What if exercise could be easier? Hiding in the corners of your closets and deep within your drawers is a trove of toning tools waiting for your next workout. With a little creativity, common household items such as a pair of socks or a tennis ball can transform your exercise experience.

It’s natural to correlate fitness with needing to be in a gym setting. But it doesn’t require much to get the same results from the comfort and convenience of your home. You may not realize it, but you already have all the muscle building machinery necessary to fight stubborn fat, reveal muscle definition, and improve your overall health. And by making your home a personal gym, you will get back one of the most precious commodities there is: time.

Lacking time is the main cause of a missed workout. This is especially true during the holiday rush, which is only a few short weeks away. It’s for this reason that autumn is the perfect opportunity to fall into healthy habits. By establishing a strong fitness foundation now, you can coast through the pound-packing temptations such as plumping pumpkin-flavored fare.

You can save tons of time, energy, and money by implementing a household good as your new aerobic accessory. Gone are the days of needing to pack a duffle bag, schlep to the gym, and wipe down sweat-soaked equipment.

This week, you will begin with a tennis ball. If you do not have a tennis ball, a baseball or racquetball will work well, too. For best results, repeat this circuit three times. Aim to complete this workout three times throughout the week. Have a ball with your workout by making it effortless, effective, and time efficient.

Coordination + balance

Building balance is an essential aspect of physical strength. And still, many of us forget this fundamental fitness skill.

  • Begin your workout by standing in front of a wall, with a ball in hand. Toss it across your body with your right hand and catch it with your left hand. Practice this for about two minutes.
  • For an added challenge, elevate one leg and perform the same drill for 60 seconds. Then repeat lifting the opposite leg.
A balance and coordination exercise.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
A balance and coordination exercise.
Cardio + strength conditioning

Wall ball

  • With a ball in hand, stand facing a wall about four or five feet away.
  • Lightly throw the ball against the wall so it lands several feet to the right of where you are positioned. Briskly side shuffle to catch the ball once it bounces off the wall.
  • Now toss the ball diagonally to the left. Quickly side shuffle in that direction to catch the ball. Continue this back-and-forth sequence for 60 seconds.

Squat toss

  • Throw the ball straight overhead, allowing your gaze to follow the ball. On the way down, catch it with both hands as you simultaneously lower your body into a squat.
  • To squat safely, keep your bodyweight in your heels as you hinge back at your hips. Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes as you stand up and toss the ball back up into the air. Repeat 10-12 times.
Squat toss
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Squat toss

Lunge loops

  • Hold your tennis ball and position your body into a stationary lunge. Your knees should form a 90-degree angle, and your front knee should not extend past your toes. Your back knee and shoulders should be aligned.
  • Using your right hand, loop the tennis ball under your front leg and grab it with your left hand. Elevate your left arm overhead and meet it with your right arm. Transfer the ball to your right hand, bringing both arms down. Repeat this 10 times then switch legs and the direction of the tennis ball.
Lunge loop
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Lunge loop

Plank pass

  • Begin in a plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, spine straight, and neck neutral. Place the tennis ball by the right side of your torso. If this is uncomfortable on your wrists, you can shift to a forearm plank position.
  • Using your left arm, reach under your body and grab the ball, moving it to the left side of your body.
  • Now use your right arm to reach beneath your body and pull the ball to the right. Avoid rocking at your hips, or allowing them to hike or droop. Practice this for 30 to 60 seconds.
Plank pass
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Plank pass
Stretch + flow

Who needs a pricey massage when you have a tension-taming tennis ball? By placing a firm ball at the right trigger points on your body, you can relieve muscle tightness immediately. Here’s how:

  • Start in a supine position with your knees bent and feet planted firmly on the floor. If you suffer from sore shoulders, or have a stubborn knot in that area, lift your back slightly and try to position the ball right on the tender spot.
  • Using your feet, slightly shift your body as you press your weight into the ball. For a deeper massage, put the ball between your right shoulder blade and spine. Lift your right arm and cross it over your chest. This will open up the shoulder blade and muscle for a deep tissue massage. Pressure point release is best when practiced for at least 60 seconds in each area.
A recovery stretch.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
A recovery stretch.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more about her virtual training program, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.