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6 handy exercises for when you can't get to the gym

Belfast PT Alan Waterman demonstrates six simple exercises you can do at home if getting to the gym is not an option

By Alan Waterman

We've all had it happen...

Every now and then, something crops up which makes it impossible to get to the gym.

With the recent heavy snowfall and bad weather conditions across the country, many of us will have been hard pushed to get our normal training in.

But just because we can't get to the gym and load up a barbell, doesn't mean we can't make the best of a bad situation. Bodyweight workouts are convenient and easy to put to work, because they require little-to-no equipment.

Next time you find yourself unable to get to the gym to hit up your current training programme, try out this 6-exercise bodyweight workout you can do in the comfort of your own home.

1. Negative press-ups

Although many of us may lack the strength to do a full-up press-up, focusing on the negative (lowering) portion of the rep can help us build that strength.

Unlike the scaled down version of press-ups on the knees, this version still benefits from the core involvement of holding a full press-up position, which will have a greater carry over to helping us nail our first full press-up.

2. One-leg glute bridge

At just using bodyweight, a normal glute bridge may prove too easy for many of us.

However, the single-leg version, combined with a high rep-range is a great way to increase the challenge posed.

Ensuring that our hips stay level throughout the movement places a big demand on our glutes (our bum) as well as our core, as we need to concentrate on working them much harder in order to prevent this.

3. Bench dips

Dips are a great upper body movement for targeting some of the major muscle groups, and can be challenging with just using our bodyweight as resistance.

We can make the movement easier or harder by moving our feet closer or further away from us, depending on our current strength levels.

Don't have a bench like the one in the video? No problem - a sturdy chair will do the job every bit as well.

4. Shoulder tap planks

Think planking is easy? Try this tougher version to take it to the next level.

Adopting a full press-up position will challenge the upper body much more than performing it resting on the elbows, as will the shifting of our full bodyweight onto each individual arm.

The imbalancing of weight will give a much greater demand for core control, especially as we work hard to minimize any movement at the hips.

5. Bulgarian split squat

A fantastic lower-body movement, and again one where bodyweight is often enough to make it challenging.

Attempting to sink as deep as possible into the movement will further recruit the muscles of the glutes and hamstrings, while keeping a constant demand on the core as we attempt to stabilize ourselves throughout the entire movement. I guarantee your legs will know they're getting worked...

6. Hollow rock hold

Looks easy, but don't be fooled.

Attempting to elevate both our shoulder blades and feet shifts all the demand straight onto our abdomen, pulling our ribs and pelvis towards each other in a kind of static "crunch" and generating a huge amount of tension.

Want to make it harder? Elevate the arms behind the head for a bigger challenge. Though you'll probably not be rushing into that anytime soon.

At-home bodyweight workout

  • Negative press-ups; 3 x 5
  • Single-leg glute bridge; 3 x 10-20 each
  • Bench dips; 3 x 12-15
  • Shoulder tap planks; 3 x 12-15
  • Bulgarian split squat; 3 x 10-20 each
  • Hollow rock hold; 3 x 20-60s

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