When you feel drained but still want to exercise, try mustering up enough energy for a horizontal workout. Just because you’re lying down doesn’t mean you can’t burn extra calories, tone up and shrink saddle bags or love handles. In fact, resistance-training workouts – even when lying down -- are effective for reducing chronic disease risks and body fat, while increasing lean muscle mass, note authors of a review published in 2009 in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.”
Tighten and tone your arms and chest by completing calorie-burning chest presses using dumbbell weights. Lie flat on your back and slowly lift the dumbbell weights, using your arm and chest muscles, toward the ceiling until your arms are fully extended. Lower the weights down to your chest and repeat this exercise until your muscles fatigue. Aim to complete eight to 20 repetitions for each set you perform, recommends the American College of Sports Medicine.
Chisel your emerging six-pack by completing a series of calorie-expending abdominal exercises while lying down on your back. Alternate – without stopping to rest between sets – dumbbell crunches, leg raises while keeping your legs straight, the bicycle, oblique crunches while lying on your side and jack-knife crunches. Complete jack-knife crunches while lying on your back by lifting your knees up toward your chest and touching your ankles with straight arms. Slowly lower your legs, arms and head back to the ground until you’re once again in a lying-down position. Repeat the exercise until fatigue sets in.
Lie on your side and complete leg lifts to tighten and tone your saddle-bag area -- and burn extra calories. Use ankle weights for added resistance. Slowly lift one leg, keeping it straight, up toward the ceiling and lower it back down until it touches your other leg, which is touching the floor. Repeat this exercise until your muscles fatigue, then do it with your other leg.
Firm up your lower back by performing lying-down back extensions on the floor. Lie down on your stomach, and place your hands behind your head. Using your lower-back muscles, slowly lift your upper body up off the floor as high as you can. Hold this position for about five seconds and repeat the exercise until you feel a slight burn in your lower back.
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Issues New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy Exercise Guidelines
- Perform these exercises two to three days per week for best results.
- Avoid exercising flat on your back when you’re pregnant, especially during the second the third trimesters, warns the American Pregnancy Association.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.