When you think about working out, you usually think about running on a treadmill, cycling, or even lifting weights at a gym. However, lying-down workouts are also an option. It's possible to do many different exercises, from stretching to dumbbell exercises, lying down.
Working Out While Lying Down
Given the wide range of sports you can play outside and exercises you can do at the gym, lying-down workouts are not most people's first choice. However, these workouts can be ideal when training a specific region, like your chest, arms or shoulders. Lying-down workouts can also be ideal for people with injuries and health conditions.
Read more: Ab Exercises for the Bed
Many lying-down workouts require you to be on firm surface, like a bench or yoga mat. However, certain exercises can even be done from the comfort of your bed.
For instance, the National Health Service recommends a variety of different stretches that you can do while lying on your front or back, including the lying deep gluteal stretch, sciatic mobilizing stretch and knee-to-chest stretch. If you're trying to do a leg workout with sciatica, these lying-down workouts can be particularly ideal.
Lying-down workouts can also be helpful if you've injured the lower half of your body. A ruptured tendon, joint injury or broken ankle might limit your mobility, but you might still want to exercise. In these cases, your injury is isolated to a specific area, so you have a wider variety of options.
Depending on the injury, you can even try lifting weights while lying down. According to Harvard Health Publishing, weight training is beneficial as it can help you increase the muscle mass lost through aging.
According to a May 2013 study in the journal Collegium Antropologicum, weight training can also help improve motor skills, body composition and bone health. Weight training can also help reduce your risk of certain diseases, like diabetes and osteoporosis, and improve your cognitive function.
Read more: How to Do Glute Exercises in Bed
Lifting Weights While Lying Down
If you've ever lifted weights at the gym, you'll know that lifting weights while lying down is perfectly possible. Just think about any bench press-type exercise.
Even if you're not a weight lifter, it's perfectly sensible to perform dumbbell exercises lying down. The American Council on Exercise recommends a variety of different dumbbell exercises. The difficulty of the exercise can vary substantially, depending on the dumbbells you've chosen.
1. Lying Pullovers on a Bench
Lying pullovers are a simple chest exercise. The American Council on Exercise recommends performing lying pullovers on a bench, with your legs bent so that your feet are on the floor.
- To start off, your arms should be extended above your head at 180 degrees and you should have a dumbbell in each hand. Make sure your palms are facing one another and that you're keeping your elbows straight.
- Stretch your arms forward gradually until they're directly over your head. Once your arms are above your head (at 90 degrees), slowly bring them back to their original position.
- Repeat 10 times. Make sure each rep is slow and controlled.
- A single set of 10 is fine, but feel free to add a few more reps to each set.
2: Chest Presses and Bench Presses
There are many variations of chest presses and bench presses. Both of these exercises can work your arms, chest and shoulders.
Traditional dumbbell bench presses typically want you to hold dumbbells in each hand. You repeatedly raise them from shoulder level to above your head. However, there are several variations of this exercise you can do if you're hoping for a harder workout.
For example, the American Council on Exercise recommends offset single-arm chest presses. According to an October 2015 study in the journal PeerJ Life and Environment, unilateral exercises like this are particularly good to incorporate into your workouts. They help create a torque that your body's core muscles have to counteract.
- Rather than reclining fully, lie down so that your back is on the bench. Your hips should be in the air, while your legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle, with your feet on the floor.
- The arm holding the dumbbell should bend until your elbow is below the bench. Then, you should slowly bring your arm back up, straightening your arm until it's held directly over your chest.
- Start with two sets of six reps. Once you're feeling comfortable with this number, you can gradually work your way up to as many as four sets of eight reps.
When you're doing these types of chest presses, only one hand has a dumbbell in it. The other arm should be kept above your head, with your hand near your ear.
3. Elevated Glute Bridges
The American Council on Exercise recommends elevated glute bridges, as they're a good exercise for your butt and hips. In this exercise, you won't be lifting weights while lying down — at least, not in the traditional sense.
- Elevated glute bridges start off in a similar position to offset single-arm chest presses. Your upper back and shoulders should be resting on the bench, but your lower body is off it. Your legs should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your feet on the ground.
- Slowly lower your tailbone toward the floor, maintaining the weight of the dumbbells on your hips. When you rise back up, press your feet intothe floor and squeeze your glute muscles.
- Try to do two sets of 10 glute bridges each session.
In this exercise, you hold a dumbbell in each hand. Rather than moving your arms, you simply rest your hands (and the dumbbells) on top of your hips.
- American Council on Exercise: "Elevated Glute Bridge"
- American Council on Exercise: "Lying Pullovers"
- American Council on Exercise: "Offset Single-Arm Chest Press"
- American Council on Exercise: "Exercise Library: Dumbbells"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Lift Weights to Boost Muscle"
- National Health Service: "Exercises for Sciatica"
- PeerJ Life & Environment: "Differences in Unilateral Chest Press Muscle Activation and Kinematics on a Stable Versus Unstable Surface While Holding One Versus Two Dumbbells"
- Collegium Antropologicum: "Strength Training for Children and Adolescents: Benefits and Risks."