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10 Ways to Work Out Without Going Anywhere

By Courtney Rubin and Caroline Roberts | September 8, 2020 | Rally Health

There’s only one rule of exercise in tough times like these: Some is always better than none. Can’t do your full workout, or even a proper one? Moving for just five minutes, three times a day, can have benefits, says Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM, CSCS, a professor of sport science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. “You don’t need a lot of time to develop your cardio fitness or even maintain it,” she says.

Got more than five minutes to spare? Here’s more great news: There are tons of at-home workout options available right now — from newer offerings that have sprung up in response to COVID-19 gym closures, to digital mainstays you can try anytime. (Rally Health, for one, is offering free fitness classes to all on this website; click here to try one.) If you already belong to a gym or spin studio, you may also want to check and see if they’re offering digital options, or if they're renting out equipment. Before you splash out on an exercise bike, consider borrowing one from a studio near you, a win/win for both you and a small business that may be struggling in the COVID-19 era.

Of course, you don't necessarily need gear to work out. Many of the online classes and workouts we’ve listed below don’t require equipment. For the ones that do, everyday items can make handy stand-ins. In place of dumbbells, for example, soup cans or water bottles can work. For a makeshift kettlebell, Olson suggests placing a couple of bottles of water in a small plastic bag and tying it up. 

Remember: It's always best to connect with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Ready to get going? Find the home workout for you, below.

Free options 

For boxing enthusiasts 

Rumble 

Where: Instagram

Equipment needed: None

Boxing is a killer workout because of the sheer number of muscles it uses — and strengthens — at once. A correctly thrown punch doesn’t just come from your arms and shoulders; it uses your legs, hips, glutes, core, obliques, back, shoulders, chest and arms, says Olson. Rumble, a boxing gym chain with locations in select cities nationwide, is offering free half-hour boxing-inspired workouts (think: hooks, jabs, jumping jacks) during the COVID-19 era on their Instagram (times vary, so check their handle). The trainers are wacky and playful, but the sweat is straight-up serious.

Fun classes from a husband-and-wife team

Fitness Blender 

Where: YouTube

Equipment: Varies; option for none

Daniel and Kelli Segars are the qualified personal trainers behind Fitness Blender, a Youtube fitness channel that has more than five million subscribers. The free workouts range from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to low impact cardio to strength workouts to foam rolling — there’s something for every level (and mood). Bonus: All of the Segarses’ classes were designed to be done in limited space at home, even before any of us were facing lockdown. 

Train with a big chain’s pros

Planet Fitness

Where: Facebook

Equipment needed: None

You don’t need to belong to Planet Fitness to join their 20-minute “Home Work-Ins,” sweat sessions that feature a mix of body weight strength exercises and HIIT. With modifications for every move, these workouts are especially beginner-friendly, but experienced exercisers can still get their hearts pumping. Available while Planet Fitness gyms are closed, these classes go live at 7 pm EST every weekday on the chain’s Facebook page. Can’t make it? No worries. Each video is archived, so you can click and access anytime.

For goal-setter types

Nike Training Club

Where: Your phone (iOS or Android)

Equipment needed: Varies; option for none

Do you love having a fitness target to work toward? If so, Nike’s Training Club app –– which offers five- to six-week-long programs dedicated to helping users reach goals like increasing strength or flexibility –– may be the ticket for you. Nike recently made all of the premium content on its flagship training app free, which means there’s never been a better time to try it out. The training club offers a little something for everyone: bodyweight workouts geared toward smaller spaces, HIIT sessions, yoga, and more. Not interested in a long-ish commitment? No worries. You can sample any of Nike’s workouts without signing up for a longer-term program. Sessions range from five to 60 minutes, and consist of video demos paired with voice instruction. Workouts are labeled by difficulty, too, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into. 

Low-cost alternatives

Dance with a former Rockette

AK!

Where: amandakloots.com

Equipment needed: None for dance. Others require a jump rope and/or light weights.

