7 Intense No-Equipment, At-Home Video Workouts
Stuck at home? So is the whole world (hopefully). If the lack of activity is making you feel awful, check out these easy-to-stream workouts that require nothing more than a mat — and if you don’t have one, a towel or the carpet will do.
7-minute HIIT with Tabata Song
Search “7 Minute Workout” on YouTube and you will find many options to choose from. I like Tabata Song’s "7 Minute Workout Song” workout video.
Only seven minutes? Don’t be fooled: These are intense minutes, and they are scientifically proven to keep you fit if you do them every single day. Designed by an exercise physiologist, the workout involves a sequence of 12 HIIT (high-intensity interval training) moves with 10 seconds of rest between each exercise. All you need is your body weight, a chair, and a wall.
If you haven’t done HIIT before, the idea is simple: you give 100% effort during short bursts of exercise followed by short periods of recovery. HIIT provides many of the same exercise benefits of prolonged endurance training but in less time. But you really have to push yourself hard the entire time, and only take the prescribed breaks.
You know how to do these moves already: push-ups, situps, tricep dips, planks, jumping jacks, etc. Yes, you will definitely get your heart rate up and sweat.
You can easily do this workout without streaming a video, but I love the motivating music as well as the voice cueing you when to start and stop each sequence, so you’re not fidgeting with the timer on your phone.
Moms: Get your kids to watch you do it once. They will laugh at you. Then challenge them to do it themselves, and unless you’ve got a child prodigy athlete, they will have to really work. This is the new threat in my house: “Do [BLANK] or you have to do the 7-minute workout!”
You’ve never seen a dishwasher unloaded so fast.
Muscle toning and aerobic training with The Class
Cost: 14-day free trial. After that, it’s $39.99/month.
Much has been written and posted about Taryn Toomey’s cult-y The Class, a “transformative workout of the body and mind,” according to the website. One friend described it to me as “cathartic, sweaty and better than therapy.”
Both aerobic and toning, the format of the 45-60 minute class is quite simple, continuously revolving through a cycle of three things: bursts of cardio (jumping jacks, dancing/shaking out your body); basic calisthenic exercises (jump squats, donkey kicks, burpees) that are repeated for what feels like forever; and meditative pauses to stand still and put your hands on your heart and belly and breathe deeply.
The prolonged repetition forces you to tune into your body and “get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” a phrase I heard from multiple instructors, who are fitness trainers but also self-anointed spiritual guides of sorts, encouraging you to ‘release bad energy,’ ‘engage your mind’ and ‘breathe, breathe, breathe’.
Truth be told, you have to be in the right mood for this class. The first time, it all sounded like psychobabble to me. But I went back and found that Toomey herself and several of her other instructors really inspired me. And I stopped thinking about the news and instead tuned in to the hell of the donkey kicks — and was quite amazed at what an incredible workout I got and how calm I felt afterward.
It should be noted that the music played during The Class is the best of any workout I have ever streamed. In any given class you may hear Cat Power, The Who, Cold Play, the Chemical Brothers, and tribal drumming. Good music really makes a difference.
Pilates with Pilatesology
Cost: 16-day free trial. After that, it’s $20/month.
Classic Pilates is a highly efficient and low-impact way to increase flexibility and build muscle and strength, particularly your core. If you’re looking to continue your intermediate or advanced practice or even to just start learning the basics, Pilatesology.com is the place.
Not sure if Pilates is your jam? There are loads of free videos you can watch on the website to see if you like the vibe. Think brisk, purposeful movement that takes you out of your head and keeps you entirely focused on your body. No boom-chicka-boom music, just cheerful instruction so you can get down to the business of strengthening, stretching, and lengthening.
If you’re already plugged into the Pilates world, you’ll immediately notice that Pilatesology’s roster of instructors is incredibly impressive, with many names you’ll recognize (Alycea Ungaro, Mari Windsor, and even Jay Grimes, who trained with Joseph Pilates in the 1960s).
The class search function gives you the opportunity to search by level, duration, teacher, and equipment (If you’re lucky enough to have a reformer, Wunda Chair, or other Pilates equipment at home, there is a large selection of classes for you. But even if you’ve got zero equipment there are plenty of ‘mat classes’ you can do on your living room rug).
The ‘Anti-Hunchback Workout’ improved my posture (seriously) in 20 minutes. ‘Top to Bottom Mat’ had my muscles trembling and my abs screaming, and I felt lean and stretched out, even after just one class. Not sure you can commit? The 30-day Mat Challenge is calling your name.
I stopped thinking about the news and instead tuned in to the hell of the donkey kicks — and was quite amazed at what an incredible workout I got and how calm I felt afterward.
