The 7 Hardest Exercises You Can Do at Home When You're Missing the Gym

Livestrong may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

If we'd all known our previous gym session would be our last (for now, at least), we probably would have devoted much more time to the squat rack or bench press. While you may not be able to get to the gym at the moment, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a killer workout at home.

You don't need a bunch of weights at the gym to get a challenging workout.
Image Credit: Saksit Kuson / EyeEm/EyeEm/GettyImages

Give these seven challenging exercises a test run, and we guarantee you'll be rethinking your opinion of at-home workouts. And when your core is burning and arms feel shaky, you can thank Mathew Forzaglia, certified personal trainer, for your new go-to body-weight moves.

Get tips on how to stay healthy, safe and sane during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

1. Towel Push-Up With Arm Reach

Keep your core tight during this exercise.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Mathew Forzaglia
  1. Begin in a high plank with your hands beneath your shoulders and a towel under your right hand. Keep your body in a straight line from head to hips to toes.
  2. Bend your left elbow at a 45-degree angle from your ribs and lower until your chest hovers just above the ground.
  3. At the same time, glide your right arm out in front of you.
  4. Once you reach the bottom of the push-up, press into your left palm and straighten your left arm and bring your right arm back, returning to high plank.

2. Towel Lateral Lunge

Try and keep your balance as you drop into the lunge.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Mathew Forzaglia
  1. Start standing with your feet at hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Place a towel under your left foot.
  2. Rooting your right heel, begin to bend the right knee to 90 degrees, shooting your hips back and keeping your back flat.
  3. Simultaneously extend your left leg straight out to your side, gliding across the floor with the towel.
  4. Pause when your right knee reaches 90 degrees.
  5. Press into your heel and straighten your right knee. Keeping your left leg straight, glide it back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat on the opposite side.

3. Towel Ab Roll Outs

Try and keep your hips and head in a straight line.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Mathew Forzaglia
  1. Begin kneeling on the ground or on a mat. Place a towel on the ground in front of you and place both hands on it.
  2. Keeping your hips in line with your torso, glide the towel out as far as possible.
  3. Once you reach the end of your range of motion, brace your core and reverse the motion, gliding back and returning to the kneeling position.

Tip

As in a plank, you want to avoid hiking or sinking your hips here. That will take a lot of challenge out of the exercise and could also hurt your back.

4. Towel Pikes

For this exercise, focus on scooping the lower belly.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Mathew Forzaglia
  1. Begin in a high plank with a towel under your toes. Maintain a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  2. Keeping your palms rooted directly in line with your shoulders, begin to raise your hips toward the ceiling.
  3. Maintaining straight legs, glide your toes along the ground as your hips raise in a pike position.
  4. Pause, then reverse the motion and return to the starting position.

Tip

Focus on pressing through your palms, using your abdominal muscles to move your hips and legs from pike to plank.

5. Pistol Squats

You can use a chair to modify this exercise.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Mathew Forzaglia
  1. Begin standing with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Raise your left leg and straighten it in front of you with a slight bend in the knee.
  3. Keeping your right heel rooted, shoot your hips back and begin to bend your right knee, lowering into a squat.
  4. Lower as deep into your squat as possible, keeping your left leg off the ground.
  5. On an exhale, press into your right heel to return to standing.
  6. Perform on each leg.

Tip

This is a challenging exercise, so you may want to stand next to a chair in case you need assistance. To modify, you can also perform the exercise with a chair, squatting to tap the seat and standing back up on one leg.

Move 6: Handstand Push-Ups

If this is too challenging, try a pike push-up from Downward Dog pose.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Mathew Forzaglia
  1. Come into a wall handstand, hands directly in line with your shoulders, heels resting along the wall.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your head toward the ground until you lightly tap or hover just above the floor. (You may want to place a pillow under your head.)
  3. On an exhale push into the ground and extend the arms.

Tip

You can modify this exercise with a pike or shoulder push-up. This version will still target your shoulders but is a little easier to perform.

Move 7: Wall Walks

Keep your body balanced as you walk up and down the wall here.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Mathew Forzaglia
  1. Come into a wall handstand facing the wall.
  2. Keeping your toes in contact with the wall, begin to walk your hands forward away from the wall.
  3. As you make your way down the wall, keep your core tight to avoid overarching or rounding your back.
  4. Walk your feet down the wall at the same time until you come to a plank position.
  5. Here, perform a push-up, lowering your body until your chest hovers right above the ground.
  6. Then, reverse the motion and return to the handstand position.
Take your at-home workouts up a notch with these challenging, no-equipment moves.
Image Credit: Graphic: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

Concerned About COVID-19?

Load Comments