It’s the beginning of the year, which means the masses are flocking to the gym. This is the time of year when kettlebells and yoga mats are staring you in the face everywhere you go.
And guilt is at an all-time high.
To make a real change, it takes more than strong will on January 1st. Real women fitness takes a commitment and a routine you can live with.
These home workouts for beginners are designed for those who are too lazy to work out (me), those who would rather have a doughnut (me), and those who honestly aren’t sure what a hamstring is (also me).
Exercise really is super good for you. Adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.
We know it’s good for your waistline, but it’s actually good for your soul, too. Even just a little heart-pumping at-home fitness can clear your mind, ease anxiety, clear up your skin, and give you a mental “reset” button that you need.
…But gyms aren’t that great.
Here’s the thing though, getting to the gym is hard and paying for the gym is even worse. Gym or health club memberships can take more weight off your wallet than they do off your waist.
The average gym membership costs between $40 and $50 a month, but when you add the initiation fee, you’re looking at as much as $800 a year.
But you don’t have to sacrifice your paycheck or succumb to gym-timidation to reap the physical and mental rewards of exercise!
The truth is, you can exercise anywhere with at-home fitness routines for real women that incorporates lazy girl workouts that are easy.
You can get fit in the comfort of your own home, on your own time, with no one staring at you and not a mirror in sight (unless you’re into that sort of thing). No need to try and create the perfect messy bun, squeeze into an expensive “cute” gym outfit and pretend like you know what you’re doing at the gym.
Stay home and stay motivated
It’s easy when the couch is RIGHT THERE to give up and lay down for a nap, but that’s what got you into this mess (and not into your skinny jeans) in the first place. Start by trying to complete at least half of a workout, or 15 minutes. I know there’s some motivational quote about how 80 percent of success is showing up or something like that, right?
So just do that, just show up. Put on gym clothes. They don’t have to be cute or matching, but you’re probably more likely to do it if you dress the part.
Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to do the whole thing, but try something, do something, be something.
Ok, you ready to do this? You got this, girl!
Here’s the list of workouts – AKA: lazy girl exercises – all designed to make at-home fitness quick and painless and maybe even fun. I even included pictures to help you follow along. (Do not get discouraged by the perfect bodies of these women. They got those bodies by doing these workouts! That will be you in no time)
I promise, these are all simple. None of these have a weight restriction, and most require absolutely no home equipment – perfect for most of us who are too lazy and too poor to work out at a gym.
If you need a weight, you can use anything that’s heavy – canned goods, wet laundry, a small child, your poodle – whatever is nearby.
Let’s get started with three stretches. Gotta warm that shit up like a good hot pocket.
1. The Standing Side Stretch
Stand straight with your feet together and your arms clasped over your head with your fingers interlaced and pointer fingers extended. Inhale as you reach upward and breathe out as you bend your upper body to the right. Take five slow breaths. Slowly return to the center. Repeat on the left side.
2. The Seated Back Twist
Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Step your right foot over your left leg and bend at the knee, put your right hand on the floor for support. Bend your left elbow and turn to the right, placing the back of your arm against your right knee. Inhale as you sit tall. Breathe out as you twist, pressing your arm into your leg and looking over your right shoulder. Hold for five breaths, then slowly return to the center. Switch sides.
3. Hip Flexor/Quad Stretch
Kneel on floor with both knees bent, shins on floor. Lunge right leg forward, making sure your knee is at 90 degrees in front of you, right foot is flat on floor, and left leg is still bent underneath you. Place both hands on top of right knee and press back hip forward, leaning into stretch, but keep your torso upright. Hold for 30 seconds; release. Do three reps; switch legs and repeat.
OK, now we’re all limber, it’s time to increase our heart rate and burn off a few calories.
Don’t be scared, I promised to keep it easy.
4. Jog in place
Start to run in place, not like you’re being chased by a zombie, but like you’re one of those crazy people that enjoy running through Central Park or down a woodland path. Keep going until you can tell your heart rate is increased.
Now, we’re going to work each of the major five muscle groups in this order: arms (no one wants arms that wave back), back muscles (because back fat), butt (to give them something to remember you by), legs (hello gorgeous!), and abs (to reduce the muffin top, or in my case the whole damn pastry shelf).
5. Arms – Tricep Dips
Find a chair, a couch seat, a keg, whatever you can find about knee height. Stand in front of it and place your hands on the top with your fingers pointing forward. Keep back straight and walk your legs out in front of you until you’re in a somewhat-sitting position. Keep your elbows directly behind your body and straighten arms, lifting your body, to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.
