To get a change of pace from my normal push ups, sit ups and treadmill routine, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to go back to free weights 2 to 3 times a week or use a few high tech cardio machines (elliptical machines, rowing machines, etc.). So I popped into my local gym to get a quick price quote.
Once I saw the prices, my frugal living complex quickly kicked in and convinced me to keep doing push ups in the garage. Gym membership fees were on a “limited time only price” of $34 per month for full gym access. Of course, the perks cost extra: personal trainers, yoga classes, locker room access, etc., were only available via a la carte pricing and were not included in the monthly gym membership fee.
Being something of a YouTube junkie, I had already convinced myself I could find dozens of creative workout routines for free before I even hit the parking lot. So instead of adding another monthly expense to the budget, I decided to save the extra $34 per month ($408 per year) expense and look for free workout routines on YouTube.
If you have run into the same dilemma and you’re looking for a few easy workouts you can do at home in your spare time, here are a few excellent workouts and strength training routines for beginning and advanced levels that I found within minutes of doing a simple search. You’ll also notice that none of these workouts requires any type of equipment or fancy gadgets… just you, your time and some sweat equity!
The burpee (also called squat thrusts) is one of the most basic, yet most efficient, total body exercises you can do. It may look like an exercise to build upper body strength, but don’t let the push up motion fool you because you’re legs will probably start give out long before your arms do.
It’s an excellent way to quickly get your heart rate up, boost your metabolism and get a total body workout with minimal time invested. Start with 10 to 20 repetitions for each set and increase the number of reps as your endurance allows.
This is only one individual exercise, but many more combinations can be found at GymJunkies.com.
If you’re looking for something a little more diversified or maybe targets a few more muscle groups, here are a few combinations of simple exercises (no need for equipment) designed to raise your heart rate and increase your stamina.
You can go as “advanced” on this sort of workout as you want by simply adding in new exercises, raising the number of sets you do, or by simply increasing the length of time you do each exercise (90 second intervals versus 30 second intervals are far more difficult than it sounds).
If you’re new to working out or you’re just trying to tone up, your body weight should provide more than enough resistance. A daily regime of simple push ups, squats, and lunges (with varying degrees of difficulty) can get you nicely toned or help you build enough physical strength to move on to more strenuous workouts.
I thought I was in pretty good shape considering I do 100 to 150 knuckle push ups and 100 burpees everyday. Wrong!
This 10 different push up by 10 reps by 10 second recovery time workout had me winded by set #5, and severely winded by set #8. Embarrassingly, I honestly had to pause the video after set #8 and give myself a 60 second break.
If you’re looking for an interval/circuit training workout that emphasizes building strength but also boosts your cardio fitness, interval training workouts like these are excellent starting points and lots of users have posted them for you to learn from free of charge.
I’ve never been much of a yoga person because I’ve always thought most basic yoga techniques are less strenuous than my old football stretching and warm up drills, but if you’re into the stretching, flexibility and getting tone thing, then yoga is something you should consider. Plus, it never hurts to try something new or add some variety to your workout program.
Hot yoga (also called Bikram Yoga, heat yoga, or sweat yoga) is a unique way of taking differing levels of yoga techniques and cranking up the intensity. I’ve taken a few of these classes in my younger years, and it’s definitely not something you should try if you can’t do the basic strength poses, may be claustrophobic (my classes were packed in like sheep), or might not have the mental endurance to tolerate 3o to 90 minutes of 105 °F degree heat.
I included this video because the narrating yoga instructor gives specific instructions how you can replicate a hot yoga studio environment (within reason) by using a space heater, multiple layers of clothes or doing a prior cardio workout like those listed above. If you haven’t done this at least once in your life, you’re missing out!
No workout is complete without including a few basic core exercises, so it’s important to include a few sets of basic crunches or sit ups into your workout routine. Every personal trainer that I’ve spoken to over the years believes that strong abs takes stress off your lower back, so a few extra minutes a day is worth the bad back insurance policy.
If you’re looking for something a bit more hardcore or perhaps you want to take a shot at developing those hard to get 6 pack abs, you need a fairly tough ab workout routine. This video will definitely put you on the right path because it’s a tough, well rounded routine. Plus, the guy has the abs to prove that his program works.
Not sure about his diet plan, though, if you’re specific goal is to get six pack abs. Free runners burn a lot of calories and I’m not sure as many people burn as many as he would. Although a French fries and ice diet does sound appealing!
Will a home workout program equal or better a monthly gym membership? It’s debatable. It all depends on how much effort and time you’re willing to put into it.
Many of the “gym rats” that I know do a few benchpresses, a few bicep curls, and oogle the spandex clad ladies taking the kickboxing classes. Not to mention, they usually go 3 to 4 days a week and spend most of their time chatting far too long in between sets, so they probably aren’t getting the best bang for their buck. Of course, one could argue that going to the gym is as much of a social event as it is a place to work out, so getting a good workout may not be their prime objective.
One thing is for certain: the combination of 100 push ups, 230 sit ups and 100 burpees workout routine I completed yesterday definitely had me huffing and puffing just as hard — or harder — had I agreed to pay $34 per month for the gym membership.
In the end, isn’t that what matters most?