8 At-Home Exercises to Stay Fit Without the Gym

Zing Coach
Medically reviewed
Walter Gjergja


Published on 

March 13, 2024

Try out these convenient and effective exercises to get fit without leaving the house, and discover how to prepare the best home workouts!

8 At-Home Exercises to Stay Fit Without the Gym
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Physical fitness has become a priority in modern society. Staying fit, eating nutritiously, and trying to keep your body in the best condition possible are high on many people’s lists of personal goals. However, rearranging our busy schedules can be complex, and finding time for regular exercise is challenging. That means we can’t always visit our local gym or health center for daily workouts. 

Fortunately, there are many innovative ways that busy people can stay fit even without entering a gym. You can do various exercises at home to effectively work your upper and lower body muscle groups, giving you the satisfaction of going to the gym without leaving your house. This article will discuss the benefits of home workouts and provide an overview of eight of the most popular exercises people do at home.

Benefits of Working Out at Home

There are several specific benefits to be gained from doing exercises at home. These include:

  • Convenience. Think about how much time most people take getting to the gym, getting ready in the changing rooms, and possibly waiting for equipment to become unrestrained or for a class to start. It all adds up. Working out at home saves time – especially if the necessary equipment is stored conveniently.
  • Cost-effectiveness. While gym memberships are affordable for some people, the expense might exceed what others have available. Add the money you spend on getting to the gym or the drinks and food you buy there, and it adds up. Working out at home lets you avoid these costs and spend money on more important things.
  • Privacy. Not everyone is comfortable exercising in front of others, and that’s okay. Working out at home means you can perform exercises in privacy. You can build up your strength and endurance at home, and always visit the gym when you feel more comfortable about your fitness level.
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Pre-Workout Considerations

Consider the space you will be in to create optimal conditions for your home workout. If you’re working out in a lounge or family space, consider moving the furniture so that you don’t accidentally kick the kitchen table as you do high kicks, creating a whole space conducive to a good workout. 

Keep the TV off during your workout to avoid distractions unless it’s playing motivational content to energize you. Arrange all your equipment within reach and in a clear space, ensuring it’s set up far from distractions like food or kids’ toys.

Also, remember to warm up and prepare for your workout properly by hydrating to maximize your workout’s effectiveness. Starting your workout with proper stretching ensures the safety and health of your muscles and joints. 

Allow yourself at least 10 minutes to get your blood flowing and move around, particularly if you feel stiff. Remember to have a good water supply (ideally with electrolytes) to stay hydrated throughout your workout.

8 Best Home Exercises

Now that you’re warmed up and ready to go, let’s look at eight home exercises that will help you stay in shape and energetic and motivate you to keep going.

1. Bodyweight Squats

Experts consider squats one of the most comprehensive exercises you can do without equipment. 

How to perform a standard squat correctly: 

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and lower your hips as if sitting in a chair
  3. Return to standing.

Beginners to working out should start with 10-15 reps thrice in any given workout session. Squats are excellent for strengthening your core and leg muscles and keeping you balanced. You can also use a wider variation to activate your glutes more. To add increase the difficulty, you can try holding a weight while you squat, either out in front of you or clutched to your chest (or between your legs if you're in a wide stance). You can also rest a barbell on your back if you have such equipment at home. As you progress, increase the number of reps or the weight you hold for a greater challenge.

2. Push-ups and Rotation

Push-ups are an important upper-body exercise that can be challenging when you start working out. 

How to do a push-up correctly:

  1. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. 
  2. Extend your legs behind you.
  3. Lower your body to just above the ground using your arms, keeping your back straight.
  4. Straighten your arms to push your body back up.

Push-ups are excellent for working your core, chest, and arm muscles (particularly your triceps and shoulders) and even your legs to some extent as you maintain body tension. 

Adding rotation to your push-ups is a valuable variant that adds variety to your workouts, works for different muscle groups, and helps you gain balance and coordination. 

How to do a push-up with rotation: 

  1. Do a regular push-up.
  2. Twist to the side and lift one arm vertically. 
  3. Lower your arm to the ground, do another push-up, and lift the other arm towards the opposite side. 

The number of reps you should do in a given set ultimately depends on your fitness level. Aim to challenge yourself with your workout while maintaining your energy levels. Start with three sets of however many push-ups you can do, perhaps on the knees if initially on the feet it’s too complicated, and gradually build up the reps as you get stronger.

3. Single-Leg Deadlifts   

Another good exercise for gaining strength and balance is single-leg deadlifts. In this exercise, you improve your ability to stand on one leg and work your core, legs, and—secondarily—arm muscles.

