7 no-equipment home exercises that max out on results

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Wondering which exercises will help you make the most out of your home workout? These are Jessica Ennis-Hill’s favourites

Just because you’re working out at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t get fit, tone up and build muscle strength. Every exercise in Jessica Ennis-Hill’s Jennis Fitness app works multiple muscles and, with pyramid HIIT workouts that need no gym equipment, you can guarantee big results without the investments. Here are Jess’ favourite no-kit strengthening exercises for maximum results.

Sit-ups and reach

This variation on the classic sit-up works the upper abs, lower abs and your back.

  1. Start lying on your back with your hands on your lower thighs.

  2. Perform a sit-up while reaching your hands forward and up to the sky. Pause a moment at the top before returning to your start position in a controlled manner.

  3. Repeat.

Side plank with leg lift

The plank with leg lift is a really tough exercise, but super-efficient, working the shoulders, triceps, abs, hamstrings and bum, plus your core and legs. If you are finding this challenging, try the side plank on its own.

  1. Get into a side-plank position, forming a straight line from ankles to shoulders, and brace your core.

  2. While keeping your torso stable, raise your top leg without bending your knee. Do not let your hips drop. Return to starting position.

  3. Swap sides and repeat.

Dumbbell military press

The military press works every part of the shoulder and engages your triceps. This standing variation also activates your core. Grab a couple of cans of beans to act as a pseudo-dumbbell.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your beans to shoulder-level and then straight above your head.

  2. Bring them back down to your shoulders. 3) Repeat as many times as you can.

Burpees

“I'm not a big fan of burpees, but they're a great exercise for using your bodyweight as resistance, while increasing muscle and burning fat,” says Jess. Burpees work your arms, back, chest, core, glutes and legs.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees.

  2. Place your hands on your floor, and jump into a plank position. 

  3. Jump back into a crouched position.

  4. Using your arms to give you momentum, jump straight up into the air.

  5. Return to the crouched position, making sure your knees are bent. Repeat for 20-35 seconds

Squat

Here’s another exercise that works a range of muscles at once, making it super-efficient to do at home. The humble squat might sound simple, but it’s actually a great way to work your hamstrings, quadriceps and bum muscles and your abdominal muscles, too. Plus it burns fat and builds muscle.

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

2. Tighten your stomach muscles, bend your knees and squat as though you’re sitting onto a chair, while keeping your upper body as straight as possible. Make sure your knees are in a line with your toes. 

3. Return to standing, but don't lock your knees.

4. Continue for 20-35 seconds.

Plank shoulder taps

“I love this exercise as it takes the classic plank and adds a bit of variation and distraction,” says Jess. “It’s great for strengthening your core, bum, arms, wrists and shoulders, and also improves your posture and flexibility. Brilliant!”

  1. Get onto all fours and into a press-up position. Keep your body straight and engage your core, making sure your feet are apart.

  2. When you’re in position, gently tap your shoulder with the opposite hand. Alternate shoulders and hands.

  3. Adaptation: If you’re finding this challenging, drop your knees.

Plank walking half circle

If you’ve mastered (or are bored) of the plank, try the walking half circle. “We used to do this one in training all the time,” says Jess. “It looks easy but is actually a really intense ab, core and upper body exercise.”

1. Get yourself into a normal press-up position. Make sure your hands are positioned over your shoulders.

2. Draw in your tummy and bum muscles.

3. Start ‘plank walking’ by first crossing your right hand over your left. Move your left hand so it is back in a plank position and then again cross your right hand over your left. Your whole body should move to the left, too.

4. Continue until you've moved to a 90 degree angle from your starting position.

5. Reverse the movements – so you put left hand over right – until you are back at your starting point.

6. Continue for another 25-35 seconds.

Find out more about Jessica Ennis-Hill's Jennis Fitness app here

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