At-Home Beginner Workouts for Study Breaks
Life University (Life U) students are no strangers to hitting the books, especially with finals on the horizon. That said, a healthy body equals a healthy mind, so it is important to get the body moving periodically in order to perform at your best. If you are on campus, working up a nice sweat at our state-of-the-art Fitness Center would get the juices flowing, but what if you are off-campus or right in the middle of an intense study session?
It’s necessary to have some quick exercises that you can do at home to feel more energized and healthier while studying or anytime you need a boost. Look at some beginner workout moves you can use when you need to move.
At-home beginner workout moves to try
(Adapted from Healthline.com’s “30 Moves to Make the Most of Your At-Home Workout”)
Some of these moves will require getting on the floor, so a yoga mat is encouraged. Ideally, try to complete two sets of 10-15 reps of each exercise, resting 30 seconds to one minute between each move. If you are exercising during a study break, shoot for at least 5-15 minutes of total exercise. This beginner’s circuit should take 15-20 minutes if you choose to do all the moves. Be sure to play some energetic music to motivate your workout!
- Bridge- Tone your core and backside with bridge exercises.
- Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms extended by your sides for support.
- Push through your feet and brace your core. As you do this, raise your bottom off the ground until your hips are fully extended, squeezing the glutes at the top of this motion.
- Gradually return to the starting position and repeat for 10-15 reps.
- Chair squat- Squats work your legs and core. Start with a chair underneath you to master the form. Eventually, the chair won’t be needed.
- Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outwards.
- Hinge your hips and bend your knees as you lower back and down until your bottom lightly touches the chair. Allow your arms to extend straight out in front of you throughout the exercise.
- In one fluid motion, push up through your heels and return to the start.
- Knee Pushup- This beginner-style pushup will help build strength prior to moving on to a standard pushup.
- Assume a plank position from your knees.
- Be sure to keep a straight line from your head to your knees then bend your elbows to lower yourself down to the ground. Keep elbows at a 45-degree angle.
- Push up to start.
- Stationary Lunge- This move focuses on your quads, hamstrings and glutes.
- Start with one foot in front of the other in a triangle shape. The right foot should be flat on the ground, and your left foot should be up on the toes.
- Bend your knees and lunge. Stop when your right thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Push back up through your right foot, back to the starting position. Complete the desired number of reps, then switch legs to do the same number of reps for that other side.
- Plank to Downward Dog- It’s time to put your upper body, especially your shoulders, to the test.
- Start in a high plank position, with hands stacked underneath your shoulder and keeping your feet close together.
- The core needs to stay engaged. Keep your hands and feet stationary as you lift up and back into the Downward Dog pose. Your body should form a triangle with the ground. Your neck should be neutral, with your eyes directed toward your feet.
- Hold this position, then go back into the plank.
- Straight Leg Donkey Kick- This exercise focuses on glute toning.
- Come to the ground on all fours, with hands lined up with your shoulders and knees lined up under the hips.
- With your back straight, push your right foot out to kick an imaginary wall behind you until your leg straightens out.
- The foot on the floor remains flexed, toes pointing down to the floor. Your hips need to stay square toward the ground. Squeeze your glute muscles at the top of the exercise.
- Return to the start and repeat for the desired number of reps. Then repeat the same rep count for the other leg.
- Bird dog- This move uses your whole body and requires stability and balance.
- Come to the floor on all fours. Your hands should be directly under your shoulder, and your knees should be lined up under the hips.
- While keeping your neck neutral, lift your left arm and your right leg at the same time. Your hips should stay square to the ground. Hold for two seconds.
- Return to the beginning position. After completing the desired number of reps, switch to the right arm and left leg for the same rep number.
- Forearm plank- A healthy core for a healthy body with this plank move.
- Assume the plank position, on your forearms. Proper form is a straight line from head to feet.
- Don’t let your lower back and hips sag. Attempt to hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.
- Side-lying hip abduction- Strengthening the hip muscles might be a forgotten focus unless they start to bother you, but it is important, especially for those in sedentary states much of the day.
- Lie down on your left side with both legs straight and the right foot resting on the ground.
- Lift your right leg up, holding the same position.
- Return to start. Repeat the needed reps. Then switch to the other side and complete the same amount.
- Bicycle crunch- This crunch targets the abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your back. Bring your legs to a tabletop position. Bend your elbows and put your hands behind your head.
- Coming to the crunch, your right elbow points to your left knee while you straighten the opposite right leg.
- Alternate to the left elbow pointing to the right knee, straightening the left leg.
- Repeat for intended rep count.
Other fun ways to get moving
If targeted strength training isn’t your thing, a brisk walk around the block can also do the trick. Technology is on your side as well, with many free follow-along beginner workouts available on YouTube and on various exercise apps. Also, if you are a gamer, there are plenty of exercise-related games available on many gaming systems, especially for Nintendo Switch. Get creative, explore and stay healthy!
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To learn more about exercise science and Life U’s Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science, visit life.edu/academic-pages/college-of-graduate-and-undergraduate-studies/exercise-science-bs/