Avoid the Gym With This Simple At-Home Circuit

We can't blame you for not wanting to go to the gym, but we can blame you for skipping the workout all together. This simple at-home workout circuit from Linda Fondren will increase your flexibility and get you movin' in no time.

April 17, 2014
leg lift abduction
1/13 Mitch Mandel

Going to the gym can be intimidating sometimes. Between all the muscle heads and skinny minis going from ab machine to elliptical wearing nothing but a sports bra and short shorts, we can't exactly blame you for being a bit hesitant. The good news? Linda Fondren, author of Shape Up Sisters!, has the perfect solution for you to boost your confidence and your workout game: The home circuit.

Up Next: Recipe: Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken

The two goals for the workout? To exercise all of your major muscle groups and increase flexibility and balance while keeping your heart rate up. Complete with 12 exercises, the workout takes you throughout the rooms in your house to encourage you to keep moving. Before you jump in, make sure to have the necessities:

•A flat-back shair without arms, high enough to grab the back of
•Light weights (you can substitute these for soup cans or water bottles)
•A timer or stopwatch
•Clear spaces to get moving in (that means tidying up beforehand may not be such a bad idea)

Now you're ready to check out Linda Fondren's 12-exercise home circuit.

still arm hold
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1. Still Arm Hold

Location: Kitchen

Goal: Tone
(targets shoulders, upper back, and triceps)

While holding this pose, you might want to open the refrigerator to see what foods you can replace with healthier options.

1. Stop marching. Stand in Mountain Pose with feet separated hip-width apart--shoulders relaxed, tummy tucked, and eyes straight ahead.

2. Keep your hands at your sides, facing your body.

3. Raise both arms away from your sides like a bird in flight, keeping a slight bend in the elbows and arms no higher than your shoulders. Hold your arms strong (no sagging shoulders!). You should be able to draw a straight line from fingertip to fingertip.

4. Hold this position for 60 seconds. Maintain posture throughout.

March to the bedroom.

alternating kicks
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2. Alternating Kicks

Location: Bedroom

Goal: Cardio
(targets heart, legs, hips, arms, balance, and coordination)

While in your bedroom, do double-duty by looking around and seeing what needs to be done. Do you need to hang up your clothes? Do you need to organize and make your closet more appealing? You can multitask other ways to improve your quality of life while you complete this home circuit.

1. Stand in mountain pose with your feet hip-width apart, abs tight.

2. Kick your right leg out in front of your body and at the same time raise your left arm.

3. Alternate right leg, left arm-left leg, right arm, keeping legs below the hips as you kick and arms below shoulder height as you reach.

4. Perform for 60 seconds.

March to the living room.


arm fly
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3. Butterfly

Location: Living Room

Goal: Tone
(targets chest, shoulders, and upper back)

1. Stand in Mountain Pose with feet hip-width apart.

2. Raise arms with your elbows out to the side and palms facing forward.

This should look like a goal post.

3. Make a fist and slowly bring your elbows in to touch with knuckles facing away from your face. You should be able to see your manicure.

4. Pause. Then, slowly return to the open goal post position.

5. Perform for 60 seconds, opening and closing.

March to the kitchen.


knee lifts
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4. Knee Lifts

Location: Kitchen

Goal: Tone
(targets lower abs and thighs and challenges balance)

1. Stand at the kitchen counter in Mountain Pose, touching the counter only if you need to balance.

2. Lift your right knee as high as you can, but don't go past your waist. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower it. Alternate knees. Stay tall and keep your abs engaged and hips squared.

3. Perform for 60 seconds.

March back to the living room.

arm march
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5. Arm Reach March

Location: Living Room

Goal: Cardio
(targets heart, shoulders, arms, and legs)

1. March in place.

2. While marching in place reach both arms up toward the ceiling as you draw in your abs.

3. Lower arms to shoulder height and reach out to the sides

4. Alternate reaching both arms up and out while marching

5. Perform for 60 seconds.

March to the bedroom.

biceps curl
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6. Biceps Curl

Location: Bedroom

Goal: Tone
(targets upper arms)

1. Stop marching. Grab light weights, soup cans, or water bottles. (Your weights should be heavy enough so the last few counts make you feel fatigued.)

