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No Time? Three Simple Exercises to do at Home

Everybody and their mother knows that “I don’t have time!” is the number one excuse for lack of exercise. We get it. You’re busy.

But don’t fool yourself. You aren’t exercising for anybody but yourself. If you REALLY wanted to make it happen, you would find a way.  And I am here to help.

You can start off slow and work your way to 30 minutes of exercise a day. That’s what health experts say is the minimum requirement for a healthy lifestyle.

If you don’t have time or money to go to a gym, don’t fret. You have a home (I hope). Inside your home, you have space (again, I hope). There are hundreds of simple exercises to do at home, all of which can help you become a better you.

3 Simple Exercises you can do at Home:

Pushups

You knew this was going to be in the list. Why? Because there’s no other way around it – pushups are by far the greatest bodyweight exercise on the planet. A little bit of space on the floor can be your best gym in the world with your body as the machine and the resistance.

Pushups help you build upper body strength and endurance in a pushing movement. It targets your chest, anterior shoulders, triceps, and stabilizing muscles.

Try including some variations into your routine. Grab a pair of pushup stands or medicine balls for elevated pushups. Place your feet on a chair or a swiss ball, move your hands close and wide, utilize explosiveness with clapping pushups or attack your muscles with isometric holds.

If time is a factor, pushups will become your best friend.

Bodyweight Squats

Remember that spot where you did your pushups? Find it again because bodyweight squats are up next – zero equipment required for intense results.

There are a few things that are important here. Proper form is first and foremost. This exercise needs to be properly executed to be effective. Create a mental checklist in your head while doing the exercise to ensure you’re covering all important points. Here are some things to remember:

  • Keep your head and chest up – always look forward,
  • Place your weight on your heels to mid-sole,
  • Hinge your hips back and sit back, preventing your knees from going past your toes,
  • Keep your back straight,
  • Push off the mid-soles of your feet,
  • Keep your arms straight out in front of you or crossed in front of your chest,
  • Remember to breathe!

[Photo credit to Holly from Fit Yummy Mummy]

Bodyweight squats will help you build lower body strength and endurance. They target your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core and stabilizing muscles.

Pick a number you think you can do and go for it. Maintain a consistent pace and always maintain proper form.

Mountain Climbers

Nope, you don’t need an actual mountain for this, just that same old spot you’ve been doing the last two exercises. Mountain climbers are simple and very effective for cardiovascular training and toning of upper and lower body. It will help bring your heart rate up very quickly!

Assume the pushup position with your arms extended and slightly past shoulder-width. Draw your stomach in to stabilize your core and keep your body straight. Now you’ll start bringing your knees to your chest one at a time.

Here’s a great demonstration of the exercise by fitness expert Shanay Norvell:

Summary:

I’m looking forward to the day we can officially and permanently strike “No Time” off of the excuse list. Since that day probably won’t come any time soon, we have to do what we can. If you want to live a long and fulfilling life, you need to make some time to exercise. If you make it a priority, you will find a way to fit it into any busy schedule. Use the three simple exercises to do at home as a place to start!

KatieM - October 29, 2010

Yayyy I do these three at home all the time! Love it!

Darren@MorePrimeTime.com - October 30, 2010

I agree – let’s strike ‘no time’ off the excuse list. I’m going to try the mountain climbers – thanks.

Mike - Fitness Contrarian - October 30, 2010

Push-up and squats are my two favorite body weight exercises. You can do them anywhere, at home or on vacation. All you need is a little bit of time and your own body weight.

Good post.

Best – Mike

Bryan - Workouts Without Weights - October 31, 2010

Hey Srdjan, good selection. These 3 compound movements are functional and they hit most all major muscle groups. If you make it into a circuit and hit 3-5 reps, you will get one good workout… in no time at all.

Raymond - ZenMyFitness - October 31, 2010

these are probably the most effective exercises anyone can do … you are right do these and it will definitely help .. put them in a circuit and it becomes a killer workout!
And they also have so many variations on these that you can never get bored.
Raymond

bloomtofit - November 1, 2010

@Darren
Let me know how you find the mountain climbers. I think a lot of people consider them easier than they actually are.

@Mike
Bodyweight squats are another of my favorites. Thanks for the comment!

@Bryan
Once you get the basics down, it’s definitely a great idea to put them in a circuit and perform the circuit 2 or 3 times. This will help you get a great resistance workout while increasing your heart rate!

@Raymond
The beauty with bodyweight exercises is that tons of variations exist. It’s very difficult to get bored!

Bryan - November 1, 2010

Three great exercises, easy to do and can be done anywhere!

If you where to only do one exercise a day, even at home. You will start to see the changes.

Bryan C.

Dave - Not Your Average Fitness Tips - November 2, 2010

Bodyweight exercises are definitely the way to go if you’re short on time and space. Pushups and squats can be great for muscle building and mountain climbers can provide a nice fat burning workout.

