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Working out at home doesn't have to mean your efforts are ineffective or sloppy. You can do challenging, highly effective strength routines for both your upper and lower body in the comfort of your home. And there are several cardio routines that don't require a gym and will help you stay lean and conditioned. Plus, working out at home has many hidden benefits -- no time wasted on a gym commute, no waiting for gym machines to become available, and they're free.
Work Those Guns
Work on your upper body twice a week, such as Monday and Thursday. This will improve the strength and muscle mass of your arms, shoulders, chest, upper back and abs. On Monday perform five sets with 20 repetitions of each of the following: standard pushups, triceps dips, mountain climbers, hand walkouts, pull-ups and crunches. On Thursday, perform five sets with 20 repetitions of the following: hand raise pushups, bear crawls, chin-ups, v-sits, burpees and superman raises. Always be sure to warm up before your workout and to stretch afterwards.
Don't Skip Leg Day
Your lower body hosts the biggest muscles in your body. Your legs, glutes and lower back are all extremely powerful and exert substantial energy when you train them -- so your lower body workouts need to be challenging in order to create any change in those muscles. Train your lower body twice a week, like Tuesday and Friday. On Tuesday, perform five sets of 20 repetitions of the following bodyweight exercises: depth squats, jumping lunges, single leg deadlifts, pistol squats, glute bridges and one 60-second wall sit. On Friday, perform five sets of 20 repetitions of sumo squats, walking lunges, spiderman lunges, toe touch jacks, box jumps and jumping squats. Be sure to warm up beforehand and stretch afterwards.
Step it Up with Intervals
Interval training is a highly effective form of cardio that will help you get lean, as well as condition your body to a high level of performance. Interval training requires a period of intense work, followed by a shorter period of rest. For example, Tabata sprints are a popular form of interval training -- they are effective for burning fat, improving strength and endurance, and at just four minutes per session, they are also very time efficient. To do Tabata sprints, run or jump rope as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this eight times, for a total of four minutes. Add an interval session after your two upper body workouts each week.
Take it Easy
Low Intensity Steady State cardio, LISS, is an important element of working out at home. LISS cardio is low impact, and improves your performance during your more intense workouts. The perfect example of LISS is leisurely walking or swimming if you have a pool. These activities help lower stress, improve circulation, and increase metabolism. Including a relaxed walk or swim after your lower body sessions each week will keep you feeling healthy and relaxed while you're working so hard on your body.