Best At-Home Exercises Online Trainers Use
Great online trainers know the best at-home exercises. This is because an online personal trainer needs to make sure they can get their clients into shape no matter what. If they’re working with clients remotely, they want to use exercises almost anyone has access to.
Home workouts can work. The workouts need to be as accessible as possible. This means a home workout shouldn’t need expensive exercise equipment. Further, it has to include exercises most people can do with little difficulty. It shouldn’t be a tough exercise or complex technique to do right. People need to keep their motivation high and be able to master the movements. This is why online personal trainers turn to exercises with bodyweight only and include more variety than a basic pushup and squat.
Beyond bodyweight, any exercise that uses a resistance band or dumbbell will be the best route to go. Resistance bands are lightweight and easy to store. They’re also easy to find at common retail stores and online. Dumbbells have a similar appeal. When selecting dumbbells for home workouts, people should opt for a heavier weight. This way, they can use just one dumbbell if two for the exercise is too heavy. Additionally, it gives room to grow and improve. People love to see progress- especially when it comes to working out and weight loss.
Just as importantly, if you’re just starting a personal training business, it’s important to keep initial costs low. This is great for a new fitness business because the investment is so minimal and personal trainers make great money. So, knowing these exercises and their variations is one of the fastest ways to get the business going while profits start ramping up.
Here, we’ll outline and describe 80 of the best at-home exercises online trainers use to keep clients working out.
Lower Body Strength Training
While there is a ton of equipment at the gym for the lower body, there are still plenty of exercises to choose from that don’t require much equipment.
A simple squat is the first go-to for home workouts. It can be done with bodyweight alone or equipment. You can use a resistance band during this exercise by standing in the middle of the band and holding the handles at a height that gives the right resistance. Then, just perform the basic squat motion for the right amount for repetitions. Follow these guidelines for the exercise:
- Start by standing with the feet hip-width apart
- Keep the pelvis neutral and the eyes level
- Slowly begin flexing at the knee and the hips until the right height
- Attempt to reach a chair level of height
- Keeping the heels on the floor and feet pointing straight ahead extend through the hips and knees to return to a standing position
A squat can get old fast. Therefore, use these variations as you progress.
- Speed squat. Simply perform this exercise faster and lift onto the ball of the feet as you stand up. Try not to pause at the top or bottom of the exercise. Instead, keep it going in one fluid motion.
- Squat jump. After progressing from a speed squat, add a lift at the end to create a jumping motion. Keep the exercise repetitive, spending as little time with both feet on the ground as possible.
- Sagittal squat jump. Perform the same squatting and jumping motion, except move forward and back with each jump.
- Lateral squat jump. Perform the same squatting and jumping motion, except move to the right and to the left with each jump.
- Turning squat jump. Perform the same squatting and jumping motion, except rotating 90 degrees (and more with progression) for each jump.
- Drop squat. This is similar to the jump, however, the focus is on the descent of the motion. The range of motion is greater. When returning to the standing position, accelerate quickly and jump feet together.
- Single leg squat. Slowly accept all the weight onto the right foot. The left foot should float next to the right leg. Don’t kick the left, or floating leg, back. This will rotate your hips, making it harder to target the glutes. Slowly perform the basic squatting motion and make sure you’re flexing forward at the hips. By making sure there’s good flexion at the hip, you’ll get the most activation possible from the glutes. Return to the standing position for all repetitions. Then, switch all the weight to the left foot and complete the exercise again on the left leg with the right leg floating beside it.
- Banded. Place a flat band around the knees. Make sure the feet are wide enough apart that there is tension on the band the entire time. Pressing the knees outward for the entire repetition, complete the exercise as normal.
Sometimes called a split squat, lunges are a variation of the squat. This is because the flexion in the hip and knee during the exercise is the same. We list them separately because there are so many variations you can do with a lunge. This is the technique for a basic stationary lunge, or split squat exercise.
- With the feet hip-width apart, take a comfortable step forward with your right leg.
- Don’t make the mistake of overstepping, the shorter the stance, the more hip and knee flexion you’ll get.
- Start by flexing forward at the right hip, and continue descending as both knees flex and you lower to the ground.
- As you descend, make sure your right knee doesn’t travel inward or out. Keep it tracking forward,
- The knee can travel past the top of your ankle if you have good mobility.
- Activating your glutes and hamstrings in your front leg, move upward. At the same time, you’ll be contracting your quads on the back leg to return to the standing position.
Use these variations as you, or the client progresses.
- Forward stepping lunge. Rather than keeping both feet on the ground for the entire set, step forward with one leg, lunge, return back and repeat. You can repeat on one leg or alternate.
- Walking lunges. This is similar to the forward stepping variation. Alternate legs and take a step forward each time.
- Reverse lunge. This is similar to the forward stepping variation, except you step back. Make sure you tip forward as you step back to get glute activation.
- Lateral lunge. Take one large step to the side, flexing forward at the stepping hip and knee. Return to a standing position. This exercise can have variations as well. You can do alternating legs or lunge to balance.
- Turning lunge. This calls for more balance and coordination. It’s like the forward stepping variation, except you turn as you lunge down, then return to the original foot.
- Jump lunges. Perform explosively, getting air and space between the feet and the floor. You can do these all on one leg or alternating.
A hip bridge is the go-to exercise fitness coaches use to get the best gluteus maximus activation.
- Start by lying on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
- The left and right knee should be in line with the hips, not wider or more narrow.
- Keep the feet on the floor and lift the hips, activating the gluteus maximus and hamstrings.
- Lift as high as hip mobility allows.
- Return down to the starting position.
