7 Exercises to do every day
Thinking about what to do for exercise can be a daunting process, especially if you are new to working out and do not exactly have a database of exercises in your head that you can fall back on when you get the urge to work out.
On top of that, you may be intimidated to go to the gym alone, not knowing what you are doing. Let’s face it, not knowing what to do in a gym and being surrounded by people who are crushing it in the gym is an awkward position to be in.
Fear not! In this post, I will go over the best 7 exercises to do every day in the comfort of your own home.
Exercise #1: Bodyweight Squat
Exercise number 1 is the granddaddy of them all: the squat. Now, there are many variations of the squat, and I will go through them all in due time, but first, I want to discuss why the squat is number one.
The squat is probably the most fundamental movement pattern aside from walking that we humans need to have. Squatting is our body’s preferred way to lower ourselves to the ground so that we can interact with things that are around our feet. Do you know how they say lift with your legs and not your back? Yeah, you are supposed to accomplish that via a squat. In fact, this movement is so integral to the human species that babies will naturally do this without seeing anyone else do this.
Another reason the squat is number one is that it requires a ton of coordination and muscles. When performing a squat, you have three different joints working together to do one task: the ankles, knees, and hips. Each of these joints has muscles that connect to them and help them move. All in all, there are 46 leg muscles that are used to facilitate a squat! That is not even including the muscles in your core that are firing to keep you balanced! The only other exercise I can think of that has more muscles is the deadlift which most of you will not be able to do at home.
How to do a bodyweight squat:
Exercise #2: The split squat
Okay, number two is another leg exercise and is just as important as the bodyweight squat. Now, this exercise is more challenging to pull off, so it is best to do this in a space where you have something sturdy that you can hold onto for balance. A wall, countertop, or table will do just fine.
The split squat is like a squat, except that one foot will be in front of the other. You may know this exercise as a lunge; however, that is not technically correct because the lunge involves forward/backward movement, whereas a split squat is just up and down.
Aside from the fact that this exercise uses a ton of leg muscles like the squat, the real benefit of the split squat is the improved balance you will achieve. Because one leg is now behind you and one is in front, your body will need to work extra hard to hold you upright; this is why I mentioned that you should do this around something that you can hold on to. In my experience, people that I introduce the split squat to find the balance to be very difficult.
Just like the squat, though, this exercise is a very fundamental movement. Anytime you get down on one knee to do anything, you perform a split squat. Tying your shoe? Do a split squat. Helping your dog get a toy from under the couch? Do a split squat. Looking for something in the back of that Tupperware cabinet that has never been organized? Split squat. In a much smaller sense, we also do a mini split squat anytime we go upstairs. This movement is everywhere, and once you start to train it, you will see it all over the place.
How to do a split squat:
Exercise #3: Swimmers
Moving away from the legs and onto the back, we have swimmers to do next! In this day and age, so many people have back problems. I hear it all the time. Most people understand that the problem is sitting too much at a computer and being hunched forward. However, what is not so clear is how to fix it. The solution is straightforward; we just have to do something that puts our body in the opposite position of sitting at the desk hunched forward.
When we sit down, our lower back typically rounds, which is the exact opposite of what it should be doing, and our shoulders hunch forward to type. The result is a position that completely defies all of our grandmothers who yelled at us to stop slouching. Over time, the muscles in your chest will tighten, making it very difficult to stop slouching. Our lower back muscles that have been stretched for years from being rounded have become very weak and prone to injury.
The swimmer is not a fundamental movement pattern that you need to know how to do, like the split squat or squat. Still, it is a phenomenal exercise to correct poor posture from years of sitting in bad positions. During this exercise, you will be engaging every muscle in your back and even in your shoulders; altogether, a whopping 54 muscles in total will be used. The aim is to strengthen all the muscles that are holding your spine in proper alignment. The best part is that you do not need anything to do this, and there is no risk of falling over!
How to do a swimmer:
Exercise #4: the dead bug
The dead bug is an exercise for the abs that will help you learn how to brace your abs. Many people only think about their abs in the context of having a six-pack or, at the very least, a flat stomach. However, the primary purpose of our abs is just to help our backs hold us upright. When we move around all day, our abs have to brace, so we do not fall over. If you did not have abs that braced, anytime you moved, you would just fall over opposite the direction you were moving.
Beyond falling over, having a strong core can also help you mitigate back pain. Again, it comes back to helping your spine stay upright; your abs are the front support for your back and ensuring that they remain strong will only help ensure that your back stays where it needs to be.
The dead bug is another exercise you do not need anything for, and what is even better is that it does not require any coordination because it is an isometric exercise. An isometric exercise is performed by getting into a position and holding that position for some time. Isometrics is one of the fastest ways to build your strength in a specific area and one of the quickest ways to engrain a habit in your mind.
How to do a dead bug:
Exercise #5: Cross Crunch
We are going to stay on abs for one more exercise here because our abs do not just brace our spine; they also help us move. Pulling back muscles is a common complaint I hear from new clients. You know how the story goes… you bent over to pick up something harmless, stood up, and wham! You pulled a back muscle. Often, my clients will ask me how can something so simple cause the back so much strife. The answer is simply that the most vulnerable position for the back to be in is bent over and rotated. Think about picking a grocery up from the ground and placing it on the counter. There is usually some degree of bending over to pick up the grocery and a degree of rotation to put it on the counter. This combination of movements is common in our day-to-day lives; we may not always recognize it.
