Working out doesn’t mean having to own a ton of equipment or pay for a fancy gym membership. In fact, there are many ways that college students can stay fit right in their own dorm rooms with very little equipment and just the power of their own bodies. Here are 100 exercises to work your whole body that you can do without ever leaving home.
These general tips will help you get in the fitness mindset.
- Watch free workout videos. There are loads of free workout videos to be had online, many of which you can do from the comfort of your own dorm room, so look around to get some free guidance.
- Clear a space for working out. To prevent any injuries, make sure you move any pointy or potentially dangerous objects out of your workout area before you begin.
- Get your own mats and equipment. To get the most out of your workout and to ensure you stay comfortable, use a mat to work out on and consider getting some small weights so that you can increase the difficulty of your workout over time.
- Use other parts of the dorm as well. Often a lounge, stairwells and even the halls can be great places to work out as well, so take full advantage of your dorm space.
- Make it a routine. Getting into the habit of working out rather than making it something that you do every once in a while will help your health and make it easier to stay on track.
- Dedicate time each day. A big part of establishing a routine is having a set time to work out. Whether you like to do this early, in between classes or while you’re watching your favorite shows is up to you.
- Schedule around roomies. Dorm rooms are small as it is, so adding working out into the mix can further crowd things. Try to work with your roomie so you work out when he or she isn’t there.
- Get a Wii. If you’ve got the bucks, you can use a Wii Fit to stay in shape in the dorms. When you’re not working out you can play fun games on it, just make sure it’s secure when you leave.
- Be inventive. Because dorm rooms are small and equipment is limited, you’ll need to be inventive to get the workout you need. Have some creativity and be willing to try new things and you may be handsomely rewarded.
- Have fun. Working out doesn’t have to be a chore. Whether you dance, do yoga or play a video game, make sure your workouts aren’t something you dread.
- Warm up. To avoid injuries when you’re working out, make sure you take the time to warm up and stretch out before beginning, even if you’re just doing a short workout.
- Mix up your workout. Doing the same thing all the time can be boring and make you lose interest in working out. Shake things up and try a new routine every once in awhile to keep things interesting.
- Use furniture and other items to help your workout. If you’ve got a desk or a chair, find a way to use it in your workout. You’ll save on equipment and have more workout space in your space.
- Do a circuit. Circuits can be a great way to work all the parts of your body you want to while making sure you push yourself hard enough to progress.
Get your heart pumping with these simple exercises.
- Jogging in place. If you can’t go outside to jog you can at least get moving around in your dorm by running in place.
- Running up the steps. Those who live up a story or two in the dorms can work out by using the stairwells as their own personal gym. Just be careful not to stumble!
- Step aerobics. You can use a variety of things as the "step" for this workout that will have your lower body burning in no time.
- Grapevines. With a little room you can do this simple exercise that gets you moving around by crisscrossing your legs.
- Jumping jacks. This classic exercise will work your entire body and get your heart rate up at the same time. Better yet, it doesn’t take up a ton of space.
- Kickboxing. Basic jabs, crosses, uppercuts and roundhouses can have you breaking a sweat without leaving your room.
- Dancing. Make your workout fun by adding dance into the mix. Simply put on your favorite tunes and get moving.
- Jump rope. If you don’t have room to use a real jump rope, miming the movements will give you much of the same effect.
- Stadium run. Even if you don’t have a stadium on hand you can mimic this workout in your room by raising your knees higher to your chest while running in place.
- Cardio blasts. Doing intense but short sets of cardio exercises can help boost your energy and give you the workout you need.
Arms and Chest
Work your upper body to stay toned and fit with these exercises.
- Push-ups. This easy exercise will give your arms and chest a good workout without requiring much extra space or any weight except your own.
- Tricep dips using a chair. Begin this exercise by pulling up your desk chair, placing your hands on the edge of the seat with your back facing it. Then, simply bend at the elbows lowering your body towards the ground.
- Wall pushup. Face the wall, place your hands next to one another and lean in. Then, push yourself away from the wall, similarly to how you would with the floor in a regular pushup.
- Tricep lifts. This movement can be done using just about anything. Sit on a chair, bend forward and lift the object backwards.
- Bicep curl. Using a weight or a heavy object you have around your room, curl your forearm towards your body so that your bicep gets some toning and strengthening.
- Chin ups. If you have a workout bar (you can buy portable versions) you can do this exercise anywhere. Follow the link to learn how to do it properly.
- Pull ups. Pull-ups differ from chin-ups in that the palms face away from the body using more back power.
- Staggered push ups. To do a staggered push-up, put one hand on a book and do a regular pushup, switching which side has the object after a few reps.
- One-armed pushup. If you want to take your push-ups to the next level, try doing them using only one arm, alternating so both sides get a workout.
