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.
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.
1. Towel Push-Up With Arm Reach
- 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.
- Bend your left elbow at a 45-degree angle from your ribs and lower until your chest hovers just above the ground.
- At the same time, glide your right arm out in front of you.
- 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
- Start standing with your feet at hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Place a towel under your left foot.
- Rooting your right heel, begin to bend the right knee to 90 degrees, shooting your hips back and keeping your back flat.
- Simultaneously extend your left leg straight out to your side, gliding across the floor with the towel.
- Pause when your right knee reaches 90 degrees.
- Press into your heel and straighten your right knee. Keeping your left leg straight, glide it back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Towel Ab Roll Outs
- 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.
- Keeping your hips in line with your torso, glide the towel out as far as possible.
- 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.
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
- Begin in a high plank with a towel under your toes. Maintain a straight line from head to hips to heels.
- Keeping your palms rooted directly in line with your shoulders, begin to raise your hips toward the ceiling.
- Maintaining straight legs, glide your toes along the ground as your hips raise in a pike position.
- Pause, then reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
Focus on pressing through your palms, using your abdominal muscles to move your hips and legs from pike to plank.
5. Pistol Squats
- Begin standing with feet hip-width apart.
- Raise your left leg and straighten it in front of you with a slight bend in the knee.
- Keeping your right heel rooted, shoot your hips back and begin to bend your right knee, lowering into a squat.
- Lower as deep into your squat as possible, keeping your left leg off the ground.
- On an exhale, press into your right heel to return to standing.
- Perform on each leg.
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
- Come into a wall handstand, hands directly in line with your shoulders, heels resting along the wall.
- 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.)
- On an exhale push into the ground and extend the arms.
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
- Come into a wall handstand facing the wall.
- Keeping your toes in contact with the wall, begin to walk your hands forward away from the wall.
- As you make your way down the wall, keep your core tight to avoid overarching or rounding your back.
- Walk your feet down the wall at the same time until you come to a plank position.
- Here, perform a push-up, lowering your body until your chest hovers right above the ground.
- Then, reverse the motion and return to the handstand position.