Life & Design

10 best exercises to do at home – easy workouts you can do without the need for the gym

Exercising at home is a great way to keep fit in your own time. You can train whenever you want without spending on gym fees

Exercise at home
(Image credit: Future)

You don’t need a gym membership to get fit. Do these exercises at home to help you burn fat, build muscle and achieve your fitness goals without having to step outside.

A home workout can also be just as effective as a gym workout. Don’t worry if you have minimal space at home or no equipment – most of the exercises below can be done without weights, or only require a pair of light dumbbells, a skipping rope or a pull-up bar.

For the best results try to aim for around 20-40 minutes of exercise three to four times a week. Consistency is key, but don’t worry if you miss a day or two, just keep going.

If you’re struggling to motivate yourself at home pop on your favourite playlist while you train (no more gym music) or mix the exercises up to keep things fresh.

Recommended equipment:

  • Dumbbells  
  • Kettlebells  
  • Skipping rope 
  • Yoga mat  
  • Pull-up bar 
  • Resistance band

10 best exercises to do at home

(Image credit: Future / Peter Nixon)

1. Burpees

What to do: From a standing start, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then place your palms on the floor and kick your legs back all the way. Now bring your legs back into your body and jump up, and then back down into the squat position. Repeat.

Why we love it: Burpees are notorious for being a great fat burner. Even just a few will get your blood pumping and your sweat pouring quicker than many other bodyweight exercises.

2. Static wall sit

What to do: Find a wall and stand against it. Now bring your legs down as if you’re sitting on an invisible chair. Imagine the wall is a backrest. Try to hold this position for as long as you can and repeat a few times.  

Why we love it: A great way to warm up before your workout. You’ll really feel the burn and stretch in your legs. Try to hold the position as long as possible. You’ll soon notice your times improving as you get stronger.  

3. Skipping

What to do: For an intense fat burn try a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. Skip as fast you can for around 10-30 seconds and then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat this a few times and you’ll be sweating buckets. Take longer rest periods if needed.  

It is best to do this workout in the garden – we'd hate for your to break your beloved ceramics.

Why we love it: There’s a reason why professional boxers and athletes use a skipping rope for cardio – it’s a fast and effective way to burn fat without having to spend hours on the treadmill.   

4. Squats

What to do: From a standing position squat down with your legs parallel to the floor. From this position rise up and bring yourself down slowly back into the squat position. Repeat. Your legs should be slightly wider than shoulder position as you go down, so adjust your feet so you don’t feel any stress on your knees. You should feel the burn on your quads just above your knees.  

This workout is a firm favorite with the H&G team as it can be done virtually anywhere in the home. 

Why we love it: Squats are one of the best ways to burn fat and build leg muscle whatever your level of fitness. For the best results try them holding a dumbbell in each hand above your shoulders.   

5. Push-ups

What to do: Lie down with your palms flat on the floor at shoulder width. Your back should be in a straight line all the way to your feet. Lower your body down and then up again. Repeat. You should feel a stretch in your chest as you go down.     

Why we love it: Push-ups are one of the best ways to firm up your chest and increase strength without using weights. For variation try incline push-ups by placing your palms on some stairs or the seat of a chair.   

6. Kettlebell swings

What to do: Grab a kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet wider than shoulder length apart. Swing the kettle bell forward between your legs back and forth up towards shoulder level and back again while keeping your feet apart. Repeat with a controlled swinging momentum.   

Be sure to attempt this with enough room on either side of your body, and away from any expensive appliances or newly-furnished cabinetry.

Why we love it: A fast way to target your upper and lower body, so add this move to your workout if you don’t have much time.  

7. Bent over rows

What to do: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend over at a 45-degree angle. Move the dumbbells straight out in front of you and then raise the dumbbells back up while keeping your back straight. If you don’t have weights, try it with a resistance band or something weighty that you can fit in your hand.  

Why we love it: The best exercise for a V-shaped back. Keep doing these and your shoulders and back will look wider, giving the illusion of a smaller waist.   

8. Pull ups

What do do: If you’ve got a pull up bar stand below it and grab the bar with your arms wider than shoulder width. Now pull yourself up straight and slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat.   

If you are attaching a pull up bar to a doorframe, be sure that is is sturdy enough to hold your body weight.

Why we love it: Alongside the dumbbell row, this exercise is one of the best for helping you strengthen your back to give you that V-shaped look and increase overall strength.

9. Standing shoulder press

What to do: Grab a pair of dumbbells and raise them up above each shoulder. Don’t lock your arms fully while raising your arms – you want to keep the weight stable throughout. Now slowly raise them back down until your elbows are parallel with each other in line with your shoulder and repeat.   

Why we love it: The most effective way to develop shoulder strength and widen your shoulders.

10. Planks

best exercises to do at home

(Image credit: Future)

What to do: Get in a press-up position on all fours and rest on your forearms at shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and hold this position.  

This is another wonderful workout that can be done in most places. Why not take it outdoors for a breath of fresh air? 

Why we love it: It’s a little different to your usual crunches, without putting a strain on your back. Consistent planking can keep your core strong with less risk of an injury. 

Is it effective to workout at home?

The big question: Are home workouts effective? The short answer is yes. Providing you are prepared to put a little time and effort into your workout at home, it can be just as effective as a gym workout.

Will working out 10 minutes a day make a difference?

It is widely reported that getting at least 10 minutes of continuous moderate activity – three times a day – can give the same health benefits as 30 minutes of nonstop exercise.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.