- Arm circles. Make sure you have room before spreading out your arms to do these simple circles that can stretch and strengthen them.
Legs and Butt
Try these exercises to shape up your lower half.
- Squat jumps. You won’t need any extras to do this exercise. Begin standing up, squat down and push yourself off to jump up going back into the squat position when you land.
- Forward lunges. The forward lunge asks you to stand up straight then extend one leg in front of you until the knee is at 90 degrees.
- Hip flexor. Stand up straight and raise alternating knees to do this basic workout.
- Calf raise. Use a textbook or the stairs as a platform for this exercise. Place your feet on the object so that just your toes are on and raise and lower yourself pushing off with your toes.
- Squats on tiptoes. This modification of squats can give you a little variation in your workout.
- Leg lift. This exercise has you kick backwards with your leg until your foot actually touches your butt.
- Stiff leg squats. Put your arms out in front of you for balance and squat down with one leg raised in the air slightly.
- Step ups. These exercises only require that you have something to step up on, alternating your legs as you go.
- Bridges. To do a bridge, you’ll lie on the floor with one leg over your knee. Push up on your remaining leg so that your gluteal muscles are engaged and then lower yourself back to the floor.
- Glute lifts. This exercise will have you rocking toned glutes in no time.
- Arabesque. In this exercise you’ll start standing straight, and end up extending one leg behind you while raising the same side’s arm in front of you over your head.
- Grand plie jump. Use this ballet move to get an explosive way to shape up your lower body.
Make sure the core of your body is strong with these exercises.
- Sit-ups. A sit-up has you put your feet flat on the floor and pull yourself up all the way. It can help to use an object or get a friend to hold your feet while doing them.
- Crunches. A crunch differs from a sit-up in that you’ll only come up halfway. If you want, you can raise your legs in the air.
- Plank. To do the plank exercise you’ll get into a push-up position and hold yourself there for anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes.
- Side Plank. Side planks twist you around so your obliques are doing the work.
- Crunches with twist. This movement has you do a crunch, but instead of coming straight up has you tilt your body slightly to the side instead.
- Chair knee lifts. Sit in your desk chair and pull your knees towards your body to do this simple but effective exercise.
- Ab tucks. This video will show you how to do an ab tuck with a balance ball–a very inexpensive piece of equipment. If you don’t have one, use another lighter object to do the movements.
- Hula hoop. If you’ve got some room to spread out, using a hula hoop can be one way to get your abs in shape.
- Bicycle. Modify your crunches by touching your elbows to your opposite knee as you come up in this movement.
- Rock and Roll. Begin in a plank position with your forearms flat on the floor, then twist your body as far to one side as you can without moving your arms from the floor. Repeat in the other direction.
Back and Shoulders
Try these movements to work your back and shoulders.
- Back extension. To do this exercise, you’ll lie down on the floor on your stomach with your arms flat at your sides. Slowly raise your torso up to a 45-degree angle using your lower back muscles. Lower yourself back to the floor and repeat.
- Swimming. You don’t need a pool to go swimming, as this video demonstrates.
- Shoulder hold. You can use your own bath towel to do this exercise, putting one end under your foot and holding the other in your hand. Simply extend out your arm to the side until it extends as far as the towel will allow.
- Wall pushup. Wall pushups are an easy alternative to the traditional pushups, done in much the same manner as well, though hands must be closer together.
- ITY. In this exercise you’ll make the respective letters of the alphabet, starting out in an I position with arms down at sides and head tilted back. You’ll move your arms out until you look like a T, finally brining your arms over your head to form a Y.
- Shoulder Press. Use water bottles to give this exercise a boost. Push the water bottles towards the ceiling with arms straight while standing upright.
- Rear delt fly. Use a heavier item around your room to complete this exercise. Check out this video to see how to do it correctly.
General Strength Training
These great exercises will help you strengthen your entire body.
- Arm and leg extensions. With your hands and knees on the floor, extend an opposite hand and knee out, switching off as needed.
- Good Mornings. Hold a textbook and stand up straight with your arms over your head. Bend over at the waist until your upper body is parallel with the floor. Lift up and repeat.
- Inchworm. Starting in a push-up position, slowly move your feet towards your hands keeping your knees straight as far as you can comfortably. Then inch hands away from feet until you reach your original position.
- Military drop. For this exercise you’ll start standing up, squat down and fall into the push-up position by kicking your legs out, and then jump back up into the standing position.
- Flamingo reach and press. You might look silly, but this move will pump up your core and lower body. Stand on one leg, and bend down pushing one leg out behind you while raising one arm out to the side touching the floor with the other. Stand up and switch legs as needed.
- Squat chop. Use this movement in this link to work your core, lower body and upper body.
- Lunge reach and twist. Lunges are a great way to work your entire body, as this exercise will show you.
Make sure you don’t get injured when working out by doing some of these stretches beforehand and afterwards.
