With the increased remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been working from home in less-than-ideal ergonomic setups. Sitting like a shrimp and staring at your laptop for 8 hours daily will cause lower back pain. But the bigger issue is how you are obviously becoming weaker.
I mean, duh. You’re not really putting those muscles to use when you spend most of your time at home. And even when you go out… how much exercise do you get driving your car to your regular bar?
Thankfully, there are ways to keep your shape and strength even though you have become an indoor creature. Here are 5 muscle building workouts you can do at home without complex equipment:
- Bodyweight squats
- Jumping Jacks
Bodyweight squats can strengthen your legs, glutes, and core. Below are the standard steps to perform a proper bodyweight squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes slightly outward.
- Engage your core muscles and keep your back straight.
- Bend your knees and push your hips back in a seating position.
- Keep your weight on your heels and ensure your knees align with your toes.
- Lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Pause momentarily, then push through your heels to stand back up to the starting position.
Like all other squats, proper posture and weight distribution is key. Keep your chest up and your shoulders back, and your knees over your toes throughout the movement to avoid injury.
Push-ups can strengthen your chest, shoulders, and triceps, but they can be challenging for beginners. Follow these steps to perform push-ups without hurting yourself:
- Start on your hands and knees with hands at shoulder-width and knees at hip-width apart. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders.
- Extend your legs to form a straight line from your head to your heels. Make sure your toes touch the ground.
- Engage your core muscles while keeping your back straight and your hips level.
- Lower your body down towards the ground, bending your elbows while keeping them close to your body.
- Lower yourself until your chest touches the ground or your elbows form a 90-degree angle.
- Push yourself back up to the starting position.
If full pushups are too hard at first, start on your hands and knees for some extra support at the beginning.
Lunges are a great exercise to build up leg muscles at home, particularly your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. To properly perform a lunge, keep your upper body straight, shoulders back, and knees in line with your toes.
To do a lunge at home, follow these steps:
- Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips.
- Take a big step forward with your right foot.
- Lower your body down until your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your right knee is directly above your ankle. Your left knee should be almost touching the ground.
- Pause for a moment, then push through your right heel to stand back up to the starting position.
- Repeat with your left leg.
- Continue alternating legs until you feel your muscles have got a good workout.
Ah, the treacherous plank. Planking is probably everyone’s most loved but hated yoga posture. But it’s also one of the most effective yoga moves to train your core muscles from shoulder to toe.
To do a plank, start at a pushup position. Engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button towards your spine. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, then slowly return to the beginning position.
If doing a full plank is too hard, try putting a yoga ball under your feet. Planking on your forearms instead of your hands also makes it easier.
Jumping jacks are a great cardiovascular exercise. They can improve your lung capacity but also train your ab, hip, and leg muscles. Here are the standard steps for jumping jacks:
- Stand up straight with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
- Jump your feet out to the sides while raising your arms above your head.
- Jump your feet back together while simultaneously lowering your arms to your sides.
- Repeat 10-12 times or work out for 60 seconds for each session.
Make sure you do this exercise with plenty of room around to avoid injuries. It’s best to do jumping jacks in your living room.
How Many Muscle Groups Should I Work On Every Day?
The number of muscle groups to work on daily depends on your goals and workout experience. A fail-safe approach would be working for 2 adjacent muscle groups daily with rest days in between.
Here's an example of a muscle group split:
- Day 1: Chest and triceps
- Day 2: Back and biceps
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Legs and abs
- Day 5: Shoulders and arms
- Day 6: Rest
- Day 7: Rest
Rest for at least 48 hours before training the same major muscle group again. If you want to train at a higher intensity, try to split your muscle groups. For example, do upper body the first day, and lower body the second.
Read More: Yoga for Lower Back Pain
Recovering from Home Workouts
Post-workout recovery is as important as the exercises if you want to build your muscles effectively. After doing these muscle-building workouts at home, lay down in Child Pose for 30 to 45 seconds and allow your muscles to wind down. Give yourself a warm soak using essential oils or bath salt after the workout, or at least take a nice, hot shower.
If you are focusing on lower-body muscle groups, invest in a good foot massager. This will help you get the most out of your resting days, but it also helps you relax from work stress. So, it’s multiple birds with one stone, right?