Four workouts you can do at home

Richard McVey
Senior Health Adviser at Bupa UK
18 July 2019
Next review due July 2022

There are some days when finding the time — and the motivation — to exercise is more difficult than others. You might be travelling overseas, have children to care for, or maybe the weather’s just taken a turn for the worse. But there are lots of ways you can fit in a good workout indoors when you’re short on time. Here I’ll share four different types of exercise that you can do from the comfort of your own home. There’s a HIIT, bodyweight, dumbbell and yoga workout for you to choose from.

1. HIIT workout

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a short workout that involves doing quick bursts of exercise at a high intensity, followed by a period of light exercise or rest, and alternating between the two. It’s a great option if you’re short on time. It can also help you to look after your heart and lungs, maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall fitness.

You can turn most exercises into a HIIT session, for example running, swimming, cycling or using the equipment in a gym. But you can also practise HIIT on your own at home using just a small space, with no equipment needed.

2. Dumbbell workout

Strength training, also known as resistance training, involves moving your muscles against a weight or force. It’s recommended that you do at least two strength training sessions a week to help keep your muscles and bones strong. But you don’t need to head into the weights area of a gym to do these. At home, you can use resistance bands, dumbbells, your own bodyweight or even tins of beans or bottles of water as a substitute. You can buy a small set of dumbbells or resistance bands fairly cheap to keep at home too. Try 8-10 reps of each of the exercises below, and repeat these 3 times. Remember to engage your core and breathe normally when doing these exercises.

Shoulder presses: Start with your hands at shoulder height, palms facing forward and your elbows by your sides. Raise your arms above your head until they’re fully extended. Gently lower back down to shoulder height. 

A gif showing a shoulder press

Squat presses: Start with your feet hip-width apart and your hands in front of your chest. Lower down into a squat position – aim to get your bottom parallel to the floor, but make sure your knees stay in line with your toes, your chest stays lifted and your gaze forward. As you come back up, push both arms up above your head, then gently return to your start position.

A GIF demonstrating squat-press exercise

Tricep extensions: Hold one dumbbell in both hands above your head and gently lower your hands towards the back of your neck. Keep your elbows in tight beside your head and your back straight. Then raise your hands back up above your head.

A GIF demonstrating triceps extensions exercise

Bicep curls: Stand up straight with your arms by your sides and palms facing forward. Bring both hands up and in towards your biceps, while keeping your elbows tucked in by your sides. Try not to swing your body back and forth. Gently lower your hands back down to your sides.

A gif showing bicep curls

Bent-over dumbbell row: Start with your knees slightly bent, and hinge forward from your waist. Keep your head up, your back straight and allow your arms to hang in front of you, palms facing forward. Lift your arms up to your sides, elbows tucked in tight, and squeeze your back muscles. Gently lower your arms back down.

A gif showing a bent-over dumbbell row

3. Bodyweight workout

Bodyweight exercises also count as resistance exercise, helping to strengthen your muscles and bones, but you don’t need any equipment to do them. Find a couple of metres in your living room, and try our bodyweight workout below. This includes lunges, push-ups, burpees, core plank and squats. Two or three sets of 40 seconds each and 20 seconds rest after each exercise would be ideal. 

A fifteen minute workout infographic from Bupa

Click to open a PDF version of 15-minute bodyweight infographic (1.1MB).

4. Yoga

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and combines physical poses, with deep breathing and meditation. There are lots of different types of yoga to choose from, depending on how challenging or relaxing you’d like your practise to be. Yoga can help to improve your strength, balance, posture and flexibility and leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. There are lots of free yoga videos online you can follow along with at home, or try our 15-minute routine below to get started.

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Richard McVey
Richard McVey
Senior Health Adviser at Bupa UK

    • Physical activity guidelines for adults. Department of Health., published July 2011.
    • High-intensity interval training. American College of Sports Medicine., published 2014.
    • Yoga: what you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health., last updated May 2019.
    • Physical activity: brief advice for adults in primary care. NICE National Institute for Health and Care Excellence., published May 2013.
    • Personal communication, Richard McVey, Lifestyle Coach & Health Adviser at Bupa UK, July 2019.

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