You probably had your fill of home workouts over the past few years, but just like the office there’s no going back (at least not five days a week, OK boss?). And besides, the current cost-of-living crunch makes splashing out on or maintaining a gym membership less appealing than ever.
To get fit at home you can do workouts here and there, but we heartily recommend using a structured training plan. It’s not hard to find one-off workouts to use each time you train, but we find following a plan helps to train regularly and consistency often matters more than the individual workout.
Below we have a training plan that requires three workouts a week and is a fantastic starting point for anyone. Each workout begins with a warm-up, which can be all too easy to skip at home (never skip the warm-up), and the only requirements are some space and a sturdy, knee-high platform (stairs can work). Each workout combines upper-body, lower-body and core exercises for a well-rounded session, and the first workout will get your heart rate up to improve your cardio fitness as well.
Home Workout Plan
Complete three rounds of the following without taking a rest.
From standing, bend down, place your hands on the floor and walk your hands out to a high plank position (hands under your shoulders, arms extended, with your body forming a straight line from your head to heels), then walk your hands back to your feet and stand up.
2 Spider-Man lunge
Reps 5 each side
Start in a high plank position. Bring your right foot forwards and place it outside your right foot, then step back and do the same on your left side.
3 Shoulder tap
Reps 10 each side
In a high plank position, reach up with your left hand and tap your right shoulder, then use your right hand to tap your left shoulder.
Rest as required during the workout, but aim to keep each break to 10-20 seconds. The first exercise is a superset. Do all the reps of exercise 1A followed by all the reps of exercise 1B. Repeat that sequence for three times in total, then move on.
1A Jump lunge
Sets 3 Reps 10 each side
Step forwards with your right foot and lower until both knees are bent at 90°. Jump up and switch legs so you land in a lunge with your left foot forwards.
Sets 3 Reps 5
From standing, drop your hands to the floor then jump your feet back so you go into a high plank. Jump your feet forwards again so they’re next to your hands, stand and jump straight up, raising your hands above your head.
Sets 1 Reps 10 each side
Find a step that’s about knee-high. Step onto it, leading with your right foot. Bring your left foot onto the step as well, then step down, left foot first. Lead with your left foot on the next rep your right as you step down. Keep alternating.
3 Chest-to-floor burpee
Sets 1 Reps 5
From standing, drop your hands to the floor then jump your feet back so you go into a high plank. Lower your chest to the ground, press back up and jump your feet forwards again so they’re next to your hands. Stand and jump straight up, raising your hands above your head.
Do two rounds of the following without taking a break.
1 Downward-facing dog toe tap
Reps 5 each side
Start on your hands and knees and then push your hips up and back so your knees come off the floor, your arms and legs are straight and you form a triangle with the floor. Tap your right arm with your right toes, then repeat on the other side.
2 Yoga press-up
From your downward-facing dog position, lower your chest towards the floor, then push back up.
3 Scorpion kick
Reps 10 each side
Lie face down on the floor with your arms out to the sides. Bend your left knee to lift your left lower leg, then rotate your torso to bring your left foot over to touch the floor by your right hand. Repeat, alternating sides with each rep.
4 Glute bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so you form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower back to the start.
Aim to complete up to four rounds of the following without taking any rests.
1 Squat to floor
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your knees and move your hips back to lower into a deep squat so your hands can touch the floor while keeping your chest up and forwards. Drive back up to standing.
2 Unweighted renegade row
Reps 30 each side
Start in a high plank position. Hold the position while bringing your right elbow up past your back, then repeat on the other side.
3 Butterfly sit-up
Lie with your back on the floor, with your knees bent and out to the sides, and the soles of your feet together. Engage your abs to lift your head and shoulders off the floor, then lower with control.
Do two rounds of the following without resting.
Start on your hands and knees. Push your spine upwards so your shoulder blades move away from each other. Then roll your shoulder blades together and push your chest towards the floor.
2 Thread the needle
Reps 5 each side
Still on your hands and knees, take your right arm under your left and out to the side, bringing your right shoulder down to the floor. Then repeat on the other side.
3 Kang squat
From standing, hinge at the hips and bend forwards until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings (as if doing the good morning exercise), then rock back and down into a deep squat. Come back up into the good morning position, then return to standing.
4 Samson lunge
Reps 10 each side
From standing, step forwards into a lunge, then clasp your hands together and stretch them out above your head. Stand back up and then repeat, leading with the other leg.
This is a 20-minute AMRAP – As Many Rounds As Possible. Complete as many rounds of the following four exercises as you can in 20 minutes.
1 Elevated single-leg glute bridge
Reps 10 each side
Lie on your back and rest your feet on a raised surface like a table or chair. Lift your right foot and then raise your hips so your body is straight from your neck to your left foot. Lower and repeat 10 times, then swap sides.
