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Five Hacks to Gym-Free Workouts

We all know that exercise is important, but not all of us are comfortable at the gym or a health club. Some of us aren’t even comfortable with working out at home. We think we need the equipment, we need to carve out the time to lift those weights, run on that treadmill, or climb that stair-climber, not to mention the space all that equipment takes up.

But we don’t. Here are a few ideas for exercising at home without the machines.

Bodyweight Exercises

These are exercises that use your body mass and resistance to work out your muscles. They’re straightforward, but when practised regularly, they’re effective. Consider abdominal crunches, squats, and lunges. All you need is a stretch of floor.


The culture of yoga encourages practising with others, which is great, but there’s no reason that once you know what you’re doing you can’t salute the sun from the comfort of your own living room. You don’t need to join a session on anyone else’s schedule, you just need to make a little time to breathe and move on your mat. And if you’re uncertain about some of the poses, there are plenty of books and online resources to help.

Lifting Household Items

You may chuckle at the thought of it, but so long as you’re careful, your weights and exercise equipment can be ordinary objects from around the home. A simple bath towel can aid in resistance training, while a full duffel bag can be used to build biceps and triceps. Soup cans are great for shoulder presses, and kitchen counters and chairs can offer support for push-ups and leg raises. Also consider stairs for cardio (carrying a laundry basket while you go up and down increases the burn), and walls for thigh and core strengthening squats.

Pay Attention To What You’re Already Doing

If you’re active around your home – regularly tidying, doing laundry, changing bedsheets – you may already be getting plenty of exercise without realizing it. Harvard researchers studied groups of hotel maids, measuring their health and exercise level. Two groups of maids were doing the same work demanded by their jobs, but only one group was notified that the work actually qualified them as having an active lifestyle. After four weeks of both groups doing equal work, the maids who were aware of the health benefits of their day-to-day experienced weight loss, decreased blood pressure and other positive changes. It suggests that recognizing and celebrating where and how you are already active can have surprising benefits.

Sweat Incrementally

If your problem is less about the will to do it and more about finding time in the day, we’ve already got that covered. In this post you’ll see a few ways you can make the most of the quiet moments at home, including exercises you can do during commercial breaks of your favourite show. An hour-long television drama really means 43 minutes plus advertising. That’s 17 minutes of intense exercise time right there.

Your turn: Share your gym-free workout tips in the comment section below.

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