This page is a list of the different exercises that I think are worth your time. You can combine them to create a variety of effective home workouts. I’ve included a brief explanation for how to do the exercises as well. For the upper and lower body exercises, it’s important to breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.This list is currently incomplete, so there may be other exercises that I mention in the articles and videos that are also effective. They will be divided into 6 main categories, they are Lower Body, Upper Body, Cardio, Martial Arts, Isometrics and Plyometrics.
Lower Body Pushing Exercises
Primary Muscles Worked: Thighs and glutes
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Keep your back straight and face forward as you bend your knees, lowering yourself to the floor. Do not let your knees bow out or in from this position. Squat down as far as you can. Now push yourself back up focusing on your thighs and glutes. Keep your arms crossed or out in front of you as you do this exercise. It may take some time before you can lower yourself all the way.
Chair Squats are basically the same as regular Squats. Instead of squatting down as far as you can, you should should squat until you touch the chair. Try to touch and come immediately back up. In the beginning you may have to sit for a second or two to regain your balance.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees pointing slightly outward. Keep your back straight and head up as you bend your knees and lower yourself to the ground. Stop when the back of your thighs are almost parallel to the ground, and push back up. Do not let your knees bow in or shoot past your toes as you do this exercise.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and knees pointing slightly outward. Keep your headup and back straight as you bend your knees and lower yourself. Stop when the top of your thighs are parallel with the ground, and push back up. Do not let your knees bow in or shoot past your toes as you do this exercise.
Stand in the beginning position of a regular Squat. Spread both feet about 6-10 inches from shoulder width on both sides. Squat down as far as you can, and push back up. Try to get the bottom of the thigh at a 90 degree angle with your lower leg.
Stand in the beginning position of a regular Squat. Bring your feet close together, about 6 inches apart. Squat down as far as you can, and push back up. Don’t let your knees bow in or out. Keep them forward. You may want to hold onto something for balance. Eventually you can do these with your feet together.
10 Part Squats
Begin in the Close Squat Position with your feet about 6-8 inches apart.1. Do a Close Squat and then step to the left into the regular Squat position. 2. Do a regular Squat, and then step to the left into a Wide Squat position. 3. Do a Wide Squat, and step your left foot back to a regular Squat position. 4. Do a regular Squat, and then step your left foot back to a Close Squat position. 5. Do a Close Squat. 6. Do another Close Squat. Then, step your right foot into a regular Squat position. 7. Do a regular Squat. Then, step your right foot into a Wide Squat position. 8. Do a Wide Squat. Now step your right foot back into a regular Squat position. 9. Do a regular Squat. Step your right foot back into a Close Squat Position. 10. Do a Close Squat.
Baithaks (Indian Squats)
These are a specific type of squat that as far as we know began in India. All of the wrestlers in India were trained by doing these squats. They worked up to hundreds of thousands of repetitions a day and even added weight to that, but for the beginning we won’t be concentrating on that. As a warning these squats may not be the best choice for those with knee problems at least not until you have developed some basic strength in your knees. As always do a proper warm up for the situation, making sure you have good blood flow throughout your body. Next I recommend standing near a sturdy chair or table or counter top and lightly holding on to it as you do this exercise. To begin slowly lower yourself to the ground as you would in a Squat to chair, except this time let your heels come up off of the ground and let your knees shoot past your knees. Make sure to keep your spine straight and your back will be nearly perpendicular to the floor. Remember to breathe in on the way down and out on the way up. Also move your arms in a rowing motion once you have enough balance.
Before you begin, make sure there is plenty of space around you. Stand with your feet together, chest out, chin tucked, and back straight. Step forward and bend your knees. The rear leg should be almost straight, and the rear knee should be almost to the floor. Push off of the front leg back into the starting position. Then proceed with the other leg. You can either alternate legs throughout the set, or do all of the reps for one leg before doing the reps for the other leg. In the beginning, you may want to only step forward far enough to have the front leg and the rear leg form a 90 degree angle. This will help with strength and flexibility issues.
Make sure there is plenty of space around you before beginning. Stand with your feet together just like regular lunges. Now, instead of stepping forward, step back into a lunge position. Push back up, and repeat. You can also alternate legs while you do these. Side Lunges Stand with your feet together. Do these by stepping out to the side and bending the lead knee until reaches about a quarter squat position. The other knee should be only slightly bent. Push back off of the lead leg and come back to a standing position. Now you can finish the reps for that leg, or alternate with the other leg. Another variation is to step out with a straight leg while bending the stationary leg into a quarter squat position.
Kneel down on a soft area such as a yoga mat or soft carpet. Kick one leg up and back as high as you can. Slowly bring it back down tucking it almost to your abs. Careful to not let it touch the floor. This exercise is particularly effective for the glutes. Focus on making a strong contraction as do the movement.
