5 Little Exercises You Can Do in the Kitchen

updated Mar 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

Most gyms are closed right now and, honestly, thats fine. With kids being home, trying to figure out a work-from-home situation (when possible), crisis-level meal prepping, and this new normal we’re all going through, we don’t have a lot of time to spend on the elliptical anyway. But. But! We’re all in the kitchen more. And being in the kitchen does mean a fair amount of waiting. We wait for coffee to brew, water to boil, the oven to preheat, and for the rest of the family to join us at the table. That time adds up. These days, it makes sense to grab time wherever we can find it, even if it’s in the kitchen.

So we talked with a couple experts — professionals who specialize in real-world fitness — for some ideas on how to take advantage of those minutes here and there. Turns out, it’s possible to sneak in some exercises that can help us get centered, grow a little stronger and fitter, undo some of the damage of sitting all day, and head into the evening a little more relaxed.

With no special equipment in even the tiniest of kitchens, we can all do these mini-workouts suggested by personal trainer and yoga instructor Britt McVicar and physical therapist Erika Mundinger.

(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

1. Sun Salutations

While the coffee is brewing, stand with your feet together and hands straight up. Look up at your hands, expand your neck and arch your upper back a little. Swan dive forward with your arms out to your sides, bending forward at the waist and bringing your hands down to touch whatever you can. Round out your back, then stand back up, sweeping your hands overhead, and repeat for three or five sets.

(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

2. Kitchen Sink Squats

While you wait for water to boil, stand at your sink, rest your hands lightly on the counter, and squat several times, rest (or add jumping jacks in between sets!) and repeat. Remember to breathe, keep your knees aligned over your ankles, and your gaze forward.

(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

3. Bridges

Rewind the damage from sitting all day by doing some glute bridges while you wait for the oven to preheat. Lie on your back, hands down at your sides and feet hip distance apart, and lift your hips. Squeeze your glutes, notice your quads activating, and hold for five seconds before slowly lowering. Repeat.

Perfect the move:

The One Exercise to Do While Your Oven Preheats

(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

4. Savasana

If your family is taking their sweet time getting to the dinner table, make the most of it and take a few minutes to relax. Get down on the floor and try a restorative yoga pose like Savasana (lying still on the floor). Pay attention to your breathing — and nothing else.

Read this first:

The One Exercise To Do While You Wait for Everyone to Get to the Dinner Table

(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

5. A Bonus Move

Wait, there’s more! Anytime you find yourself with a few minutes to spare in the kitchen you can ramp up this routine. Erika suggests lunges. With enough space, you can do walking lunges across your kitchen; no room for that? Make it three-way lunges — forward, backward, then to each side.

Lunges are great multi-purpose moves, Erika says, because you get a stretch in the adductors on one side while working the quads and glutes on the other. (All that is a fancy way of saying it stretches you out!)

To turn this into a full body workout, grab soup cans or a heavy tub of coconut oil and, when you come down into the lunge, take that weight and move it overhead. In between sets of lunges you can do bicep curls with a heavy pot.

The thing is, you’re probably already getting a workout in the kitchen. Do you realize how heavy cast iron skillets are? And what about those calf raises as you’re reaching into the top cabinet? But with an easy-to-remember batch of exercises like these in your arsenal, you can turn all that wasted kitchen time into some fantastic-for-you fitness time. And you may just find yourself looking forward to those waiting periods.