Full Body Exercises for Working Out in Tight Spaces

Sometimes it is hard to stick to a workout routine, especially if you have responsibilities like a full time job, kids and/or a partner. Just getting to the gym can be a hassle. Therefore, more and more people have decided to start working out at home. Think about it, often you can finish your workout by the time you would have been able to make it to the gym and change into your gym clothes (which is important to have; even if you decide to workout at home it doesn’t mean that you should do so in any old sweats you have laying around). It is also important to have the proper shoes so that you have proper foot support and don’t do more damage than good.

One issue with at home workouts is ensuring to have enough space. Most routines require some movement so it is important to have enough room to do the workouts effectively which might require that you clear out that pile of stuff in your living room that you have been meaning to get to for a while. Continue to read below to read our recommendations on how to exercise at home without a lot of space and with minimal equipment.

Routine at a Glance

In order to do this workout, it is important to have enough room to lunge forwards, backwards, and sideways. It might also be helpful to find some speakers for music and to shut off the TV, which can distract you from keeping on track.

The only equipment that you will need is a set of heavier weights, a set of lighter weights, and a medium resistance theraband. If you aren’t interested in purchasing dumbbells you could instead use something you find around your house such as a jar filled with beans for lighter weights and bags of rice for heavier weights. As long as you are working out and lifting something, you will get a good workout.

Warming Up

Many people tend to skip warming up when they start a new workout routine because they feel as though it isn’t an important workout component. A warm up does just that- it warms up your body and prepares it to work both mentally and physically. The easiest form of warm up is jogging in place. A warm up should be at least five minutes long but not much more than 10. By warming up, you will find that you have increased mobility, improved circulation, and a better attitude.

Another great warm up is two rounds of the following exercises: 10 alternating side lunges, 30-seconds (or 30s) of jog on spot or high knees (lifting your knees with your core), 5 wall pushups, 10 body weight squats, and 5 shoulder presses. If you feel your muscles tensing, use a foam roller to stretch out sore muscles.

Overhead Dumbbell Squat

The first exercise of our routine is the overhead dumbbell squat. Until you know your limits, it might be helpful to try this without any weights. This exercise entails lifting your arms overhead and then putting yourself into a lower squat position. Whenever squatting, it is important to ensure that you keep your spine in a neutral position before then using your heels to bring you back to standing position.

Make sure not to overarch your back, which can cause back problems down the road. A good way of thinking about this is to think about your ribcage being “closed” and not letting your arms go past your ears. It might be helpful to do this exercise in front of a mirror at first until you get the hang of it.

Standing Band Reverse Flies

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and take your theraband with your palms facing towards the ground. Keep your knees bent slightly inwards and keep your feet firm on the ground. If someone was to come by and push you over, you aren’t in a strong enough stance.

Lift up your arms just below your shoulders and pull your arms away from each other, stretching the band out even farther. This pulling with resistance allows for the stabilization of the band. Again, make sure not to arch your back, which allow for less difficulty in the pulling motion and keep your ribcage “closed.”

Cardio Blast

Now that you have warmed up your muscles, it’s time to boost your heart rate. The best way to increase your fitness is to switch between cardio exercises and strength training. By doing cardio in shorter intervals, you will be able to work out at a higher intensity and burn more calories but also allows you to have enough time to build muscles via strength training. Our cardio blast workout is as follows:

For a more intense workout option, perform 30s of high knees, 30s of butt kicks (trying to reach your bum with your feet), and 30s of power squat jumps (or if you have knee issues, you can substitute them with jumping jacks). For a less intense workout do: 30-seconds of alternating side lunges, 30 seconds of bodyweight squats, and 30s of shadowboxing (punching the air as if you have an opponent). Don’t worry if you are unable to do the higher intensity version at first, or ever. Do what works best for you and your body and you will still experience the benefits of exercise.

Push-Up Variations

No matter how long you have been working out, one exercise that many struggle with is the push up, which is the ideal exercise to build up your shoulder strength as well as the strength in your pectoral muscles, back, and core. Again, never let your back arch but also don’t let it sag. Essentially a push up at its basis is lowering your body and lifting it up with your arm and shoulder muscles. It might be helpful to first perform pushups against a counter or wall to first get a hang of the motions.

Don’t worry about doing them fast or doing a lot of reps, focus on form instead. Then try them on your knees before trying a full pushup from your toes. If you are really looking for a challenge you can try travelling pushups (full pushups you perform while moving your body left and right).

Stationary Lunges

Stationary lunges are a great exercise that you can do in a small amount of space. If you are more of a beginner, it would be helpful to try these without any weights or using the lighter body weights. This is one exercise that some beginners struggle with, not due to difficulty but simply not knowing how to perform them properly.

Make sure to watch your knees and ensure that they are aligned with your second and toe third. Also make sure not to avoid tilting too much forward.

Cardio Blast Part Two

High intensity interval training (HIIT) makes you push yourself as hard as you can go for a short period of time with periods of rest in between. For instance, you can use Tabata which includes 20-seconds of cardio and 10 seconds of rest 8 times.

There are a ton of different exercises that can be used for Tabata including: tuck jumps, star jumps, jump squats, full burpies, sprinting in place, and side to side two foot hops. If these exercises are too intense and you are looking for a more intense workout, try instead to: march quickly in place, do alternating forward lunges, or alternating lunges.

Plank Variations

Although the plank is one of the most popular exercises, many beginners avoid them at all costs since they are not the easiest exercise out there. However, they are super helpful when wanting to build strength. In order to perform a plank, position yourself on all fours and use your core to lift your body up.

Again, it’s important not to let your back sag and to keep your shoulder blades flush with your upper back, ensuring that you keep your back parallel to the floor. It is also possible to perform planks from your knees, which is easier to keep up. Try and stay in this position as long as you can without sacrificing form. For a more intense plank, alternate lifting one arm off of the floor.

Deadlift into Shoulder Press

It is helpful to practice deadlifts free from weights at first in order to get the hang of them. In order to perform a deadlift, stand apart a foot width apart from the wall with it behind you. With your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees slightly and keep your butt back with your weight in your heels, “gluing” your feet to the floor until you feel your butt touch the wall.

Then, perform these motions while holding the weight before returning to a standing position and completing a shoulder press. If you are looking for a more intense version of this exercise, you can either use lighter weights for the deadlift portion and heavier weights for the shoulder press movement. If you’d like, you can also split up this exercise and perform the deadlifts with heavy weights and the shoulder presses with the lighter ones.

Cooling Down

Just like the warm up, the cool down is something else that many feel that they should skip. However, this can be problematic as it allows you to bring your heart rate down and improve your range of motion and allow for a better recovery from injury. After all, the best time to work out tight areas is when your muscles are warm. As mentioned above, foam rolling can have benefits and so can more dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching. When stretching statically, one holds their stretch in the same position for 15 to 30 seconds.

This is contrast to PNF stretches in which one contracts the muscle and then follows with a static stretch. Essentially you are never in one position for too long PNF. When you first start stretching, try and pay attention to how it makes you feel and what you feel you would like to change. Ensure to cool down for at least five minutes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Personalize Your Routine

Although it is important to have a routine and stick to it, don’t forget that what might work for one person will not necessarily work for you. So this workout is a good place to start, but feel free to make modifications and add things that work best for you. It’s a good thing to start slow and only do 12-15 reps of each exercise (or less) until your fitness improves before you feel comfortable adding more sets and/or reps.

Although it might seem basic at its core, this routine can be as intense as you make it and can rival any fitness class that you find at your local gym.

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