The Ultimate Home Workout
No Gym, No Equipment, No Problem!
A home gym can be a valuable tool in helping you reach your fitness goals, but it's certainly not a requirement. This circuit uses just your body and your couch (or similar piece of furniture) to give you an effective, total-body cardio and strength workout.
How It Works: Complete the prescribed number of reps for each move before immediately moving on to the next. Once you've completed all 8 exercises, rest for 1 minute and then repeat the entire circuit 1-2 more times (or try these moves while catching up on episodes of your favorite TV show).
Couch Squat Cross Chop
Target your legs, butt, and core with this move that also serves as a great warm-up (don't squat as low during the first set).
Stand with your back to your couch cushions, feet hip-width apart, and your arms extended at chest height, hands clasped together.
Perform a squat by bending your knees and sitting back into your hips as you chop your arms down and across to the outside of your left thigh.
Pushing through your heels, quickly stand out of your squat as you bring your arms back to the start position.
Repeat to the other side. Alternate sides for one minute.
Get your heart pumping and your arms and abs firing with this elevated version of a mountain climber.
Start facing the couch cushions, and place your hands on the seat of the couch, directly under your shoulders, arms extended. Walk both feet back out to a plank (top of a pushup) position and brace your abs in tight.
In a quick, controlled motion, begin alternating 'running' one knee in towards your chest at a time, keeping your shoulders steady over your hands the entire time.
Do this as fast as you can for one minute.
Dip and Kick
Sit facing away from the couch with both palms pressed into the edge just outside of your hips. Walk your feet out away from your body and lift your hips off the couch (but keep your back close to it).
Lift your right leg off the floor and bend your knee into your chest, foot flexed.
Bend both elbows to perform a dip and lower your hips, pulling your right knee in closer to your chest.
As you press out of the dip and extend your arms, lift your hips and press out through your right heel, extending your right leg out in front of your hip.
Repeat this for 10 reps with the right leg, and then do 10 reps with the left.
TV Tummy Tucks
Zero in on your abs with this exercise: Sit lightly on the edge of the couch with both hands placed just outside of your hips. Maintaining a straight spine, bend both knees at 90 degrees and lift your heels off the floor.
Brace your abs in tight to your spine, inhale, and hinge back as far as you can without rounding your back at all (you may touch the back of the couch, but don't rest your body on it).
Exhale and draw both knees up to hip height (maintaining their 90-degree position and keeping your back straight).
Lower your legs with control and tap just your toes back on the floor, holding the hinge position with your upper body. Repeat this up to 20 times in a row, exhaling each time you lift your legs.
Single-Leg Stand Up
Challenge your balance, legs, and glutes with this move: Stand close to but facing away from the couch. Draw your right knee up towards your chest and hold onto it with both hands.
Bend your left knee, sit back into your hips, and slowly lower your body, sitting all the way back onto the couch while still holding onto your right knee.
Stand back up, holding onto your knee the entire time.
Repeat this 10 times on one leg and then repeat it 10 more times on the other leg.
Amplify your pushup power with your couch! Stand about three feet away from the couch (with your back to it) and get into top-of-a-pushup position with both feet placed on top of the couch cushions (we recommend taking off your shoes or placing a towel under your feet to keep furniture footprint free).
Keeping your body in a straight line and your abs tight, bend your elbows and slowly lower your body into a pushup, chest between your hands as you lower and lift up.
If this is too hard, try flipping your position and instead place your hands on the cushion for incline pushups.
Three-Part Roll Down
Sit facing the couch with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor (you can also tuck your toes under the edge of the couch for help with this move), and place both hands behind your head.
Lie all the way back onto the floor, and then sit up as quickly as you can (you can reach your arms forward to help you sit up if needed).
Next, slowly lower yourself back to the floor, first placing your lower back on the ground (part 1), then your midback (part 2), and then finally let your upper back and head touch the ground (part 3). Sit up as quickly as you can and repeat up to 15 times in a row.
Back Extension with Opposite Arm and Leg Reach
Lie face-down on the floor in front of the couch (if you don't have a rug or carpet, you may want to lie on a mat or towel for cushioning) with both arms and legs extended out straight and open (your body should resemble a letter 'X').
Extend your spine and lift your chest, thighs, arms, and legs off the ground, maintaining the 'X' shape. Hover above the floor, and then lift your right arm and left leg higher towards the ceiling. Return to the hover (not the floor) position.
Repeat 10 times with the right arm and left leg and then 10 times with the left arm and right leg.
Photo Credit: Vanessa Rogers Photography