The Ultimate Home Workout

Believe it or not, your exercise routine does not have to be based on getting to the gym. With developments in online training, virtual group classes such as Peloton, and minimalist programs that only demand a barbell or kettlebell, more and more people are giving up the gym for their own living room. Some evidence suggests that upwards of 25 million Americans regularly train at home.

Admittedly, unless you have the square footage and the income to buy a bunch of gear, it can be difficult to overload your muscles in all the ways you can at a gym. However, everyone should have an “emergency” home workout they can do on those days when getting to the gym isn’t a possibility. If you don’t have one in your back pocket, you do now. 

We’ve created a workout that is based on the five main movement patterns of the human body: upper-body pull, upper-body push, lower-body pull, lower-body push, and the hip-hinge. We also included an exercise to develop core stability, a dose of cardio for conditioning and heart health, and a challenging total-body exercise that will fire up the neurons in your brain as it puts sweat on your brow. This workout is guaranteed to burn calories and create balanced strength through your entire body. 

Upper-Body Pull: Bent-Over Row

This is the one exercise in the workout that demands some extra resistance. You can use any kind of weight (dumbbells, kettlebells, or plates), an exercise band anchored to something sturdy, or anything around your house such as water bottles or tools. You can also substitute a pull-up variation if you have a pull-up bar at home. 

Lower-Body Pull: Walking Lunge

Feel free to add extra weight to this exercise. Make sure your back knee kisses the floor and keep your chest high throughout the movement. 

Upper-Body Push: Push-Up

Perform this classic exercise with a slow tempo and a full range of motion. Bring your chest almost to the ground and come up until your elbows are fully extended and locked out.

Lower-Body Push: Squat

Perform a full range of motion. Make sure your hips drop below your knee crease and the knees and hips are fully extended at the top. 

Core: Plank

Perform this on your forearms rather than your hands. Make sure your body forms a straight line and your hips don’t sag.

Hip Hinge: Romanian Deadlift

This exercise will also benefit from adding some resistance but can be done with just your body weight. Make sure to maintain the natural curve in your lower back and focus on activating your hamstrings.

Brain-Body Connection: Crawl

This exercise gets the two sides of the brain talking to each other as it challenges your core, endurance, and central nervous system. Get into a push-up position with your elbows partially bent and your gaze looking forward. Reach your left arm forward as you bring your right knee forward to your right elbow. Then, reach your right hand forward as your left knee moves forward.

Cardio: 400-Meter Run or Burpees

Find an outdoor route that is roughly a quarter-mile. It can be a loop or an out-and-back, and the distance does not have to be exact. If weather or injuries don’t allow you to run, substitute 60 seconds of burpees.

The Workout

Perform this workout in circuit-style, moving quickly from one exercise to the next with no rest between sets. Complete three total progressions, resting one minute between each full circuit. The order of the exercises is not important (the order listed here give muscle groups a slight rest), but finish each circuit with the run. Adjust the number of circuits and reps to suit your individual level of conditioning. 

Exercise Reps
Bent-Over Row 12-15
Walking Lunge 20 (10 each leg)
Push-Up 20
Squat 20
Plank 60 sec
Romanian Deadlift 15
Crawl 20 yards
Run/Burpees 400m/60 seconds
Mike Carlson

Mike Carlson

Medical Science/Health Writer and Editor - http://bit.ly/3anof4K

Mike Carlson is a freelance health and fitness writer and a lifelong Southern Californian. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles what feels like a long time ago, and has been a full-time editor for Los Angeles Magazine, Men’s Fitness, and the UFC, as well as a copy writer for various nutritional supplement companies. As a health reporter, he’s crafted features for the American Optometric Association, Stanford Health Care, the National Hemophilia Foundation and USA Today. Mike spends most of his free time applying sunscreen, but between slatherings he coaches soccer, competes in various endurance races and loves to explore the culinary and outdoor majesty of his home state. Current obsessions include the Los Angeles Dodgers, kombucha and distilling bourbon at home. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, two children, and a bulldog named Frankie.