You can get a challenging full-body workout at home with only a few exercises, but you will need a lot of energy. Circuit training is the best option, combining short cardio intervals with strength-training exercises. You will alternate between the cardio and strength training, or you can just alternate strength-training exercises without resting between them. You will only rest when you need to, which makes this workout very cardiovascular, even if you only perform strength exercises.
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High-intensity intervals improve the effectiveness of your workouts. The intervals can include many variations of exercises and timing, but most intervals won't be any longer than two or three minutes. Start your first workout with one- to two-minute intervals followed by rest periods as needed. For an intense, 21-minute workout, set up a routine with seven exercises, in 90-second intervals, and perform the workout twice. Performing the workout three times will take about 32 minutes.
Choose from many cardio options at home, depending on your setup. Jogging or marching in place, pretending to jump rope, or jumping jacks are all easy to perform at home. If you have stairs, you can climb stairs, or take it outside for short sprints or real jump roping. Side shuffles are fun if you have a long hallway. You could even take a jog around your block or house, if you can make it back during your interval time.
The best at-home exercises for a full-body workout include squats, lunges, pushups, planks and rows. This routine makes for a balanced workout, and each exercise also affects several muscle groups. Form is most important for strength-training exercises. If you have hand weights, you can add dumbbell presses to the squats, or bicep curls to your lunges. Elastic tubing with handles is a useful tool to have at home, and you can use it for many exercises. For example, give your back a workout: Wrap the tubing around a bedpost or heavy table leg and row by pulling your elbows back, keeping your hands by your side. Keep your back flat, abdominals in, and maintain good posture throughout the rowing. This can be done seated or standing.
Putting it All Together
Begin with a five- to seven-minute warm-up. Start with 90-second intervals for your first series of exercises: jog in place, 15 squats, 10 pushups, jumping jacks, 20 alternating lunges, 15 seated rows and a forearm plank. Your strength intervals might not be 90 seconds, but remember to use good form and stay controlled while performing repetitions. Keep your cardio intervals at 90 seconds. Repeat from the beginning two to three times. Drink water anytime you need it. If you need a rest, walk around until your heart rate slows down, and return when you are ready. You can change the exercises up anytime. Always finish with a cool-down and several stretches for your entire body.