There are two clear tribes forming as the pandemic rumbles on. If you’re like my other half, who is currently bereft that he hasn’t been able to run in three whole days due to an injured ankle, you’re in Tribe 1.

f you’re like me, and you’re putting off working out until your new exercise mat arrives – because how else can you possibly workout at home without a soft, cushioned, Lycra rollout? – you’re in Tribe 2.

Unfortunately for those of us in Tribe 2, there are myriad ways to work out at home with no equipment if you look at your soft furnishings as a circuit course.

Chris Simpson, exercise physiologist and Ironman-certified coach with the Beacon Sports Centre, has adapted his clients’ workouts for home. With gyms likely to remain closed until August 10, this is the new normal for those athletes.

“One of the things I do with athletes that I coach is we have 15 or 20-minute cycles where they will do a mini circuit at home. That will be step-ups at the bottom of the stairs, simple things using body weight such as press-ups, sit-ups, lunges, burpees.”

Chris’s clients usually do five or six different exercises for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second rest, and run through them twice. For somebody just starting out, he recommends a walk or a jog at lunchtime followed by some shorter circuits during the day. Here’s how to turn your house into your own gym…



For a HIIT workout, try sprinting up and down your stairs. Professor Niall Moyna, Head of the DCU School of Health and Human Performance, says even just four seconds of sprinting up the stairs has real health benefits, as seen in a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin. “The reason for that is there’s an enzyme that breaks down fat, it lines all of our blood vessels, and what that four seconds of exercise does, is it increases the activity of the enzyme and breaks down fat.”


Chris says step-ups at the bottom of your stairs for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds rest, will break up your working-from-home routine. “Certainly to begin with, it’s not about getting your heart rate pumping, it’s about getting moving. You can always build in intensity later on,” he says.



Lying with your back on the floor, place your legs and feet on to your sofa. With your hands at your head/ears, slowly raise your chest towards your sofa. Repeat as many times as you can.

Tricep dips

Sitting on the floor with your back against the sofa, place your hands shoulder-width apart, behind you on the edge of the sofa. With your legs straight out in front of you, use your arms to lift your body from the floor, then lower again and repeat.

“You need to be careful that you’re using correct form to avoid injury,” says Chris. “When using body weight for simple exercises around the house, consistency is the key.”

fridge/utility room

Water bottles/laundry detergent as free weights

“Whether you’ve got bottles of water or cartons of juice, anything like that to add a little bit of resistance,” says Chris. We used two laundry detergents as weights for our stairs step-ups. Chris stresses the importance of going at your own pace and making sure you are using correct form.


Calf raise

To strengthen your calf muscles and increase your vertical jump, use a chair for balance, placing one hand on the chair. Push through the balls of your feet to raise your heels from the floor as high as possible. Repeat.


To help strengthen your legs and glutes, place one hand on to the back of a chair for balance. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart. Keeping your shoulders back and chest up, take a good size step forward with one foot and bend both knees towards the floor. Pause in this position, and slowly return to the start. Then swap over legs. For added resistance, you can introduce your water bottles to this exercise.



Lying on your back, engage your midsection by pressing your lower back flat against the bed. Point both legs straight up at the ceiling and flex your toes. Repeat.

Shoulder taps

Get into a push-up position and raise your hand to tap the shoulder of the opposite arm. Then try the other hand on the opposite shoulder. Repeat.

Reverse Crunch

Lying on your back with your feet on the ground and legs bent, place your hands by your glutes. Lift your legs and feet towards your chest, but keep them in the air. Repeat.

Chris says it’s important you take your time with home workouts. “If you can, start at 10 to 15 minutes a day, once a day. You could do shorter circuits at home. Or on a cardiovascular day, do a walk, a run, a cycle, and do your circuits another day, and alternate them day by day. And always give yourself one day of complete rest.”

If you’re a member of Tribe 2, that day of rest usually involves flexing your finger muscles on the takeaway delivery app…


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