6 Exercises and Advice for Maintaining at Home Fitness Routines

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Written by: Kaleena Yeung BSc, MScPT, Registered Physiotherapist

With gyms and recreational facilities being closed as well as our necessity for physical distancing right now it has been difficult to continue with a normal exercise schedule. Keeping physically active is important for both our physical and mental health, not to mention if we’re trying to recovery from an injury. Here are some suggestions to try to help you achieve your fitness goals.

  • Choose exercises you enjoy doing; if you are dreading exercising you probably won’t do it and you won’t get as much benefit from it either
  • Exercise with your family or via video chat; this will help keep you accountable and also hopefully make exercising a little more fun
  • Set goals; try not to exercise just for the sake of exercising, plan for what you want to achieve in 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, etc., this will keep you focused and engaged

What can I do with minimal equipment at home? Here are some exercise suggestions for general fitness goals that don’t require any equipment. Remember if you are recovering from injury or have any physical/health restrictions it’s best to first consult with a physiotherapist or healthcare professional to determine what is best for you.

Pelvic/Hip Drop

Great for lower body and glute strength training

Standing on one foot on the edge of a step slowly let your unsupported leg drop toward the floor without bending your stance knee and without touching your foot to the ground. Then using your glute on your stance leg pull your leg back up so that your hips/pelvis are square again.

Hip drop exercise

Single Leg Step Up/Down

Good progression for the pelvic/hip drop exercise

Standing on the edge of a step (facing the step this time) slowly bend your stance knee letting your non stance leg lower towards the ground without touching the ground. Then using your stance leg pull yourself back up into the starting position.

Single leg step up down
Single leg step up down

I’s, T’s and Y’s

Great for scapular strength training

Lying on your stomach, you can use a rolled towel under your forehead for support, pull your shoulder blades down and away from your ears without lifting your chest from the ground. Then a) with your arms at your sides slowly raise them off the ground, pause and slowly lower; b) with your arms out to the side in a T position and your thumbs pointing towards the ceiling, slowly raise your arms off the ground, pause and slowly lower; c) with your arms overhead in a “superman” position, slowly raise them off the ground, pause and slowly lower.


I's Exercise


T's Exercise



Great for upper body as well as core strength training

You can do this from your knees, from your feet, on an incline using a bench or on a wall. Try to keep your back relatively straight and prevent your head/neck from “poking” forward as you bend and straighten your arms.


Dead Bug

Great for core strength training

Lying on your back, gently press the small of your back towards the ground just until you feel your abdominal muscles turn on, keep them on while you raise and bend both knees and hold both arms in front of you. Then slowly lower your opposite arm and leg towards the ground without touching the ground, pause and then return to the start position. Repeat using the opposite arm and leg. This should be done with minimal movement in your torso (ie. no rolling, swaying or lifting your back from the ground).

Dead Bug exercise
Dead Bug exercise

Ladder/Agility Training

Great for some cardio as well as working on some dynamic movements progressing on the exercises above

You can create a ladder using loose sticks from your backyard or any household item to create targets to step over. Ideas for several movement patterns will be easy to find with a quick internet search. This is an example of a side step shuffle. I would definitely suggest looking up a video, it’s hard to demonstrate using pictures.

Ladder exercise
Ladder exercise
Ladder exercise

Reps for all exercise should be done to fatigue or when proper movement patterns start to decline. You can do to 3-4 sets; 3-4 times per week is sufficient.

The most important advice I can give is to do your exercises well and with purpose. Speeding through your exercises might have some cardio benefits but from a movement/strength training perspective you are unlikely to see improvements. It is more beneficial to do fewer reps well than to do many reps poorly.

Finally, with many people now required to work from home, participating in a daily exercise routine can also be beneficial to break up your work day and get you up from your desk.

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