5 At-home Workouts Better Than the Gym

Pushups on kettlebells
James Michelfelder

What you know about at-home workouts is true: There are more things hindering your routine than helping it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a quality sweat session in—or that you’re stuck slogging through boring treadmill runs in your garage or doing 1,000 situps (which, by the way, is useless; read about it here) on your living room floor.

Adam Von Rothfelder, former professional MMA fighter, owner of CoMo in Milwaukee, and personal trainer, is bringing inspiration and some serious sweat potential to your tired at-home workouts in an effort to turn them into tried-and-true routines you come back to again and again. The following five circuits provide results whether you’re looking to lose weight and drop fat, harness explosive power, build strength, hone your flexibility, or ramp up your endurance.

Find the at-home workouts that cater to your needs or weaknesses, or mix and match.

You’ll need a kettlebell, TRX Suspension Trainer, a pullup bar, plyo boxes, treadmill (or you can hit the streets, local track), and a towel (one for the workout, and another—optional—to mop up your sweat).

Complete 2 rounds of the following:

– Seated Ankle Flexion/Extension – 20 per foot
– 90/90 Hip Swivel – 10 per side
– Wrist circles – 10 per-side, per-direction
– Arm Circles – 20 per side, per direction
– Jumping Jacks – 25 reps
– Down Dog to Plank – 20 reps

5 At-home Workouts That Are Better Than the Gym

1. Backyard Workout for Weight Loss

Work each cluster separately before moving on to the next. End with the workout finisher.

1a. 40-yard Bear Crawl (Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keep your hips low and your head up as you crawl forward, taking small quick steps with opposing arms and legs.)
1b. 40-yard Sprint
*Complete 3 rounds. Rest as needed.

2a. Pushup – 5 reps
2b. Pullup or TRX Row (facing anchor point) – 3-5 reps
2c. Jump Squat w/Knee Tuck – 5 reps (While jumping from the bottom of the squat, simultaneously tuck your knees to your chest, using your hands to guide them.)
*Complete 6 min of AMRAP (as many reps as possible). Rest for 1 min. 

FINISHER: Hanging Knee Raise – 100 reps
*Complete 1 round. Rest as needed.

2. At-home Workout for Explosive Power

Complete 5 rounds total of each superset. Work each superset separately before moving on to the next. End with the workout finisher.

1a. Kettlebell Swing – 10 reps
1b. Jumping Alternating Lunge (for height) – 5 each side
*Complete 5 rounds. Rest 30 seconds.

2a. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift – 5 each side (Hold a kettlebell in one hand and stand on the opposite leg. Bend your hips back and lower your torso. Squeeze your glutes and extend your hips to come up.)
2b. Alternating Jumping Lunges – 5 each side
*Complete 5 rounds. Rest 1 min.

3a. Towel Football Throw – 20 each arm (Holding a large towel loosely in your hands, “throw” the towel like you would a football without actually releasing the towel.)
3b. Double Towel Fan – 30 seconds (With a towel in either hand, mimic arm circles and spin the towels as fast as you can.)
*Complete 5 rounds without rest.

FINISHER: Squat/High Knee/Lunge – 40 reps
*Complete 1 round. Rest as needed.  

3. At-home Workout for Strength

Work each superset separately before moving on to the next. End with workout finisher.

1a. Turkish Get Up – 5 reps each arm
1b. Pullups – 2 reps (bar or rings to chest)
*Complete 15 min of AMRAP (as many reps as possible). Rest for 1 min.

2. Handstand against a wall – max hold
*Complete 3 rounds. Rest 30-60 seconds.

3a. Straight Arm Counter Press – 5 reps (Placing your palms on your kitchen counter, press into your arms, which should be straight, and drag the tips of your feet up the front of the counter by elevating your hips.)
3b. Lunge Isolation – hold 45-60 seconds per side (Lower into a forward lunge and sit in the bottom phase, holding the position with your core engaged and weight in your front heel.)
*Complete 4 rounds. Rest 30-60 seconds.

4. Bear Crawl/Crab Walk/Ape Walk Progression – 3-5 min (Alternate between the 3. Bear crawl by moving opposite legs and arms as your crawl on all fours; crab walk by sitting on the ground with your hands palm-down on the floor and your fingers pointed toward your feet, then lifting yourself off the floor and “walking” forward; ape walk by crouching down into a deep squat and placing your hands, palms-down, on the floor between your legs, as you propel yourself forward using your shoulders like the animal.)
*Complete 1 round. Rest as needed. 

FINISHER: Hollow Body Hold – 30 seconds (Lie on your back on the floor and reach your arms overhead while extending your legs in front of you. Engage your core so your belly hollows and your lower back rounds a bit. Lift your legs off the floor while you raise your shoulders at the same time.)
*Complete 5 rounds. Rest 30 seconds. 

4. At-home Workout for Flexibility

Complete each stretching circuit separately before moving on to the next. End with the workout finisher.

1a. Global Flexion/Global Extension – 20 reps (Flex your back by placing your hands on your hips, then bending over touching your hands to your toes for extension.)
1b. Active Pigeon Stretch – 10 each side w/ 10-second hold on 10th rep
1c. Butterfly Stretch – 1min hold with forward lean
1d. Bar Hang – Hold for 1 min, then complete 10 active/passive scalp movements
*Complete 2-3 rounds.

2a. Pancake Stretch – 10 reps with a 10-second hold at the end (Sit on the floor and raise your arms overhead with your arms extended and shoulders externally rotated, and spread your legs apart wide. Make sure your legs are straight and knees are pointed toward the ceiling. Lean forward toward the ground. Don’t push the stretch if you feel any pain.)
2b. Single Side Track Hamstring Stretch Each Side – 30 seconds each leg (Sit on the floor and raise your arms overhead with your shoulders externally rotated, and straighten your left leg in front of you. Bend your right knee, placing the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh. Fold over your left leg, keeping your back straight.)
2c. Side Bend –  10 reps with a 10-second hold at the end (Stand straight holding a kettlebell at your side. Lower the weight down your leg maintaining as much even foot pressure as possible so your hip isn’t compensating for your spine.)
*Complete 1-3 rounds. 

Finisher: Wall-Back-Over Bridges
Standing 2 feet away from a wall, facing away. Reach your left arm overhead and place your palm flat on the wall with your fingers pointing down. Arching your back, walk your right hand over your right shoulder and push off your left arm, putting all the pressure into the right. Reverse the motion to take you back to a standing position. Continue again, only this time go the opposite direction. “As you increase your architectural mobility, you will be able to walk further from the wall or lower down the wall creating a greater bridge transition,” Von Rothfelder says. 

5. Outdoor Workout for Endurance

Work each circuit separately before moving on to the next.

1. 1-Mile Run w/ Intermittent Sprinting
*Take no rest except walking for recovery before jogging again for the total mile. You’ll know you’ve recovered when your breathing slows a bit. Each week try to reduce time—even if only by a second. 

2a. Kettlebell Tabata Swings
*Complete 8 rounds: 20 seconds on, 10 sec off.

3a. TRX Row – 10 reps
3b. TRX Split Squat – 5 reps each side
3c. Burpees – 5 reps
*Complete 10 min of AMRAP. Rest as needed. Try to find a pace that is consistent and manageable for the full round.

4a. Crawl and Roll – 5-8 min (Do any combination of crab walks, bear crawl, ape walk, and tumbling.)
*Rest 2 min.
4b. 30-60lb Med Ball Carry – 5-8 min

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