This is a three part exercise but don’t worry it’s not very complicated. Start by squatting down as if you’re sitting down. Keep your head up and push your butt backward as you go down. Try not to your round your back until your legs bend at further then the 90 degree position. After that push back up and step out with your right foot about 10 to 12 inches and squat down to a 90 degree angle. You’ll look and possibly feel like you’re riding a horse. After that bring your foot back and do another regular squat. Then step out with your left leg and do the same movement as you did with the right.
Lower Body Pulling Exercises
Primary Muscles Worked: The back of the thighs(hamstrings), glutes, and lower back
Deadlifts are primarily known as a lower back exercise, but each of these lower body exercises are great for the lower back as well as the pulling muscles of the legs. This movement is meant for the use of lifting a weight but can be beneficial without weight. If done in high reps it works great for endurance. Begin with the weight in front of you, preferably a barbell. Bend your knees down keeping your back straight. Bend forward until your shoulders are in line with the weight. Grasp the weight in one of two ways. 1. With both palms facing the body, or 2. With one palm facing and the other facing away from the body. Now pull the weight up using the muscles of your legs and lower back. Keep your arms straight and pull until you are standing straight up and the weight is grazing your thighs.
These are different from the toe touching stretching exercise. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder width apart. Keep your legs straight, without locking your knees. Bend over at the waist reaching your hands to toes. Keep your back straight, and push your butt back as you reach. It’s not as important to touch the toes as it is to keep the back straight. Come back up to an upright position. These can also be done with feet together, or wide apart.
Start by sitting down on the floor. Put your legs straight out in front of you about shoulder width apart. Place your hands by your sides at shoulder width apart. Pull your body up and forward using your legs. Keep the arms straight and come up until your body forms what looks like a table position. Slowly lower and repeat. These can also be done with feet together, or feet wide apart.
These can be done with a dumbbell, kettlebell, or even a miscellaneous object such as an old milk jug filled with water. Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, and the weight in between your feet. Bring your shoulders forward as you bend your knees to reach the weight. Swing the weight back between the legs until the back is almost parallel with the ground. Then thrust upward straightening the legs, and letting the momentum of the lift raise the weight up to about eye level. Let the weight fall back down at a safe speed. You can also do this one hand at a time by switching hands throughout the set.
Upper Body Pushing Exercises
Primary Muscles Worked: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
Get into a Push-up position by placing your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. And in line with your chest. Keep your feet together and form a straight plank with your torso, legs, and head. Flexing your glute muscles will help with this. Be careful not to push your butt up into the air, and don’t let it sag down either. Draw your shoulders back and down as you lower yourself to the ground by bending your elbows. Push back up until the elbows are extended but not locked. As you do these, keep your gaze on the ground so that your head and neck are in line with the torso and legs. You can also do this exercise on your fingertips or knuckles. These variations strengthen the hands, fingers, and wrists in unique ways.
These are to be done in a similar manner to regular Push-ups. The hands are shoulder width apart, and in line with the chest. Keep your head, back, and upper thighs all in a straight line. The lower legs should be together behind you, and not crossed. Lower yourself to the ground, touch, and push back up.
These can be done with your hands up above floor level such as a countertop or a wall. The higher the hands are placed the easier the push-ups are. Keep your head, back, and legs all in a straight line, and lower yourself until your chest reaches the counter, or your head reaches the wall. Then push back up. The lower chest muscles are emphasized in this exercise.
Form an L-shape with your thumb and the pointer finger of each hand. Now get into the push-up position and place both the pointer fingers, and the thumbs of each hand together. Lower to the ground and push back up.
Get into a regular push-up position and spread your hands a few inches apart on both sides. It may help to turn the hands slightly outward. Lower to the ground and push back up.
Dands (Indian Pushups)
Get into a regular pushup position with your feet together and hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Now spread your feet apart quite a bit wider than shoulder width apart and push your butt back up into the air. Now drop down by bending your elbows and breathe in while keeping your head in line with your spine. You should then be in the bottom of a regular push-up position. Now, when you push up, arch your back slightly and inhale. Now keep your arms straight as you go back to the original position. Breathe out as you do so.
This exercise is a push-up done with your feet propped up on something above floor level. Usually a bench or stairs. This creates a decline angle for you to work the upper area of the pectoral muscles. Remember to keep your head, back, legs, and butt all in a straight line. Go down until you reach your nose and then come back up.
These share the same concept as Cowboy Squats. Start out in a regular pushup position with your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. Keep your head up, back straight, and butt down. Bend your elbows and try to lightly touch your chest to the ground. When you come back up place your right hand a few inches to the right and do another pushup, this time only going down 90 degrees. Come back up, do a normal pushup, and then cowboy the left side. These can also be done on your knees if you need to or just want to do more repetitions.
