No dumbbells? No problem. Fitness influencer Krissy Ce shares simple compound exercises you can do at home using everyday items.
“This is a great compound lower body exercise that helps strengthen your muscles, improve coordination, and increase core strength and stability. It’s also better on your knees than the classic lunge.
Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps.
Use: A backpack full of books.
How: ‘Lay the backpack on your back for a classic reverse lunge, or wear it across the front of your body to challenge your core a bit more. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step back with your left foot, keeping your hips straight, and lower your torso until both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Step on your right front foot while bringing your left foot back to a standing position. Repeat on the other side.’
“A staple of any workout, squats mimic everyday movements like sitting down and standing up. This variation is not only great for building lower body strength, but it also activates the core and upper body because you need to stabilize the weight in place.
Muscles worked: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, core (also biceps and shoulders).
Use: A can of paint or a heavy bottle.
How: ‘Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart, arms bent, holding your heavy object close to your chest. Send your hips back and down, keeping your back straight, chest up, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through your feet as you extend with control to a standing position.
One-arm bent row
‘One of the most effective upper body compound exercises, this also increases your core strength and stability. This move should be an essential part of any routine because it helps combat the effects of sitting – it literally puts your posture back in place, helping to prevent injury.
Muscles worked: Lats, traps and rhomboids as well as rear deltoids, biceps and core.
How: ‘Start by standing straight, a bottle of water in each hand. Roll your shoulders back, pushing them down, to activate your lats. Hinge at the hips (pretend to close a door by lowering your torso). Go as far as your mobility allows.
“In this bent over starting position, pull your right elbow behind you while bringing the bottle to your sternum. Once there, squeeze your shoulder blades together, before lowering the bottle with control to your starting position. Repeat on each side.’
Standing shoulder press
“This effective vertical push compound exercise strengthens your shoulders, upper chest, and triceps while increasing core strength and improving shoulder health.”
Muscles worked: Shoulders, upper chest, triceps and trunk.
Use: Backpack/water bottles.
How: ‘Doing this with a backpack allows you to load more weight, but water bottles are just as effective. Stand up straight with your arms bent, holding the backpack in front and close to your chest. Engage your core and glutes to prevent your spine from arching and press the backpack overhead with your elbows in line with your ears. Descend with the down command.’
RDL (Romanian Deadlift)
‘A powerful move to target and strengthen your posterior chain, it’s great for building muscle – and if done correctly, has been shown to reduce the risk of injury by building core strength and strengthening the lower back muscles which are essential for the protection of the spine.’
Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back and core.
Use: Paint cans.
How: ‘Paint cans add strength and are easy to hold, but water bottles are a lighter alternative.
“Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart, arms outstretched, holding a can of paint in each hand by the handle.
“Lean your hips back (as if closing a door with your butt), keep your back flat, and lower your torso toward the floor, keeping paint cans or bottles close to your body. You should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings.
“Allow the paint cans to go up to your shins, then push into the ground with your feet, while extending with control to a standing position.”
Krissy’s Strong Express program is available now on the EvolveYou app. Membership from £7.50 per month