2 No-Excuses Workouts for When You're Stuck Indoors

 by Vivian Manning-Schaffel

Blame it on the polar vortex, the first big rainstorm of the season or just plain laziness, but sometimes you just can’t leave your house to work out.


Blame it on the polar vortex, the first big rainstorm of the season or just plain laziness, but sometimes you just can't leave your house to work out. If you find yourself held hostage in your home by inclement weather, kids that need constant supervision or a case of the Mondays, you can still squeeze some exercise into your day. We asked fitness expert and Livestrong consultant Ashley Borden to craft two indoor workouts that deliver the biggest fitness bang for your buck. You'll do the same warm-up and cooldown for each workout, but you can alternate between the Burpee/Plyometric Workout and the Full-Body Blast Workout.

Warm-Up: Cat/Cow Stretch

To open up the muscles in your lower back, get down on your hands and knees, wrists in line with your shoulders and knees directly underneath your hips. Inhale as you lift the crown of your head and tailbone toward the ceiling and push your heart ahead of you. Hold for a few seconds, then release while exhaling, slowly moving the crown of your head toward the floor while lowering your hips toward the floor in tandem, rounding up your shoulder blades toward the ceiling. Reverse positions and repeat five times.

Related: 10 Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises to Prime You for Your Workout

Warm-Up: Downward Dog Pedal Stretch

Assume the downward dog position by placing your feet shoulder-width apart and bending at the waist to place your hands in line with your feet on the floor, forming your body into an upside-down V. Raise your heels off the ground and bend one knee in at a 90-degree angle toward the floor. Resume the V position to rest a beat and repeat with the other leg. Repeat on both sides twice more. This helps release tension in the calves and hamstrings.

Related: 12 Powerful Yoga Poses for Every Athlete

Warm-Up: High-Lunge Core Rotation

Stand with your feet together. Step your left foot back into a deep lunge until your right knee is at a 90-degree angle. Support your back leg with the ball of your foot. Lengthen your torso and bend forward so that it's on the inside of your front thigh; support yourself with the tips of your fingers on the floor. Reach your elbow down to the floor to deepen the stretch in your hips. Twist your torso to the left, raising your left arm up toward the sky while keeping your right arm down. Switch sides so that your left leg is in front. Repeat four more times on each side. Now run through each of the three warm-up exercises again.

Related: 10 Exercise Variations for Greater and Faster Results

Workout 1: Burpee/Plyometric Workout

For a hardcore blast of cardio, Borden recommends bursting into a high-intensity routine that gets your blood pumping. These intervals are 45 seconds of high-intensity activity followed by a 15-second rest period. For this particular indoor workout, Borden recommends alternating between 45 seconds of burpees and 45 seconds of plyometric jumps for 10 minutes (with your 15 seconds of rest in between each exercise, of course). "You need to work at full blast and put 100 percent of all you've got during your 45 seconds of work for it to be effective," she says.

Related: 4-Minute Tabata-Inspired Fat-Blasting Workout


Begin in a squat position with your weight on your heels. Place your hands on the ground shoulder-width apart and thrust your legs straight back into a plank. This activates your abs, shoulders and triceps. And posture counts, says Borden. Frog-jump your legs forward and spring straight up toward the ceiling, landing in a squat position for one complete rep. This works your core, thigh and calf muscles. To give your chest muscles a little added burn, lower your chest all the way to the floor before pushing up into the squat position.

Related: Top 15 CrossFit Body-Weight Exercises You Can Do at Home

Plyometric Jumps With 180-Degree Rotations

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and sit back as you swing your arms back for momentum. Swing your arms overhead as you jump as high as you can into the air, turning over your right shoulder. Twist your body around, making a 180-degree turn in midair so you land facing the opposite wall. Reverse direction. Once you are back facing the same direction, turn over your other shoulder.

Related: The 15 Toughest Do-Anywhere Workout Moves

Workout 2: Full-Body Blast Workout

Five rounds of this routine will give an efficient, full-body workout that's well-suited to the great indoors -- and it takes 15 minutes max! All you need is a little floor space, a mat and your own body weight to work a variety of muscle groups and raise your heart rate.

Related: Total-Body Blast Stability-Ball Workout

Man Makers

Man makers are squats and planks combined into a flow -- a challenging cardio drill that builds upper- and lower-body strength at the same time. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop down into plank position. Bend one elbow and raise one arm to a 90-degree angle (as if you were holding a dumbbell) while supporting yourself with the other. Lower your hand back down and raise the other arm in the same way. Place your hand back down on the ground and jump forward, raising yourself into a squat with your hands in fists near your shoulders. Return to standing, raising your arms straight up above your head, hands still in fists. Repeat five times per round.

Related: 3 Kettlebell Complexes for Faster Fat Loss

Plank With Alternating Toe Touches

Assume the plank position. Lift your right leg slightly and slide it out to the side until your legs form a narrow V. Tap that toe to the ground then bring your legs back together into a plank. Do this move again with the left leg and continue to alternate. Doing 10 reps on each side per round will actively engage your arms, shoulders, chest, core and legs.

Related: The 41 Hardest Core Exercises

Single-Leg Hip Raises

Lie flat on your back. Place your arms at your sides with the palms down. Bend both knees with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your left knee into your chest and flex your right foot. Raise your hips off the ground by pushing through your right heel. Raise and lower your hips, hugging your knee in the whole time. To fully engage your glutes, thighs and hips, Borden recommends doing 15 reps of these on each side per round.

Related: The Top 15 Moves to Tone Your Glutes

Side Forearm Bridge

This move is basically a side plank that uses your forearm for support instead of an extended arm -- a great way to work your obliques, abs and lats. Lie on your left side with your torso raised and supported by your left forearm, bent at the elbow. With your right arm either around your waist or extended to the ceiling, keep your feet and legs straight and stacked on top of each other. Raise your hips into a side forearm plank. Keeping your core tight, lower your hips so that they hover just about the ground. Continue lowering and raising for 10 reps on each side.

Related: Why Crunches Won't Give You Flat Abs -- and the 12 Moves that Will!

Cooldown: Spinal Roll-Ups

Lie flat on the floor with your arms by your sides and your knees bent. Pressing through your feet, begin to lift your back off the floor, one vertebrae at a time. When you reach the top, hold for a beat and slowly lower back down to the start the same way, rolling your spine out along the floor. Borden says five of these in a row is an excellent way to start cooling down.

Related: The Best Yoga Moves for Your Back

Cooldown: Static Hip Stretch

From all fours, extend your legs out behind you into plank. Bend your right knee in toward your chest and place it on the ground near your right hand with your foot pointing toward your left side. Lean forward on your elbows until your chest is above your right leg. This gives your hip a deep stretch, says Borden, who recommends holding the stretch for one minute. Slowly slide out of the stretch and repeat on the other side.

Related: The 8 Best Stretches to Do Before Running

What Do YOU Think?

How do you work out when you're stuck indoors? Have you tried either of Ashley's workouts? What did you think? What other full-body moves do you rely on to keep you fit? Do you have a favorite workout DVD or yoga podcast you can do on the fly? What are some other ways you sneak exercise into your day? Let us know in the comments!

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