Exercises to Do at Home When the Gym is Closed for the Holidays

by | Dec 8, 2021 | Holiday Special, Lifestyle, Lifestyle-Issue 135 | 0 comments

The holidays are a great time to catch up with old friends, reunite with family, and reminisce about the past year. As the festivities and gatherings—whether via Zoom or in-person—start...

The holidays are a great time to catch up with old friends, reunite with family, and reminisce about the past year. As the festivities and gatherings—whether via Zoom or in-person—start filling in our social calendar, it may get challenging to fit in a quick workout in between. Also, don’t forget that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic – which means that, depending on your location, gyms may be closed or allow limited access during this holiday season.

Thankfully, there are many ways to stay active and minimize adding those holiday pounds. Below are 10 basic exercises you can do in the comfort of your home with minimal equipment in only about 30 minutes. Do these at least twice a week for thirty days, and you’re sure to meet your holiday fitness quota!

1. Lunges

Lunges work on large muscle groups in your body – including your thighs, core, and glutes. They help create lean muscle and reduce body fat. Aside from just being a good lower body strength exercise, they help you work on your balance.

    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your arms down at your sides.
    2. Step forward with your right leg and bend your right knee to a ninety-degree angle. Your right knee should be aligned with your right ankle as you bend down.
    3. Lift yourself off from your right foot and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. This is one rep.
    4. Complete 10 reps for three sets.

2. Push-ups

Push-ups are great for building the strength needed to pick up your nephews and nieces during your holiday reunions! As a basic exercise when starting strength training, push-ups help improve your posture, build muscle in your triceps, and strengthen the lower back and core when done properly. Like all exercises, doing the correct form is crucial to experiencing the effects of push-ups. If you find the traditional push-up form challenging at first, there are ways to modify it. Below are two ways on how to do a push-up: 

1. Traditional Push-Up

  1. Get into a plank position. Tighten your core, pull your shoulders down and back, and keep your neck neutral.
  2. Bend your elbows and begin to lower your body down to the floor. Focus on keeping your elbows close to your body during the movement.
  3. As soon as your chest slightly grazes the floor, lift yourself with your arms (and not the momentum) and return to your plank.
  4. Complete three sets of as many reps as possible.

2. Modified Push-Up

  1. Kneel on your mat, and put your hands directly under your shoulders. Tighten your core as you stretch your upper body, pull your shoulders down and back, and keep your neck neutral.
  2. Bend your elbows and begin to lower your body down to the floor. Focus on keeping your elbows close to your body during the movement.
  3. As soon as your chest slightly grazes the floor, lift yourself with your arms (and not the momentum) and return to your plank.
  4. Complete three sets of as many reps as possible

For your first week, consider starting with at least five repetitions per set. Then, to avoid plateauing and to continue receiving the benefits of this exercise, gradually increase the number of repetitions in your push-ups each week.


4. Bicep Curls to Push Press

For this move, you may need a set of light dumbbells. However, if you don’t have any at home, it’s perfectly fine! Household items such as bottled water or canned food are equally good alternatives. This exercise is perfect for those sitting all day in front of a computer, especially in the age of working from home. Your triceps, biceps, and shoulders will thank you for giving them some TLC after a long day of work!

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your back straight.
  2. Hold your weight in one hand with your palm facing forward and your arm extended down to your side.
  3. Keep your elbow close to your body as you curl your bicep towards your chest. Do this in a slow and controlled motion – feel your bicep curl as the weight nears your arm.
  4. Then, turn your hand outward so your palm and wrist face against you, and you see your clenched fist. Lift the object upward above your head in a controlled motion. Extend your arm to the top.
  5. Slowly bring your item back down the same way you came until your hand is at your side in the starting position.
  6. Complete eight reps with one arm, then switch.
  7. Aim for three sets on both sides.


5. Superman

This move, as its name suggests, is not only fun, but it’s also a killer move for your upper back. While Superman looks relatively easy compared to other moves, observing the proper form can easily give more sophisticated-looking moves a run for their money. Aside from working on your upper back muscles, you get to have the opportunity to work on your overhead mobility and activate your lats, the muscles needed for when you do deadlifts, pull-ups, and even bench presses.

  1. Lie on your stomach on your mat. Make sure that you have enough space in front of and behind you.
  2. Squeeze your glutes as you lift your arms and legs towards the ceiling at the same time.
  3. Hold the pose for one breath and go down to the original position in a controlled motion.
  4. Complete eight reps for three sets.


6. Single Leg Deadlifts

Here at Top Doctor Magazine, we love the multipurpose effect compound exercises have. This modified version of the deadlift works on your balance once more! On top of this balancing act, you get to work on your back, core, and legs. We recommend a dumbbell for this exercise, but if it’s not available, take note from the earlier exercise and make do with what you have at home!