How to perform a single-leg deadlift correctly:

  1. While you can do this exercise without any weight, using a weight is recommended to help you stay balanced and engaged. So, find a weighted object you can hold comfortably in one hand, like a dumbbell, kettlebell, bottle of water, or even a bag or some other simple object. 
  2. Start standing with one foot in front of the other and the opposite arm in front of your body, holding the weight if you have one.
  3. Lower the arm towards the ground while lifting the back leg. You want a straight line from your back leg through your torso to your head. As you lower the leg to the ground, lift your body back up while maintaining a straight line from head to toe. Your arm holding the weight should gradually decrease and then come back up as you do the exercise. 

Fitness experts recommend doing three sets of 8-10 reps with a manageable weight, gradually building up as you get comfortable with the exercise, and increasing the weight you hold for added challenge.

4. Burpee with a Push-Up

Burpees with an added push-up are a classic army exercise popularized for people who exercise at home. Becoming proficient at burpees with push-ups will give you the strength that push-ups provide and substantially increase your endurance. 

How to perform a burpee with a push-up correctly:

  1. Start in a standing position on an exercise mat. 
  2. Squat down and put your hands on the mat.
  3. Extend your legs behind you as quickly as possible and do a push-up. 
  4. Hop your legs back immediately so you are again in the squatting position.
  5. Stand or jump straight up. 

Try doing 8-10 repetitions, aiming for a couple of sets to start. If you want to begin at a lower intensity, consider taking out the push-up initially to make the movement more achievable. Then, as your fitness increases, you can gradually increase the number of both sets and reps.

5. Plank to Dolphin Pose

If traditional push-ups aren’t your thing - or even if they are, but you’re just looking for some variety in your exercise regime - another thing you can try is the plank to dolphin pose. 

How to perform a plank to dolphin Pose correctly:

  1. Begin in a forearm plank with your forearms on the ground, elbows directly beneath your shoulders, legs extended, and toes tucked.
  2. Engage your core and lift your hips towards the ceiling, moving into an inverted "V" shape. Your body should resemble a dolphin's arc.
  3. Pause at the top, then slowly lower back into the forearm plank position.

Experts recommend aiming for 8-10 repetitions, starting with 2-3 sets if possible. If not, start smaller and try to build up.

The plan to dolphin is easier than a traditional push-up because you balance on your elbows rather than holding a plank position on your hands. You’re still working similar muscle groups, but you get the added balance of having your entire forearms on the ground.

6. Chair Triceps Dips

This exercise uses the seat of a chair, a somewhat watered-down version of what athletes might do on parallel bars. As the name suggests, it is excellent for building up your triceps, and you also use your chest, shoulders, and core.

How to perform chair triceps dips correctly:

  1. Sit in front of a chair, bench, or block of a similar height, with your back towards the object.
  2. Place your hands on the object's edge, fingers pointing towards your body, legs extended forward.
  3. Extend your arms to lift your body, then slowly bend your elbows to lower yourself towards the floor, keeping your back close to the chair.
  4. Push through your palms to raise your body back to the starting position.

Perform 10-15 reps for 2-3 sets. Begin with bent knees if straight legs are too challenging.

If extending your legs completely straight in front of you is challenging, start with a simpler variation with your legs bent, then try to work up to the more complex version. Try to do 10-15 reps 2-3 times.

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7. Reverse Lunges

Reverse lunges are a good, simple exercise that works your hamstrings, as well as your core. 

How to perform reverse lunges correctly:

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips.
  2. Step one leg back and lower your body until the back knee nearly touches the ground, forming 90-degree angles with both knees.
  3. Push through the front heel to return to standing, then repeat on the other side.

Fitness experts recommend 2-3 sets of 8-12 lunges on each side. If you become proficient at them, you can try a more complex version by holding a weight like a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

8. High Knees in Place

High knees in place is a running variation that allows you to strengthen your leg and core muscles and build endurance. 

How to run in place with high knees correctly: 

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides.
  2. Run in place, lifting your knees high towards your chest. Aim to reach hip level with your quad parallel to the ground while keeping your knees bent as much as possible.
  3. Pump your arms in opposition to your legs to maintain balance and momentum.

Start with 30-second intervals, aiming for high intensity. As you progress, you can increase your running duration or lift your knees higher.

Incorporating Cardio into Home Exercises

Running in place with high knees is an aerobic exercise that helps build cardiovascular endurance. If you want to add more exercises specifically designed for cardio, try jumping jacks, skipping rope, or stepping up and down a step. 

