the mat.

Workout 2: A full body workout that can be done with a suitcase or backpack.

Like the first workout, this workout can be made easier or harder depending on the weight of your backpack or suitcase. Do six exercises in a circle, 1 minute, 15 seconds break. Repeat two to four times.

shoulder press with backpack

Why: This exercise works the shoulders, chest, and triceps.

How: Hold a backpack or suitcase in each hand with your palms away from your body and your arms shoulder-width apart. Raise the backpack up and over your head. Pause at the top before lowering the bag back to the starting position.

Backpack bent over the string

Why: This exercise works your upper back and biceps.

How: Hold the backpack with both hands, palms facing your body. Bend at the hips and bend your knees slightly. From here, pull your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades, pulling the backpack towards your torso. Pause, then extend your arms back to the starting position.

front squat with backpack

Why: Squats are a great exercise for the lower body, especially the hips.

How: Hold the backpack with both hands like a kettlebell. Stand with your feet a little further than shoulder width apart. Imagine that you are standing on a clock face and pointing your toes at 11 o’clock and the hour. To begin the squat, bend your knees and hips as if you were sitting in a chair directly below you. As you squat, spread your knees outward so that they pass directly over your middle toe.

As you begin to squat lower, push your chest forward and look straight ahead to keep your back straight. Try not to slouch or round your spine. Squat as low as you can, keeping your knees in line with your feet and your back straight, then push off with your feet to return to the starting position.

Backpack for the gluteal muscles

Why: This is a great exercise when it comes to building glute strength—very important if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk.

How: To perform a proper glute bridge, you need to start by lying on your back on an exercise mat with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place the backpack on your hips. You may need to hold it in place to keep it from falling. Tighten your core (think about pulling your belly button into your spine) and squeeze your glutes while lifting your hips and pelvis toward the sky. Squeeze your buttocks at the top before slowly lowering your hips to the starting position.

backpack crunches

Why: This exercise really targets your core.

How: Start in a tabletop position with your backpack in your hands, lower back pressed to the floor. Keep your feet in the table top position. Tighten your core muscles, think about pulling your belly button into your spine, and lift the pack to your knees, lifting your head and torso off the ground. Make sure the movement comes from the abdominal muscles and not the arms.

Dorsal raises

Why: This final exercise is great for working the muscles in your lower back.

How: To do this, put down your backpack and start by lying on your stomach. Place your hands on your temples and raise your feet, head and neck a few inches off the floor. Pause, then lower yourself back to the starting position.

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