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10 Best At-Home Exercise Routines to Lose Weight

Catherine Miller
top 10 exercises at home
While an afternoon in the gym is some people’s idea of heaven, others are much happier working out in the comfort of their own homes. No more worries about wearing workout clothes in public or venturing into a weights section full of muscle maniacs. Working out at home also cuts down on travel time, making it easier to fit a quick burst of exercise into your day.

If you have at least one fitness machine, there are loads of fun and effective workouts you can do at home. We highlight 10 of the best exercise routines to help you lose weight and boost your health. 

1. Treadmill intervals

A treadmill is a great way to get cardio exercise at home. Cardio burns calories, so in conjunction with diet adjustments, it can help you achieve the calorie deficit necessary for weight loss. Rather than running at a steady state for long periods, which can get boring, why not challenge your body with interval training? Interval training is also proven to be the most efficient form of cardio exercise and can help maximize the impact of your workouts. 

After warming up with a gentle jog, push yourself to sprint for 30 seconds, followed by a rest interval of up to a minute at a slower pace. Continue for up to 20 minutes before cooling down with another five minutes of gentle jogging, gradually slowing to a walk. 

2. Treadmill hills and flats

The treadmill can be set at an incline which mimics walking or running up a hill. While running with the treadmill flat will raise your heart rate effectively, adding an incline will push your body even further and increase the number of calories you can burn in a single session. Additionally, walking or running on an incline will strengthen your lower body, including your legs and glutes. Because muscle burns more calories than fat, increasing your muscle tone will make your workouts more efficient and help you achieve your weight loss goals more quickly. 

You could try varying the incline of the treadmill over the course of your workout. For example, you could try walking or running at a 1% incline for up to a minute, lowering to flat for a recovery period, walking or running at a 2% incline, lowering for a recovery period, and so on. You could also increase the length of time you run at an incline over each interval. 

3. Stationary bike sprints

A stationary exercise bike is a fantastic piece of home gym equipment if you want to lose weight. Cycling is an efficient way to burn calories, as well as help you build lower-body muscle. You can adjust your cycling speed and the resistance of the bike to add variety to your workout. 

A simple sprint workout could start with a 5-minute warmup at a high pedaling speed but low resistance. Raise the resistance to a medium level and cycle fast for 30 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of low resistance and a lower speed to recover. Alternate 6 times, then lengthen the recovery interval to 1 or 2 minutes. If you’re able to repeat the cycle entirely, do so 2 more times, before cooling down with 5 minutes at low resistance. 

4. Stationary bike hill training

Many exercise bikes have a hill training mode that mimics the varied resistance of cycling up and down hills. Cycling hills really helps work the legs and glutes, effectively building muscle, boosting heart rate, and burning more calories than sticking to a low resistance for your whole workout. If you don’t have a hill mode, you can mimic this by gradually raising and then lowering the resistance. You can replicate one hill simply by building your resistance to a climax and then decreasing, or pretend you’re zooming up and down multiple peaks by repeating this at shorter intervals over the course of your session. 

5. Elliptical sprints

An elliptical machine works not just your lower body, but your upper body too. This makes it a great way to burn serious calories, and as it’s low impact, it won’t put as much pressure on your knees and ankles as running. 

To get the most out of your workout, alternate bursts of high speed with rest periods. For example, 30 seconds at your maximum, followed by 1 minute at a lower speed. If you need more challenge, you could vary the incline of the machine as well. For example, 1 minute of high speed at a low resistance, followed by 2 minutes of medium speed at a moderate resistance, followed by 2 minutes of low speed at high resistance. Increased resistance will help you build your strength as well as burn calories. 

6. Climbing machine intervals

The vertical climbing machine engages and strengthens your major muscles: glutes, calves, quads, and hamstrings, as well as your arms, shoulders, and back. If you’re short on time, this machine could be a great choice as it’s an efficient way to burn calories. It’s also another low-impact machine, which would suit you if you find running or jumping too jarring. 

One way to construct an interval training routine is to vary both the speed and length of your steps. After a warmup, push yourself for 3 to 5 seconds at a time, taking long, quick steps to reach a sprint. For your recovery period, slow down and keep your steps smaller until your heart rate lowers. 

7. Rowing machine high intensity intervals

A rowing machine workout is an intense, whole-body exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once. Legs, arms, back, and shoulders are challenged, meaning you’ll burn a lot of calories and build strength. You don’t need to row for hours to get the benefits. Try short bursts of high speed, followed by a low speed recovery interval, followed by a medium speed interval. To increase the challenge, adjust the resistance as you go: complete 3 cycles at low resistance, rest, then increase the resistance for the next round, and finally, try another round at high resistance. 

8. Strength training machine routine

If you’ve got a multigym or other strength machine at home, you can construct varied routines targeting different muscle groups, whether that’s arms, back, shoulders, or abs. This is an ideal way to tone and strengthen your body, which will contribute to weight loss in conjunction with cardio exercise. For example, you could try:

  • Cable rows: keeping your back flat, lean forwards and pull 1 or 2 cables towards your body
  • Chest press: holding 1 or 2 cables to the side of your body, at chest height, press your arm(s) straight out in front of you
  • Lat pulldown: from a seated position and using a long bar, pull it down in front of you to chest height

Repeat each exercise for at least 30 seconds, with 1 minute rest period in between. 

9. Smart mirror cardio routine

If you’re used to taking classes at the gym, you might struggle with some aspects of home workouts. How do you know which exercises to choose and if you’re doing them correctly? Enter the smart mirror, the latest hot trend in home gym machines. Many smart mirrors display fitness classes, either live or on-demand, and some even offer virtual personal training so you can get tailored advice. Cardio routines are a good call if you’re looking to lose weight, so pick a class that uses exercises like jumping jacks, push-ups, high knees, lunges, and burpees for maximum calorie burning. 

10. Smart mirror strength routine

The smart mirror can also be used for building strength, either through bodyweight or free weight routines. Look out for free weight routines for improving whole-body strength, combining both upper and lower body moves. For example:

  • Bicep curls
  • Weighted squats
  • Bent-over rows
  • Weighted lunges
  • Shoulder presses

Observing the form of the instructor on the smart mirror is a good way to make sure you avoid injury and work your muscles to the max.

Conclusion

A mix of cardio and strength training can help you on your journey to weight loss. Raising your heart rate and burning calories is an essential part of shedding excess pounds, and it’s also important to build muscle, which will make your workouts more efficient and accelerate your progress. If you can’t make it to the gym, installing at least 1 home fitness machine can give you the freedom to work out at a time and pace that works for you.

Whether you alternate sprints and recovery intervals on the treadmill, adjust your resistance on the stationary bike or elliptical machine, or combine different bodyweight exercises in a smart mirror guided class, the key is to keep your workouts fresh and challenging. By building a fitness machine habit, you’ll soon be on your way to hitting your weight loss goals. 

Catherine Miller
Catherine Miller is a lead member of personal finance and pension innovator Maji, where’s she’s responsible for content creation and running Maji’s personal finance masterclass, among others. Miller also holds degrees in English and education, and worked as a teacher before moving into finance. Today, she combines aspects of education and personal finance to help readers make better decisions in finance and beyond.