Woman doing abs workout at home using her bodyweight

There are times life gets so busy and we find ourselves skipping our regular tennis game, Quick HIIT class or i-Run. What can we do when we are time-starved and we find our energy levels dipping?

One of the things we can do is work out at home to give our bodies a much-needed energy boost. Strength training at home using your own body weight can be just as effective as lifting weights.

What’s Strength?

We need muscle strength in our day-to-day lives, from carrying groceries to lifting heavy files at work, to opening a tight lid on a bottle of chilli sauce. If you’ve ever felt bo lat (weak) during these activities, building strength will help.

What is Strength Training?

Strength training — also called resistance training — increases muscle and bone strength. We build muscles – chest muscles, core muscles, pectoral muscles, etc.

Strength training activities or routines should, ideally, work all major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms.

What are the Benefits of Strength Training?

Besides stronger muscles and bones, strength training also lowers our risks of diabetes, heart diseases, and injury.

The good news doesn't end there. Building strength also increases resting metabolic rate: we burn more calories throughout the day, even when we’re sleeping! Building strength can help us shed kilos and ditch our “spare tire”.

3 Easy Home Workouts

Here are three beginner strength-building bodyweight workouts you can do at home which you can do in under 3 minutes. If you can squeeze in more time, challenge yourself to reps.

#1 Wall Planks

Strengthens: Core (i.e. muscles in your stomach, back, hips, and obliques — side torso)

  1. Start position: Stand facing a wall at arm’s length, feet slightly apart.

  2. Place your forearms flat against the wall, shoulder-width apart. Make sure to keep your lower back straight. Engage your core and hold for 15 seconds.

This core workout is suitable for all beginners.

#2 Wall Push-ups

Strengthens: Upper chest and back, arms, shoulders, core

  1. Start position: Stand facing a wall at arm’s length, feet hip-width apart.

  2. Place your hands onto the wall, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your body straight from head to toe.

  3. Bend the elbows to bring your chest towards the wall, as close as possible without touching it.

  4. Straighten your arms to push yourself back to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 push-ups.

This chest workout at home also strengthens your arms and core. Keep your legs straight throughout.

#3 Wall Squats

Strengthens: Thighs, hips, calves, buttocks

  1. With your back against a wall, position your feet about 60 cm in front of you, spread shoulder-width apart.

  2. Look straight ahead, and keep your upper body upright with your back pressed against the wall.

  3. Raise your arms in front of you to shoulder height.

  4. Tighten your abs and bend your knees to lower your body, until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are at 90-degree angles. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes.

  5. Slowly straighten your knees and return to starting position. Do three sets of 10 squats.

With knees bent, engage your core to give your abs a workout.

Level Up Your Home Workout

To increase the difficulty of these bodyweight workouts, move away from the wall, and do more repetitions!

Here are some variations for increasing the intensity of the strength training at home:

Floor planks, hold for 30 seconds.

Instead of wall planks, do floor planks. Turn up your favourite workout tunes and plank for 30 seconds. Challenge yourself by holding the plank for an extra 10 seconds each week!

Floor push-ups, three sets of 12

Floor push-ups are a great way to build muscles without the need for gym equipment. The best part of working out at home is never having to feel self-conscious! Take all the time you need to get from one set of 12 to three sets of 12.

Standard bodyweight squats (no wall), three sets of 12

Watching Netflix or K-drama to unwind? Do three sets of 12 squats without the help of the wall while watching your favourite dramas and soaps.

Adding Resistance to Your Home Workout

There are so many perks to strength training at home. In the privacy of your home, you can do everything at your own pace. You never have to worry about what others think of you, and you don’t have to dress up.

If you start with these simple exercises and get hooked at doing home workouts, you will soon find yourself much stronger and yearning for more challenges.

Add step-ups and Russian Twists to your workout. Watch the video to see how they can be done at home.

 
 

For toned tummy, do more ab workouts at home.

Besides bodyweight workouts, you can also lift weights at home. No dumbbells? A good replacement is a filled water bottle — 500 ml is a good start. As you get stronger, try lifting heavier items like 1.5 L bottles filled with water or sand, or bags of rice.

Household items weights

Alternatively, grab a resistance band to turn up the intensity of your workouts. They are small, easy to stowaway and aren’t too costly.

Every minute of strength training exercise adds up to 150 minutes of physical activity a week - the recommended amount of daily activity we should all be getting.

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!

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