We wanted to make sure you weren’t overlooking a great workout tool at your gym: the walls. That’s right, those vertical spaces can add a real kick and convenience to your workout plus you can do many of them while you’re on the road. We spoke with Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer Nikki Kimbrough who offered up seven exercises that take up minimum floor space.
Here are a few reasons why you should hit the wall:
■ Wall moves build your legs, torso and upper body while improving your endurance and balance
■ Can help you switch up your standard gym routine and work your muscles in different ways
■ When gym floor space is at a premium, you can get a great workout in a small area
You might remember these from the Presidential Fitness Test back in elementary school. (Or maybe that’s just us?) Stand with your back flat against the wall and slowly bend your knees until they are directly over your toes at a 90-degree angle. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground.
Hold the position for 45 to 90 seconds. Rest for one minute, then repeat two more times.
To add intensity:
Hold dumbbells in each hand and do bicep curls.
Fitness ball squats
Place a fitness ball (a.k.a. yoga ball) between your back and the wall. Do a squat, keeping your back straight and bending your knees until they are at a 90-degree angle over your toes. Return to a standing position. If you do it correctly, the ball will remain pinned to the wall.
Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
To add intensity:
Lift one leg straight out in front of you and squat with other leg. Switch legs and repeat.
Lunge and throw
Stand with your left shoulder about three feet from the wall and hold a ball in your hands. Lunge forward with your left foot until your knee is at a 90-degree angle over your toes. While holding that position, turn your entire torso toward the wall and bounce a ball off it with a chest pass. Catch the ball, then return to a standing position.
Do 3 sets of 12 reps on each side.
Stand facing the wall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Put your arms straight out, then lean forward until both hands touch the wall. Move your hands farther down the wall (i.e., shoulder height to hip height) if you want to shift the emphasis from the chest to the shoulders.
Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps, making sure to keep a straight back.
To add intensity:
Place stability discs between your hands and the wall.
This exercise is a little more advanced. Kneel down with your back to the wall and put your hands on the ground at shoulder width. Put your head down and your feet against the wall, then work your feet up until you are inverted in a handstand position. Start doing push-ups, keeping your back straight. “This move will work your shoulders, upper back muscles and core while improving your balance,” Kimbrough says.
Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
Medicine ball tosses
This one’s simple. Put your feet about shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Stand facing the wall about three feet away. Throw the medicine ball at the wall with a chest pass, then catch it. You should feel this in your arms, shoulders and chest.
Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Russian toss and catch
Sit parallel to the wall with your right shoulder about three feet away from it. Put your legs out in front with knees bent and your heels resting on the floor. Lean back slightly. Holding a medicine ball with outstretched arms, twist your arms across your body toward your left side. Then whip your arms back across your body and toss the medicine ball at the wall, and let it roll back to you. After 10 reps, switch sides.
Do 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.
Bonus: Crazy Eights
“This is one of my favorite circuit workouts for strength training and cardiovascular fitness,” Kimbrough says. Start with eight jumping jacks, then do eight squats against the wall. Next up: eight burpees (stand, kneel, push-up, kneel, jump up, repeat), and finally eight push-ups. Don’t rest.
Try 3 sets of 4-minute intervals.