9 Essential Exercises That Don't Require You To Have A Home Gym

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: April 29, 2020

For most of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our daily habits in a significant way. These new routines and restrictions can lead to increased levels of anxiety and stress. There are many ways to manage this, but one particularly effective method is to exercise. And we aren’t just talking long runs or 60-minute virtual bootcamp sessions; research shows that even just 10 minutes a day can go a long way. As an immediate impact, exercise can help lift your mood, boost energy, and promote better sleep. Exercising with others can be a fun way to engage socially, whether with those on video or in your living room. Regular exercise has also been proven to improve brain health, reduce disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and even lower your risk of anxiety and depression. Exercise also empowers you with a sense of control amidst this challenging environment.

Don’t worry if you have no access to a gym or weights. This 10-minute workout can be done at home and adapted to all fitness levels. Modifications are provided and, as you progress, you can increase the intensity.

9-Step Quarantine Workout
To complete this workout, perform 10 repetitions for each of the 9 exercises below. Try to keep rest to a minimum between exercises. As you become comfortable, you can challenge yourself by going through this 9-step circuit more than once.
  1. Jumping Jacks
    • Modify: Decrease the speed and width of the jumps. To avoid jumping altogether, step each foot outward, then inward.
    • Intensify: When jumping your feet outward, lower your hips into a squat position. Jump back to standing position with both feet together.
  2. Squats
    • Modify: Sit onto a chair behind you, then stand up.
    • Intensify: Wear a backpack filled with household items.
  3. Lunges - Perform 10 repetitions per leg.
    • Modify: Have a table next to you, using your hands for support during the exercise.
    • Intensify: Perform elevated lunges by stepping up to an elevated platform. Hold equal weight (dumbbells, household items) in each hand.
  4. Burpees
    • Modify: Instead of going to the ground, place your hands on a chair or bench in front of you while stepping your legs backward, one at a time. Then, reverse this motion back to a standing position. Eliminate the jump and rise onto your toes instead.
    • Intensify: Increase the repetitions. Increase the difficulty of push-ups performed.
  5. Pull-Ups or Bicep Curls - If you do not have a pull-up bar at home, you can substitute bicep curls using household items such as a duffel bag, heavy book, laundry detergent, etc.
    • Modify: For pull-ups, place one leg on a chair to assist with the motion. For curls, use lower weight.
    • Intensify: For pull-ups, wear a backpack filled with household items. For curls, increase the weight and/or repetitions.
  6. Push-Ups
    • Modify: Perform on hands and knees.
    • Intensify: Increase repetitions. Move your hands together, creating a ‘diamond’ with your index fingers and thumbs.
  7. Dips (using a chair)
    • Modify: Bend your legs at a 90 degree angle, moving your feet closer to the chair.
    • Intensify: Extend your legs straight outward, with one foot crossed over the other.
  8. Mountain Climbers
    • Modify: Instead of going to the ground, place your hands on a chair or bench in front of you while stepping your legs backward, one at a time. Then, reverse this motion back to a standing position. Eliminate the jump and rise onto your toes instead.
    • Intensify: Increase the repetitions. Increase the difficulty of push-ups performed.
  9. Planks
    • Modify: Lower the time to 10 seconds.
    • Intensify: Increase the time to 60 seconds.

Start small and watch yourself grow stronger- mentally and physically. With just ten minutes of your day, this workout provides you benefits in both overall strength and cardiovascular health. Even long after COVID-related quarantine ends, this simple routine can be your go-to for making sure you include movement in your day.

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.