Cost: $9.99 per month; free one-week trial

Former Broadway dancer and Radio City Rockette Amanda Kloots consistently sells out dance cardio classes in New York and Los Angeles, thanks to her infectious energy and of-the-moment playlists. If you like dance, there is no class more fun— and full of joy — than hers. Beginners will need patience (the sequences grow progressively more complicated) and extra breaks. Interested in a subscription? Before you sign up, check out a free 10-minute sample of her class here. To preview some of her other workouts –– jump rope, toning, and more –– visit her website. 

Get tips from a celeb trainer 

FitFusion 

Where: Your phone, tablet, desktop, or smart TV (it’s iOS and Android compatible)

Cost: $9.99 per month; free one-week trial

Equipment required: Varies; option for none

You may remember Jillian Michaels as one of the no-nonsense trainers on the hit reality show Biggest Loser. Since leaving the program in 2014, she’s created FitFusion, an exercise streaming platform that offers hundreds of workouts led by Michaels and more than 20 friendly trainers. Navigation is easy. Workouts are organized by target areas –– think the core, thighs, and arms –– and activity types, such as kickboxing and ballet. Many require no equipment (though others incorporate gear like hand weights and exercise bikes, if that’s more your speed). If you’re looking for something relatively chill, check out FitFusion’s 30-day yoga challenge and restorative stretching routines. FitFusion is available on Roku, AmazonFire, and Chromecast –– perfect for streaming workouts right into your living room.

For a personalized experience 

Aaptiv

Where: Your phone, watch, or tablet (it’s iOS and Android compatible)

Cost: $15 per month, or $99 per year; one-week free trial

Equipment required: Varies; option for none

This audio-only, all-kinds-of-exercise app offers everything under the sun, from yoga and Pilates to HIIT and walking. It also recommends exercises based on your fitness goals. Tell the app what you want to do (run faster, get stronger), along with details of what, if any, equipment you have, and it will suggest a workout, which you can then filter by intensity, time, music genre, or trainer. If you’ve ever wanted to start running, this is the app for you – the upbeat music and motivating messages in Aaptiv’s 20- to 30-minute walk/jog classes will carry you through. Freebie alert: Right now Aaptiv is posting at least one live workout every day on Instagram, no equipment (or app download) required. To join, head to their account at the appointed time and tap the profile pic. Workouts stay up in Aaptiv’s Insta stories for 24 hours.  

Work your core 

Pilatesology

Where: pilatesology.com

Equipment: Varies; options for none 

Cost: $20 per month; 14 day free trial

Because all you need is a mat or a towel, Pilates has been an at-home workout staple since the days of VHS tapes. Pilatesology lets you stream hundreds of classes for all levels, featuring celeb trainers like Mari Winsor (who has trained Emma Stone and Miley Cyrus), Alycea Ungaro (Madonna, Claire Danes), and Chris Robinson (who counts Oprah as a client). Pilates focuses on working the core, the muscles in your back and abdomen that help with posture. Pilatesology offers a helpful self-assessment tool you can use to gauge your ability level, plus classes involving core work that may help correct posture or prevent sciatica pain.

Trendy and full of options

Peloton

Where: Your phone or tablet (iOS and Android compatible)

Equipment needed: varies; options for none

Cost: $12.99 per month; 30-day free trial

You’ve probably heard about Peloton’s pricey treadmills ($3,995) and indoor bikes ($2,245) with built-in screens to stream classes; fans include Sofia Vergara, Diddy, and Hugh Jackman. But Peloton also offers an app, at a much more accessible price point, that serves up a dizzying array of workouts you can do at home, including yoga and strength training routines that can be completed with or without weights. Sessions range from five minutes to an hour. Perhaps surprisingly for a company known for catering to fitness junkies (the Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is a user), the classes are very beginner-friendly: They’re filmed from a variety of angles, and unlike in an in-person class, you have a great view of the instructor at all times. 


This information is being made available as a free resource to the public. Nothing contained herein is intended or should be construed as an endorsement of any gyms or fitness trainers listed is this article. None of the gyms or fitness trainers mentioned have solicited Rally Health to be included in this article, and Rally Health receives no compensation in exchange for the same.


Originally published March 2020. Updated September 2020.

Courtney Rubin and Caroline Roberts
Rally Health