2 Bulgarian split squat
Reps 10 each side
Stand facing away from a low table or sofa. Rest the top of one foot on the surface behind you. Lower until your back knee almost touches the floor, then push back up. Swap legs after you complete 10 reps.
From a high plank position, bend at the elbows to lower your chest until it’s just above the floor, then push back up.
Lie on your back with your legs extended and together. Simultaneously raise your shoulders and lift your legs, keeping them as straight as possible, so you form a V shape. If you find this too challenging, start by doing it one leg at a time for five reps each side.
More Home Workout Plans
Once you’ve mastered the above you may be looking for your next challenge. To continue in a similar vein, this strength training for women (and men) plan continues the routine of three workouts a week and introduces different exercises to keep you progressing.
To kick things up a notch, dig out the dumbbells you purchased during the pandemic (or buy a pair using our recommendations of the best dumbbells) and tackle this four-week dumbbell workout plan that involves doing four workouts a week. Pro tip: you can extend the length of the plan if life gets in the way or you need more time to recover between sessions.
If you prefer to stick with your own bodyweight but are willing to test yourself to build muscle, turn to this bodyweight workout plan (although you will need a pull-up bar to follow it). There are also plenty of single workouts at the bottom of that page for you to dip into, and we’ve collated some of our favourites below.
No-Kit Home Workouts
10-Minute EMOM Workout
EMOM stands for “every minute on the minute”, so in these workouts you complete a set number of reps in a minute and then rest for the remainder of the minute, going again when the next minute starts. It’s a great way to get a lot out of short workouts, like this 10-minute session where you cycle through three moves every minute, with an optional fourth you can do instead of resting.
- Press-up (Reps 5)
- Jump squat (Reps 5)
- Chest-to-floor burpee (Reps 5)
- Beast hold (Optional, for remainder of minute)
See the 10-minute EMOM workout
20-Minute Abs Workout
If you’re prepared to work hard with little rest, it really doesn’t take long to get a top-quality abs workout in, as this tough 20-minute circuit shows. Do three rounds in the time allowed, or add another two or three if you’re more experienced and have more time.
- Crunch (Reps 20)
- Crunch pulse (Reps 20)
- Reverse crunch (Reps 10)
- Lying leg raise (Reps 20)
- Plank toe tap (Reps 15 each side)
- Planks shoulder tap (Reps 15 each side)
See the six-pack home workout
30-Minute Full-Body Circuit
This session involves four rounds of six exercises, and there’s still time to fit in a proper warm-up and warm-down in the half-hour – now that’s efficient. In the main workout you’ll be working for 30 seconds and resting for 15 seconds, then taking a 90-second rest between complete rounds.
- Mountain climber (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Jump squat (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Bicycle crunch (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Reverse lunge (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Press-up (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Star jump (Time 30sec Rest 90sec)
See the 30-minute home workout
Fat-Burning Bodyweight Workout
This full-body session consists of two circuits of three exercises. You do three rounds of the first circuit to get your core activated and your heart pumping, then tear through five rounds of the second circuit as fast as you can.
- Dead bug (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Side plank (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Plank jack (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
- Hand-release press-up (Reps 10)
- Reset jump lunge (Reps 6 each side)
- Alternating V-sit (Reps 7 each side)
See the workout to burn fat at home
Core Workout For Women
Personal trainer and menopause fitness expert Kate Rowe-Ham shared this five-move core workout for women. Aim for three to four rounds, taking up to 90 seconds’ rest between rounds.
- Dead bug (Reps 10 each side)
- Plank shoulder tap (Reps 10 each side)
- Side plank (Time 30sec each side)
- Bird-dog (Reps 10 each side)
- Mountain climber (30sec)
See the core workout for women
Nine-Move Leg Workout
Work all the major muscles in your legs and glutes with this nine-move bodyweight workout. If you do have weights to hand, it’s easy to incorporate them to increase the difficulty of each exercise.
- Squat (Sets 3 Reps 10)
- Lunge (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
- Pistol squat (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
- Good morning (Sets 3 Reps 10)
- Donkey kick (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
- Side lunge (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
- Calf raise (Sets 3 Reps 10)
- Glute bridge (Sets 3 Reps 10)
- Stiff-leg deadlift (Sets 3 Reps 10)
See the home leg workout
Workout To Improve Your Posture
The combination of stretches and strength exercises in this quick workout will help to improve your posture and the state of your back. It’s just what you need if you’re feeling creaky after a few long days spent hunched over a desk.
- Cat-cow (Sets 1 Reps 20)
- Bird-dog (Sets 1 Reps 10 each side)
- Glute bridge (Sets 1 Reps 20)
- High plank (Sets 4 20sec)
- Superman (Sets 1 Reps 15)
- Half cobra (Sets 1 Reps 15)
See the posture workout
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
- Joe WarnerFormer editor of Men’s Fitness UK