For most people, this exercise will seem too easy. However, most people have tight hip flexors, so they aren’t getting the full range of motion. Make sure you lift as high as you can, even supporting your hips with your hands to get extra lift. From there you can add these variations.
- Single leg. Perform the same motion except with one leg elevated or crossed on the knee.
- Weighted. Place a heavy dumbbell across the center of your hips and continue the exercise.
- Banded. Use an exercise or resistance band and wrap it around the knees. Take the feet as wide as necessary to keep tension on the band for the duration of the exercise. Keep pressing the knees outward.
This exercise targets your gluteus medius and is great for functional training.
- Place feet in the middle of the resistance band.
- Flex at the hip and knee into a quarter of a squatting position.
- Keep tension on the band in between the feet at all times.
- Arms and handles stay either by your side, at your hips, or your shoulders for the most resistance.
- Step the right foot to the side and slowly bring the left foot over to meet the right.
- Continue the exercise, alternating each leg.
Even band walks have creativity and you can get a flat band and place it around your knees or ankles. When you do this, here are other progressive ways to do the exercise.
- All on one leg. Rather than repeating, continue stepping or tapping one foot out the side and returning it back to the stationary leg.
- Diagonal reaches. Similar to all on one leg, reach the moving leg to a diagonal reach to the side and behind you.
- Reverse reaches. To get full glute max activation, reach the leg directly back behind you. Push the moving leg out quickly and then slowly return to the starting position.
Upper Body Strength Training
Most people run out of creative juices when doing upper body exercises from home. Your upper workout routine shouldn’t suffer, though. Here are more minimalist exercises to add to your workout program. They are broken up according to the type of compound movement.
The most common pushing exercise is a bodyweight pushup. As basic as this exercise is, fitness experts agree, most people do this movement wrong. Knowing the anatomy of a pushup will help you get the best form.Follow these techniques do’s and don’ts.
- Make sure your technique is perfect every time before progressing.
- Keep head in a neutral position with eyes on the floor, not straight ahead.
- Your chin should be pulled in so the back of the head moves toward the ceiling.
- At the top of the motion, fully protract your shoulder girdle so there’s as much space between your shoulder blades as possible.
- Don’t sink into your shoulder joints, allowing the scapula to move together.
- Brace your abdominals, pulling your navel in toward the spine.
- Keep a neutral spine, tightening your glutes and quads. Don’t let your lower back arch or your hips lift in the air.
- Make sure the knees don’t flex.
- Slowly lower to down, getting a full range of motion, and fully return to the starting position.
The modifications for pushups make it an ideal exercise that novice and advanced clients can all do. Here are the variations.
- Against a wall. This is the best place to start if you’re lacking in strength. Just put the hands against the wall and walk the feet back a few steps.
- Hands on chair. As you improve, lower the body and increase the difficulty by putting the hands on a chair or bench.
- On knees. This is the most common regression of the exercise. Keep the spine and hips neutral with the abs engaging.
- Rotations. As you push your way up, slowly accept all the weight to one hand and one arm. Take the opposite arm up so you rotate a full 90 degrees before returning both hands to the ground. Then, repeat on the other side.
- Speed pushups. Complete the movement quickly, in less than one second ascending and descending. Remove any pauses at the top and bottom of the movement.
- Plyo pushups. After increasing speed, get a lift between your hands and the floor to make the exercise plyometric.
- One-arm pushups. It will take time to progress to this. You can start by trying single-arm pushups on your knees, bench, or the wall. It will require greater core activation.
- Banded pushups. Place a resistance band across your back, securing under your hands or another immovable object.
- Triceps pushup. Move the hands closer together so the elbows nearly scrape your side. This will engage the upper part of your arms and shoulders more.
- Decline. Place your feet on an elevated surface. Hands will be on the floor. Continue elevating the height of your feet to progress to handstands.
- Handstand pushups. With the feet against a wall and in a handstand position, slowly lower to the ground and back up again.
Other pushing exercises include:
- Dumbbell chest press
- Single-arm DB chest press
- Alternating arm DB chest press
- Incline DB chest press
- Decline DB chest press
- Overhead triceps extension
- Resistance band chest press (double arm, single-arm, alternating arm)
Pulling exercises engage the back and biceps. These are great for posture and overall strength but can be harder to hit using minimal workout equipment. For a general pulling exercise, like a standing row, follow these standards.
- Keep spine neutral with eyes focusing straight ahead,
- Pull the chin inward.
- Extending through the shoulders (backward motion) and flexing through the elbows, pull straight back.
- Make sure the elbows don’t wing out or the shoulders rotate forward. This will happen if you have a tight upper body posture from working at a desk or overtraining.
- Pull the shoulder blades back and together.
- Release slowly returning the arms to starting position.
Here is a list of pulling exercises for your at-home workout routine.
- Standing band row (double, single, or alternating arm)
- Seated band row (double, single, or alternating arm)
- Band pull-down (double, single, or alternating arm)
- Bent over DB row (double, single, or alternating arm)
- Pull up
- Band biceps curl
No workout program would be complete without hitting the core. Here is a quick list of the exercises and variations you can do for your abdominal muscles.
- Forearm plank (single-arm, single-leg, or single arm and leg)
- Hand plank (single-arm, single-leg, or single arm and leg)
- Side plank
- Basic crunch
- Weighted crunch
- Banded crunch
- Crunch with rotation
- Decline crunch
- Reverse crunch
- Reverse crunch with rotation or twist
- Russian twist
No fitness program is complete without a cardio workout. Some people like to do this separate from resistance training. However, especially with weight loss clients, the heart rate can get high enough during resistance training. Therefore, it’s common to do your strength exercises one after the other. This will keep the heart rate high enough to get fat loss and cardiovascular benefits.
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