Arms Extended Push-ups
Lay face down on the ground with your arms spread straight in front of you. Your hands should be shoulder width apart. Push off of the floor so that only your hands and feet are still touching the ground. Keep your head, back and legs straight while doing this movement. In the beginning, you may have to bring you hands closer to you.
Incline Arms Extended Push-ups
These are a great precursor to regular Arms Extended Push-ups. Because of the incline angle, there is less weight to move. I also like them more because there is a greater range of motion. Put your hands about shoulder width apart on something sturdy such as a counter or stair step. The higher it is the easier the exercise will be.
Dive Bomber Push-ups
The Dive Bomber Push-up is very similar to the Indian Push-up. Get into a regular pushup position with your feet together and hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Now spread your feet apart quite a bit wider than shoulder width apart and push your butt back up into the air. Now drop down by bending your elbows and breathe in while keeping your head in line with your spine. You should then be in the bottom of a regular push-up position. Now, when you push up, arch your back slightly and inhale. This is where it gets different from the Indian Push-up. Exhale as you bend your elbows and lower yourself back into the bottom of a regular push-up. Then push yourself back into the original position with your butt up in the air.
Downward Dog Push-ups
Think of these push-ups as one part of Dive Bomber Push-ups. Get into the Dive Bomber position with your butt in the air, and hands shoulder width apart. Inhale as you lower yourself to the bottom of the regular push-up position, and then exhale as you push back up into the Dive Bomber aka the Downward Dog position in Yoga.
Upward Dog Push-ups
Think of these push-ups as the other part of Dive Bomber Push-ups. Get into a regular push-up position and lower yourself to the ground as you would if you were to do a regular push-up. Instead of coming straight up, inhale as you look up and slightly arch your back as you extend the elbows.This is the Upward Dog position used in Yoga. Exhale and go back into the bottom push-up position.
Start out by laying on your back on a relatively soft surface. Put your arms behind your head and to the sides, just under the deltoid muscles of either side. Bring your legs up to slightly less than 90 degree angle with feet on the floor. Now push down with your arms until your arms are straight and back arched. Then come back down and repeat the process.
These can be done one of two basic ways. The first is to have your feet on the ground and the second is to have them elevated. Get into a regular push-up position. Now step your hands back until your torso and arms form a right angle with your legs. If you can’t get a full 90 degrees then get as close as you can. Lower yourself down to your head, and push back up.
Upper Body Pulling Exercises
Pullups and Chinups
Many people have different opinions, but what works for me is this: Pullups are done by grabbing the bar with your palms facing away from you. Chinups are done with your palms facing towards you. Both of them work the back to a great degree, but Pullups are primarily for developing the back muscles and Chinups have a greater effect on the biceps. There are many variations which can yield whichever type of result that you’re looking for. For the basic Pull-up or Chin-up, choose which way your palms are going to face, and then grab the bar at shoulder width apart. Drop your shoulders away from the ears, and pull straight up. Keep your chest out. Focus on pulling from your elbows to further involve the large muscles of the back, mainly the latissimus dorsi. It’s a huge muscle and wants to be trained. The biceps will also get a kick out of these but don’t neglect the upper back.
These are done with the hands placed only a few inches away from each other on the bar. Palms facing towards the body will cause greater stress on the biceps, and palms facing away from the body will put more stress on the forearms. Both ways are still a good exercise from both muscles as well as the upper back.
These are done with the hands placed a few inches wider than shoulder width on either side. They are typically done with the palms facing away from the body because the palms facing towards the body requires a great deal of flexibility. Wide Pull-ups are an excellent developer of the upper back muscles. They exercise the biceps and forearms to a much lower degree.
These start out just like normal pullups with your palms facing away from you grab onto the pullup bar. Then pullup until either your chin is over the bar or you touch your chest to the bar. After the first rep pull yourself up and let the bar go behind your head touching your neck. Continue back and forth until the desired amount of reps have been met.
Take two chairs and a sturdy broomstick. Place the chairs slightly wider than your body width apart and drape the broomstick across them. Now carefully row up to your chest and back down. If you don’t have a broomstick you can use a light barbell without weights or perhaps a 2 x 4.
Stand perpendicular to the Pullup bar and grab onto it with one hand in front of the other. Your palms will be facing the other one’s direction. Now as you do the first rep go to one side of the bar and then pull to the other on the next rep. You may also want to switch grips in between sets and have the other hand in front of the other.
