By Lexy Parsons, Contributing blogger
If you think you can’t get a good sweat at home, think again! Although gyms and studios are slowly re-opening, at-home workouts are here to stay. With hard work and consistency, you can get incredible results from the comfort of your home. You may even grow to love at-home workouts! They can be done anytime, anywhere, and require zero equipment. All you need is your body and a little motivation.
If you’ve ever put yourself through a body-weight burn, you know just how effective zero equipment workouts can be. With that being said, many body weight workouts involve a lot of jumping and high-impact movements in a style known as HIIT (high intensity interval training). While high impact movements can torch some serious calories, these exercises may not be conducive for everyone. Contrary to what you may have heard, you don’t have to do HIIT to achieve your fitness goals! Whether you’re pregnant, recovering from an injury, or just hate the “I can’t breathe, my heart is pounding out of my chest” feeling, there are plenty of highly effective low-impact exercises you can do at home.
What exactly is low-impact exercise?
Those slow, intense pilates classes that make your muscles feel like they are on fire? Yep… a low-impact workout! Low-impact does not equal low-effort! The term “low-impact” simply refers to a type of movement that involves a minimal amount of stress or force on the joints. To be considered a low-impact exercise, at least one foot must have contact with a surface. This reduces stress to the joints, allowing you to improve strength and endurance while reducing the risk of injury.
Low-impact exercises are some of the best ways to sculpt and tone. If you don’t believe me, try this no-equipment, low-impact workout and see for yourself! Let’s shape those muscles.
For optimal results, repeat this circuit 2-3 times through!
This squat variation will target your inner thighs as well as work your glutes, quads and hamstrings. The key difference between a basic squat and sumo squat is your stance! To perform this exercise, start with your feet hip-width distance apart. Turn your toes out to a 45-degree angle, maintaining a neutral back while tucking your pelvis to engage your core. As you inhale, lower into a squat position, keeping your knees in line with your hips. Keeping the weight in your heels, exhale to stand, squeezing your glutes and inner thighs while pressing your knees out. Repeat 10-15 repetitions.
Sumo squat pulse
The glutes and inner thighs are tough muscles to activate. To really isolate these muscles, try this sumo squat variation with an added pulse! Start in a basic sumo squat stance. As you inhale, lower your hips back as far as you can without compromising your knee to hip alignment. Rather than coming all the way up, pulse your hips up an inch on your exhale, squeezing your inner thighs and glutes. Repeat this movement for 10-15 repetitions.
Lateral lunge twist
This lunge variation will work your inner thighs, glutes and quads while engaging your core and obliques. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands at heart center. With your toes pointing forward, take a big step out to the right, maintaining a straight back and engaged core. Sink your hips back until you’ve reached a 90-degree bend in your right knee, placing all your weight in your right heel. Drive through your right heel to push up, rotating through your torso as you twist your right knee to your left elbow. Repeat this movement for 10-15 repetitions on each side.
To perform this exercise, start in a standard plank position on your hands. Stack your hands directly in line with your shoulders and in sure your hips are in line with your feet. Keeping your pelvis tucked under and glutes engaged, lift your right and tap your left shoulder. Repeat on the opposite side, keeping your hips as still as possible. Repeat this exercise for 10-15 reps on each side.
Plank step outs
If you thought your abs were on fire during a standard plank, try this plank variation. Starting in a forearm plank, stack your elbows directly in line with your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and tuck your pelvis under, engaging your core. Using your forearms to push the floor away from you, step your right foot 5-8 inches to the right, tapping your toes to the floor. Maintaining your alignment, step your right foot back to plank position. Repeat this movement for 10-15 repetitions on each leg.
Plank Hip dips
To perform this exercise, start in a forearm plank with your feet hips-width distance. Stack your shoulders in line with your elbows and tuck your pelvis under to engage your core. Without moving your forearms, rotate your hips to the right until you’re an inch above the floor, activating through your obliques. Using the strength of your obliques, return your hips to starting position. Alternate sides, repeating this movement for 10-15 repetitions on each side.
Start in tabletop position, stacking your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Maintaining a flat back, engage your core as you raise your right arm forward and your left leg back. Lengthen as far as you can in opposite directions, keeping your back and pelvis still. Return to tabletop, repeating the same movement on the opposite side. Perform 10-15 reps on each side.
Starting in tabletop position, stack your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. With a flat back, bend your right leg to a 90-degree angle. Maintaining the 90-degree bend, flex your foot and pulse your heel straight up toward the ceiling. Hold for a count of two at the top, squeezing your right glute. Slowly lower your foot back to tabletop position. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.
To perform this exercise, start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet hips-width distance. Keeping your knees stacked over your feet, root down through your heels to elevate your hips. As you lift your hips up, tuck your pelvis under and draw your ribs down and in, engaging your core. Keeping your shoulders pressing into the floor, squeeze through your glutes at the top, holding for a count of two. Keeping your knees pointing out, slowly resist down as you lower your hips. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.