The best free home workouts while social distancing

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  • Self-quarantining doesn’t need to affect your fitness

    Not since 17 million women worldwide brandished leg warmers, a leotard and a video of Jane Fonda ab-crunching have home workouts been quite so in vogue.

    With gyms closed across the country due to the Coronavirus, many of us are going hell for leather with a HIIT class in the living room while the UK remains in lockdown.

    Fashion aside, the one thing that’s changed since Fonda’s 80s workout is the technology. It’s re-writing the fitness rules.

    Instead of videos, our favourite personal trainers, celebrities and even upmarket boutique gyms are offering versions of their classes for free.

    All you need to do is download an app or live stream them on your phone or laptop.

    A cursory glance on Instagram throws up invites to join Joe Wicks for morning PE lessons.

    Or live stream Barry’s Bootcamp for a full body, abs and ass workout.

    ‘People really enjoy human interaction, especially at a time like this,’ says Greg Zimmerman, co-founder of Rowbots, an independent gym in London’s Fitzrovia that specialises in maximum intensity training and has slated a timetable of daily streamable workouts through its Instagram Stories.

    ‘A live workout gives you as much of an in-house class feel as possible without actually being there. As a brand, our whole concept is based around mental health. Live classes are far more personal and allow the trainer to tap into the mindset and psychological theme of the session with greater impact. Plus it helps to retain the community feel.’

    That sense of community and engaging with a live PT seems to be key to the success of a home workout. An idea supported by a study published in the Journal of Social Sciences, which demonstrates that the healthy actions and exercise habits of others rub off on us.

    Here’s everything you need to know for getting the most out of your makeshift living room gym…

    Our pick of the free home workouts to do right now

    PE with Joe

    Fitness expert Joe Wicks is getting Britain’s kids (and a few parents) fit by uploading daily PE lessons on to his YouTube account, The Body Coach TV. Each routine consists of a five-minute warm-up, followed by a 10-minute workout. On day one, 806,000 households tuned in – how brilliant is that?


    You can join the ROWBOTS@HOME: Live Workout Series every day at 1.30pm via Instagram Stories. Each workout not only targets all muscle groups and improves your cardiovascular strength but also has a different mental health focus. For example, on Sundays, the live workout is yoga flow for recovery and to recharge for the week ahead. They’ve also thrown free on-demand nutrition advice; immunity-boosting smoothie recipes plus Beeja Meditation bespoke wind downs into the bargain.

    Barry’s Bootcamp

    Still beasting people at home, this fitness studio is set to push you to your physical limit with intense workouts on Instagram. You’ll also find details of the classes Barry’s UK  is offering online – from sessions that use your entire bodyweight to those that target specific areas of the body.


    Nike Training

    Download the Nike Training Club (NTC) app and you can scan through a vast library of minimal equipment workouts by highly experienced trainers until one takes your fancy. You can even create a personal plan so you can stay motivated, adjust your progress along the way and schedule new activities. Free for iOS and Android.


    The FIIT app features hundreds of pre-recorded workouts from international trainers. You can choose between 25- and 40-minute sessions, based on your exercise preferences (such as HIIT, yoga, or strength training) and new workouts are added daily. If you have an Apple Watch or Fiit device, you can get involved in the UK’s first interactive live leaderboard classes, which allow users to workout with friends and family from the comfort of their living room. Get a 14-day free trial right now.  And if you work for the NHS the app is free full-stop.

    Own Your Goals Davina

    Loveable celebrity Davina McCall is giving away free 30-day memberships to her online gym, Own Your Goals Davina. Access 100s of workouts such as yoga, HITT and dance, plus wellbeing tips to support you through the current crisis.


    Go into self-isolation, emerge with the body of Thor. Chris Hemsworth and the team that turned him into a Viking god are offering six weeks of his health and fitness program Centr Fit for free. Just sign up to the website by 31stMarch.



    Your favourite athletic clothing brand is now hosting free live sessions. Just check Lululemon UK‘s instagram stories for a round up of yoga, meditation and self-care tips to offer stress relief in these uncertain times.

    A brief history of home workouts

Jane Fonda: Original Workout

    When the actress took her Hollywood workout to the VHS-owning massive, at-home fitness was born.

The Green Goddess: Get Fit With The Green Goddess

    Diana Moran was Britain’s leader of the 80s leotard and leg-warmer movement.

Rosemary Conley: 
Whole Body Programme

    Conley’s first book, Complete Hip And Thigh Diet, sold over 2 million copies. Her ‘low fat’ science may be questioned nowadays, but she looks decades younger than her 72 years.

Mr Motivator: 
Mr. Motivator’s 10 Minute BLTs

    Mr M (Derrick Evans) brought enthusiasm and the love of a unitard to his GMTV aerobic routines.

Davina McCall: 
Davina: Power Of 3

    Thanks to Big Brother, McCall became TV gold. This, her first-ever DVD, sealed her destiny as the queen of living room exercisers everywhere.

Jillian Michaels: 
30 Day Shred

    The fact that she found fame on a show called The Biggest Loser should tell you 
all you need to know. Michaels’ no-bull approach was ‘unless you puke, faint or die, keep going’.

Tracy Anderson: 
Tracy Anderson Method

    The celeb PT promised the world a ‘teeny tiny dancer’s body’. She definitely delivered ‘teeny tiny screams of agony’ with her ‘looks easy, hurts like a bitch’ workouts.


    The noughties’ most hardcore HIIT option by the fearsome Shaun T. No idea what the T stands for. Torture? Terror? Tears?

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