2. Stand in Mountain Pose with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent and weights in each hand. Hold your arms against your sides with your palms facing inward.

3. Hold your tummy in, and keeping your elbows close to your sides, curl your forearms toward your shoulders so that you can see your manicure. Pause for a second, and then gradually lower your weights back to their starting position.

4. Perform for 60 seconds.

March to the living room.


Modified Jumping Jack
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7. Modified Jumping Jack

Location: Living Room

Goal: Cardio
(targets heart, legs, shoulders, abs, and arms)

Don't forget to measure your exercise intensity by giving yourself the "talk test." You should be able to talk, but not sing. Try to sing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" or to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as you exercise. You should have some sweat beads, too.

1. Stand in Mountain Pose with feet hip-width apart.

2. Step one foot out to the side and tap. At the same time, raise your arms above your head and clap. Return to the starting position and alternate side to side at a steady pace.

3. Perform for 60 seconds.

March to the dining room.


arm reach
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8. Sit and Lean

Location: Dining Room

Goal: Tone
(targets abs and obliques)

1. Sit on the edge of a chair, feet hip-width apart, with your abs engaged and your shoulders relaxed.

2. Raise your left arm above your head and slowly lean to the right until you feel mild tension on your side. Don't lift your butt from the chair or lean forward or backward. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to the upright position.

3. Switch to the other side. Hold for 30 seconds.

Stay where you are.

Sit and Stand
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9. Sit and Stand

Location: Dining Room

Goal: Cardio/Tone
(targets legs, abs, and buttocks)

1. Sit in the middle of a sturdy chair without arms.

2. Keep your feet flat on the floor with hands on your thighs closer to your knees.

3. Lean forward, so that your nose is over your toes, then stand up.

4. Bend at your hips and slowly lower your weight down while reaching back with your butt and sit back down.

5. Perform for 60 seconds (sit a couple out if needed).

6. Breathe in when standing and breathe out when sitting. Try not to use your hands to assist you.

March to the living room.


Jog Easy in Place
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10. Jog Easy in Place

Location: Living Room

Goal: Cardio/Tone
(targets heart, legs, and arms)

1. Stand tall and walk moderately in place.

2. Move to a quicker speed by lifting your feet only an inch or two off the floor for 20 seconds.

3. Swing your arms from your hips to your shoulders as you jog easy.

4. Alternate 10 seconds of brisk walking and 20 seconds of easy jogging for a total of 60 seconds.

Feel free to walk forward and back or around the couch or wherever your walk takes you. Then walk to the hall.


wall pushups
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11. Wall Pushups

Location: Hall

Goal: Tone
(targets chest, arms, and shoulders)

1. Stand facing a wall with your feet slightly apart and your knees slightly bent. Extend your arms in front of you to the wall with your elbows slightly bent. Keep your abs tight.

2. Lean forward slightly and place your palms against the wall. Bend your

elbows until your nose nearly touches the wall. Push back out to the starting position. (If it is too hard to get your nose to the wall, go a quarter of the way.)

3. Perform for 60 seconds.

March back to the kitchen.


leg lift abduction
13/13 Mitch Mandel
12. Leg Lifts Abduction

Location: Kitchen

Goal: Cardio/Tone
(targets legs, hips, and balance)

1. Stand in Mountain Pose in front of your kitchen counter with your hands on your hips. Touch only if you need to balance.

2. Raise your left leg out to the side in a smooth movement while balancing on your standing leg, and return. (No leaning to the side; keep abs tight.) Do 10 times on the same leg.

3. Switch legs and continue on the other side.

4. Perform for 60 seconds, switching legs.

For 3 minutes, march slowly to lower your heart rate. (Change your tunes to a slower tempo.)

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