Home Workouts for Busy People – Exercise Directory

All of the exercises featured in all of the home workouts for busy people throughout the website are explained here.

Note: Most dumbbell exercises can be done with a kettlebell e.g. overhead press whereas a lot of kettlebell exercises cannot be performed optimally with a dumbbell e.g. swing. In cases where they are interchangeable we try to write “dumbbell/kettlebell”.

Band Horizontal Press

  • Fix the door anchor securely at shoulder height.
  • Thread an appropriate band or bands through the door anchor. There will a bit of trial and error but you want to find a resistance which allows you to complete the target number of reps at the exertion level of ‘8’ as mentioned in the guidelines.
  • Facing away from the door anchor, grab the handles in both hands and hold them beside your shoulders. Walk out until you feel a slight tension. Stand with a staggered stance, brace your abs. Push out for the target number of reps.

Bridges progressing to RDLs

  • If you haven’t trained in a while opt for the bridges. Do the bottom number of the targeted range of reps and if or when that becomes too easy increase by 2 reps. If your program calls for progression to RDLs then do this when you are comfortably completing the top number of the targeted range of reps. If your program doesn’t call for progression to RDLs then you can increase difficulty by building in pauses and/or slowing the eccentric part of the movement.
  • If you’re doing RDLs, start with the dumbbells at their lowest weight. Do 8 to 10 reps, do not exceed 10 reps and do not be too jerky or fast with the movement – this isn’t a kettlebell swing. When the exercise feels easy, increase the weight but take your time.
 

 Bridges

 

Dumbbell RDLs

 

Burpees

 

Dumbbell / Kettlebell Bent Over Row

  • Start with a relatively light weight and if/when that’s too light, increase accordingly. Watch the video for the exercise below.
  • Both arms are done in the same minute, one after the other, so choose the weight accordingly and don’t delay unnecessarily between arms.
  • Control the descent and accelerate up.

 

Dumbbell / Kettlebell Hammer Curl

 

Dumbbell Lateral Raise – this could be performed with very light kettlebells but normally a dumbbell would be used.

 

Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise – this could be performed with very light kettlebells but normally a dumbbell would be used.

 

Dumbbell / Kettlebell Thruster

 

Face Pull

 

High Knees

 

Hollow Hold

 

Inverted Rows

 

Jumps

  • There is a brief video below but this exercise is very simple. Simply Jump on the spot.
  • Remember to land with soft knees i.e. they shouldn’t be locked out.
  • Use a soft surface e.g. the floor covering recommended here
  • If you have had knee injuries or knee pain, drop this exercise.

 

Kettlebell Windmill

Mountain Climbers

 

One Handed Kettlebell Swings

  • There are two videos below, the first is on how to do the swing while the second is on how to switch hands without setting the bell down but get used to the swing first before progressing to this. Initially do the reps on the left arm, set the kettlebell down and then do the reps on the right arm.
 

Overhead Band Press

  • Attach the appropriate band or bands to the handles. There will a bit of trial and error but you want to find a resistance which allows you to complete the target number of reps at the exertion level of ‘8’ as mentioned in the guidelines.
  • Stand on the band(s), ensuring you are leaving equal length on each side (see video below)
  • Lift your hands to beside your shoulders. There should be a slight but easily manageable tension when the band is held here. Push your arms overhead for the target number of reps remembering to brace your abs.

 

Pike Pushup

 

Plank

 

Pull Ups

  • Using the progression method, outlined in the video below, do the number of reps you need to in order to hit a ‘8’ in terms of effort.
  • Stick with whatever progression allows you to work for around 15 seconds at least i.e. do not be in a hurry to move onto the next progression if you’re not ready, it will come if you give it time.
  • Enjoy the practice, don’t focus on any preconceived notions about how many reps you ‘should’ do or what stage you ‘should’ be at.

 

Push Ups

  • If you can’t do a push up yet, a good progression is to push away from a wall, as your strength increases you can move your feet away and your hands will naturally move lower down to say a counter top level and then perhaps a step. Eventually you will be in a classic push up position.
  • There is normally a range of reps recommended e.g. 8 to 25 reps means start with 8 and if or when that becomes too easy i.e. it is below a ‘8’ in terms of effort, increase by 2 reps.
  • Remember, slowly descend and then accelerate up, stopping just short of locking out your elbows.
  • If you get to the top range of recommended reps e.g. 25 full press ups for some programs and you find it easy to keep the pace for the specified number of circuits, a good way of making it harder is to gradually elevate your feet but stop when your feet get to the height of your shoulders.

 

Reverse Lunge

  • Start with just bodyweight.
  • Once you’re comfortable with bodyweight for the target number of reps, progress to using dumbbells, held at your side.

 

Single Arm Overhead Press (Dumbbell / Kettlebell)

  • Start with a relatively light weight and if/when that is too light, increase accordingly. Watch the video for the exercise below.
  • Both arms are done in the same minute, one after the other, so choose the weight accordingly and don’t delay unnecessarily between arms.
  • Control the descent and accelerate up, stopping just short of locking the elbows out.

 

Single Leg Bridge

 

Squats

  • If you haven’t exercised for a while, we recommend just using bodyweight. If you find bodyweight too easy, try either a goblet squat with a kettlebell or a front squat with two dumbbells – demonstrations of all three appear below.
  • We like to squat to full depth if possible without knee pain, however, many of us are subject to wear and tear issues and, if that’s the case, squat to a chair.
  • The program may have recommended a range of reps e.g.  10 to 20 reps, this means start with 10 and if /when that becomes too easy increase by 2 reps. When you get to 20 reps, increase the resistance.
  • Control your descent, don’t just drop. On the way up accelerate as fast as you can without jarring your knees i.e. don’t quite finish the lockout.
 Bodyweight Squat
Goblet Squat – Dumbbell / Kettlebell
 

Dumbbell / Kettlebell Front Squat

10 Reps

Standing Band Pull

  • Fix the door anchor securely between shoulder and waist height.
  • Thread an appropriate band or bands through the door anchor. There will a bit of trial and error but you want to find a resistance which allows you to complete the target number of reps at an exertion level of ‘8’.
  • Grab the handles in both hands and step back until your arms and the bands are fully extended and you feel a slight tension. Brace your abs and pull towards you.

 

Step Up

  • Lift the knee to hip height and squeeze the glute of the working leg.
  • If/when bodyweight ceases to be challenging, hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.

 

Turkish Get-up (TGU)

Two Handed Kettlebell Swings

Below is a great demonstration of the Swing.