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Oct 30, 2012, 2:54 pm
Sweating through winter: Indoor exercises you can do at home
By Heather Thorstensen, Art by Chris Srnka

Wall push-ups

Walking lunges

Katie Burdick

tricep dips

Single leg droppers

Wall squat

With Minnesota winters, it can be easy to let your activity level dip until it’s comparable to a hibernating bear. And yet, it’s important to stay physically active to remain healthy until spring.

Katie Burdick, a certified personal trainer, advises people to make an exercise plan before winter hits. It could be hiring a personal trainer, finding a workout buddy or joining a gym.

To get you started, Burdick, owner of Workout 24/7 Gym locations in Kenyon and Wanamingo and Personal Training with KT, which offers training at clients’ homes, compiled a workout you can do at home, using not much more than your own body weight.

To get the most effective workout, follow these steps in order for a mix of strength training and cardio exercises. Beginners should repeat this circuit twice. More advanced fitness levels should go through these steps three times.

“The strength training is going to help, obviously to keep the strength, but turn some fat into muscle, which is going to be good because you’re going to be stronger, for one. And two, muscle burns more calories than fat at resting and it is awesome to burn more calories while you are sleeping,” she says.

First, a note about proper technique: Always make sure to keep your abdominal muscles flexed during these exercises and breathe out whenever a muscle is being used.

#1: Wall push-ups


This is like doing a traditional push-up, only you are pushing your weight off a wall instead of the floor. Go to a wall, place your hands on the wall a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Place your feet slanted out behind you, with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your core flexed and your hips straight with your legs, bend at your elbows, then push yourself off the wall so your arms are fully extended.

Purpose: Strengthening chest muscles and triceps

Beginners: 12 repetitions

Advanced: 15 repetitions


#2: Step ups

Go to a staircase. Step on the bottom step, then stop down to the floor. Do this as fast as you feel comfortable.

Purpose: Cardio

Beginners: 15 seconds of always stepping up with right leg, then 15 seconds of always stepping up with left leg.

Advanced: 30 seconds stepping up with each leg.


#3: Walking lunges

From a standing position, take a step out with your right foot as far as you can while still keeping your right knee in line your ankle. Put your weight on your right heel — never on your toes because that puts pressure on your knee. While keeping your body upright, kneel down so you left knee goes toward the floor. Your left toe will be on the ground. Stand up and switch your leading foot, continuing to lunge with alternating legs.

Purpose: Strengthening your hamstrings, glutes and core

Beginners: 12 repetitions

Advanced: 15 repetitions


#4: Jumping jacks

From a stranding position, jump and land with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart and raise your hands over head. Jump again and return to standing position. Repeat.

Purpose: Cardio

Beginner: 30 seconds

Advanced: 60 seconds


#5: Tricep dips

Stand next to a bench that is pushed up against the wall, facing away from the bench. Put the palms of your hands near the edge of the bench behind you. Go into a sitting position in front of the bench, keeping your rear off the bench. Extend your arms, pushing your body up, then bend at the elbows. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your side.

Purpose: Strengthening the triceps

Beginner: 12 repetitions. Your feet should be on the floor, with your legs bent at 90 degrees.

Advanced: 15 repetitions. Keeping your feet on the floor, extend your legs out.


#6: Side jumps

Jump sideways 10 times down a room, then 10 times back.

Purpose: Cardio


#7: Single leg droppers

Laying on your mat or carpet, put your hands underneath the upper part of your glutes to protect the lower back. Start with both legs straight up in the air, then in a slow and controlled motion, drop one leg down while keeping it straight. Lower it until it hovers above the ground. Go as low as you can without arching your back. If you feel a strain in your lower back, do not drop your leg as far. Alternate legs.

Purpose: Strengthening your abdominal/core muscles

Beginner: 12 repetitions

Advanced: 15 repetitions


#8: Half-jacks

Go down on the floor into a push-up position with your arms lined up under your shoulder. Hips should be dropped down so they are level with your back. Kick your legs out to be a little wider than shoulder-width apart, as if doing a jumping jack just with your legs. Bring your legs back in, then kick them out again. Repeat.

Purpose: Cardio

Beginner: 30 seconds

Advanced: 60 seconds




#9: Kick outs

Standing up with your side leaning slightly against the wall for support, kick out the leg farthest from the wall to the side, then bring it back in.

Purpose: Strengthening your hips and glutes

Beginner: 12 repetitions on each side

Advanced: 15 repetitions on each side


#10: Wall squat

Beginners: Sit in a chair and use your legs to stand up nice and tall. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Advanced: With your back against a wall, squat down until your legs are in a 90-degree angle and hold the position for 30 seconds. Keep your knees lined up with your ankles so the weight is on your heels.

Purpose: Strengthening your glutes and quads


Heather Thorstensen is the editor of Radish and is hoping to make her 2012 New Year’s resolution of exercising regularly each week. To learn more about Personal Training with KT,  visit


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