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The Perfect At-Home Workout with Minimal Space and Equipment Required

The Perfect At-Home Workout with Minimal Space and Equipment Required

By Morgan Hopkins, Contributing Blogger

Without question, the past two years have brought about many challenges.  I need not harp on the frustration, confusion and sadness that has come with this pandemic, but one major positive is that many people are finally acknowledging their worth, seeking career changes and demanding more flexibility in their work lives.

As our work climates are changing and remote or flexible opportunities are becoming more prevalent, people are trading in their leases and mortgages for month-by-month short term rentals.  Inspired by this nomad lifestyle, my husband and I recently sold our 1800 square foot home, packed up our pickup truck and hit the road!  Each month, we travel to a new location, set up our work stations, yoga mats and baby’s crib and enjoy the beautiful landscapes that this country has to offer.

Considering the small spaces we often encounter, the workout today is inspired by equipment free, challenging exercises requiring only the space of a yoga mat.  I call it “Fitness for the Nomad”.  Fitness is universal no matter where you are at and 20 minutes of movement a day really can shift our attitude, perspective and overall wellbeing.  So roll out that mat, blast some jams and get ready to sweat nomad- style.

The program consists of a circuit of 6 exercises.  Repeat each exercise for 45 seconds with a 15 second break to transition.  Complete the circuit 2-3 times.

Exercise 1: Inchworm

We begin with a full body dynamic exercise which stretches the posterior chain or backside of our body while firing up your core and anterior chain.

  • Begin standing at the top of your mat
  • Slowly roll down keeping your knees soft
  • When you reach the mat, start to walk your hands out into a plank position keeping your core, glutes and thighs engaged
  • Hold the plank for a breath then slowly reverse the movement walking your hands back to your feet rolling up to the starting position
  • Repeat 45 seconds

Exercise 2: Reverse Lunge

After inching your way up and down your mat, it’s time to fire up that posterior chain!  Reverse lunges are not only challenging for our balance but they help engage our hamstrings, glutes and core muscles.

  • Begin standing at the top of your mat
  • Step one foot back into a split squat position maintaining upright posture and core engagement
  • Slowly bend both knees keeping your front knee directly over top of your front ankle
  • Power through your back leg and step forward to meet your front foot then repeat on the opposite side
  • Repeat 45 seconds

Exercise 3: Single Leg Bridge

Single leg exercises help identify asymmetries, challenge our stability and fire up that heart rate! If this move causes hamstring cramping or you are having difficulty maintaining alignment, begin with a standard bridge with both feet planted.

  • Begin lying on your back with knees bent and arms extended at your sides
  • Lift one leg up pointing toes to ceiling
  • Push through your planted heel and lift your hips up towards the ceiling keeping your pelvis level and core engaged
  • Hold 3-5 seconds then release
  • Repeat 45 seconds then switch and perform on opposite side

Exercise 4: Plank with alternating shoulder taps

When it comes to exercise, everyone wants the most bang for your buck.  Progress your standard plank with the addition of shoulder taps to work your core, legs and shoulders all at once.

  • Start in plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders, your knees extended and your feet about hip width apart
  • Without moving your hips or core, slowly lift up one hand and tap the opposite shoulder
  • Lower hand back to plank with control
  • Repeat alternating shoulder taps for 45 seconds

Exercise 5: Reverse Crunch

Time to challenge those stubborn lower abdominals.  Standard crunches tend to isolate more of our upper abdominals but these reverse crunches work from the bottom up activating our lower rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis muscles.

  • Begin lying on your back in hook lying position
  • Perform a posterior pelvic tilt, flattening your lower back into the mat and engage your core
  • Maintain this spinal position while simultaneously lifting your legs up to a table top position and back down to start
  • Repeat 45 seconds

Exercise 6: Side Plank Leg Raise

Our lateral glutes are some of the most important and yet least trained muscles in our body.  These pelvic stabilizers help protect our lower back, knees, and even feet- plus who doesn’t love a well-toned booty!

  • Begin lying on your side with your bottom knee bent and top knee straight
  • Lift up into a modified side plank position making sure your knee, hip and shoulder are all aligned and your obliques are engaged
  • Keeping a solid trunk, slowly lift and lower top leg 
  • Repeat 45 seconds then switch and perform on opposite side

Repeat the entire circuit 2-3 times then stretch, hydrate and give yourself a high five.  You crushed it!