Can’t stand the thought of battling the bulge — and the New Year’s resolution crowd — at your gym? There’s another option: stay home.
“I have a very demanding job, and it’s very difficult for me to get to a gym,” says Michael Shumsky, 35. “But having [a personal trainer] come to my house, where we have a gym set up, makes it a lot easier for me to work out regularly.”
What he describes as a “gym” is actually a 6-by-8-foot nook in his Arlington basement that his wife has stocked with weights and a couple of resistance bands.
While that equipment is convenient, it isn’t necessary to build muscle and boost heart rates. All anyone really needs is at home already, says their trainer, Daffney Parsons Allwein.
Chris Jones, another local personal trainer accustomed to making house calls, has devised entire routines around a single staircase.
So go ahead. Try this at home:
A standard pushup will strengthen your chest — as well as your arms and back — but if you do it on an incline, your core muscles will get a workout too, Parsons Allwein says.
So place your hands at the edge of your kitchen counter. As in a standard pushup, you want to make sure that when you bend your arms and lower down, your shoulders line up directly over your hands, “like you have T. rex arms,” she says.
This angle requires less chest and arm strength than a standard pushup, which also makes it great for newbies. For more of a challenge, incline in the opposite direction by putting your hands on the floor and elevating your feet on a chair or a sofa.
“A lot of people, as they get tired, want to cheat a little bit on their squats,” says Jones, who has found a solution to that problem.
Position yourself in front of a sofa or chair so that each time you squat, your bottom lightly touches the seat, ensuring that your legs and glutes get the full workout, he says.
It’s almost as if stairs were designed for working out — there’s even a rail for balance, Parsons Allwein says.
Stand with your left foot on the landing and place your right foot on a step so that your right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your chest lifted and press your weight into the heel of the right foot, so your right leg straightens out and your left leg is in the air. Do a set for 30 seconds, catch your breath, and then switch legs. Then, she suggests, face sideways and do another set on each leg.
You could also just run the stairs. That’s what Jones has client Jennifer Possenriede, 53, do for a “burnout” exercise to end her workouts.
“You can absolutely get an amazing workout,” she says, between breaths, after a training session, “without having to go to a gym.”