A guide to the homemade workout

  • Updated: December 14, 2013 - 2:00 PM

A guide to the homemade workout.

Trainer and martial arts guru John Mariotti demonstrated door squats, which can be done by using door handles.

Photo: Ben Torres • Dallas Morning News,

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Finding a workout is easy. Just pick up a fitness magazine, follow a video, read umpteen-and-a-half gym advertisements. Voilà: You’re on the pathway to a dream physique.

In theory, at least.

In real life, not everyone can afford a gym membership or a set of dumbbells, or has a way to get to the gym or feels safe walking after dark in their neighborhood.

Not to fret. There are ways to get fit and to stay fit. All you need is some desire and a bit of determination, a doorknob and a chair.

“You don’t need fancy things or a gym,” says fitness studio owner Elizabeth Lindberg.

We asked Lindberg and a CrossFit gym owner, John Mariotti, to devise workouts that just about anyone can do.

“You can get a benefit in just 30 minutes,” Lindberg says.

Start small to set yourself up for success: Two workouts the first week, increased to three for a month or more. Then add more or increase the intensity.

The workouts

Warm up. Stand up straight, move your arms in a forward and then backward circle. Move your hips and torso, knees and ankles. “Make sure your body parts are fitting together,” he says. “Maybe your back is tight or your ankle doesn’t feel quite right. That’s something to be aware of.”

Do holding squats. Open a door, grab the handle on either side. Lean back and, keeping your chest up and your arms straight, squat down. “The weight stays on my heels. My knees stay over my ankles, my rear end is going back. The door is supporting you,” he says.

Work up to 10 of those three times.

Step up. Find a step or curb that’s about 4 inches high. Step up with your right foot, then up with your left. Then step down with your left, down with your right.

“Eventually, you’ll want to step on something higher,” he says. “Do five with your right leg first, five with your left. Do that three times, too.”

Grab a broom. With elbows bent, hold it even with your shoulders. Relax your knees. As you tighten your glutes (i.e., your bottom), lift the broom above your head.

Use your hip muscles, Mariotti says. “Relax, bring it to your shoulders, then drive it back up.” Do this 10 times for three sets. When you get stronger, he says, you can replace the broom with a shovel.

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