Yoga with Glo
Cost: 15-day free trial. After that, it’s $18.99/month.
Glo offers yoga, meditation, and Pilates. The terrific selection of yoga options was what I kept going back for. There are literally thousands of classes on demand, taught by some famous instructors but also many you’ve never heard of. Refreshingly, they are all normal-looking people, of all shapes and sizes. This is decidedly not 22-year-old-influencer-in-a-neon-sports-bra territory.
The easy-to-navigate filter helps you choose a class quickly. You can filter by time, style of yoga (they’ve got them all), props you have on hand, your experience level, and you can even search by ‘focus of the class.’
If the options seem too overwhelming, you can choose the ‘discover’ option and the algorithm will make suggestions for you. That’s how I found “Better Than Vino,” which was 20 heavenly minutes of restorative yoga at the end of the day. (Actually better than vino? Ah...no. But a good preamble to enjoying a glass of Pinot.)
Partner yoga was also a hoot; it’s a fun way to connect with one of the people making you crazy in your house right now, and we felt stretched and happy afterward.
HIIT training with Fhitting Room
Cost: For on demand classes, there’s a 30-day free trial. After that, it’s $9.99/month. Live classes are $20 each.
This HIIT (high-intensity interval training) New York-based studio offers a wide range of both streaming and live workouts to kick your butt and get you sweating quickly. This is no-BS exercise that combines fast-paced strength training and cardio.
I appreciated that they have an entire catalog of ‘no equipment’ class options because I haven’t got anything at home. If you’ve got kettlebells, dumbbells, or resistance bands, you’ll have even more options.
A full-body no equipment class is about 30 minutes. You’ll be sweating about 30 seconds into the class, and I guarantee you’ll be satisfyingly whipped afterward. I found the instructors to be upbeat and encouraging but frankly it was a relief to be put through these paces in the privacy of my own home. I’m not sure I would want a crowd to witness my amateurish burpee stamina (although I was quite proud of my mountain climbers).
Did I mention the sweating?
Quick mini-workouts are offered as streaming options, as well as 5-12 minute classes that focus on abs, core, and lower body. But for what feels like an IV of endorphins, I recommend the 30-minute option or the live classes.
Cardio dance with AKT
Cost: 7-day free trial. After that, it’s $34.99/month. Check IG for free live classes.
Like to bust a move? AKT is good ‘ol dance cardio. If you were into step class back in the day, give AKT a try. It’s the same vibe: loud pop music, and choreographed dance moves interspersed with bursts of toning exercises. You will sweat. You will side lunge. You will imagine that you are Shakira, a longtime AKT client.
Founder Anna Kaiser has an undeniably infectious energy, so even though I’m not normally excited about cardio dance, I jumped in. You really don’t have to be a good dancer to follow these classes; the choreography is easily broken down and if you can keep a beat you can basically keep up with most of it.
The AKT website has many class options available for streaming, including some focused specifically on toning, HIIT, and cardio. There are equipment requirements for some classes (weights, resistance bands, medicine ball) but not for most. You can choose between 20, 45, and 60-minute timeframes.
‘Recovery’ classes, including foam roller techniques, were well taught and hurt in a good way. (Get thee a foam roller pronto, even if you don’t invest in any other equipment for at-home self-care. Trust me.)
I would have loved to try AKT’s treadmill classes, but I don’t have a treadmill at home. I decided to watch one while eating (like you’ve never done that?) and it looked challenging and fun.
Boxing with Rumble
Rumble is a popular cardio boxing workout with studios in NYC, LA, SF, DC, and Philadelphia. They’ve started streaming live, 30-45 minute shadowboxing HIIT workouts on Instagram, and they’re fun, high energy and doable no matter what your fitness level. Don’t be intimidated: you really do not have to have boxed before to do these classes.
The vibe is casual, as the classes are all streamed from the instructor’s apartments. Classes normally stream once a day; a weekly schedule is posted on @doyourumble.
The buff instructors are an inspiration in and of themselves, but you’ll be working so hard to keep up that you won’t have time to be intimidated by anyone’s guns and six pack. Instructions are clear (how to jab, uppercut, etc.) so beginners can easily follow the workouts. Get ready to plank, hop, squat and do push-ups in between series of air-punching sessions.
Turns out seemingly endless rounds of jabs, hooks, and uppercuts are extremely satisfying, as they offer a surge of sweaty, instant stress reduction. I felt quite powerful after so much punch-punch-punching. The ache in my shoulders the next day reminded me how hard I had worked and made me want to go back for more.