There’s nothing quite like a good workout while catching your favorite show on TV.
Some days require a demanding workout. You know the kind: sweat dripping from your brow as you push through the last few reps of a hard circuit that has pummeled your whole body and leaves you sore the next morning. Kind of like, some of the activities we put you through in Tough Mudder Challenges, our 21-day virtual fitness adventure.
And then other days, you gotta give yourself a break and have a slightly more laid back workout. Some days, you need the kind where you squeeze in a workout while watching TV and folding laundry. It’s all about balance.
While I love being active and getting in a killer workout, I also love a good medical drama. Working out while watching TV may not be the best practice everyday, but it certainly fun to watch doctors solve a medical mystery while I solve a case of extended cardio. Usually I like to walk around the house during commercial breaks just to break up the amount of sitting I do in a day. Lately I have been doing this fun full body workout 2-3x per week while watching TV. You can do this with body weight or add weights to the leg exercises for an extra challenge. Don’t have weights? No problem; you can use milk jugs filled with water, a heavy book, cans of food, or anything else you can hold onto to add weight.
For this workout, each commercial break is one round. There are two rounds to this workout with three exercises per round. Each exercise is done with As Many Reps As Possible (also known as AMRAP style) for each commercial. When the commercial changes, switch exercises! If you end round one with the first exercise, then the next time you repeat round one start with the second exercise. Ideally you will do each 3-5 sets of each exercise throughout a one hour show.
- Squat with side step: Standing with feet hips distance apart, engage your core, lower into your squat (imagine sitting in a chair behind you). Staying in the squat position side step to the right (right, left) then side step back to center (left, right). Return to stand. Repeat, this time starting your side step to the left.
- Plank/arm step ups: Starting in the push up position, lower down or “step” onto your right forearm then left forearm ending in a forearm plank. Return to your push up by “stepping” up to your right hand then left hand, ending back in your push up position. Repeat, starting with the left arm first. This can be done on your toes or from your knees.
- Bicycle crunches: Lying on your back, hands gently behind your head, elbows wide. Chin to chest lifting the shoulders slightly off the floor with the core engaged, lower back on the floor, legs off the ground- right knee in towards your chest, left leg extended ~6 in off the ground. Crunch and rotate right elbow to left knee then switch left elbow to right knee. Continue switching in this pattern: 2 slow, 4 quick.
- Single Leg Deadlift: Starting with the right foot on the ground, left leg extended behind, toes touching the floor. Keeping the back flat, core engaged, chin lifted, eyes forward, fold from the hip letting the left leg lift off the floor (ideally keeping one nice long line from your heel to your knee to your hip to your shoulders). Return to standing. Repeat. Switch to the left side on the next commercial.
- Pushups: Any push up variation you choose! From your knees or your toes. Other fun variations include changing the angle by using any platform available: counter tops, a chair, the couch (I recommend removing the cushion first). If push ups are difficult, changing the angle is a great way to work up that strength. Start with wall push ups and slowly work your way down to the ground.
- Plank: Any variation you choose! Important form note here- maintain an engaged core, straight line from your toes to your knees to your hips to your shoulders. Careful that your hips don’t dip towards the ground or that your butt doesn’t lift towards the sky. Fun options- forearm plank, plank with extended arms (pushup position), plank jacks or plank with leg side taps, bring your knee to your elbow, return and repeat with opposite side.
Body weight exercises can go a long way. A strong core is essential for posture, reducing low back pain, running performance, and stability (Texas Hold’em I’m looking at you!). Each of these exercises recruits multiple muscles and engages the core to get the most bang for your buck, all while watching TV.
Enjoyed this workout? Make sure to follow Tough Mudder on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for your daily dose of inspiration, training, and more.
Crystal Payter is a Tough Mudder ambassador and clinical exercise physiologist in the metro Detroit area. She has been running Tough Mudders since 2013. Her favorite forms of exercise are running, lifting, and yoga. You can find Crystal on Instagram @CrytsalOverAllFitness.