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Fitness

17 Ideas to Make Home Workouts Less Boring

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As a class person, I always struggle with home workouts. For me, it’s just not the same. I love the energy of the studio and the distraction-free zone so I don’t keep stopping and changing my laundry around.

Leaving the house is a major mindset shift and a motivator that now it’s exercise time!

Yet I still have tons of home workout options for when I need them. (Because something is always better than nothing.)

Some of my best home workouts have been what I refer to as my “snowstorm workouts.” I had nowhere to be and wasn’t constantly checking my watch. Somehow that narrative was more motivating than “I could have gone to a class, but I didn’t.”

Here are twelve home workout ideas that aren’t the same old tired squats, lunges, burpees, yada yada yada, repeat. (Unless that makes you happy in which case, more power to you.) I just get bored quickly.

Disclaimer: Always seek proper instruction before initiating an exercise program. Not everything is great for everyone! Consult with your qualified health care practitioners for an exercise program tailored to your needs. Stay healthy and injury-free! Read the full disclaimer.

1. PLAY THE 10/10/10 GAME

What is that? It’s my secret mental trick for when I can’t seem to muster up the energy to get started. I pick a 10 min workout video. Then another 10 minute home workout video. And so on, you get the idea.

I string together several small workouts to get that little win. Altogether, they turn into a big win, of getting a decent workout done.

Sometimes you just need to get moving a little bit to boost that motivation.

Even if you only did a 10 minute home workout video, isn’t that better than no workout? Where do I get these 10 minute home workout videos? That leads me to number two.

2. VIRTUAL HOME WORKOUTS

Even if you don’t own a dusty collection of workout DVDs, YouTube is a sea of free fitness options for home workout ideas.

For class people, this is the closest thing. Who knows, you might discover something new and look to try a live group class when you can get to the gym.

You can also check out the app selection on your phone for free trials to workout subscription services.

One of my favorite YouTube yoga options is Yoga with Kassandra.

This is not a paid plug. I just really enjoy her content and know that my readers would enjoy a tip on a free yoga source with tremendous value.

Kassandra’s channel has a wide range of options, from 10 minutes to full-length classes. Her styles include Vinyasa, Hatha, power yoga, and Yin yoga. There are options for all levels.

So if you’ve wanted to give yoga a try, this might be a good time to start and help decrease some of that stress.

Studies have shown that yoga is an effective, natural way of decreasing cortisol levels, the “stress” hormone, which contributes to many vital functions of the body. Too much of it is not a good thing.

Check out my article on the benefits of yoga.

For those looking for a little more, definitely check out the My Fitness app by Jillian Michaels. There’s a ton of different workouts to customize time, intensity, areas to focus on, and even what equipment you have access to. Never fear, all of her classic DVD workouts are available on the app also.

Get a 7-day free trial of the My Fitness app by Jillian Michaels here!

3. SWITCH IT UP

A surefire way to get bored fast is doing the same thing all. the. time.

Not only is it boring, but you may not be getting the best results that come from a well-rounded fitness routine.

Try different types of exercise and see what you like. You might just find your new favorite.

4. TRY TABATA

If you struggle to get your heart rate up at home, Tabata can help give you a boost. It’s also a convenient option when you’re short on time. If you’re looking for a get-in-get-out and on with your day option, check it out.

Tabata is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Don’t be intimidated by the words “high intensity.” It only means high intensity for you. Do what you can do, everyone is different.

Read Tabata vs. HIIT vs. Interval Training for more insight on these types of workouts.

Traditional Tabata consists of 4-minute workouts. Eight rounds alternate between 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. With a 1 minute rest in between sets.

It’s a super-easy way to get a cardio blast without equipment. 

It can be used as a workout on its own with several different 4 min sets or added to boost the intensity of other workouts.

Not sure how to modify exercises to your level? Read this article all about exercise modifications!

Woman planking on a mat, home workout next to a tablet.
Yakobchuck Elena / bigstockphoto.com

5. GUIDED AUDIO WORKOUTS

Slightly different than video workouts, audio workouts don’t require that you glue your attention to a screen but still give you that guidance so you don’t have to come up with your own home workout ideas.

If you lack the motivation to get a workout started, following a guided audio workout can help push you to start.

I use Aaptiv for guided audio workouts very frequently on the elliptical, spin bike, treadmill, and stair climber to make cardio machines more exciting. It’s like having your own personal class right in your headphones.