6. Arms – Lateral Plank Walks
This one is kinda like playing Twister by yourself for an easy visual. Start in high plank with your shoulders above your wrists and abs tight. Step your right foot and your right hand to the right side
Right hand yellow. Right foot yellow.
Following with your left foot and your left hand, taking a five “steps” in one direction, then walk five steps in the opposite direction.
7. Arms – Modified Diamond Push-Up
Stay in that high plank position, but drop to your knees and walk your hands together so that your thumbs and forefingers form a triangle.
Bend your elbows to lower your torso toward the ground to do a complete push-up. Complete 10 push-ups.
8. Arms – Inchworm
This is the last arm workout and it’s a slightly less cool version of the worm dance. But with the right music, you can still hit a beat.
Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Hinge forward at your hips and place your palms on the mat. Walk your hands forward so that you’re in high plank. You can bend your knees if needed to get your palms flat on the floor. For an extra challenge, add a push-up at this point, or just walk your hands back toward feet and stand up. If you didn’t fall on your face, you win! Now, do that 10 more times.
Are your arms burning? I’m sorry.
That’s good, though, that’s the goal! Now, we can move on to back muscles. These are all designed to not only make those rolls around your bra less noticeable, but also help with posture and body strength.
9. Back – Superman Holds
No cape required, although that would be awesome. Lie face down on the mat. Don’t fall asleep.
Hold your arms out to sides at shoulder-height, and give yourself two thumbs up. Lift your chest, arms, and legs off ground simultaneously.
Hold! Feel the burn! Then lower back to the mat. Repeat 10 times.
10. Back – Renegade Row
Start in high plank, (push up position) each hand holding onto a dumbbell or can of veggies that is resting on the floor. Pull right elbow back slowly, lifting the dumbbell toward chest, keeping the elbow close to the torso. Keep your abs and butt tight to prevent hips from rocking. Lower weight and repeat on the opposite side. Do 10 reps on each side.
11. Back – Forearm Plank
Start with your forearms and knees on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Elbows should be stacked underneath the shoulders, your forearms straight in front of you on the floor.
Lift your knees off the ground and push your feet back to bring your body to full extension, so your body creates one long line. Look down at the floor. Hold this plank position for 30 seconds (or as long as possible before you collapse and want to die).
12. Back – Overhead Tricep Extension
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the middle of a dumbbell in both hands behind your head, elbows bent and pointing toward the sky, upper arms in by your ears (deo check style).
Without moving your upper arms, extend your forearms above your head until they’re completely straight. Keep your shoulders down and core tight.
Lower your forearms to the starting position.
If you don’t have a weight, you can literally use anything. A bottle of water. Your cat. Anything.
All done with back exercises, now it’s time to work out those glutes and find the buns of steel that are hidden under all the buns of cinnamon.
13. Butt – Body Weight Squats
Standing tall (try not to think about what’s coming). Bend your knees and lower your body until your legs are at a 90-degree angle like you’re getting ready to sit down. For stability, you can keep your arms out in front of your chest, or clasp your hands together in front of your chest like you’re praying for this to be over soon. Stay tight, keeping your weight on your heels and don’t come up onto your toes (or fall over). Stand back up. Repeat 20 times.
14. Butt – Hip Raises
Lie on the floor. I wish this was a break, too, but it’s not. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat. Raise your hips up until your body is a straight angle from your knees to your shoulders. Slowly lower your hips back to the floor. That is one rep. Repeat 10 times for one complete set.
15. Butt – Dumbbell Deadlifts
Stand up straight, place two dumbbells on the floor in front of your feet. Bend your knees, lowering your body to grab the dumbbells. Keep your back and your head straight throughout the exercise. Stand up with the dumbbells. Slowly put the dumbbells back on the floor, keeping your weight on the heels of your feet. Repeat 12 times.
16. Butt – Backward Lunges
Start in a standing position and step backward with your left foot, landing on the ball of your left foot and keeping your heel off the ground. Bend your knees creating two 90-degree angles with your legs. Don’t let your back knee touch the floor, the goal is to keep it 3-6 inches off the floor. Return to standing and repeat with your opposite leg. Do 15 reps on each side.
Congratulations – you made it half-way through our 28 lazy girl exercises!
You’ve earned yourself a break. Sit or stand for 1 minute, take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
You’ve already exercised your arms, back, and butt, now all you have left is legs and abs and you’re almost there. Stand up and get ready to start again!
