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9 Best Exercises to do at Home

Author: Nicholas Gregory, MA, CSSC

We all know that staying active is good for us! Whether exercising at the gym, taking a yoga class, or taking the pups for a walk, movement and activity have time and time again been correlated with positive health outcomes.  

Despite the fact that movement of any kind can play a role in living an overall healthy life, starting a new exercise or workout plan can be stressful. Like most aspects of health and fitness, the market is flooded with “experts” claiming to know the magic exercise or workout plan to get you results. You may also find contradicting info confusing and frustrating to understand. One article says squats are the best exercise for you while another article says squats will leave you injured and should be avoided at all costs. To squat, or not to squat, that is not the question…

At Noom, we take a balanced approach when it comes to exercise, workouts and physical activity in general. Just like foods, we don’t believe there are “good” and “bad” workouts. There may be exercises that fit your goals, experience, and preference better than others, but no movement is inherently wrong! 

Let’s get to it! 

1. Squats

The squat, sometimes called air squat or bodyweight squat, is a lower-body exercise that can be performed anywhere you have room to stand. It is a great exercise to target and strengthen all muscles of the lower body including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Squats can also be ramped up by including weight. While working out at home, try using dumbbells, soup cans, or even a gallon of milk!

To safely perform a squat, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can have your toes slightly turned out – whatever is most comfortable for you.
  2. Brace your core (think about squeezing your abs and back as tightly as you can) and slowly sink your hips back and down, as if sitting to a chair.
  3. Go as low as you comfortably can. Overall flexibility and experience may allow you to go lower, but start wherever is comfortable.
  4. At the bottom of the exercise, pause for a moment and drive your weight through your foot to propel you up to the starting position, in the same way you lowered yourself down. 
  5. Repeat for desired number of reps.

2. Burpees

A burpee is a full-body conditioning and strengthening exercise that can be done on its own, or paired with another strengthening exercise for a mix of conditioning and strengthening. It’s one of the most efficient at-home exercises you can do. If you have never done a burpee, don’t be surprised by a spiked heart rate after a few reps! 

To safely perform a burpee, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start standing with your feet under your hips.
  2. Place your hands on the ground, arms straight, and jump your feet back so that you are in a plank position.
  3. Lower yourself down to the ground by doing a push-up.
  4. Press back up into a plank position, jump your feet back up flat, and stand tall.
  5. Repeat for desired number of reps.

3. Lunges

The lunge is an exercise that focuses on muscles in the upper leg (mainly the quadriceps). Similar to a squat, lunges are an effective way to strength-train the muscles of the leg and can be done with or without weight.

To safely perform a lunge, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Brace your core (think about squeezing your abs and back as tight as you can) and take a natural step forward keeping your torso vertical.
  3. Slowly lower your back knee straight down, keeping your weight balanced between both feet. 
  4. “Kiss” your knee to the floor and then drive straight up and return to a standing position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps. It is best to alternate your legs as you complete your lunges.

4. Push ups

The push up is an upper body exercise that can strengthen the pectoral muscles, triceps, deltoids, and core. The push-up can be challenging for those new to the exercise because the muscles of the upper body are relatively small compared to the lower body muscles used in a squat or lunge.

To safely perform a push-up, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start in a prone position (lying on your stomach) with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Press up into a plank position with arms extended and core engaged.
  3. Slowly lower yourself to the ground, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  4. Once your torso is about a fist’s distance away from the ground, press through your hands back to the starting plank position
  5. Repeat for desired number of reps.

5. Jump rope

Jumping rope is a classic cardio conditioning exercise. You might be surprised that you can easily replicate this exercise even if you don’t have a jump rope! 

To safely jump rope, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start standing with your feet under your hips.
  2. Swing the rope and jump so that rope passes under your feet one time per jump. 
  3. If you don’t have a jump rope, place your hands on your side, jump, and tap your hips to replicate the timing of the rope passing under your feet. 
  4. Repeat for desired number of reps.

6. Planks

Planks are a great exercise to work on strengthening the muscles of the core and protecting the back. Planks can also be varied in multiple ways including high planks, low planks, and side planks.

To safely perform a plank, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start in a prone position (lying on your stomach) with your hands under your shoulders.
  2. Press up with arms extended and core engaged.
  3. Squeeze core and glutes while remembering to breathe
  4. Hold static position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and rest.

7. Running

Although this can’t be done in your home, running can be done anywhere you can safely be outside!

To safely start running, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Keep good posture! Stand tall and avoid leaning forward.
  2. Think about keeping your core engaged and focusing on your breathing. 
  3. Keep your hands and arms loose and avoid crossing them in front of your body.
  4. Ensure you are aware of your surroundings and are running in a highly visible location

8. Romanian deadlifts

The RDL or Romanian Deadlift is a lower body movement that can strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors. When done correctly this movement also targets the muscles of the core, making it an effective single movement. This movement can be done with your body weight or with dumbbells or objects lying around the house. 

To safely perform an RDL, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width and toes pointed forward. 
  2. Take a big breath in and brace your core.
  3. Bend at the hips as if you were bending down to pick something up off the ground, while keeping your back flat and pressing your glutes as far back as you can.
  4. Keep a slight bend in the knee as you feel a stretch through the back of your legs
  5. Once the stretch is felt, reverse the movement and squeeze your glutes as you drive your hips up and return to a standing position.
  6. Repeat for desired number of reps.

9. Sit ups

The sit-up is an abdominal endurance training exercise that can be used to strengthen the abdominal muscles. It is similar to a crunch, but sit-ups have a larger range of motion. Care should be taken in controlling the cadence of sit-ups to avoid injury. 

To safely perform a sit-up, keep the following points in mind: 

  1. Start lying flat on your back with knees bent and feet securely pressed into the ground.
  2. Place hands across the chest or gently behind your head. 
  3. Squeeze your abs as you sit tall, bringing your chest up to your knees. 
  4. Reverse the movement in a controlled manner and return to lying flat on your back. 
  5. Repeat for desired number of reps.

Curious if your Noom coach can help you explore these at-home workouts? We can! Your coach can work with you to find the exercises that are best for you, and provide the necessary accountability and support to make those at home workouts stick! If you’re ready to create healthy habits, give Noom a try today.