Leggings and track pants turned into a wardrobe staples during lockdown and many of us found our backsides spread with the extra give around them! Sofa days with a laptop and sofa nights with Netflix were eventually going to take their toll, and if you find yourself in that place now you can turn things around with some simple (but targeted) exercises still without leaving home. This time, however, you’re on the floor in front of the sofa (or a few yards away), not actually on it.
1. Single-Leg Deadlift
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. For an added challenge, hold a dumbbell (or a water bottle or even wine bottle) in each hand at waist level, palms facing you. Keeping back flat and core engaged, bend from the hips and slowly lower hands toward the floor, keeping them close to your body, while simultaneously lifting left leg behind you. Stop when your chest is parallel to the floor. Hold for one second, then return to standing. That’s 1 rep. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps, then switch legs.
2. Squat to Wood Chop
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding one dumbbell with both hands in front of you. Pushing knees outward, lower into a squat, keeping knees behind your feet. Squeeze your butt muscles and push through your heels to stand up, lifting arms overhead toward the right. (For an added challenge, add weights like a dumbbell or even a heavy book.) Twist your torso slightly, but keep legs and feet still. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps, then twist to the left side.
3. Squat to Calf Raise
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, weights optional. Keeping spine straight and core engaged, lower into a squat, bringing your thighs as close to parallel to the floor as you can. Then squeeze your butt muscles and push through your heels to come up to standing, rising up onto the balls of your feet. Lower back into a squat and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
4. Wall-Sit Knee Extension
Stand with your back against wall, holding a dumbbell or heavy book. Keeping your back flat against the wall, walk your feet out in front of you. Then, keeping your legs together, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Raise arms overhead, then slowly lower them in front of you to chest level while simultaneously pushing your knees apart and out to the sides. Bring your knees back together and raise arms overhead. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
5. Walking Lunge
Step your right leg forward and lower your body so that your right knee is directly over right ankle, and your left hip is directly over your left knee. Squeeze your butt muscles and push up to stand on your right leg, lifting your left knee to chest. Place your left leg on the ground in front of you and repeat the exercise on the opposite side. For an added challenge, add weights. Continue repeating for 10 to 12 reps on each leg.
6. Plyometric 180 Squat
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. If you want to add weight, grab a dumbbell or another weighted object and hold it in front of your chest. Pushing your knees outward, lower into a squat position. Squeeze your butt muscles and push through your heels to jump up and twist 180 degrees in the air. Land with feet slightly wider than shoulder width and immediately repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
7. Lunge to Shoulder Press
Stand with feet together, and step your right leg forward and lower your body so that your right knee is directly over your right ankle, and your left hip is directly over your left knee. Squeeze your butt muscles and push back up to standing, lifting arms overhead at the top. If you’re doing this without weights, squeeze your arms as you raise them, focusing on loading power and tension into your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds at the top. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps, then switch legs.
8. Weighted Side Lunge
Stand with feet together and take a big step with your right leg out to the right. Keeping your back flat, shoulders lifted, and left leg extended, bend your right knee and lower your butt toward the ground. (Don’t let your right knee go past your right ankle.) Using your glutes, push through your heel to come back to starting position. Repeat with your left leg. Add weights as needed. Continue alternating for 10 to 12 reps on each side.
9. Dead Lift to Double-Down Lunge
Start with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weight in each hand if you want the added challenge, palms facing you. Keeping your back flat and your abs engaged, bend from the hips and slowly lower your hands toward the floor, keeping them close to your body. Stop when your chest is parallel to floor, and return to standing. Step your right leg forward and lower your body so that your right knee is directly over your right ankle, and your left hip is directly over your left knee. Pulse twice, then squeeze your butt muscles and push up to standing. Repeat, alternating the leg you use to lunge on each rep. Do 10 to 12 reps per leg.
10. Alternating Kettlebell Swing
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell in your right hand, palms facing your body. (If you don’t have a kettlebell, a jug of water will work.) Hinging at the hips, bend your knees slightly and push your butt backward, swinging the weight behind you and between your legs, slightly past your knees. Using your butt and leg muscles, push your pelvis forward and come to standing, while simultaneously swinging the weight up to shoulder level. (Your hips should do most of the work). Bring your left hand up to grab the weight. Hinge at the hips and repeat. Continue swinging for 10 to 12 reps with each hand.
11. Bench Up and Overs With Dumbbell
Stand on an exercise step with your arms extended in front of you. (If you don’t have a step handy, a yoga block or thick book will do.) Keeping arms extended the whole time, bend your knees and step right foot to the ground, then switch sides, stepping your left foot down. Continue alternating as fast as you can for 30 seconds.
12. High Knees
Start standing with feet shoulder width apart, core engaged. Drive your right knee to your chest followed by your left knee to your chest as you squeeze your glutes on each side. Repeat as fast as you can for 30 seconds.
Now ready for your shower? Run up and down the stairs at speed four or five times! Not only will you get a great cardio workout, you’ll build glute strength.