Staying on top of your fitness routine is as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. When it comes to getting our sweat on, we’re all susceptible to unrealistic expectations. Perhaps we have a grand plan to get in an hour-long yoga class, but an unexpected meeting pops up. Or our kid calls home sick from school in the middle of our cycling-sesh. It happens. The question is, when our expectation is challenged — do we adapt?
The key to staying on top of a healthy lifestyle isn’t always about checking a full-on workout off the list. It’s more about fitting in fitness, whatever way you can. It doesn’t matter whether you only have twenty minutes or a closet-sized apartment — with the right equipment and exercises, fitness can meet you exactly where you’re at. Need a place to start? Amazon has all the gear you need to lay the foundation for an at-home workout routine that will help you conquer your goals
Still looking for some movement inspo? We got you. Here are six simple moves for when you’re short on time and space:
1. Bicep Curl to Overhead Press
This upper body exercise strengthens biceps and shoulders, and is almost entirely vertical, so it’s perfect for those tight spaces!
- Grab your dumbbells and come to a standing position, with your feet hip width apart, and your knees slightly bent (just be sure not to lock them).
- Extend your arms down, with your palms facing forward. Brace your core, and bend your elbows to bring your weights up toward your shoulders. This is the bicep curl.
- Now think about pressing down through your legs as you straighten your arms to the ceiling, turning your palms to face forward. Be sure to keep your core engaged throughout. This is the overhead press.
- With slow control, bring your arms back to the bicep curl position, palms facing inward.
- Lower your weights down to the starting position, palms facing forward. This completes one rep.
- Repeat 5-8 times.
You’ll need a reasonably heavy set of dumbbells here. We recommend the CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set, which comes with a pair of 5-pound, 10-pound, 15-pound, 20-pound, and 25-pound rubber hex dumbbells, and an A-frame dumbbell rack for storage.
2. Box Step Up and Lunge
- This exercise is perfect for those days when you really want to challenge your body, but are short on time. It won’t take long for your thighs and glutes to feel the burn with this move.
- Stand facing your box, with your toes about a foot back.
- Step onto the box with your right foot. As you stand on the box, pull your left knee into your chest. Move slowly with control for balance.
- Step your left foot down to the floor in the starting position.
- But step your right foot back into lunge-length, bending your right knee to hover toward the floor. Aim for 90-degree angles in your knees.
- Step your right foot forward to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Do 8 reps on your right side, then switch, and complete 8 reps on your left.
To complete these box exercises, use this Yes4All Plyometric Jump Box. Available in four height options, this Plyo Box is made of EPE foam for increased stability.
3. Pilates Hundred
The Pilates Hundred exercise is classic for strengthening the deep layers of your core. Weave this one into the middle of your work day — a little bit of core work goes a long way!
- Lie on your back. Bring a Pilates toning ball into each hand, palms facing upward.
- Bend your knees in a tabletop position. Your shins should parallel the floor.
- Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor, like a crunch. Hug your navel down to the ground.
- Reach your arms forward, hovering them off the ground.
- Inhale for five counts, pulsing your arms five times. Exhale for five counts, pulsing your arms five times. This completes one set.
- Repeat 10 times (that makes 100 reps!).
All you need for this variation of the Pilates Hundred is a pair of STOTT PILATES Toning Balls. Available in three weights, you’ll be able to find the perfect challenge for where you’re at!
4. Triceps Kick Back
- A Pilates band is about as simple as it gets, but it’s exceptionally effective at targeting specific muscles like our triceps. Use the resistance of the band in this exercise to challenge your upper arms.
- Stand with your feet hip width apart, on top of the resistance band (in the middle).
- Grip one end of the band in each hand.
- Bend your knees (like Chair Pose in yoga), and hinge your torso forward about 45-degrees. Stiffen your core to support your spine and torso.
- Extend your arms straight back behind you. Make sure the band is tight, without any slack.
- Without moving them, bend your elbows to bring your fists toward your shoulders (kind of like a bicep curl). Keep your arms narrow against your side bodies.
- Now extend your arms back against the resistance of the band, continuing to keep your elbows right against your side bodies. This completes one rep.
- Repeat 5-8 times.
We recommend the STOTT PILATES Flex-Band for this tricep burner! Available in “regular strength” or “extra strength” this band is versatile, and can be adapted to exercises that benefit the whole body.
5. Upper Back Opener
Don’t forget that sometimes, what our body really needs is a good stretch or roll-out with a foam roller. This move is perfect for a midday movement-moment, as it supports thoracic spinal mobility and counters all that sitting.
- Lie on your back, and situate the foam roller horizontally across your upper back.
- Keep your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor, and lift your seat off the ground, halfway to a bridge position.
- Either ground your arms to the floor, or cross them over your chest.
- Gently and slowly roll from your mid-back, to the base of your neck. Imagine the curvature of your spine melting over the roller, as you ease tension from your shoulders and neck.
- Continue for 30 seconds to a minute.
A good foam roller should be soft and gentle, yet durable, like this TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller. This roller was designed to feel like a massage therapist’s hands, with intentional texture and firm compression.
Don’t forget to measure your progress!
As we learn to make the most out of the space and time that we do have, we’ll realize that the greatest progress is usually made of the smallest steps. And the Amazon Halo Band will prove it. This smartwatch and membership measures all the metrics that paint the picture of your wellness, like steps, heart rate, sleep time, and sleep tracking. As you try out these new mbg moves as a part of your flexible fitness routine, use your Halo to measure how your body responds. Geared up and inspired, you’re ready to fit in the fitness that gets you to your goals.