Dorm room exercises

Noelina Rissman

As a student, what’s your favorite thing to do during the winter? It’s walking to classes when it’s below freezing outside, right? Wrong.

So, with these quick moves to do in your dorm room, you no longer need an excuse not to do some sort of physical activity for the day. After all, something is better than nothing.  

Full-body move:

  • The Burpee

Start in a standing position. Bend down into a squat with both hands outside of your knees. Kick your legs back so that your body is in a plank position. Do a complete push-up (chest touching the ground). Finish the push-up by returning to the plank position. Pull your feet back up towards your hands so that you’re in the squatting position again. Jump into the air explosively, clapping your hands above your head. This is one rep. For a complete mini-workout, see how many you can do in one minute.

Chest and Arms:

  • Decline Pushups:

These are a spin-off of your normal push-up. Elevate your feet onto a steady surface behind you. (You can use a chair, bench, coffee table, etc. The higher elevation you have, the more you’re going to work your upper pecs and shoulders.) Keep your body straight with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width and arms fully extended. Lower yourself until your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back up so that your arms are fully extended again. This should be done in three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

  • Chair Dips

This is a great movement for your triceps. Start sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair with your hands grasping the edge on either side of you. Slide your feet out in front of you, keeping your legs straight, until you’re out far enough so that you won’t hit the edge of the chair as you go down into a dip. Lower yourself into a dip, bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Your hips should end up below the edge of the chair. Extend your arms back up to starting position. Do this in three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Legs and Glutes:

  • Air Squats

Let’s get down to the basics with some body-weight air squats. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart with toes turned slightly out. As you squat down, make sure that your knees don’t lean out past your toes and that they’re being pushed outwards. Be conscious of keeping your chest up (“a big chest”), maintaining a straight back and keeping your weight balanced on your heels. Get full depth in your squat by squatting until you’ve reached a 90-degree angle. To keep better balance, slowly extend your hands out in front of you as you’re squatting down. To return to standing position, squeeze with your glutes and drive up, bringing your hands back down to your side. Do five sets of 10 to 15 to get the best workout.

  • One-legged squats (pistols):

This movement may take a while to perfect. Start in a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise one leg in front of you so that you’re balanced on only one leg. (For beginners, using a chair to sit on at the bottom of the squat, standing on a sturdy, elevated surface and/or holding onto a stationary item while squatting would be helpful.) Apply the same principles as you used for an air squat, but this time, you’re doing it on one leg. So, as you’re squatting down, bring your hands out in front of you to keep your balance. For those with strong enough thigh muscles, as your reach the bottom of your one-legged squat, drive back up (all the while remaining on one leg) into a standing position. Do this for three sets of eight to 10 reps on each leg.

  • Jump Lunges:

Start in the standard lunge position with one leg out in front of you in a 90-degree angle with the ground and the other leg bent behind you with your knee almost touching the ground. Jump explosively into the air, and as you’re in mid-air, switch the positions of your legs. Your main goal is to work on form in the beginning stages. If your form is good, and you’re landing consistently in your starting position, work on speed. Do three to four set of 10 jumping lunges.