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul - November 2, 2010

These are three great exercises that can really make a difference in your overall fitness. Once people get used to training and are looking for some variations, they can do intervals with all three of these, (twenty seconds of as many pushups, ten seconds rest, repeat for four minutes). These intervals can be done as a way to make it more intense and burn fat way better than a treadmill! (Unless of course you are doing intervals on a treadmill.)

If you have a little money to put in to your home gym efforts but not a lot of space, I urge you to try kettlebells. Done properly, they will give you an incredible workout for strength as well as fat loss and they will easily fit in your closet when you are done with them.
-Kelly

Alejandro "The Fittest Vegan" - November 7, 2010

Stating that there is no time, is just an excuse as there is always time to do the above exercises you show. I like mountain climber, its a good one to throw in while out for a run.

Louis - November 7, 2010

I love all 3 of those exercises. I do them routinely and have my clients do them all as well. If I am going all body weight I will do them circuit style. Good post!

Louis

Ahmed - November 16, 2010

Good exercises to do at home, nice article!

Have to have my home pull up bar, always want to be work the full body, and there just aren’t that many exercises that work the back you can do at home (without something to pull up with)..

Arlie - June 21, 2011

I love exercises I can do anywhere, anytime without equipment. No excuses, right? – Arlie Jarels

    Srdjan Popovic - June 22, 2011

    Arlie, sometimes the exercises you can do anywhere, anytime without equipment are the most effective.

    No more excuses!!

Dr. George Suarez - December 2, 2011

True, these three exercises can be done anytime, anywhere. I regularly do squats and but I still find pushups and mountain climbing very challenging, I have to work a lot on these two.

    Srdjan Popovic - December 4, 2011

    Bodyweight squats are a great addition to any simple home workout. Keep challenging yourself to master new and old exercises.

Tania Russell - April 20, 2012

Hi Srdjan,( great name by the way) now that I can pronounce it lol.
Wow!!! I forgot all Mountain Climbers, I use to do these in my late twenties, when I did circuit training. My trainer was an ex-boxer/ex marine. This was really effective, you certainly know you have done them. We had to do as many as we could in one minute.
He also use to make do as many step-ups as we could in a minute on the step, changing the leg that you start with.
I have some redundant pushups stands under the bed, collecting dust, so time to get them into good use, so thanks for the advice on pushups. Mine have circular inserts that move, to make it harder to do. What is your take on these stands, any good??? What about Burpees, they are HELL ON EARTH, to DO. Do you do these at all?
My diet is pretty good, I never drink alchohol every day, only sometimes, one day in a month, (just socially) breakfast is just oat cereal with a banana, lunch a sandwich, dinner is usually chicken with veggies or fish. My downfall is a bowl of icecream afterwards. I do drink loads of plain filtered water (non-fizzy) I never drink fizzy soda cans or eat red
meat. Obviously you have to burn off more calories than you consume, I think I need to up my game and do more exercises. You do inspire me, so that’s good and I feel guilty not doing more, when I know that I CAN! Thanks for your emails, they are great, we all need a KICK UP THE BUM, to get motivated. Cheers, Tania 🙂

    Srdjan Popovic - April 20, 2012

    Hey Tania!

    Mountain climbers are amazing and there are tons of variations you can do when you want to switch things up.

    Those pushup stands you have are great. The swivel motion will definitely challenge you.

    Burpees are incredible. I do them regularly. It’s great to add these to simple tabata or circuit workouts. Great bang for your buck.

    Your diet isn’t bad. Your carb intake is a little high, however. I would suggest maybe changing up your breakfast – make it more protein based rather than carb based. I think that would make a big difference for you. I know it’s probably tough to give up the ice cream, but try looking for healthier desserts. Raw food desserts, for example, KILL any other desserts in the taste column and in the nutrient value column. See these.

    Keep up the great work Tania! Talk soon!

Bob - July 19, 2012

I was doing situps and leg raises, and they started to bother my lower back. I starting doing regular mountain climbers and cross mountain climbers as well as pushups and squats, and they don’t bother my lower back at all. I also do pullups and chinups, and I feel that along with walking, these exercises are all I need to do for fitness. Great post!

    Srdjan Popovic - July 20, 2012

    Situps and crunches can be dangerous for your back since they put your spine in a stressful situation when flexed. Don’t do them. If you want to throw in some core exercises, focus on planks and renegade rows.

      Bob - July 20, 2012

      I tried planks today.I prefer to do the plank in the top pushup position rather than on my elbows.

Carl Rooney - October 7, 2012

This is really good and quick set of exercises that I can do before heading to office. Also, I just want to add something (if in case some might find this post useful) – How To Stop Being a Couch Potato – 4 Simple Exercises To Do at Home http://e1fit.com/articles/simple-exercises-to-do-at-home/ – 4 simple exercises to do at home to to avoid to look like a couch potato and details how to get a 3-day Wellness plan for FREE!

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