6 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Without Leaving Your Bed


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Been spending a lot of time in bed lately? With many of us still practicing social distancing whenever possible – and some of us still under a mandatory quarantine – it’s highly likely that the only hotspots you’ve frequented in the past few weeks are your bed, couch, and kitchen. Hey, no judgment – this routine is all too familiar to your friends at uCribs.  

What’s more, you probably haven’t seen the inside of your regular gym in almost two months. While you’ve certainly been enjoying your down time, you can’t deny that you miss the burn of a good, allover workout. Those solo jogs around your neighborhood can only do so much. It is possible to get back on your game, though—you just have to shift your strategy. Since your bed is one of the places you’ve been spending more time, why not try some bodyweight exercises from the comfort of your chosen quarantine space?  

See, working out in bed is a great way to start your day and a surprisingly effective way to tone your body. Because your mattress doesn’t provide a perfectly hard or straight surface, exercising in bed will work your muscles harder than if you were doing them on your bedroom floor. If you’re ready to get back on the wagon and learn some effective at-home workouts, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our suggestions below!  

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#1: Planks 

Planks are one bodyweight exercise that will never go out of style. That’s because the standard plank – which requires that you lift up your body using your arms and feet and hold it in a perfectly straight position – is one of the most effective exercises for your abdominal muscles, biceps, and thighs. Not to mention, you can do them literally anywhereeven your bed!  

To execute the plank, first position your body as if you’re about to do a push-up. Now, bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Lift your torso up, and keep it rigid, so that your body forms a straight line. Then, hold the position for 60 seconds, or as long as you can. You can also plank on your side, with your ankles stacked and your core facing your bedroom wall for an extra challenge. To make it easier, bring your knees to the ground, still maintaining the proper plank position. And, don’t forget the most important aspect of planks: slow, steady breathing.  

#2: Push-Ups  

Although you may not love doing push-ups, you cannot deny that this simple exercise is an effective way to work your abs and arms. Do enough push-ups correctly, and you’ll enjoy increased upper body strength, as well as an improved core and lower back. But, be warned: this is one exercise that requires perfect form every time—that’s why we stressed the word, correctly.   

To do the best in-bed push-up, you’ll want to start in an extended plank position, abs tucked in, and back flat. Slowly bend your arms until you are as low as you can get without dropping to the bed, and then extend your arms back up to the starting position. If you need to make the exercise easieryou should drop to your knees instead of positioning yourself on your toes. Remember, any movement can be modified!  

#3: Bicycle Crunches 

Crunches are a great, bed-friendly exercise, but if you’re like us, you get bored of the same motions after a while—plus, your body adjusts to them. Don’t forget that your body craves variety in your workouts! So, switch it up with some bicycle crunches. This variation of a standard crunch challenges your muscles in a way that regular crunches can’t. In fact, many studies deem it more effective than traditional crunches for strengthening your upper and lower abs, hip muscles, thighs, quads, and hamstrings.  

To begin, simply lie on your back and put your hands behind your head. Next, bring your knees toward your chest. Without pulling on your neck, lift your shoulder blades off the ground. Straighten your right leg to a 45-degree angle, while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow towards the left knee. Do the same motion on the other side and repeat an upwards of three times in sets of 20. 

#4: Leg Lifts 

Want to work your core without having to get into plank position again? We certainly don’t blame you. Good thing that leg lifts are a great supplement to planks and work your abdomen, obliques, and hips. Better yet, this exercise is probably the most mattress-friendly on this list, because all it requires is that you lie on your back and lift your legs. Though it’s more challenging than you may believe, it might be the perfect exercise to do first-thing every morning to get your blood pumping. 

Begin with your legs lying flat and arms either behind your head, under your lower back, or to the side, depending on how much support you need to stay balanced. Once your core is stabilized, lift your legs up until they are perpendicular to the bed, and then slowly lower back down. You can choose to lift both legs at once, or one at a time if you’re in need of a modified option. Want to really challenge yourself? Slow your pace and feel the burn! 

#5: Lateral Leg Lifts 

A variation of leg lifts that works more of your, well, legs, lateral leg lifts can help you achieve the toned, summer-ready legs and buttocks of your dreams – even while housebound. Because these leg lifts are done while you’re lying on your side, they target the side muscles of your legs and buttocks, while also strengthening your hips and core. And, you can even do them while watching your favorite movies!  

To start reaping the rewards for yourself, begin by lying on the left side of your body, left knee bent and foot behind you. Prop up your head with your left hand. Keeping your hips stacked and right leg straight, lift up the right leg towards the ceiling and lower it steadily. Before the right leg comes all the way down to meet your left leg, raise the leg back up and continue in sets of 20. Don’t forget to repeat the exercise on your other side!  

#6: Stretching 

Once your routine is complete, don’t forget the best bed exercise of all: stretching! Stretching is important to do after any exercise, because it keeps your muscles in tip-top condition, ensuring that they stay flexible and agile through all of your workouts, bed or no bed. Without stretching, your muscles lose elasticity, resulting in a lot of body aches and overall tension.  

So, touch your toes, stretch your arms over your head, and pull your arms from side to side to stretch out your shoulders. You can also do a few downward dogs or child poses. No matter how you like to stretch, it’s important for any active individual to show their muscles some much needed TLC. Otherwise, they will feel overworked and exhausted. Whatever you do, don’t rush your stretching regimen, since you could make it worse for yourself by overextending your muscles and damaging them. 

Torn between staying in bed and working on your fitness from home? Then, why not combine both for a bed-friendly exercise routine? The truth is that you don’t need a ton of gym equipment for a challenging workout—bodyweight is a great substitute! And, working out from your bed on a more pliable surface can actually help your muscle recovery in the long run. So, if you’re skipping the cardio today, consider a workout from your favorite quarantine spot: your bed!  These basic movements are more than enough to get you started. 

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Amelia Woolard is a graduate of Millsaps College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies and an Art History minor. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Amelia moved to New Orleans in 2014 to begin her career in marketing and design. She is particularly interested in the intersection of art and language, and enjoys projects that merge the two fields. Amelia is an avid yet critical pop culture consumer and a loving mother to her cat Faulkner.

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