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6 Exercises to Build Strength at Home on Your Mat

Looking to build your strength but don't have the time or the means to hit the gym? You’ll be pleased to know that you can do a full body workout with just your mat at home. In fact, here are six home exercises or routines that build strength and that you can do at home with just a yoga mat:

1. Pushups

This may just be the perfect exercise to builds both the upper body and core strength. Done properly, pushups are a compound exercise that uses muscles in the shoulders, chest, triceps, back, abs, and even the legs. The best part is that it has many modifications so even if you are a beginner, you can start with easier versions and work up to the standard pushup. The functional fitness and core strength that you develop with pushups will serve you well, developing the stabiliser muscles around the shoulders and chest and may even help protect you from rotator cuff injuries.

2. Renegade Rows

This pretty simple exercise doesn’t only work your back muscles but also forces you to train your core and stability muscles. The key to the renegade row exercise lies in maintaining a strong core.

You'll need some weights for this exercise - assume a pressup position but instead of placing hands on the floor, hold the dumbbell handle. Keeping your body still and straight, lift one weight towards your body in a rowing motion. Return to the floor and repeat on the other side.

It is important that you maintain a neutral spine throughout so you don't lose balance to one side or the other. If you’re struggling to keep straight, lower the weights, find your centre and go again.

3. Lateral Raise Quarter Squat

The goal of this exercise is to increase overall strength while blasting fat and calories. It works major muscle groups in your arms, chest, back, buttocks and thighs, so more energy is required from the body to not only provide oxygen to the working muscles but also to coordinate movement.

This can be done without weights, with weights or even just two bottles of water if you wish! Standing upright, hold your arms horizontally to the side, creating a T with your body. Keeping your torso upright, slowly squat until your thighs are at a 45 degree angle to the vertical starting position. Slowly straighten up and repeat.

4. Kettlebell Thruster Squat

The kettlebell thruster squat is a huge exercise that hits all those large muscle groups, which in turn allows for a greater hormonal response along with metabolic effect for fat loss and strength building. Squatting is one of our fundamental movement patterns, so this exercise also helps with improving stability, mobility, and movement patterning.

Similar to the other squat exercise above, this can be done with or without a weight. Start in a low squat position with one hand or weight held close to your ear above the shoulder. Push upwards with your arm while pushing with your legs until you reach a standing position with your arm held straight up above you. Return to squat and repeat 5-8 times on each side.

Prepare for your legs to burn - the upward motion of your weight or arm adds additional downward force, making the squat much harder helping you burn those calories!

5. Planking

The old classic! This exercise involves your core muscles to improve your strength, balance, and endurance. It is so-named because, when done properly, your entire body straightens and maintains its rigidly, just like a plank of wood. Planking requires no extra equipment or weights, making it a convenient form of strength training anywhere.

It's also one of the most effective ways to reduce back pain (which is often caused by a weak core).

6. Side Lunge

Very few exercises work for lower-body stability and provide functional strength quite like the side lunge. This exercise targets the muscles in the lower body like the adductors, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. As you progress and get stronger, throw in some variations like ending the movement with a leg lift.

If you’re not sure about how to do any of these exercises, or you feel any sort of pain, make sure to speak to a PT to ensure you’re carrying it out properly. Remember to warm up and stretch as well before getting started.

Read next

>> Top yoga poses to do everyday at home

>> 3 HIIT circuits to blast fat and build strength 😅

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