- Triangle Pose. This yoga pose will help you stretch out your whole body. Simply stand with your feet apart on the floor, lean to one side raising one arm towards the ceiling.
- Torso Twist. Sit on the floor with one knee raised. Then, twist to one side using your elbow against your knee to keep you there.
- Neck. The neck stretches provided by this link will help to make sure you don’t injure this important part of the body.
- Triceps. To stretch out your tricep, lift one arm over behind your head and use the other arm to push it down.
- Shoulders. Use these shoulder stretches to keep your shoulders limber and injury-free.
- Wrist and forearm. You can stretch out your wrists by holding your hand out in front of you and bending it forward or backward with your other hand.
- Hamstring. You can stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back and raising your leg straight up as far as you can, pulling on it gently if you need to.
- Quads. Stand on one leg and raise your bent leg behind you until you can grab it with your hand to stretch your quadriceps.
- Inner thighs. In this stretch, you’ll sit on the floor, putting your feet together bottom to bottom by bending your knees.
- Hurdler stretch. This well-known stretch will help you loosen up tight hamstrings.
If you want to reduce stress and focus your mind while working out, consider these basic yoga poses.
- Child’s pose. The Child’s Pose requires you to sit on the floor on your knees, slowly bending over your knees with your arms stretched out until your bend as far forward as you can.
- Upward and downward facing dog. The upward dog requires you to lie on your stomach on the floor, place your hands below your shoulders and curve your spine upwards until your head tilts slightly back. The downward dog starts on your knees, asking you to place your feet on the floor, pushing up until you are fully extended.
- Forward bend. This pose can get harder as your ability progresses. Simply stand straight up, bend at the waist and pull your face towards your knees bending as far as you can.
- Bow pose. Lie on your stomach to begin this pose, and reach your arms back and curl your legs up until you can grasp your ankles with your hands.
- Cobra pose. Stretch out your lower back with this pose that has you lie on your stomach, and push up with your arms until the top half of your body is raised slightly off of the floor.
- Crane pose. This is a fairly advanced pose, so you may struggle with it if you’re just starting yoga. You’ll begin in a squat on the floor, placing your hands in front of you on the floor. Slowly raise your body so that all your weight is balancing on those two hands. You can rest your weight on your elbows if that is easier.
- Bridge pose. Begin by lying with your back on the floor, bringing your feet up so that they are flat on the floor. Push your butt up off of the floor and raise your hands over your head to complete.
- Plough pose. Use a gentle push to raise your legs over your head so your feet touch the floor above where your head rests on the floor (if possible) then extend your arms over your head as well.
- Double leg raises. This simple movement will help strengthen your core. Lie flat on your back and simply raise both of your legs up until they are pointing straight up.
- Headstand. Make sure you have room before attempting this pose. Place your elbows on the floor so that they support your head with arms crossed over. Arch up into a 45-degree angle with your feet on the floor. Walk your feet up towards your head until you feel balanced enough to raise them off of the floor. Use a partner if you need to.
Pilates requires little equipment and improves both flexibility and strength, making it a perfect fit for dorm life.
- Chest lift. To do the chest lift you’ll lie on your back with your knees bent, hands behind your head (much like you would to do a crunch) and very slowly raise your body up focusing on the abs–making sure you’re breathing.
- The hundred. Perhaps one of the better known pilates exercises, this movement requires that you first lie flat on the floor, then raise your neck and legs up off of the floor. Once you are in this angled position pump your arms up and down at your sides while counting out ten breaths. Repeat until you get to a hundred.
- The roll up. Begin by lying flat on the floor and extending your arms straight up towards the ceiling. Then curl your body up until your head touches your knees.
- One leg circle. Lie on the floor and bring one knee up to your chest. You will then raise your other leg and begin circling it clockwise, then counterclockwise. Repeat with the opposite leg.
- Open leg balance. One of the tougher moves you’ll encounter, this position asks you to sit on the floor, grab your ankle and slowly raise your legs until they are off the floor in a "v" position. Hold and breathe.
- Side kicks. To do this movement, lie on your side and support your head with one arm then bring your leg up as far as you can towards the side of your body.
- Rolling ball. Begin by balancing in a sitting position. Then, roll back onto your upper back until you reach your shoulders, then rolling back up into your sitting position.
- Plank. Give your abs a killer workout with this basic move that asks you to simply hold yourself in a push-up position for a set amount of time.
- The Saw. Sit on the floor with your legs in a "v" and your arms straight out to the sides. Then reach to touch each toe with the opposite hand concentrating on twisting at the waist.
- The Mermaid. In this movement you’ll sit on the floor on your knees, shifting yourself to one side. Raise your arm over your head, reaching as far as you can towards the other side, eventually raising your body off of the floor until your other arm rests on the floor. Return to your original position and repeat on the other side.