Home Workouts Using Only a Yoga Mat

Fellow fitness fans, we find ourselves in unprecedented times. With gyms throughout the UK slamming their doors shut you, like us, might have found yourselves at a loss for routine.

Adverts for gym kit are EVERYWHERE (it seems retailers have picked up on those trapped at home desperate to keep their fitness levels up).

We want to be clear here - in the battle to maintain your body fitness and mental health, you don’t need bulky, costly home equipment. That means no treadmill, no weights, not even an exercise ring or resistance band in sight.

This blog walks you through nine exercises that need only a padded yoga mat - nothing more. We kick off with a top-to-toe workout for the arms, core, butt, and legs.

In the second half, we dive into three different disciplines - yoga, pilates and Tai Chi.

So, let’s get to work on working up a sweat...

Arms

1. Bodyweight Triceps Dip - Triceps and Pecs

Reps: 3 sets, 12 reps

Bodyweight Triceps Dip Guide

  • Sit on the floor and bend your knees, with your heels making contact with the yoga mat. Position your palms on the floor directly under your shoulders, with your fingers pointing down to your feet.
  • Straighten your arms, and as you do so bring your butt off the floor. Then bend your elbows and lower your butt back down, stopping just short of the floor.

2. Diamond Push-Up - Triceps, Deltoids, and Pecs

Reps: 3 sets, 10-12 reps

Diamond Push-Up Guide

  • Begin in the plank position with your palms flat and your fingers facing forward. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, while your core and glutes should be engaged.
  • Walk your hands together and place your thumbs and forefingers in a triangle position.
  • Slowly lower your chest toward the floor by bending your elbows. Then push yourself back up.

Core

1. Plank Ups

Reps: 10-12 reps (5-6 per side)

Plank Up Guide

  • Start in the lower (forearm) plank position. Make sure your core is engaged.
  • Press your left hand into the yoga mat, followed by the right hand, moving back up to a raised plank position.
  • Move the left forearm to floor followed by the right forearm, then return to the starting position.

2. Modified V-Up

Reps: 3 sets, 10 reps

Modified V-Up Guide

  • Begin by lying on your back, with your legs straight and arms placed by your sides.
  • Lift your torso and legs off the floor, then slowly bring your knees in toward your chest while reaching your fingertips toward your feet, stop just before your elbows and knees touch (your abs should feel tight just before you return to the starting position).

Two Leg-lashing Exercises

1. Plyometric Lunges

Reps: 3 sets, 15 reps

Plyometric Lunge Guide

  • Begin in a standing position, then step forward with your right leg, dropping down into a lunge position.
  • Push your weight through the right heel to power back up, switching your lunging leg in midair, landing with the left leg now being in a forward position to repeat the lunge.

2. Side-Lying Lifts

Reps: 20 reps, each side

Side-lying Lift Guide

  • Begin by lying on your side with your head resting in your hand and your bent legs positioned slightly forward.
  • Lift your leg, keeping it straight as you do so (you’re aiming for a height of around two feet).
  • Lower your leg back down to hip height.

Three Butt-Busting Moves

1. Single-Leg Bridge

Reps: 3 sets, 15 reps

Single-Leg Bridge Guide

  • Lie on your back with your feet placed flat on the floor.
  • Raise your right leg keeping it in line with your hips and squeezing the butt and hamstrings as you lift your hips off the floor. Lower back down, and repeat (that’s one rep).

2. Step-Out Squat with Pulse

Reps: 3 sets, 15 reps

Step-Out Squat with Pulse Guide

  • Hold a single heavy weight with both hands, positioned under your chin.
  • Lower yourself down into a deep squat.
  • Step out to the right, move up and down to complete mini squats for around 30 seconds (not shown). Do both sides. That’s one rep.

3. Sumo Squat Half Burpee

Reps: 3 sets, 12 reps

Sumo Squat Half Burpee Guide

  • Begin in a high plank position, with your shoulders placed above your wrists and abs tight.
  • Jump your feet forward landing in a position just outside of your hands.
  • Lift your torso and hands off the floor.
  • Return your palms to floor and jump back into your starting plank position.

Part Two - Embark on a Fresh Fitness Journey

Just You, Your Exercise Mat and a Tried and Tested Form of Exercise

So, squats have shaped your butt, you got push-ups down pat, the plank mastered. If you’re looking for a new challenge (or three), get your best exercise mat at the ready, and go...

1. Yoga. Soooooo much yoga.

Namaste, yoga fans. Whether quarantine has inspired you to take on a new fitness challenge, or you’re practically a yogi in the making, one thing’s for sure - you now know the importance of being able to workout without equipment. So how about trying one of our three favourite branches of yoga (each of which can be taken on with just a travel yoga mat and a laptop for YouTube vids)...

  • For those who suffer from anxiety and/or total newbie - look into the gentle, sweeping motions of Kripalu - a yoga strand that combines health with well-being. Because of the nature of Kripalu, it’s excellent for those who need easily adaptable regimes, like people who suffer from arthritis or who have limited mobility.
  • For the seasoned yoga fan - why not take on the limb-stretching, core-testing moves of Ashtanga - recognised the world over as one of the most challenging forms of yoga going? For a beginner’s guide, check out the half primary series from Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga.
  • For the more intellectually minded - think about taking on Jnana Yoga - a spiritual arm of yoga that pursues profound questions such as "Who am I? What am I?".

2. Pilates

You probably already know that pilates runs you through moves that combine strength, flexibility, and cardio exercises, using your body weight as a counterweight.

Do it right, and expect to burn calories and master balance. Stick to it, and look forward to better posture, stronger joints, and full-body conditioning.

For an easy introduction to Pilates and videos that include everything from an apartment-friendly playlist to superhero workouts, check out Blogilates.

3. Tai Chi

Get your yin and yan in balance, with tai chi - improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility, boost brain power, live longer. Not small health claims (and none that we can actually corroborate). Still, practitioners swear by it.

Head up to the top of Wilson Mountain, Arizona, with Jake Mace for a nice beginner’s intro to the first seven tai chi moves.

And with that, we’re all wrapped up - the best at-home exercises for working up a sweat, using just your exercise mat (and for the best yoga mats that won’t break the bank, head over to our shop).

Do you have any hard-hitting moves that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.