10 ways to get a great gym-free workout

If you’re short on time, or can’t get to a gym, your fitness level doesn’t have to suffer. Here are 10 ways to get a fast, efficient workout away from the gym:
* Exercise band – Attach your exercise band to a door or wall and pull and stretch your way to better shape. There are countless ways to strengthen your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, core and legs with exercise bands. You can also use power tubes to stretch and exercise in a similar manner.
* Circuit train – Do a circuit of exercises consisting of things like push-ups, pull-ups, bicep curls, dips and sit-ups, followed by a one- or two-minute jog around the room. Repeat the circuit several times, You can also change up the exercises.
* Pull-ups – A great way to train arm and back muscles, Try them close-grip or wide-grip.
* Push-ups – A great way to work arms and chest, try them with different hand placements and angles. Do wide-grip push-ups and incline or decline push-ups to work chest and arms in different ways.
* Plyometrics – A great way to strengthen your legs, perform different types of jump exercises depending on space and time you have.
* Lunges – Another excellent exercise, lunges are a great thing to do after a run or as part of your workout. You can hold dumbbells or kettlebells while doing them or go without. They’ll work your glutes and hamstrings on the front leg, while the back leg will fire up the quads and calves. There are many different ways to perform lunges, such as side to side, static lunges and low lunges.
* Single-leg dead lift – Standing on one leg with the other behind you and in the air, keep shoulders back and straight and hinge forward. Then reach toward the floor. Return to starting position and repeat. You can hold a dumbbell for added difficulty. Will really work the glutes and hamstrings.
* Side-lying leg lift – Lay on a mat or the floor and do these for another great way to work the glutes, along with abs. Strap on ankle weights to make these tougher.
* Step-ups – Step on to and off of a raised platform to get a good workout of the glutes, along with calves and rest of the legs. Do them slowly and don’t stay in bottom position long to keep the emphasis on the glutes.
* Plank – Arguably the simplest, best way to work your abdominal muscles is the Plank. Most people know about sit-ups, ab crunches and even using exercise balls for sit-ups, but the Plank out-performs them all when it comes to results.
It’s a core-strengthening exercise worth trying.
Here’s how to do a basic Plank: Lay face down on the floor or use an exercise mat or other flat surface, Get in starting Plank position with forearms and toes on the floor, Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes and forearms and keep your back flat and hips parallel to the ground.
It’s important to keep your back in a flat alignment – don’t let it sag or prop up too high. Looking straight ahead will help you keep your back straight
Basically, you’re lifting yourself up to a parallel position and supporting yourself.
Hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Over time work up to 30, 45, 60 or more seconds.
BONUS TIP: How many repetitions should you do when exercising?
If you’re trying to increase strength and muscle size, perform three sets of between six and 10 reps.
For basic toning and strength training do three sets of 8-12 reps.
Always consult a doctor or certified athletic trainer before starting or drastically changing your workout routine.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com