While there are things to do in bed besides sleep (ahem), did you know there are workouts you can do in bed with no strings attached? Whether you’re too tired to hit the gym or too enthralled with Game of Thrones, you can sculpt and tone without leaving your bed.
Chicago-based holistic wellness coach Erin Clifford recommends five key exercises as part of a full-body bed workout. “They are guaranteed to wake your entire body and give you a great start to your day before you even make your morning coffee. I love these exercises because they are highly effective and can literally be done from anywhere (like your bed watching Netflix!), no gym required.”
1. Side Leg Lifts
Muscles worked: hips, outer thighs, abs
“Jane Fonda got it right when she introduced all us ladies to donkey kicks and leg lifts,” says Clifford. This move is perfect for targeting your hips, outer thighs, and abdomen. Lie on your left side, with your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles all aligned, but position your legs slightly forward for less stress on your back.
- Prop your head on your hand, or stretch your bottom arm out straight and lay your head down. Place a pillow under your ribs for support.
- Use your abdominal muscles to lift your right leg up several inches before lowering it into the starting position.
- Repeat the motion 15 to 20 times before switching sides.
2. Side Sit-Ups
Muscles worked: abs, obliques
“Side sit-ups are wonderful at targeting those pesky love handles. Doing them in this position also provides a great stretch for your back,” says Clifford. Lay your back with your knees bent and a supportive pillow propped behind your head.
- Position your knees toward your left side.
- Squeeze your abdominal muscles while lifting your head and shoulders off the bed and twisting toward your bent knees.
- Complete 15 to 20 reps before switching sides and completing another 15 to 20 reps with your knees positioned toward your right side.
3. Scissor Kick Crunch
Muscles worked: abs, hips
“When it comes to abs let’s be honest. The lower stomach is one of the most complained of areas. Not surprising, these are the hardest areas to hit because conventional sit-ups do not do the trick.” Clifford recommends scissor kicks for those hard to work lower ab muscles. Lay on your back and place a small pillow under your lower back for support.
- Squeeze your abdominal muscles while raising your legs a few inches above the mattress.
- Keep your back pressed into your mattress, and raise your left leg up and toward your chest while keeping your right leg straight.
- Lower your left leg back into the original lifted position while swinging your right knee toward your chest. Continue repeating the movement for 30 seconds.
4. Donkey Kicks
Muscles worked: butt, legs, lower back, abs
Clifford loves this move because, “Donkey kicks are great for a quick booty lift.” Position yourself on all fours with your knees hip-width apart, your hands under your shoulders, and your neck and spine in a neutral position. Place a pillow under your knees for extra support.
- Lift your right leg from the hip with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle with your knee bent and your foot flat.
- Use your glutes to push your foot toward the ceiling, squeezing when you reach the top of the movement.
- Return to the starting position and repeat 15 to 20 times before switching legs.
5. Arm Circles
Muscles worked: chest, back, shoulders
“Arm circles are fabulous because they tone up your arms in a cinch,” says Clifford. “After all, who does not feel more attractive doing the Queen’s wave with no added jiggle?” To tone your biceps, triceps and shoulders right from your bed, sit upright with your back straight and your abdominals engaged to support your lower back. Place a pillow behind you for additional support.
- Spread both arms out to your sides, creating a 90-degree angle from the rest of your body.
- Begin moving your arms in small, fast circles for 15 to 20 seconds in a forward motion before reversing the motion for another 15 to 20 seconds.
- Repeat the arm circles to complete three sets. Gradually increase the time for each rep if the movement feels too easy.
“Another reason I love all these exercises is because they are great for travelers,” Clifford says. “Whether it is for pleasure or business, you can literally dedicate 20 minutes of your day tops to getting in a full body workout from bed and keep your at-home fitness routine on track all year long.”
So, when a brisk run or a trip to the gym just isn’t on your morning agenda, take advantage of this in-bed workout routine. Three sets of each and you’ve got a full workout — all without leaving the comfort of your bed!