Confession: I've been binge-watching Scandal on Netflix for the past few weeks. I know, I'm behind the times with that show, but my. god. it's amazing! (Anyone else watch it? Do you love it? No spoilers please!) Anyway. All that is to say that I've been spending an inordinate amount of time on the couch recently, despite my workouts and teaching classes. I know, I know... but we all have our lazy days right? Now, granted Netflix doesn't have commercial breaks, but last night between the "oh my god did they really just go that far" moments, I got up off the couch and did a few exercises so I didn't feel like a total slob. I tried to make them last about as long as a commercial break would - or until I just plain couldn't do them any longer.
So, here are some ideas for exercises you can do while the commercials air and you're waiting to pass the time. (Hint: with football season in full swing, I bet a lot of you are parked in front of the boob tube more often!) Fair warning: some of these are killer if you do them for the entire break! So quit channel surfing, put down the remote, and use that couch (or chair) for more than just sitting.
5 Couch Exercises to do During a Commercial Break
Any of the following exercises can be done on their own or in combination during a commercial break of your favorite TV show. Try to keep going for the entire commercial break!
1 | Knee to Elbow Planks - start in a plank position with your feet on the couch, hands flat on the floor, shoulders over wrists. From here, bend one leg out to the side and try to bring your knee to meet your elbow. Alternate sides, keeping your abs engaged and spine neutral with your gaze slightly ahead of you.
2 | Decline Push Ups - get into a push up position with your feet on the couch. Keep your abs engaged and back/spine straight. From here, do a push up. For variations, you can try holding the push up halfway down or all the way down, or adjust your hand width to be closer (tricep push ups) or farther away (chest).
3 | Raised Leg Sit Ups - lie down on the floor with your heels propped up on the couch, legs straight, arms crossed over your chest. From here, sit up and reach your hands toward your toes keeping your legs straight the entire time. Lower yourself back down slowly, bringing your arms back to your chest (not over your head). Trainer Tip: the reason I say to cross your arms here is to avoid the added help you get when you swing your arms up with your body. I want the sole focus to be on your abs.
4 | Figure 4 Plank Dips - get into a plank position with your feet on the couch, hands shoulder width apart with your shoulders aligned over your wrists. Cross your right foot in back of your left knee and elevate it, like you're forming a figure 4. From here, slowly dip your left leg so your knee approaches the floor (note: it shouldn't touch the floor unless your couch is really low). Raise it back up. Do 5 dips on the left and then switch, alternating every 5 for the entire break if you can.
5 | Side Plank Leg Raises - start in a low side plank on your elbow with your top foot resting on the couch, bottom leg bent so your foot is under your hips, with that knee resting on the ground. From here, raise that bottom leg up to meet your top leg while maintaining the side plank position. Lower it back down. Do 10 dips on one side, then switch to the other for 10. Alternate for the entire commercial break, or combine with other exercises. Trainer Tip: the only thing that should move here is that bottom leg up and down. Your hips stay raised the entire time, and your obliques, adductors (inner thighs), and shoulder should be engaged to hold that position.
There you have it! Feel free to play around with these exercises and make up your own too. There are many more exercises I did last night that aren't listed here, so I'll likely be posting another one of these soon! You really can get in a great workout from your couch in just a few quick minutes. And guess what - you won't be bored during the commercials!
Readers: chat with me! Do you watch TV often? (Do you watch Scandal? I'm halfway through Season 4, so no spoilers!) Have you ever done exercises during the commercials using your couch? What exercises would you add to this list?