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At-Home Bone Health Workout, No Equipment Necessary

Isolation poses it’s challenges. But your bone health doesn’t need to suffer!

So today, I’m sharing a simple workout to help you keep your bones strong even if you’re stuck at home. 

Like most of you out there, my husband and I are on lockdown. Now, we’re both extremely active people, so it’s been challenging. We’ve had to get creative with our fitness regimens! Thankfully, there are many exercises you can do at home, without any special equipment…  

For this workout, I chose six such exercises, making sure to cover every major muscle group. I also built in some stretching to help with mobility. And since I’m not sure what equipment you have on hand, all you need for this workout is a little motivation and your own self!  

As always, feel free to modify any of these exercises to suit your needs. (If you’d like some more ideas, you could also have a look at our full osteoporosis workout routine. Just note that some of the exercises I shared in that routine require weights.)

I find exercise can also be a great way to get your mind off things. Relieve some stress…  

So let’s get started!

At-Home Workout

Warmup — 5 min

Don’t skip this part! Warming up helps ease your body into a workout. It gets your core temperature up, and your muscles limber. I chose these particular stretches to increase mobility throughout your entire body, which you’ll appreciate when you get to the real workout. 

Try doing each of these exercises for 30 seconds, repeat once — then you’re ready to move on!

1. Arm Swings (Criss Cross)

This dynamic stretching exercise warms up your shoulders, arms, chest, and upper back. It also increases mobility and gives you a nice cardio boost!

Here’s how to do this exercise: 

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and your arms stretched out to your sides, parallel with the floor. 
  2. Bring your arms all the way forward until they cross in front of you, and then bring them back to your starting position. 
  3. Repeat this movement at a steady pace for 30 seconds. 

Tailor this exercise to you: 

If it’s difficult for you to raise your arms parallel to the floor, not to worry! Simply lift your arms as far as you can comfortably go and perform the movement. 

2. Standing Hamstring Stretch

This stretch targets your hamstrings — the five tendons at the back of your knee. Just make sure you keep your spine straight. You should feel the stretch in your hamstrings, not your back!

Here’s how to do this exercise: 

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Place your right leg in front of your body with your foot flexed, your heel pushing into the ground, and your toe pointing up. You’ll need to bend your left knee slightly to get into this position. 
  3. Gently lean forward, keeping your back straight, and place both hands on your right leg.
  4. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. When you repeat, switch legs!  

Tailor this exercise to you: 

If your hamstrings are very tight, you may need to start with a less intense version of this stretch. To make this movement easier, you can place your front leg on a low bench or stool!

3. High Knee Marches

High knee marches are an excellent warmup! They engage your whole body, get your heart rate up, and prepare you for more complex movements. 

Here’s how to do this exercise: 

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Bring your right knee up to the level of your waist. Engage your abdominals to help get your knee up high. 
  3. At the same time, lift your left arm and bend your elbow forward. (Like you would if you were jogging!)
  4. Lower your right leg and repeat on your other side. 
  5. Maintain this marching movement at a steady pace, for 30 seconds. 

Tailor this exercise to you: 

Getting your knees all the way up to waist height might be a challenge. Don’t stress, just lift your knees as far as you can manage! The important part is to maintain this dynamic movement for 30 seconds to get your heart rate up. 

4. Lunges 

Lunges strengthen your legs and glutes and increase flexibility in your hips. Starting with a few lunges helps limber up your whole lower body by working several muscle groups at once!

Here’s how to do this exercise: 

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your back straight, and your abdominals engaged. 
  2. Step forward with your right leg and slowly bend both knees, until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is hovering above the floor. 
  3. Return to your starting position and repeat this movement with your left leg. 
  4. Maintain a steady pace, alternating between legs for each lunge, until 30 seconds is up!

Tailor this exercise to you: 

It can be tricky to maintain your balance while performing lunges, especially if you’ve never done them before! Alternatively, you can start with a kneeling lunge. In this version, you begin in a kneeling position. Then, you place one leg in front of you with your foot on the floor, and gently lean into that leg until you feel a nice stretch. 

5. Doorway Stretch 

Here’s how to do this exercise: 

  1. Stand in a doorway and rest your right hand flat against the doorframe, with your arm slightly higher than parallel to the floor. 
  2. Bend your elbow so your fingers point up. 
  3. Gently lean into your raised arm until you feel a nice stretch. 
  4. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on your other side the next time around. 

Tailor this exercise to you: 

Once again, if it’s difficult to raise your arms too high, simply place your hand on the doorframe a little lower down, or wherever feels comfortable to you!

Workout — 25 min 

Now that you’re nice and limber and your body temperature is up, you’re ready to tackle some more challenging exercises. The following movements work a range of muscles in your lower body, core, and upper body. Note that if you follow the link for detailed instructions, you’ll find variations for each exercise.

For this workout, do two sets, and take a 30 second break between each exercise!

1. Clamshell, 2 sets of 15 repetitions

Note: Perform one set on your right side and one on your left.

For detailed instructions, visit our hip strengthening exercises page

2. Front Squats, 2 sets of 15 repetitions

Note: I’m using a resistance band in this video, but you can easily perform squats without one. Without a band, you can try holding your arms out in front of you, or in a prayer position in front of your chest.   

For detailed instructions, visit our resistance band exercises page

3. Kneeling Pushups, 2 sets of 5-15 repetitions

Note: Again, I’m using a resistance band in this video, but you don’t need one. Simply, do these pushups without. Also, you may need to adjust the number of repetitions, depending on your strength. Keep in mind, it’s more important to do these properly, then to do a lot!

For detailed instructions, visit our resistance band exercises page

4. Side Plank — 2 sets of 5 repetitions

Note: Perform one set on your right side and one on your left! For each repetition, hold your side plank for 20-30 seconds.

For detailed instructions, visit our planking exercises page

5. Superwoman — 2 sets of 8 repetitions

Note: Make sure you don’t strain your neck while performing this exercise. Keep your neck straight and your gaze toward the floor! 

For detailed instructions, visit our spinal exercises page

6. Glute Bridge — 2 sets of 15 repetitions

Note: At the top of your bridge, try holding for at least 2 to 3 seconds. 

For detailed instructions, visit our glute bridge exercises page.

At-Home Workout Takeaways

I know when you’re stressed, exercise can be the furthest thing from your mind…  

But it’s a bit of a catch 22, because exercise can actually make you feel better! It floods your body with feel-good endorphins, provides a welcome distraction, and of course, benefits your bone health. 

So I hope you’ll give this simple, 30-minute workout a try. And again, feel free to mix it up however you like! It’s your workout. Make it work for you.

Author: Monica Straith, BS

Monica is the PR and Outreach Manager and Fitness Lead at AlgaeCal. She’s an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, and has a B.S. and B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she played varsity soccer for four years. Monica pulls from her experience in athletics and health to contribute to AlgaeCal and has also been featured on myfitnesspal blog, Prevention, and Huffington Post.

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