The Apartment Dweller's Workout

One day I was at the gym and I thought, "What if I gave up this membership and didn't have access to all of this equipment?" I'd been reading about the ease, value, and convenience of bodyweight workouts and wanted to know about what I am calling "minimalist workouts". Minimalist, in that they don't require a costly gym membership, a large time commitment, or lots of equipment. I've since given up my membership and enlisted the help of my friend Larissa Dalton, a runner, yogi, holistic health proponent, and creator of Piloting Paper Airplanes. She put together a short workout not only for the equipment-less, but for the space-less as well! Follow the routine below to get fit in your tiny apartment and follow Larissa for more health and well-being (I especially love her take on body image). 

We apartment dwellers know well the struggle of home workouts. I have neighbors below and this video wants me to do squat jumps and jumping jacks and lunge jumps and high knees?! It will sound like a herd of large animals dancing over their heads. At 6:30 in the morning. 

And that’s not even the worst of it. Many of us have very small spaces to work with. A workout with jump rope, walking pushups, or even burpees can be hard to accomplish around furniture. So I’ve collected a bunch of low impact, hard work movements that can be done in the space of a yoga mat. I experimented with combinations and put together some go-­to movements for my morning routine.

Low ­impact bodyweight cardio

This workout focuses on the lower body with quick movements to get your heart rate up. Our legs host some of the largest muscles in the body, so targeting these burns extra calories. (Side note: since this is a cardio workout, I like to focus less on deep, slow squats and more on swift movement. Adjust to your preferences.) Consult your doctor before beginning any training program.

BONUS: Your balance will be challenged with this one. 
TARGETS: hips, bum, quads, hamstrings, 360o core 
YOU NEED: a chair or step stool and an interval timer (lots of great phone apps. I like “A HIIT Interval Timer” on Android)
ROUNDS: intervals of :45 work/:15 rest = 10:00/round
EXTRA KICK: add mountain sliders in the rest interval or adjust to :50/:10 intervals

THE WORKOUT

  1. Lunge + step up, right 
  2. Lunge + step up, left 
  3. Squat + alternate knee crunch 
  4. Chair + side lunge, right 
  5. Chair + side lunge, left 
  6. Sumo squat + alternate side crunch (also called plie squats) 
  7. Table­top kick, right 
  8. Table­top kick, left 
  9. Chair squat + alternate side kick 
  10. Mountain sliders

Lunge + step up

Stand in front of your chair or step stool. Step your working leg back into a deep lunge. Standing back up, draw the working leg through and step onto the chair. Draw the opposite knee up for a standing crunch. 

Squat + alternate knee crunch

Stand with feet just outside hip width apart, toes pointing slightly out. Squat down. As you stand up, draw one knee across your center and twist toward that same hip. This provides a sneaky spinal twist along with the balance challenge. Set your foot down to start again. 

Chair squat + side lunge

Begin with feet and knees together. Sit your hips back into a squat, tilting your pelvis to keep your back lifted and working. From this lower position, step one foot out to a side lunge, straightening the other leg with the movement. Step back together. 

Sumo squat + side crunch

Place your fingers lightly behind your head and step your feet wide. Now wiggle your feet a little wider. Drop down into a squat, then shift your weight onto one leg while raising the opposite knee to your elbow for a standing crunch. Return to start. It’s easy for the squat to become narrower as you go, so pause and widen the stance as you need. 

Table top kick

Sitting down, plant your hands below your shoulders and feet flat on the floor. Straighten one leg just off the floor and lift your hips. Now press into the heel of your foot, raise your leg to the ceiling and lift your hips. Aim to get your body in a straight line like the top of a table. Drop down, keeping your hips and leg off the floor and repeat. 

Chair squat + alternate side kick

With feet and knees together, sit back into a chair squat again. Keeping a slight bend in the bottom leg, lift the other straight out to the side. Try to lift to hip height while keeping your balance. 

Mountain sliders

The apartment dwellers version of mountain climbers. If you’re on a wood floor, find two small towels. On carpet, try paper bowls. From plank position, drive one knee toward your chest, then switch. Work to keep your hips down and your back straight as your move. Switch as fast as you can keeping proper form. (To increase the intensity of the entire workout, do a quick set of mountain sliders during the rest intervals).

THE WORKOUT

  1. Lunge + step up, right 
  2. Lunge + step up, left 
  3. Squat + alternate knee crunch 
  4. Chair + side lunge, right 
  5. Chair + side lunge, left 
  6. Sumo squat + alternate side crunch (also called plie squats) 
  7. Table­top kick, right 
  8. Table­top kick, left 
  9. Chair squat + alternate side kick 
  10. Mountain sliders

Scroll through the whole workout below. 

Learn more about health and holistic well-being from Larissa on Piloting Paper Airplanes

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