Many exercisers prefer to work out at home. This might be because of expensive gym fees or simply because of time restraints due to family or work commitments. Despite a lack of exercise equipment, it is still possible to work just about every muscle in your body using body weight exercises. Perform these exercise two or three times a week on nonconsecutive days for best results.
Squats are one of the most effective lower-body exercises that you can perform. They target the front and back of your thighs, as well as your butt. You can do squats using just your body weight for resistance or while holding weights in your hands or across your shoulders. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back, bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are around parallel to the floor. Drive up out of the squat position and stand back up. Avoid rounding your lower back as this might lead to injury. Perform two to three sets of eight to 15 squats.
Supine Hip Bridges
Your gluteus maximus, or butt muscle, is the biggest and most powerful muscle in your body. Many exercisers work out specifically to strengthen this area. The supine hip bridge targets your butt and also your hamstrings or rear thigh muscles. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor by your sides with your hands turned palms upward. Push down through your heels and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Your knees, hips and shoulders should form a straight line. Lower your hips back down to within an inch of the floor, then repeat. Make this exercise more challenging by using one leg at a time. Complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Bulgarian Split Squats
Despite this exercise's unusual name, this is an effective at-home workout that targets all of the muscles in your lower body. Stand with your back facing a low chair or step. Bend one leg and place the top of your foot on the step behind you. Hop forward so you are in a split stance, with your front foot 2 to 3 feet in front of your back foot. From this position -- and keeping your body upright -- bend your legs and lower your rearmost knee toward the floor -- bending your legs as far as your flexibility allows. Push back up to the starting position and repeat. Complete eight to twelve repetitions, rest a moment, change legs and repeat. Complete two to three sets.
Reverse lunges target your front and back thigh muscles while placing an emphasis on your butt. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Take a large step backward, bend your knees and lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor. Push back up into the starting position, then perform another repetition leading with your opposite leg. Continue alternating legs for eight to 12 repetitions on each side. Complete two to three sets. You can make this exercise more challenging by holding weights in your hands or across your shoulders.
- "Anatomy of Exercise: A Trainer's Inside Guide to Your Workout"; Pat Manocchia; 2009
- "Body Conditioning for Men: Get Fit and Stay Fit Using the Progressive 12-Week Program"; Paul Steven Lubicz; 2005
- "Home Fitness: Designing Your Own Home Gym and Workout Plan"; Suzanne Falaschetti; 2003
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.