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Nine body weight exercises you can do anywhere

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When time is short, who wants to schlep to the gym? These nine moves will tone you from top to toe in the comfort of your living room.

Toning up and feeling confident doesn't have to mean spending loads of time in a sweaty gym. We've rounded up some of the best exercises to get you fit at home.

You can mix up the exercises, and practice them two or three times a week. You can even do them in your PJs because - joy of joys - you're in your own home!

And even being on your period needn't stop you exercising with confidence - just make sure you're wearing Always pads for enough protection to keep you dry and comfortable throughout your workout.


1. Squats

TARGETS BUM, LEGS, ABS AND BACK

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, looking straight ahead, hips forward. Keep your chest up and back straight as you bend your knees and lower your bottom as if you're going to sit in a chair behind you - make sure the weight stays in the back of your heels.

Keep your knees in line with your feet (but don't let your knees go past your toes), until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as close as you can get to it!). Then, push back up through your heels to stand, squeezing your butt and pushing your pelvis forward.

Protect your back by putting your hands on the back of your head with your elbows out to stop yourself from leaning forward. Hold hand weights to make it tougher. Repeat 20 times, rest, then do two more sets of 20.


2. The Plank

TARGETS TUMMY, ARMS, BUM, BACK AND LEGS

Start as though you're about to do a push-up on your knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Ground your toes into the floor and squeeze your bum as you lift your body into one straight line, with your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles on the same plane.

Draw in your tummy muscles, imagining your belly button pulling in towards your spine and don't let your bottom or lower back dip or lift too high.

Look at a spot on the floor about a foot beyond your hands to keep your head in line with your back. Contract your abs and glutes and hold, taking slow, controlled, deep breaths.

Stop and reset if your back begins to bow or your shoulders sink. Rest your weight on your forearms rather than on your hands to make it easier. Try to hold for 20 seconds, and keep increasing the time as you get the hang of it.


3. Tricep Dips

TARGETS ARMS AND SHOULDERS

Sit on a stable chair, bench, sofa or bed and place your hands, shoulder-width apart, on the edge of the seat with your fingers hanging over the edge.

Slide your bottom off the surface, with your legs out in front of you. Keeping your chest up and open, straighten your arms without locking out your elbows.

Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly bend your elbows to about 90 degrees, lowering your body towards the floor. Once you reach the extent of the movement, pause, then press into the bench to slowly straighten your elbows, keeping shoulders relaxed, and return to the starting position. Do 10, rest, then do two more sets of 10.


4. Crunch Reaches

TARGETS ABS AND WAIST

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Raise your upper body into a sit up, with your fingers resting gently on your temples and your elbows out.

With your eyes on the ceiling and tummy pulled in, reach your right hand towards your right ankle, keeping your chest parallel to the ceiling. Return to the sit up position and repeat on the left. Do 10, rest, then do two more sets of 10.


5. Lunges

TARGETS BUM AND LEGS

Stand, keeping your upper body straight, shoulders back and chin up. Engage your abs and take a big step with one leg, either backwards or forwards, lowering your lunge until both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Keep your front knee directly above your ankle, and hover your back knee over the floor.

Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the start position, then swap legs. Pass a weight from hand to hand through your legs to make it tougher. Do 10 on each leg, rest, then do two more sets of 10.


6. Push-Ups

TARGETS CHEST, ARMS, SHOULDERS, TUMMY

Get into a plank position, either on your toes or knees to make it easier, with your hands just wide of your shoulders. Bend your elbows out to the side and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.

Pause, then push back up keeping your tummy engaged throughout. Do 10, rest and do two more sets of 10.


7. Side Plank

TARGETS OBLIQUES (the muscles that run down the side of your abs)

Lie on your side with your legs stacked one on top of another, the foot of your top leg just behind the bottom foot for stability. Prop your body up on your hand or elbow and hold, keeping your hand or your elbow directly underneath your shoulder.

Make it harder by raising your top arm straight up or by lifting your top leg - if you're a total pro, try both.

Keep your glutes contracted so that your lower and upper body stay in perfect alignment. Try to hold for 20 seconds on each side, gradually increasing this time as you get stronger.


8. Glute Bridge

TARGETS LOWER BACK, THIGHS AND BUM

Lie on your back, hands on the floor by your sides, knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart on the ground. Push through your heels, using your bottom and the back of your legs to lift your hips, keeping your back straight. Hold at the top, then slowly return.

Up the challenge by doing these single-legged - put your right heel up on a bed or sofa, straighten the other leg above you, then push your hips up. Do a set of 10 then swap legs, repeating this two more times per side.


9. Curtsy Lunges

TARGETS BUM AND INNER THIGHS

From standing, step your left leg behind you and to the right so that your thighs cross, bending both knees as if you were curtsying. Keep your front knee aligned with your front ankle.

Return to standing and switch sides. Do 10 on each side, and repeat two more sets of 10 reps.

How do you fit in exercise around a busy family life? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

 

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