Eager to start working out now that you’re off to college, but not exactly sure where to begin? We have a great dorm-room workout for you: This beginner full-body workout doesn’t require any dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands—so it’s a great option for tiny dorms or campus apartments. Plus there’s absolutely no running, jumping, or leaping in this routine, so you won’t bug your roommate with a ton of noise.
Bodyweight workouts (workouts that don’t include equipment for resistance) are actually the best way for people just getting started with strength training, ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, CPT, owner of Strong With Sivan, tells SELF.
“Bodyweight exercises are a good choice because you really need to learn how to master your bodyweight before you start adding external resistance,” she says. “In order to progress safely and effectively, you want to master your own bodyweight and then you want to add more load.” This allows you to get a good understanding of what common movement patterns should feel like, helping you get your form on point.
In the below dorm-room workout Fagan created for SELF, you’ll focus solely on bodyweight exercises. In just five moves, you’ll work every part of your body, from your upper body to your lower body to your core. This is important for people just getting started with strength training, since working your entire body helps create balanced strength. That means any one muscle group won’t take over during any exercises it shouldn’t, which could lead to injury down the line.
You’ll begin with the dead-bug exercise, a beginner-friendly core move that helps train core stability, which is your core’s ability to resist movements like arching, flexing, or bending to the side. Then you’ll head right to the glute bridge, which fires up your butt muscles as well as your hamstrings. Next is the push-up, a classic upper-body exercise that builds strength in your chest or pectoral muscles, shoulders, and triceps. (Don’t worry, we have modifications below to make this one easier!) You’ll finish with the I-Y-T raise, which improves shoulder stability while targeting your rhomboids and mid-traps in your back, and the Bulgarian split squat, a challenging lower-body exercise that hits your quads and glutes.
This beginner full-body workout is also super customizable: Once you feel comfortable with the moves and it starts to feel easier, you can make it more challenging, either by adding dumbbells or slowing down the movements. You can do this dorm-room workout two to three times a week, allowing for at least 48 hours between workouts for your muscles to recover, Fagan says. Just make sure you do a brief warm-up before your routine, so your muscles aren’t starting cold—that can make your workout feel less pleasant, and may also lead to injury. (Here’s a five-move warm-up to try.)
Ready to get started? Here’s what you need for an awesome beginner full-body workout you’ll want to pencil into your fall semester—and beyond.
What you need: A yoga mat for comfort and a study chair or box.