Zero-Cost Home Workout Ideas


Our routines center us. One of the best routines, exercise, also has the amazing benefit of reducing the risk of breast cancer by fighting obesity and keeping down our stress and estrogen levels. If you’re used to visiting your gym or cycle studio after work everyday, you’re bound to feel a bit out of sorts right now. Luckily, exercising at home is nothing new—though it may be a bit new to the gym-rats amongst us. We’ve talked about online options for exercise, but old-fashioned offline routines work just as well and are even easier to setup if you’re a bit tech-challenged. Stay-at-home parents and frequent travelers alike have a wealth of tips about working out indoors, in small spaces, with little or no equipment, often with noise restrictions like sleeping children or hotel neighbors.

Bodyweight Exercises

Classic high-school-gym bodyweight exercises offer the easiest solution, require no monetary investment, and virtually no setup. Get started as soon as you finish this article! For a great home ab workout try planks, crunches, bicycles, sit-ups, and mountain climbers. Home leg workouts can include squats, jump squats, lunges, and calf raises. For arms, try the old-fashioned push-up and the tricep dip. And remember to warm-up first with simple cardio routines like jumping jacks, jump rope, burpees, or running in place.

If you’re looking for guidance, YouTube has a wealth of workouts to fit every goal and time restrictions. Try this 30-minute bodyweight workout to start.

Pilates & Yoga At Home

Popular home workouts like yoga and pilates are already home-based, so if you’ve considered trying these, now is a great time. Yoga and pilates are both low-impact exercises that help increase flexibility, strength, balance, and muscle tone. They’re perfect for high-endurance exercisers looking for another sport to cross-train with or beginner exercisers who might not have the endurance yet for 5-mile runs or 1-hour sessions of cardio-kickboxing.

If you have a mat, great, but if not, a soft rug or carpet that doesn’t slide could work in a pinch. Standing poses can be done without a mat and there are even bedtime routines that can be done in bed. Popular beginner yoga poses include the sun salutation, downward dog, mountain, warrior, warrior II, triangle pose, cat-cow stretch, cobbler’s pose, child pose, bridge, cobra, and plank.

Here’s a 30-minute yoga workout that’s great for beginners, no handstands required!

Stair Workout

Believe it or not, a lot of us already have a fantastic piece of exercise equipment in or outside our homes or apartment buildings: our stairs. People actually pay money to buy a machine version of stairs—it’s called a stair climber! It can be difficult to get high intensity cardio indoors without a machine, but a good set of steps can offer this, along with a raised platform that’s perfect for a variety of bodyweight exercises. What exercises can you do on stairs? Try sprints, double-step sprints, hops, squats, lunges, calf raises, and inclined push-ups.

Stairs are also a perfect candidate for what’s called HIIT (high-intensity interval training). HIIT is a type of interval training where you exercise at a very high intensity for a specific period and then rest for a short period. A typical HIIT session might be 1 minute of high-intensity exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest, with this 1 minute 30 second combo repeated for 5-10 minutes for a high-calorie-burning workout.

Follow along on this great stair workout you can do indoors or outdoors.

The Bottom Line

If you’re stuck at home, bodyweight exercises, pilates and yoga routines, and stair workouts are a great zero-cost no-equipment low-tech way of burning calories and stress. And let’s be real, many of us have some old Tae Bo videos, a dumbbell set, or an exercise bike collecting dust (and dirty clothes) somewhere. If you’re looking for options, now’s the time to break those out too! Keep strong and keep empowered. We can do this!