Abs & Lower Back
Primary Muscles Worked: Abs and Lower back
Lay on a soft surface like a yoga mat or thick carpet. Use your Abdominal muscles to pull yourself up until your chest comes up to your knees or you are at a 90 degree angle. I recommend that you cross your arms in front of your chest or have them at your sides instead of putting them behind your neck. You can either bend your knees or keep them straight. When first practicing you might not be able to keep them straight.
Leg Raises (Leg Lifts)
Start by grabbing onto a pull-up bar with both hands, palms facing forward. Your body should form a straight line. Now keep your legs together as you raise them up in front of you. Reach as high as you can. You can also do these with your knees bent to make the movement easier.
Lying Leg Raises (Leg Lifts)
Start by laying on the floor forming a straight line with your body. Keep the legs together as you raise them up above you. If flexibility allows, you can place them behind you as well. You can also do these with your knees bent to make the movement easier. Side Bends Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Raise one hand up above your head with the arm close to the ear. Let the other arm reach down on the other side as you bend to that side. Bend at the waist and keep the hip stationary as you do so. Come back up and repeat. Once you’re done with one side, move on to the other.
Side Leg Raises
Lay down on your side. Bend your lower leg slightly for support. Prop yourself up on your elbow, and keep your upper leg straight as you raise it as high as it will go. Slowly lower it back down and stop just before it touches the floor. Do your reps for the first leg before moving onto the reps for the other leg. Keep everything else still during this movement.
Stand upright with your feet about shoulder width apart. Put your hands on your hips, and inhale as you lean back. Try to lean back as far as possible without causing strain. Then come back up and bend forward at the waist, and exhale. Keep your head up straight as you do these. Flex your abs as well.
Stand with one foot in front of the other, and your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Palms should be facing the face, and a few inches from it. Stand with a slight bend in the knees, and keep the elbows tucked close to the body.
Front Kicks Rear Leg
Stand in the fighting stance. Raise your rear leg by bringing the knee up. Twist your rear hip forward. Once the knee is slightly higher than perpendicular to your torso, kick forward by extending your leg. Keep your toes pointed upward. Bring the knee back down, reverse the hip motion, and place the foot on the ground. If hitting a target, strike with the ball of the foot, and give a slight push at the end of the movement. If you give too much of a push you will lose your balance.
Start in a fighting stance. Throw the lead fist forward, and turn the hand so that the palm is facing the ground when it reaches full extension. As you throw the jab, turn the front hip forward. If aiming at a target, strike with the two largest knuckles of the hand. Switch stances once you’ve done all of the repetitions for the first stance.
Start in a fighting stance with both hands up in front of the face. Throw a punch with your rear hand and twist the rear hip forward as you do. Switch stances once you’ve done all of the repetitions for the first stance.
One, two Punches
Start in a fighting stance. Throw a jab, and as you pull it back in, throw a cross with the rear arm. Switch stances once you’ve done all of the repetitions for the first stance.
One, two, Ducks
Do a one, two Punch, and then duck as if a punch is being thrown at you.
Plyometrics are explosive exercises. The purpose of plyometrics is to build explosive power and strength. Plyometric exercises can also be done in such a way as to focus on building strength, size and endurance, but then they aren’t considered true Plyometrics. In order to remain a true plyometrics exercise, each rep should be expressed at the maximum level of output. Only low reps should be used (1-5) because the focus is on building power not endurance or muscle mass.
Place an object a few inches to one side of your feet. Jump to the side and over the object. Land and then jump back.
Just like a full squat except when you come up you explode upwards and jump as high as possible. When you land back down you may need to reassess your form due to loss of balance. That’s fine. Over time your balance will improve and you won’t need to reassess. Clapping Pushups Push up hard enough to launch yourself into the air and clap before your hands land back down on the ground. As time goes by you can add more and more claps for each repetition.
Same concept as Jump Squats except with pulling. Explode up as you pull but be careful not to slam your head, chest, or neck into the bar.
Cardio Lateral Shuffles
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, and arms by your sides. Quickly step to the right with your right foot, and then your left foot. Now quickly step to the left with your left foot and then your right foot. Repeat for a predetermined amount of time.
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, and arms by your sides. Quickly drop down into a push-up position by squatting down and throwing your feet back. Tuck your feet back up to your hands, and then stand back up. This exercise is meant to be done at a fast pace. Mountain Climbers Start by getting into the regular Pushup position. Bring one leg up your chest and then bring it back. Then move the other leg the same way. Once you’re used to the movement, do it rapidly so that your legs are moving back and forth simultaneously.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down a couple inches and lift one foot off of the ground a few inches. Quickly lower that foot down, and lift the other one. Alternate back and forth for a set period of time. Stationary Shuffle with Push-out Start with the stationary shuffle. After a set amount of seconds, jump into a quarter squat position. As you do this, push both hands out in front of your chest. Continue shuffling and repeat.