  1. Stand with a weight in your right hand and with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Hinging at the hips, begin to kick your left leg straight back behind you, lowering the dumbbell down toward the ground.
  3. When you reach a comfortable height with your left leg, slowly return to the starting position in a controlled motion, squeezing your right glute. Ensure that your pelvis stays square to the ground during the movement.
  4. Repeat 10 to 12 reps before moving the weight to your left hand and repeating the same steps on the left leg.


7. Burpees

Burpees are infamous for being that one exercise everyone tries to avoid. Despite the infamy, there’s a good reason why it’s in many exercise lists (including this one!). Burpees are a great cardio and strength exercise! This move targets your major muscle groups, helps build your endurance, and works out your whole body. Most people can do 20 burpees in a minute, but you can do as many burpees as you can at your own pace. If you feel like burpees are such a chore, it may help you to know that this exercise is excellent at burning a lot of the holiday food you have been munching on.

  1. Stand shoulder-width apart and keep your arms down at your sides.
  2. With your hands out in front of you, start to squat down. When your hands reach the ground, pop your legs straight back into a push-up position.
  3. Jump your feet up to your palms while keeping your torso parallel to the ground. Get your feet as close to your hands as you can get, landing them outside your hands if necessary.
  4. Lift yourself and stand straight. Bring your arms above your head and jump.
  5. This is one rep. Complete three sets of ten reps as a beginner.


8. Side Planks

Side planks are a great way to work on your obliques, lengthen your spine, and strengthens your core without stressing your back. In addition, the pose may challenge your balance on the mat, as you make sure you maintain an excellent form to reap the benefits of the pose. While we love the side plank here at Top Doctor, this may not be a good exercise for you if you are experiencing shoulder, arm, or core pain. Should such pain be present, avoid this exercise and proceed to the next.

  1. Lie on your right side with your left leg. Stack your left foot on top of your right leg and foot. Make sure you feel comfortable. If it is difficult, you may cross your legs and keep your right foot in front of your left foot.
  2. Prop your upper body by placing your right forearm on the ground, elbow directly under your shoulder.
  3. Tighten your core to stiffen your spine. Lift your hips and knees off the ground, forming a straight line with your body. Make sure your torso is not pushed forward in this pose.
  4. Return to start in a controlled manner. Repeat three sets of 10–15 reps on one side, then switch.


9. Planks

Planks are popular for a good reason: this simple isometric exercise works wonders for your body as a whole. It helps build your strength and stability, can help get you abs, and can be done for at least a minute.

  1. Get on your mat on your knees. Keep your hands parallel to your shoulders, and keep your toes firmly planted on the ground, your back straight, and your core tight.
  2. Keep your chin slightly tucked and your gaze just in front of your hands.
  3. Take deep, controlled breaths while maintaining tension throughout your entire body, so your abs, shoulders, triceps, glutes, and quads are all engaged.
  4. Ensure that your body is in a straight line from your head to your feet. See to it that your core or buttocks are not rising above your head or legs.
  5. Complete two to three sets of 30-second holds to start.


10. Glute Bridges

Finish strong by lying down on your mat with a glute bridge. This exercise primarily focuses on your gluteal muscles – your gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius. What sets this apart from other lower body exercises is that it doesn’t strain your back.

  1. Lay on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, and arms straight at your sides with your palms facing down.
  2. Pushing through your heels, raise your hips off the ground by squeezing your core, glutes, and hamstrings. Your upper back and shoulders should still be in contact with the ground, and your core down to your knees should form a straight line.
  3. Pause one to two seconds at the top and return to the starting position.
  4. Complete 10–12 reps for three sets.

If you feel like having a challenge, you can add some weight through a barbell or add a resistance band through your legs.

This workout is a great basic routine that we hope you can sustain during your holiday vacation! We made this routine with as little equipment and space needed as much as possible. However, if you’re looking to add more challenges or are at an intermediate level already, feel free to add the following variations:

  1. Add five more repetitions to this exercise.
  2. Slowly introduce weights. You may use resistance bands, kettlebells, and dumbbells if they are available to you.
  3. Add a jump to your squats and lunges.

Staying fit doesn’t need to be complicated. By sticking to the basic exercise poses, we can see that what matters most is not how complicated an exercise move is. Instead, observing proper form and being consistent with your workout can do wonders for your body!

We hope that this workout will keep you active—both mentally and physically—during this busy season of the year. From us here at Top Doctor Magazine, Happy Holidays!


Top Doctor Magazine

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