Many of us have taken a break from training during the COVID-19 lockdown. It has been a stressful time for all of us, and some of our fitness plans might have been put on hold. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about returning to (or starting!) your workout routine but you are still unsure about going to the gym. You’re not alone! It’s totally okay to ease back into it and re-adapt to the rhythm. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to build muscle or lose fat, you can always start with some exercises that you can do at home.
Here we want to share with you some exercise variations that you can do at home with little to no equipment! These exercises are intended to work the same muscle groups that are usually targeted in a typical “leg day” training program. These exercises are for all levels (beginners too!). Start incorporating them into your day and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that come from moving your body!
These exercise variations will train the muscle groups targeted by:
- Sumo deadlift (glutes and hamstring)
- Goblet squats (glutes and quads)
- Narrow-stance smith machine squats (glutes, quads, adductors)
- Leg press (quads)
——Don’t worry if you don’t have the items, just do the bodyweight versions 😉
- Booty band
- Resistance band
Choose one exercise variation from each of the four movements below. Perform each exercise for 4 sets of 12-15 reps. Rest for 30 seconds in between.
Estimated time to complete: 15-20mins
1: Alternatives to sumo deadlift
Sumo deadlifts are usually done with a barbell in the gym, but here are a few ways that you can still work your glutes and your hamstrings!
Bodyweight version: speed skaters and frog pumps
Speed skaters are a good cardio exercise to help you burn fat and tone your outer thighs. Make sure to squeeze those glute muscles when you do the frog pumps!
Booty band version: Monster walk(side to side) and hip thrust with abduction
These two exercises should set your hip abductors(the side of your butt) on fire! Focus on stabilizing your core and your knees when you do them. Throw on an extra band to make them more challenging!
Resistance band version: sumo squat
This exercise closely resembles the barbell sumo deadlift. It targets your glutes and hamstrings, while placing relatively little stress on your lower back. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, choose a heavier resistance band or shorten the band by wrapping it around your hands.
2: Alternatives to goblet squats
Compound movements such as goblet squats or barbell squats aim to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The squat is a staple in resistance training because it is very effective in strengthening your core and lower body. Here are some squat variations that you can try at home!
Bodyweight version: wall sit holds and squat jumps
Wall sit hold is a perfect exercise to focus on tightening your core in a squat position. The squat jump is especially effective for burning fat and improving cardiovascular fitness! You should feel your heart rate spike up as you do them. Embrace the burn!
Booty band version: banded double bounce squats and banded squats
These banded double bounce squats will help build your mind-muscle connection. Maintain proper tension when you do the bounce. Make sure you breathe properly when you do those squats. Inhale as you lower down and exhale on your way up!
3: Alternatives to narrow-stance smith machine squats
The narrow-stance squat variation is often used to train the lower body at an increased range of motion. Narrow stance squats place a greater emphasis on your quads, whereas wider stance squats focus more on the glutes. Use these variations to switch things up and work different muscle groups.
Bodyweight version: narrow stance squats and prisoner squats
Try to go as deep as possible without losing tension in your core on these squats. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart or narrower for these narrow stance squats. Focus on engaging your quads (front of your thigh) when you perform these two exercises.
Booty band version: banded squats and banded bottom half squats
For the banded bottom half squats: squat all the way down, then rise to a half squat position. Try to complete all the reps from a half squat position before you return to standing. Maintain tension in your legs throughout the entire set. If it’s too easy, try pausing for a second at the bottom position on every rep!
4: Alternatives to leg press
The leg press is one of the most popular exercises performed in gyms. It also works the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. By changing up your foot positioning (wide vs narrow), you can emphasize different muscle groups. Just like the squat, the leg press is also a compound movement.
Bodyweight version: step ups and scissor jump+lunges
Both of these movements are good cardio training. This high intensity combination is effective at burning calories, toning your legs, and improving your conditioning. Finish today’s workout by challenging yourself to do as many reps as you possibly can!
Booty band version: Monster walk (forward/backward) and bear plank kickbacks
Bear plank kickbacks are an excellent full-body exercise that will work your shoulders, core, and legs all at once. Stay on all fours when you do the bear plank kickbacks. Keep your back flat and your core engaged throughout the movement. Drive your heel toward the ceiling when you kick back.
Resistance band version: resistance band squats
Play with the length of the resistance band and your feet placement to make them more fun! Increase resistance for more stimulus as you build strength. Remember to squeeze your glutes when you stand up!
In the Nuli app, users can find workout programs that cater to their needs based on equipment availability and training space. We also offer alternative exercises for those who want to substitute exercises. Whether you choose to workout at home or at the gym, we’ve got you covered!