Simple and Effective Home Exercises

Winter weather and busy holiday schedules are common obstacles to our exercise time. Driving to and from a gym when time is in short supply and the likelihood of winter weather causing slippery and dangerous roads can lead many people to skip their workout altogether.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, only 28 percent of Americans are meeting appropriate exercise guidelines. If you’re one among the 72 percent struggling to get enough exercise, these simple, yet effective home exercises can be done year round with fewer obstacles.



The push-up is a great chest and triceps exercise that’s easy to modify based on your strength level. Start with your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart and fingers facing forward. Lower your body while maintaining a straight trunk. When your elbows reach a 90 -degree angle, simply push back up.

To make this exercise easier, perform the push-up with your knees touching the ground instead of your feet. If getting down to and up from the floor is difficult, place your hands against a wall or sturdy object and perform the movement.

The higher your hands and the greater angle your torso makes with the ground, the easier the movement will be. Progress by using objects closer to the floor, gradually decreasing the angle between your torso and ground and increasing difficulty.

Dumbbell exercises

A variety of upper body dumbbell exercises are simple to perform and can be done using household objects if you don’t own dumbbells. Objects like a can of soup can be used in place of a dumbbell as long as the weight is appropriate for the exercise.

Bicep curl: Sit or stand upright. Keeping your elbows in tight with your body, bend at your elbow and bring the weight up near your chest. Lower the weight in a controlled manner until your arm is straight again.

Lateral raise: Sit or stand upright with your hands to your side and palms facing in toward your body. Keeping your arms straight, raise your hand until your arms are parallel with the floor. Slowly lower the weight down to the starting position.

Make sure you don’t hurt yourself by using objects too heavy or difficult to hold. However, if you can’t find objects heavy enough to present a challenge, add extra reps or decrease rest time to increase difficulty.


Goblet Squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Press your hips back and lower your rear towards the ground, making sure your knees do not go past your toes. Try to get low enough that the top of your thigh is parallel to the floor or as low as you are able before returning to an upright position.

To decrease difficulty, find a chair or bed with an appropriate height and squat till your backside touches the surface, then return to your upright position. To increase difficulty, you can hold a weight in your hands, or after returning to your upright position you can combine this exercise with an overhead press.


Stand then step forward with one foot and drop your back knee towards the floor. Try to drop low enough that your front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle and your knee is directly above your toe. Keep an upright posture as you press your forward foot into the ground. Bring your feet together to return to starting position. To decrease difficulty, you don’t need to drop your back knee low enough for your front leg to reach a 90-degree angle, but make sure you don’t step too far forward. To increase difficulty, try holding a weight in your hands. To add variation, try adding backwards and side lunges.


High-intensity cardiovascular exercises can easily be done in your home with minimal to no equipment. High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, lets you get a great cardiovascular workout in a short amount of time. Workouts typically last 15 to 25 minutes and include different exercises done in succession with a short recovery period – for example, 30 seconds of exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest for 5 sets. After 5 sets, rest for 1 or 2 minutes and repeat for 3 total cycles.

Exercises that can be included in a HIIT plan include mountain climbers, burpees, kettlebell swings, dumbbell push press, and many more. HIIT plans can vary so much, we could write a separate new article on them! You can search online and find a HIIT training plan that works for you. If you’re new to exercising, talk to your physician before beginning an exercise training plan.

Mountain Climber
Kettleball Swing
Dumbbell Push Press
By Hayden Legg, ACSM-CEP