I know the feeling — you're planning to exercise, but you get home after a long day and it just. Feels. Impossible. Maybe you can make yourself change into your fitness gear, but actually walking back out the door to head to the gym? There's no way.
The good (great) news is, you in no way have to leave the house to get a great workout. In fact, you don't even need any special equipment. To prove it, we're rounding up 30 of our favorite fitness moves that only require a yoga mat. And TBH, even if you don't have one of those, you can still do this stuff — just find a clear space on the floor, and keep a towel handy to cushion your knees if needed.
The best thing you can do with your yoga mat is to use it for its intended purpose! Yoga is an ancient practice that comes in many variations. You can do a rigorous sequence of Ashtanga poses or a more relaxed session of Kripalu. If you are just getting into yoga, make sure to read about the spiritual component of yoga.
This incredibly popular form of exercise can be done with just a stability ball or using only your body weight (and a yoga mat). Pilates routines combine strength, flexibility, and cardio exercises together in one super-effective workout. The health benefits include better posture, stronger joints, and full-body conditioning.
3. Push Ups
Just like this… but on your yoga mat from the safety of your living room. This bodyweight exercise can be done anywhere… outside at the park, on top of a Jeep, at home on your yoga mat. Push-ups are a total body workout, engaging your shoulders, back, and chest. Once you master basic push-ups you can move on to one arm push-ups, clapping push-ups, and even planche push-ups. Try for as many as you can in one set, or do 3 sets of about 20 each.
Most barre workouts require, well, a bar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do a few moves at home. Practitioners of this style of exercise use a bar to build stability, flexibility, core strength, and lower leg strength. Plié squats and inner thigh lifts can be done in the comfort of your own home! Read more about the barre exercises you can do on your yoga mat here.
5. Lower Body Circuit
Start in a raised push up position. Bring one leg forward toward your chest, then return it back as you pull the other forward. Do these quickly for anywhere between 50 and 80 reps.
6. Bodyweight Squats
Stand with your feet planted shoulder length apart. With your hands out in front of you or behind your head, lower yourself into a squat position, keeping your back straight, until your quads are parallel with the ground. Do about 20-30 reps.
7. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Lay flat on your back on your yoga mat. Keeping your upper back on the mat, extend one leg up into the air while keeping the other foot planted on the ground. Raise your butt and lower back off the ground while keeping your leg in the air.
The world record for a plank is currently 5 hours and 15 minutes. Until you are ready to give the folks at Guinness a call, you can try to hold yours for 1-2 minutes. Support your weight with your forearms and toes, pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Don’t let the ache in your abs stop you from doing this exercise: it just means that it’s working!
9. Opposite Arm and Leg Lift
More work for your core! Apply that balance you learned from yoga to build your strength with this move. Start out on all fours, then extend your right arm and left leg far out. Hold the position for about 10 seconds and then switch appendages. Do 15 reps.
10. The Roll Up
If you ate too many fruit roll-ups as a kid, do some penitence with this grownup exercise. Start out lying on your back with your arms outstretched behind you. Take a deep breath and slowly roll up into a sitting position with your arms high above your head. Exhale as you slowly lower yourself back down onto the mat.
Get your yin and yang in balance, with tai chi - improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility, boost brain power, live longer. Not small health claims (and none that we can actually corroborate). Still, practitioners swear by it.