Dorm-Friendly Exercises


Just because you’re living in a dorm doesn’t mean you have to let your fitness routine become dormant! There are many simple, yet effective, motions you can take to increase your muscle tone and cardio-respiratory endurance and fitness. Whether you’re looking to focus on a specific area or you desire a whole-body workout, we have some suggestions for you. Turn up the music and get down to it! Below are some examples of exercises you can do sans equipment in the privacy of your room:


Amy refused to do any cardio until she realized she could modify exercises to fit her needs!

 Jumping Jacks

(I won’t explain the technique, since most of us have done jumping jacks from a young age.) However, jacks are an efficacious method of getting those ol’ heart and lungs working.

High Knees

This move is like running in place, except that you bring your knees up to your chest instead of back/parallel to the floor. The more altitude you can get with the knees, the better your fitness outcome. If you’re new to aerobic workouts, I’d recommend doing them quickly for 30 second bouts over 3 times.


Textbook Raise

Stop letting those expensive textbooks you purchased gather dust! You can use them to tone your arms. Pick up a book with both hands, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. As your palms face downward, lift the books up to shoulder level, then bring ‘em back down. We recommend 15 repetitions over 3 sets.

Water Bottle Triceps Press

Do you have a large water bottle lying around? “Water” you waiting for? Grab that sucker and start increasing your triceps strength! For this exercise, use a 64 oz. water bottle, and bring it over your head (use both hands). Lower the bottle behind your head and raise it back up again, keeping elbows as close to ears as possible. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps.



Ditch your chair for a couple of minutes a day and get your back on the wall! Keeping your feet shoulder-width apart (and 2 feet from the wall), lower down so your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keeping your back flat at all times, hold for as long as you can. Remember: the burn is your friend.

Chair Squat

Stand in front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart. While holding your arms out (Franken-style), slowly lower your buns toward the chair without actually sitting down – the goal is to have your knees bent at a 90° angle and your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your knees over your ankles and place your weight in your heels throughout the full range of motion. Keep your body upright and repeat 3 times with 20 reps each.

ABDONMINALS (a.k.a. “abs”):

Bicycle Crunches

Assuming a typical crunch stance while lying on your back, you pedal your legs in a cyclical motion. As each knee approaches your chest, reach the opposite elbow towards it. Try to do as many as possible within 30 seconds.

Standing Crunches

If you’re crunched in terms of space, you can still crunch your abs! With your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width, wring your hands behind your head (like regular sit-ups). Elevate one leg up to the chest, and have your opposing elbow descend to meet it. Try doing this for an entire minute, then resting and repeating as needed.  To see this in a video, click here.


Mountain Climbers

Start in a pushup position with your arms straightened out. Aim for forming a straight line from head to toe. Keep the integrity of form in your lower back and lift one foot off the floor and raise your knee to your chest. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating the legs, maintaining a fast pace, for 30 seconds. If you can, shoot for 1 minute!   *For those who crave challenge, intersperse the mountain climbing segments with push-ups or hold a plank position.


Burpees can go by a number of names, but it’s an extremely aerobic move that delivers results. Start in a low squat position with your hands placed on the floor. After jumping your feet back to a push-up position, you can complete a push-up or immediately jump your feet back to meet your hands. Stand (or jump!) and repeat. Try this for a total of one minute.  To make it a little easier, you can skip the push-up or modify the jump to a simple stand.


If you’re more inclined to look at screens, consider downloading a fitness app. A personal favorite of mine is the “Quick 4” app, which guides you through several different movements (each only 20 seconds in duration) for a total of four minutes. It’s a great warm-up for a workout, and it’s short enough to be doable if you’ve fallen off the proverbial horse of exercise.

There’s a little guy in the middle, too! He is a great workout buddy and helps with proper form.

There’s a bevy of other apps you can choose from here. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more wellness tips and University Wellness Program updates!


One thought on “Dorm-Friendly Exercises

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s