So, how do we mitigate this from happening? We strengthen ourselves during bending and rotating. Enter the cross-crunch! The cross-crunch is a great little ab exercise you have likely seen before. It is a pretty popular ab exercise because it focuses on strengthening precisely what we have been talking about here: bending and rotating.
Whereas the dead bug trains your deep ab muscles that hold you upright, the cross-crunch works on your ab muscles that are closer to the surface: the coveted rectus abdominis, also known as your six-pack! These two back-to-back exercises will ensure that your abs will be toasted, but you can rest assured that you have worked on some essential functions to protect your spine!
How to do a cross crunch:
Exercise #5: The push-up
Okay, time for everyone to get a little bit disheartened. I know because I always hear how much you hate doing push-ups. So far, I haven’t met anyone that has told me they enjoy doing push-ups. The thing is that doing push-ups are hard; I know. But push-ups are essential to building upper body strength at home.
The push-up is a lot like a squat: it is a big compound movement that uses a lot of muscle groups, which will help define your upper body. Unfortunately, upper body strength is something that a lot of people lack, which makes this exercise land at the top of their sh*t list. However, I promise that if you simply put in the time and do them, you will be happy with the results.
I have a female client in her 40s who has been training with me for almost two years. When we started, she could not do a single push-up. Nowadays, she can do almost 30 full-length push-ups in a row! The result is that when it is summertime, and she walks into the office, the other ladies always comment on how good her arms look in a short-sleeve shirt.
You may be thinking, “wait, I thought push-ups were for your chest and shoulders. Not your arms!” While it is true that your chest and shoulders will be working hard during the push-up, your triceps will also be working hard. The triceps are bigger than the biceps and take up more space on your arms. So while most people think that the way to big arms is by building up the biceps, it is accomplished more so by having big triceps!
How to do a push-up (with easy variations):
Exercise #7: Jumping Jacks
This list would not be complete without the obligatory cardio exercise. With push-ups, cardio ranks pretty high on the most-hated exercise list. I get it; cardio is uncomfortable. You’ll get sweaty, out of breath, and feel very out-of-shape. That’s okay; the only way to get back into shape is to confront and improve these problems! Fortunately for you, I don’t really recommend people run unless they are at their healthy weight and have training in running. It’s just too hard on the body and can result in some pretty terrible injuries. So, the cardio I like is more stationary and easier on the body. Things like the exercise I have chosen: the jumping jack!
There is a reason why this has been a routine cardio exercise for generations. It has a very low impact on the body; it involves all of your limbs, and despite how little you are actually moving, it will definitely increase your heart rate!
Developing cardiovascular endurance when out of shape is not a fun task. But if you give it just a couple of weeks, you will notice some pretty cool differences in your day-to-day life. For me, I feel like when my cardiovascular endurance is in good shape, I am a calmer person. There has been some excellent research on this topic that supports the stress-relieving effects of cardio. I think this largely stems from cardio’s impact on your resting heart rate. You will have a lower resting heart rate as your cardiovascular endurance improves. I liken this to the RPMs on your car. If you have a high resting heart rate, that is similar to driving your car around with the RPMs in the 7,000s. Think about how your car would sound going around like that: loud and strenuous. If you have a low resting heart rate, that’s like driving your car with RPMs of 1,500-2,000. Your car is much quieter and less strained in that range, and you will be, too, when your heart is in a low heart rate range.
How to do a jumping jack:
Sets and reps for these exercises
Now that we have learned 7 exercises to do every day at home, we need to know how much of them to do. Below are my recommendations for what would be a good starting point! If you find this too hard, do a little less so that it is more manageable. If you find this a little easy, add more reps and challenge yourself!
Bodyweight squats: 3 sets of 50 reps
Split squats: 3 sets of 10/leg
Swimmers: 3 sets of 20
Dead bug: 3 sets of 45 seconds
cross crunch: 3 sets of 20/side
Push-ups: 3 sets to failure (actually fail, don’t just stop)
Jumping jacks: 3 sets of 1 minute (challenging pace)
To wrap this up, if you are trying to devise a good workout routine you can do at home, you want to make sure that you are covering all of your major body parts and moving in various planes of motion.
If I were to recommend 7 exercises to do every day, I would recommend you do bodyweight squats, split squats, swimmers, dead bugs, cross crunches, push-ups, and jumping jacks. These exercises will cover the vast majority of your body and even help correct a lot of bad posture along the way.
Above this summary, you can see what I think would be a good place to start this workout. Still, if you would like something that is a little more in-depth and utilizes a gym, my full-body beginner workout routine is for sale for just $5!
Best of luck to you on your fitness journey, and if you feel like you need more support, you can feel free to contact me at email@example.com!
Jordan Tank, Personal Trainer, Columbus, Ohio
$5 Beginner Full-body Workout: https://tanktrained.com/product/beginner-full-body-workout-routine/
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Stay healthy 🙏
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