5 easy work outs you can do at home

Tone up and have fun this new year without shelling out on an expensive gym membership

5 easy work outs you can do at home

Want to get fit this new year but don’t want to hit the gym?

As a personal trainer to the stars Sarah Maxwell explains, exercising doesn’t have to be pricey. ‘I’m a working mum, so I know how hard it is to do it all,’ she says. 

Running is free and will get you fit in no time, but if you don’t fancy heading out, Sarah has chosen six simple moves you can do around the house. ‘They fit into your day and don’t require any expensive kit,’ she says. 

The plank

Strengthens abs. Do three, holding for 20 seconds each time, every other day.

1. Lie face down on the floor, resting on your forearms, with elbows bent and palms flat on the floor.

2. Push off the floor, raising up onto your toes. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.

3. Pull in your abdominal muscles, tighten your glutes (bottom muscles) and keep them contracted.

4. Hold for a few seconds, then relax. (If this is hard, bend your legs and rest your knees on the floor.) 

5. Start with three planks, holding each for 20 seconds, with a 20-second rest in between. Build up to planks of one minute, if you can.

Half press ups

Ideal for all-over arms and shoulders – and a great bust lifter. Do eight every other day to begin with.

1. Get onto your hands and knees on the floor with your knees hip-width apart and hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers forward and elbows straight. 

2. Pull your abdominal muscles in tight, keep your back straight and maintain a straight line. 

3. Bend your arms and lower yourself to the floor until your chest almost touches it, then return to the start. Try eight every other day, working up to 12 every other day.

The clam

Brilliant for your bottom. Do two sets of 16 on each side, twice a week to begin with, building up to five times.

1. Lie on the floor on your side with your knees bent and your feet in line with your spine. 

2. Keep your feet together and lift the top knee in an arc, keeping your pelvis facing forward and steady throughout the movement. 

3. Lower your leg and repeat for two sets of 16 moves. 

4. Switch sides and repeat with the other leg. At the end of each set, hold the last position open for 10 seconds.

Plié squat

Great for thighs. Do three sets of 16, three times a week.

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, abdominal muscles pulled in and your pelvis tucked under.

2. Take a small step out with your left foot, then with your right. Turn your feet outward. 

3. Place your hands on your hips or on the back of a nearby chair for support. 

4. Bending your legs, lower your body slowly then raise it back to the start position. Make sure that you have good posture throughout – your shoulders should be back and down, abdominal muscles pulled in, and hips and spine in alignment. 

5. Aim for three sets of 16, resting between each set.

Walking burpee

Good all-in-one for core and bottom. Do these for 30-60 seconds, five times a week.

1. Bend down and put your hands on the floor in front of you. 

2. Step your left foot back, then your right so it joins your left – this is a straight-arm plank. 

3. Now step your left foot back to the start position under your chest, then the right. 

4. Slowly stand up straight (no jumping). This is a walking burpee. To make this harder, jump up straight rather than standing and reach your arms straight in the air. 

5. Do continuously for 30-60 seconds, building up to three minutes. 

Hula hoop

A fun calorie burner that’s great for your core – you’ll need a hula hoop for this one. Do five minutes a day, three times a week to begin with.

1. Step inside the hoop and hold it at waist level. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, or one slightly in front of the other.

2. Press the hula hoop into the small of your back, and give it a firm push in the direction you want it to go. It should spin around your body a few times before you have to move to keep it going. Aim for a steady rhythm. 

3. Hooping correctly takes a bit of practice, so start with five minutes a day and build from there. Create a playlist of music you love to work out to and, before long, you can be hooping for 20-40 minutes at a time. If you can manage to do this three times a week, it’s likely you’ll see results really quickly.

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