When it comes to burning calories around the house, there’s not much more to it than just staying active. Forget the couch and the fridge, tempting as they may be: Keeping your body in motion, even if you’re just washing the dishes or folding the laundry, is the only way to burn extra calories between hitting the treadmill or clocking in to the office. You have no excuse for not engaging in these killer home fitness hacks, so get to it!
“This is great for working out your arms and shoulders, as well as your abs,” says Ashley Lied, a certified sports nutritionist at Trusted Nutrients. Take a steady chair and sit up straight, with your back touching the chair. Place each hand on your hips and lift your bottom off the chair, tightening your body as you hold your legs at a 90-degree angle.
Milk Gallon Bicep Curls
Achieve the tank top arms you’ve always dreamed of, all while preparing breakfast? Alejandro Chaban, a certified nutrition consultant and founder of the Yes You Can! Diet Plan, says it’s possible. While you’re adding milk to your coffee or pouring a bowl of cereal, grab the milk gallon from the fridge and perform 10 bicep curls per arm.
For this exercise, Lied says you’ll want to choose something slightly heavy, like a big pillow. Lie down, preferably on top of a mat, and hold the pillow between your feet. As you hold the pillow, pull up both legs to a 45-degree angle and hold for 15 seconds. For beginners, this should be done in 3 sets of 10. Once you’ve got it down, you can play around and add heavier objects to make the exercise a little more challenging.
This one’s easy: You can burn 80 calories every 20 minutes of sweeping. Let that sink in, then pull out the broom and get to sweeping every corner of your house or apartment. How’s that for multitasking?
Chaban says to sit next to a full basket of laundry and twist to grab an item from the basket. Twist to the other side to lay it on a pile. Continue until your laundry is finished.
Lunge It Out
In this one you’ll also want to use a heavy object, like a pot or vase or whatever you feel comfortable with. “Personally I like using grocery bags—before putting the food away, of course!,” says Lied. Take two bags or objects that weigh almost the same, one in each hand. Starting off from a stand-still position, bring your leg forward into a lunge. Make sure your front leg is on a 90-degree angle and hold the position for 5 seconds, then return to your original pose. You’ll feel how the pressure of the objects are working out your arms and shoulders, while also working out your thighs and calves.
Squat and Reach
A two-part flexibility and mobility exercise that opens up the hips, hamstrings, chest and back, this routine is great for anyone, especially if you’re sitting at a desk all day, says fitness expert Sara Haley. Stand behind a sturdy chair placed on a mat or carpet and take a wide-legged stance with your toes pointing out. Hold on to the back of the chair, shoulders stacked over your hips, and sink into a sumo squat position, making sure your knees do not extend beyond your toes. Use the chair to go deeper into the stretch and then return to the standing position. Take a step away from the chair and reposition your toes so they face forward, then hold on to the chair and bend at the waist. Go deep to feel the stretch in your hamstrings, lower back and upper body.
Romanian Split Squat
Using your stairs, a chair, the couch or even a not-so-precious table, you can build leg strength and improve balance, says Meredith O’Brien, a personal trainer and running coach based in Virginia Beach, VA. The simple movement begins by standing with your back to the bench, chair, or couch about 18 inches away. You then take the toes of your back foot and place them on top of the bench/chair/couch, similar to a lunge position. Making sure your from knee does not cross over your front toe, drop your back knee towards the ground in a split squat motion to feel a stretch through the quadriceps of your rear leg. Drive through your front heel and return to the starting position to complete one repetition. Do three sets of 12-15 on each side. You can use a wall, golf club or table for balance until the movement become comfortable and eventually add dumbbells in each hand to build even more strength. You can use that same piece of furniture to do bench dips and stairs to do both incline (hands on second stair, feet on floor) and negative push-ups (feet on stairs, hands on floor).
Read more: The Fitness Secret You’re Missing Out On