For the more straightforward exercises, try to go for 3-5 minutes at a time if you can, and gradually build up your time. Although we said to keep the TV off during your workouts, if you’re focusing on cardio, you can put your favorite television show on to hold your attention and help you pass the time.

Cooldown and Stretching

Your cool-down phase is just as important as the primary exercises that you do. Stretch and breathe deeply, holding each pose to enhance recovery. Take time to stretch after your workout, breathing deeply for a few slow breaths as you hold each pose to allow yourself time to settle deeper into the stretch. Working out is challenging for the body, so when you’re done, you need to put your body back in order. Otherwise, you will suffer lactic acid buildup, and your muscles will hurt the next day.

Building A Routine

The ultimate goal of creating a fitness regime is to make it regular and something you can do for a long time. Several things could help you with this: 

  • Try to vary your exercises, so you’re not always doing the same thing. You might have favorite exercises you want to include every time (stretching is a must), but try to incorporate some of the others on certain days or rotate your exercises. Variation will help keep you engaged and your muscles working, as they won’t get too set in specific habits, which is important for overall fitness.
  • Vary the amounts that you do on different days. You will likely have more time on the weekends, so see if you can make a Saturday workout a bit longer, perhaps, and skip Friday so that you’re motivated.
  • Try to increase the intensity of your workouts, but only to the extent that you can without pushing yourself too hard or getting burned out. Try occasionally doing more reps rather than heavier weights, etc.

Maintaining Motivation

Staying motivated while working out at home can be a rewarding challenge. Just as it was hard for many others to transition to at-home workouts, you will also be surrounded by all the same distractions - TV, kids, other types of leisure, etc.

There are several techniques that you can use to keep yourself on track. Make specific goals for important dates, like birthdays, graduation, or weddings. Set reminders for yourself about how close you’re getting to your target dates, and establish mini-goals for these times. Also, reward yourself. If you reach a certain goal, allow yourself a spa day or something fun that you’ve been wanting to do.

Safety Tips

You should always consider safety when undertaking a fitness program. This means several things: first, ensure you are medically cleared to exercise and don’t have any health issues preventing you from engaging in physical activity safely. 

Then, you don’t want heavy objects in your way while exercising. Ensure sufficient space for household items and any heavy exercise equipment at home. And be sure to dress appropriately: flexible, breathable exercise clothing is essential for a good workout.

Being safe also means not pushing yourself too hard. While challenging yourself with your choice of workout is the best way to progress, remember to choose workouts that match your current fitness level. Consider visiting a fitness expert for a consultation at the beginning of your fitness journey to determine the right workout intensity.

Home Workouts with Zing Coach

The exercises and tips above are great for building a home workout routine, but it can be complicated to prepare every day for weeks. With Zing Coach, you can generate a personalized home workout plan to help you achieve your fitness goals, whether weight loss, muscle gain, or simply being more active. Zing Coach takes into account everything about you, from your age and gender to your fitness experience, current activity level, the equipment you have available, and the other activities you do outside of working out, to create a series of Strength, Recovery, Stretching, and other workouts to suit your needs and preferences. And if you decide it’s time to hit the gym instead of working out at home, you can easily switch your location from session to session.

Zing Coach also tracks your progress as you work out, actively adapting to your changing needs and conditions, ensuring that you stay motivated and on track with your fitness goals. With Zing Coach, you can have a personal coach in your pocket, offering bespoke advice and support tailored to your fitness journey.


Getting fit doesn’t require a lot of equipment, a gym membership, or running around all over town. All that’s required is the motivation to get started and keep going and the knowledge of specific types of exercises and how they can help you get fit. It wouldn’t hurt to have a digital tool like Zing Coach to help you track your progress, either. 

Staying motivated can sometimes seem like a challenge, but with the right incentives, you should be able to develop a plan that works for you and stay on track to attain the fitness level you desire.

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References and Further Reading

You might want to read additional websites on fitness and health in general. The following are some sites that you can check out if you want to have more in-depth information:

  • Exrx.net offers many pages on different types of exercise. It includes a fitness calculator, weight training tips, and other related components.
  • FitWatch.com provides different ways to calculate and move towards your goals.
  • American Council on Fitness features a database of exercises, nutritional tips, a healthy living blog, and other related information.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine includes scientific information on the impact of different types of exercise, how to exercise safely, and how to manage your weight while exercising.
  • The National Academy of Sports Medicine provides information on certifications and personal trainer resources for health and human services.


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