Aaptiv also has options for strength training, outdoor running, yoga, meditation, Pilates, and more. Check out my full review of Aaptiv here.

6. SET GOALS

Give yourself some fitness goals to achieve for the day. It might be working out for a specific amount of time or doing a certain type of workout.

7. JOIN A VIRTUAL CHALLENGE

Hold yourself accountable by joining a virtual challenge. Look for virtual challenges within your community or join one on Aaptiv.

8. DRESS FOR THE GYM

Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you’re not getting a great workout.

Help your motivation along by dressing like you would if you were going to the gym. Psychologically, this helps get you in the right mindset.

9. IMPROVISE (SAFELY) FOR EQUIPMENT

Strength training doesn’t have to stop just because you don’t have any equipment. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of bodyweight strengthening exercises.

Water bottles can sub for some weights in a pinch.

A sturdy chair can also sub in for a place to do dips, incline push-ups, or as a “barre” for barre workouts.

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10. GET THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT

It’s easier to work out at the gym because they already have all the equipment you need. Get yourself the equipment you need to replicate your favorite workouts at home.

Check out Game-Changing Exercise Equipment for Small Spaces for more ideas.

11. USE HOME CARDIO EQUIPMENT (FOR OTHER THAN HANGING LAUNDRY)

Got a treadmill or bike that you never use? It’s time.

Do a whole workout or just a warm-up. Use that available resource.

If you’re not using it in a time like this, does it need to be in your house taking up valuable space?

Serious question for those who also have decluttering goals.

12. DUST OFF THOSE ACTIVE VIDEO GAME CONSOLES

You know, the ones that encourage activity that everyone had to have, but are probably collecting a lot of dust on your shelf?

Give them a try to switch things up. Plus fun for the whole family. Maybe it’s not the best workout, but it’s also not sitting on the couch.

Switch on your fitness tracker and see how many calories you can burn.

woman stretching outside on a yoga mat sunny day home workout
Maridav / bigstockphoto.com

13. UTILIZE OUTDOOR SPACE

Don’t just hibernate in your home. There are numerous health benefits to something so simple as breathing fresh air. Being outdoors can help boost immunity, decrease feelings of anxiety and depression, and give you a natural dose of Vitamin D.

If you’re able to take a walk, run, or ride a bike, it’s a change of scenery for your home workout.

14. INVOLVE THE FAMILY

Play some games. Jump rope, hopscotch, hula hoop, tag, dance party, have a catch. Whatever, just move. This all counts as activity, and it isn’t sitting on the couch.

15. REMIX YOUR PLAYLIST

Is your workout playlist getting a little stale?

Nothing kicks up the excitement like some new (or old) music. Spend some time revamping your playlist and inject some motivation back into your routine.

16. KEEP A WORKOUT SCHEDULE

Actively plan time for your fitness. If you don’t, it won’t happen. The home is full of distractions.

17. DESIGNATE SOME SPACE

Not everyone has the luxury of a home gym space. Still, try to find a spot in your home, even if you need to slide a table out of the way.

Having a dedicated workout space can help get you in the mindset for fitness.

Make yourself a little yoga corner. Pretend you’re at the studio. Put a candle out and roll up a towel like you just picked it up at the front desk. Make yourself a cup of tea. Namaste. You’ve got this.

Try these home workout ideas to make things a little less boring.

References

Barton J, Hine R, Pretty, J. The health benefits of walking in greenspaces of high natural and heritage value. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences. (2009);6(4):261-278. DOI: 10.1080/19438150903378425

John S. Y. Chan, Guanmin Liu, Danxia Liang, Kanfeng Deng, Jiamin Wu & Jin H. Yan (2019) Special Issue – Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity for Mood: A Systematic Review on the Effects of Exercise Intensity, Duration, and Modality, The Journal of Psychology, 153:1, 102-125, DOI: 10.1080/00223980.2018.1470487

Nieman DC, Wentz LM. The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. J Sport Health Sci. 2019;8(3):201–217. doi:10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009

Sarris J, de Manincor M, Hargraves F, Tsonis J. Harnessing the Four Elements for Mental Health. Front Psychiatry. 2019;10:256. Published 2019 Apr 24. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00256

Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty FD. Exercise for mental health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;8(2):106. doi:10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a

Thirthalli J, Naveen GH, Rao MG, Varambally S, Christopher R, Gangadhar BN. Cortisol and antidepressant effects of yoga. Indian J Psychiatry. 2013;55(Suppl 3):S405–S408. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.116315

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