16 Ways to Lose Weight Doing Chores
Wash Rag Slideout
Getting down on your hands and knees to clean the floor (no mop picks up everything, right?) can make you feel like a sad Cinderella, but get in a little ab work and you'll blow Prince Charming's mind at the next Palace Pool Party. To do this, start on all fours with a large wash rag under both hands. Brace your core and slide your hands out in front of you as far as you can go into an extended plank. Hold for two counts and then use your abs to pull your hands back under your shoulders. Repeat until you can see your reflection in that floor!
Form tip: Don't let your hips sag. Only extend as far as you can go without collapsing your midsection.
Wash Rag Sliding Lunges
Why use the sliding discs at the gym and clean their floor when you can do this multitasking move at home? Place a rag under your right foot and shift your weight to the left leg. Bend your left knee and lower into a squat as you slide your right leg out to the side as far as you can, keeping it straight the entire time. Use your inner-thigh muscles to pull your leg back in and return to standing. Repeat this sliding lunge to the front and then the back before switching sides.
Form tip: Keep your chest and head up and no hands on your legs!
You don't need fancy gym machines to strengthen your core; just hit the floor in front of your oven. It's the perfect set up for leg raises. Lean your shoulders back against the door of the oven, grab the handle over your head, and lift both legs straight in front of you. Lower both legs to one side, bring them back up straight, and then lower both legs to the other side before releasing. To make your abs work harder, don't lock the oven door (but don't conk yourself on the head with it either).
Form tip: Don't round your back. Keep all the work in your abs and obliques!
Find the messiest spot in the room and get into plank position with shoulders over hands, core braced, and bum down. Lift one hand to pick up a toy and then place (or throw) it into the appropriate bin. Repeat move on other side, alternating until all the toys are picked up or your kids have decided you're playing London Bridge and jump on your back. No kids? This works with garbage, socks, and towels too.
Form tip: Try not to tilt to one side as you lift your arm. Keep your body parallel to the floor.
Dusting Step Ups
I'd rather not see what's on top of my cabinets either, but there comes a day when everyone must face their dust-bunny demons so why not tone your quads and glutes too? Place a chair in front of the dirty object. With one fluid movement, step up on the chair and reach your opposite arm up high. Contract your glute and lift your back leg. Hold it while you dust. Do ten step ups on each leg. You know your oven hood is that dirty!
Form tip: Place your entire foot on the chair—this is not the time to lose your balance.
Cooking Calf Raises
You can sneak in a few calf raises almost anywhere (like kegels but without the stigma!). With hands on the oven handle or counter for balance, place your feet in first position—heels together and toes pointed out. Tighten your glutes and legs as you raise up onto your toes. Pulse ten times at the top and then lower down. If you're feeling particularly saucy, add a plie squat in between each calf raise, making sure not to put your heels down for the whole move.
Form tip: Keep your pelvis tucked under and your shoulders back. Ballerinas do not slouch!
Until someone builds a dishwasher at standing height, save your back and work your buns while you load the bottom rack. You can do a deep plie squat like you see here, a sumo squat by starting with your feet farther apart, or a regular squat by pointing your toes forward and sticking your rear out. Or you can do all three!
Form tip: Whichever squat you choose, keep your chest up and watch out for knocking your knees on sharp corners—ouch!
Make-the-Bed Triceps Dips
Sneak in some arm toning while you make your bed by doing triceps dips off the edge. Sit on the edge of the bed and place your hands next to you, fingers forward. Scoot your seat off the bed until you're only supported by your arms and feet. The farther your feet are from the bed, the harder this move is. Lower down slowly, being careful not to let your elbows flare out to the sides, and then push back up.
Form tip: Resist the urge to climb back in.
Work your obliques and get those towels folded! Sit next to a full basket of laundry. Keeping your core tight, lift both feet off the ground with knees bent and ankles crossed. Twist, grab an item from the basket, and hold your v-up while you fold it. Twist to the other side to lay it on a pile. Recross your ankles to put the other foot on top and repeat with the next item until your abs give out or your laundry is finished.
Form tip: Sit up straight! If your back or hips start to hurt, touch your toes down and hold the modified crunch instead.
Vacuuming alone can get your heart rate up—especially if you're doing it 20 minutes before dinner guests are scheduled to arrive—but adding lunges will get you some quick cardio and tone up those buns and legs. Start at one end of the room and perform walking lunges as you vacuum.
Form tip: Try to only use the vacuum for balance; don't lean on it.
Johnny on the Squats
You know how people always tell you to pretend like you're sitting on a chair when you're doing a squat? Well, what better chair than the porcelain throne? While waiting for the bowl cleaner to do the dirty work, do 15 quick squats over the toilet (lid closed, preferably), taking care to stop just before you sit on it. Bonus: This preps you for when you have to hover over icky public toilets!
Form tip: Keep your hands off your legs and try not to inhale the cleaning fumes.
Toilet Split Squats
Toilets are not only the perfect height for sitting, they're also the perfect height for Bulgarian split squats. Engineering win! Place your back foot on the toilet and your front foot far enough out that you can lunge down without pushing your knee over your toes. Slowly lower your body down and press back up.
Form tip: Your instinct will be to lean forward over your front leg. Don't. Keep your upper body as straight as you can.
Whether you're carrying bags of groceries into the house or carrying bags of garbage out, seize the opportunity to do a few biceps curls.
Form tip: Those bags can be flimsy so make sure you have a good grip or you'll have to repeat move #1, dish rag roll-outs…
Sweeping is a necessary evil so make the most of it by adding in this compound exercise. You'll tone your glutes, legs, shoulders, and arms while you tidy up the floors. Stand with legs slightly wider than hip-width apart and hold the broom at chest height. Simultaneously squat down and push the broom straight up overhead. Lower broom and return to standing.
Form tip: Focus on using your upper-back muscles to keep your arms back by your ears. Try not to droop forward.
Take window washing to the next level by placing a paper towel under one hand (or if you're feeling strong, both hands). Move your feet back until you are standing in a slight push-up position. Bend your elbows and lower down into a push up while sliding one or both hands out. Contract your chest and pull your hands back in.
Form tip: Move your feet out to make it harder—although trust me, it's harder than it looks!
Carrying something heavy up and down stairs is pretty routine so add an element of difficulty by skipping a step or two. Keeping your load close to your body, push off with your back foot and step up.
Form tip: Did I really just give you instructions on how to walk up stairs? Yes, yes I did.