The Home Workout You Can Do When It's Too Damn Cold to Go Outside
In December, on a blustery day much like today, Melody Scharff wanted to go to the gym. Scharff, a certified personal trainer at Fhitting Room in New York City, tells SELF she likes to work out for at least 10 minutes every day. But that day in December, the weather had other plans.
It was snowing out, Scharff says. And not just flurrying. This was a full-force, New York City blizzard-level situation—icy sidewalks, slushy puddles lining the streets, and all. "It was a day where I had nothing to do that I needed to leave my apartment for," Scharff says. "And I just realized, 'I have all I need here. Let me make this work without going out in this weather.'"
So Scharff put together a quick, four-part workout she could do from the comfort of her own home. And since her home is an apartment in New York City, she made sure the workout didn't require too much space or equipment.
We asked Scharff to break down her at-home snow-day workout for days like today, when we want to avoid the cold at all costs but still want to fit in some exercise.
The workout is divided into four circuits. Scharff says to do three rounds of the first circuit, two rounds of the second circuit, and as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) for the length of two songs of the fourth and final circuit. Try to rest as little as possible between the rounds and as possible-this helps to keep your heart rate up. You can modify this workout by starting with just one of the circuits of each circuit and working your way up to more once you feel comfortable with the moves.
Here's how to do each circuit—and check out the video above to see Scharff demo each move.
CIRCUIT 1 (3 rounds):
- Do 8 plank-ups. Start in a forearm plank and move into a high plank by placing one hand at a time on the floor and pressing through your palms to push your body up. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and you're keeping your hips still throughout the move (as in, try not to tilt or rock).
- Do 8 blast-off push-ups. Do it yourself. Start in a Downward Dog, and then crouch back, bending your knees so your butt is just above your ankles. From here, move forward into a plank and do a push-up. Keep your shoulders directly on your hands-not behind them-as you do the push-up. Then, push back to Downward Dog. Feel free to do push-ups on your knees if a standard push-up is too challenging.
- Do 8 squat thrusts, which Scharff says are like "baby burpees." Jump up, then bend forward to place your hands on the floor and jump your feet back into a plank. Then, jump your feet forward so they're outside your hands, and jump straight up. Be sure to keep your feet wide, stand tall in your jumps, and keep your hips in line with your shoulders in the plank.
CIRCUIT 2 (3 rounds):
Pro tip: Scharff uses gliders for every move in this circuit, but she says you can use towels or socks.
- Do lateral lunges with your right leg for 20 seconds. Place a glider under your right foot. Push your foot into the floor. At the same time, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and bend your standing leg. Push your foot into the ground.
- Do lateral lunges with your left leg for 20 seconds. Same as above.
- Do plank jacks for 20 seconds. Start in a plank with your hands under your shoulders, core engaged, back flat, and a glider under each foot. Move your feet out and in, like you're doing a jumping jack. Keep your hips as stable as possible. You should feel the move in your obliques and glutes, Scharff says.
- Do mountain climbers for 20 seconds. Start in a plank with a glider under each foot. Push your toes back to you. Keep your hips in line with your shoulders, and keep your core tight and back flat. You can do this move slow or fast, but the quicker you move, the higher your heart rate will get.
CIRCUIT 3 (2 rounds):
- Do not reverse your lungs with your right leg for 45 seconds . Step back with one leg and lower down so that both legs form 90-degree angles. Stand back up. Feel free to add a kick at the end of each rep. Scharff.
- Do reverse lunges with your left leg for 45 seconds. Same as above.
- Do jumping lunges for 45 seconds. Start in a lunge. Push through the balls of your feet to jump up and down. Scharff lives in a fifth-floor walk-up in New York City, so she tries to keep her jumps quiet for the sake of her neighbors. If this is too challenging or causes discomfort, do regular lunges.
CIRCUIT 4 (AMRAP):
Pro tip: Queue up two of your favorite songs for the fourth circuit of the workout. Scharff uses a looped resistance band for this circuit, but if you don't have one at home, don't worry—all these moves work fine without one, too.
- Do 12 squats. Make sure your knees aren't caving in toward each other as you lower; think about pressing them out just a bit on your way down and up. Keep your weight in your heels.
- Do 6 push-ups with a single-arm raise. Again, you can modify the push-ups by placing your knees on the floor. You can also take out the arm raise or adjust the speed, doing the push-ups as quickly or slowly as you please.
- Do 24 bicycle crunches. Lie faceup, flex your feet, engage you core, and lift your back off the ground a couple inches. Alternate bringing your left and right knees to your chest, while also bringing the opposite elbow toward each knee. Scharff says she tries to look at the back of her elbow during bicycle crunches to make sure she's twisting as much as she can.
Scharff says she doesn't work out from home too often, but when she's really not in the mood to hit the gym, this workout is a great go-to.