17. Legs – Plié Squat Calf Raises
First, you have to imagine you’re a ballerina in a studio with a teacher who has a French accent.
Trust me, it’s better that way.
Now, stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor and while staying in a squat, lift both heels off the ground and hold for two seconds.
Don’t scream, your French ballet teacher frowns upon that sort of thing. Just grimace silently while counting to 10, and lower your heels back down. Repeat 5 times.
18. Legs – Squat Jumps
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hinge forward at your hips and sit your butt back into a squat. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Jump up into the air as high as you can and straighten out your legs. Swing your arms down to your sides for momentum, and keep your back straight and chest lifted. Land back on the floor with soft knees. Go directly into another squat.
19. Legs – Curtsy Lunges
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right leg diagonally behind your left leg and bend your knees to lower into a lunge. Push through your right heel to stand, and bring your right leg back to start. Repeat on the other side.
20. Legs – Side Leg Raises
Lie on one side with legs out straight and stacked on top of each other. Prop your torso up with your forearm (as shown) or rest your torso flat on the mat. Lift your top leg toward the ceiling in a slow and controlled movement. Make sure to lift from the hip and butt, not your lower back. Return to start. Repeat on the other side. For this one, technically you’re laying down, so it’s not too bad.
21. Abs – Bicycle Crunch
Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet lifted, and hands behind your head.
I know this hurts already. Just keep going.
Lean back, keeping your chest up and your back straight. Hold your abs tight and then twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee, straightening your right leg. Repeat on the opposite side and continue alternating back and forth until you’ve crunched 20 times on each side.
22. Abs – Forearm Plank Rocks
Start with a forearm plank with your elbows stacked underneath your shoulders. Look at the floor while you rock your entire body forward, so your shoulders go past your elbows toward your hands and rock back to the starting position. Continue for 60 seconds.
23. Abs – Mountain Climber Twists
Start in a high plank (hands and toes on the floor) and draw your right knee to your left elbow, keeping your toes off the ground. Return your right foot to the starting position. Switch legs and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Continue switching legs. Repeat 20 times.
24. Abs – Glute Bridges
Start lying flat on your back with your knees bent, place your heels on the floor a few inches away from your butt. Lift your hips up, then lower them back to the ground. Continue for 60 seconds.
Whew! Everything hurts and you’re dying.
I know, but it feels kinda good right?
If it doesn’t, it’s about to because now you’ve reached the cool down phase (my favorite part). You’ve earned a good cool down so enjoy it, it’ll help you be less sore later, too.
25. Cool Down – Reclining Pigeon
Lie down (told you this part was good), face up, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Cross your right foot over left thigh, hook arms around your left hamstring (thigh). Now, lift your left foot a few inches off the floor, keeping back and shoulders on the floor. Gently pull right leg in toward you, until you feel a stretch; hold for 45 seconds to two minutes. Lower back to start, switch legs and repeat.
I learned this one from the 21-day fix and Autumn Calebrese, and this is a life saver, talk about feeling GREAT. Seriously, try this now even if you didn’t work out. It feels wonderful.
26. Cool Down – Reclining Twist
Stay on the ground, laying on your back, and draw your left leg into your chest, keeping your right leg straight. Exhale and twist the bent knee across the center of the body. Then press the opposite hand onto the bent knee and extend the other arm. This stretch is great for releasing the lower back. Hold for 10 seconds on each side and repeat 3-5 times
27. Cool Down – Cat and Cow
Start on all fours (cow position). Inhale, let your back arch down, tailbone stretching up, and look at the ceiling. On the exhale, bring your chin to your chest and round your spine (cat position). Move smoothly through this sequence inhaling and exhaling for 30 seconds.
28. Cool Down – Child’s Pose
This stretch is my absolute favorite. It’s calming and grounding, and I usually fall asleep.
Sit down on your knees, with your back on heels and your knees spread wide. Bend forward at hips and lower your chest between your thighs with your forehead resting on the ground.
Extend your arms long and place your palms on the ground. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute.
YOU FREAKING DID IT!
I’m so proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself, too!
You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise.
A little lazy girl exercise from yours truly is better than nothing, so let’s keep it up!
While many people create New Year’s Resolutions to get in shape, most of those resolutions are long gone by Valentine’s Day.
By keeping it simple, using fitness tips for real women and tricks to exercise anywhere, you’ll be on track to stay in shape long after other resolutions have been forgotten.