Posted 9/1/12 by Brinton Parker in Lifestyle

Get Fit in Your Dorm: 7 Exercises for Small Spaces

#5 - Leg Lift Side Planks
#5 - Leg Lift Side Planks

Fitness Isn’t Easy, But It’s Worth It

Staying in tip-top shape once the term starts can be rough. Most universities offer gyms and exercise programs, but even with those resources available it is often difficult to find the motivation or time to utilize them… Especially when the food at the dining commons is so delicious, hangovers are killer, and you really should be studying. However, maintaining a healthy body and staying fit during the school year is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself as a young person. By age 65, people who have never participated in regular exercise see an average decrease in muscle strength of up to 80% (Icon Performance). With statistics like this it makes sense to start your fitness routine while you’re young and able-bodied, to better your chances of health later on! Plus, who doesn’t want to have a flat stomach and toned muscles, right?

That’s why I have taken it upon myself to compile and demonstrate a list of quick, effective workouts that you can do in your dorm or apartment. These seven exercises will train your core, get you energized, and help keep off the Freshman 15; all it takes is ten minutes of your day.


1. The Oblique Twist Pushup

This move is a variation of the standard pushup that will tone your obliques, abs, and arms. Starting the the normal pushup position, adjust your feet so that one foot is laying in front of the other, pointing inwards. Follow your body’s natural instinct and twist your abdomen, while still maintaining a solid plank. Do 3 sets of 15 pushups in this position. To challenge yourself, do this move with your hands forming a diamond shape on the ground beneath your chest, rather than the traditional placement beneath your shoulders.

#1 Oblique Twist Pushup

#1 Oblique Twist Pushup


2. The “Toe Touch” Ab Crunch

Laying on your back, extend your legs in a diagonal form and hold out your arms to match. For the crunch, bring your legs to a vertical position above your stomach and lift your butt off the ground in a controlled manner. You’ll feel your abs start to burn! Do 15 of these, 3 times. To challenge yourself, you can put a weighted medicine ball between your feet or bring your legs farther back (to the opposite diagonal position, with your feet over your head) when doing the crunches.














3. The Russian Twist

Balancing your weight on your butt with your legs out in front of you, clasp a small weight (or weighted object, like a textbook) between your hands and point your elbows out. Keeping your feet in the same position, move your abdomen and the weight between your arms from side-to-side in slow, controlled movements. 3 sets of 15 twists will lead you to see improvement in your abs and obliques… But make sure to increase your weight when you start to get comfortable! Your body will adapt to the exercise, so you should keep changing it up by upping your weight and varying the amount of reps.

#3 Russian Twist

#3 The Russian Twist


4. The Reptile Plank

This one is tough, but it’s an awesome full-body workout move! Get in a regular plank position, resting on your elbows. Then, slowly (so that you don’t fall) extend one leg and one arm on opposite sides. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch arms/legs. Doing this three times per side will make your sore in a good way. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t balance it right away or hold the position for very long… It takes practice!

#4 The Reptile Plank

#4 The Reptile Plank



5. Leg Lift Side Planks

This move is great for firming your booty! Get into the elbow-plank position, except on one side this time. Lift one leg, and hold it for 30 seconds. Alternate so that you do this three times per side. To challenge yourself, use an exercise band around your ankles to provide resistance.

#5 – Leg Lift Side Planks

#5 – Leg Lift Side Planks


#6 – Lunges



6. Lunges

These are pretty self explanatory, but great for your thighs and butt. Do forward and backward lunges until your legs burn too much to continue! To challenge yourself, hold dumbbells or other weights while doing the exercise.









#7 – Wall Sits


7. Wall Sits

This exercise is perhaps the easiest to find time for, but will work your thighs and calves nonetheless. Find a flat wall and sit against it, with your bottom scooted down as far as you can handle and your legs shoulder-width apart and facing forward. You can hold your arms out in front of you, or do another activity like reading or brushing your teeth… After a minute or so, the burn will be intense! Do these as often as you can and for as long as you can.








You Can Do It!

I challenge you to try this routine out for at least 10 minutes a day, mixing it up as much as you can and giving it as much effort as possible. It’s best to also participate in cardio, so try running or biking to your next lecture! And of course, exercise rarely does any good when not paired with a decent diet, so try to steer clear of junk and make sure to be eating lots of protein and fresh produce. If you can manage to find the time in your day to try these exercises out, I promise you’ll start to feel better and eventually see results.

And hey, maybe these small workouts will get you in the mood to be more active! Head to the gym, run around campus, or find new exercises that work in your small space… You won’t regret it.


Brinton Parker

Brinton is a third year student at the University of California, Davis and is majoring in English, with a minor in Textiles & Clothing. Her passion (at the risk of sounding extremely cliché) is fashion, as well as writing, cooking, fitness, and movies. Pursuing a career in magazine journalism is the next check on her to-do list.