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10 Exercises You Can Do Using Just a Pillow

To stay in perfect shape, you don’t always need to head to a fancy studio or even the gym. Turns out, you can fire up your muscles right in the comfort of your own home, and all you need are your warm cozy pillow and a comfy surface to lie on.

Here at Bright Side, we love the idea of a pillow workout. Whenever our head says we have to work out and our heart isn’t ready to leave that soft pillow, we now can have both with this set of exercises that we’ve found. So, take your cushiony pillow, and let’s try them together!

1. Superwoman strength exercise

How to do it: Lie on your stomach. Your belly button should be approximately in the middle of the mat. Put a pillow between your knees. Start by inhaling, on your exhale press your ankles together, squeeze your glutes, and lift your legs keeping them straight, hold for 5-10 seconds, repeat 5 times. Relax 5-10 seconds in between each rep. Then try only lifting your arms, drawing your shoulder blades down your back as if placing your shoulder blades down into your back pockets. Then try arms and legs together, keep your eyes looking down so you don’t kink your neck.

Benefits: Prevents the spine from curling forward, strengthens the muscles of buttocks and ankles.

2. Bridge with squeeze

How to do it: Start on your back with your knees bent and the pillow between your knees. Push up into a bridge. Keep your ribs aligned with your pelvis. Raise your pelvis, slowly squeeze your pillow 20 times. Lower the pelvis and bring your knees to your chest to round and relax your back. Then repeat twice for a total of 3 sets.

Benefits: This exercise will tone your inner thighs, abdominal muscles, and buttocks.

3. Reverse crunch

How to do it: Lie face-up on a mat or a firm padded surface. Hold a pillow between your knees. Lift your legs straight up. Once your legs reach 90°, lift your hips off the floor. Repeat this movement for 20 seconds.

Benefits: Strengthens the abdominal muscles, helps to build better posture.

4. Pigeon pose

How to do it: Place a pillow on the floor. Kneel down in a tabletop position over your pillow. Bring one knee under your chest and leave your other leg straight behind you. Then walk your hands forward to lift your head, chest, and shoulders. Relax your arms on the pillow. Close your eyes and relax here for 3 minutes, then switch legs.

Benefits: This exercise helps to stretch the hip area, improve posture, and lower cortisol levels, relieving stress.

5. Hip/knee pillow press

How to do it: Lie on the floor. Your toes should be pointed straight ahead, with your feet flat on the floor. Your thighs should be in alignment with your hips, with your hips bent in. Your knees are bent to 90° and directly over your feet. Place a firm pillow directly between your knees and squeeze the pillow for 10 seconds before relaxing. You can do this exercise while sitting on a chair too.

Benefits: It works your inner thigh muscles, so it helps strengthen your knees and prevents knee pain.

6. Hand squeeze

How to do it: Put your elbows on a pillow. Make a fist and squeeze slowly. And then gently open your palms and relax.

Benefits: The squeeze helps train your wrists and bicep muscles.

7. Roll down with knee squeeze

How to do it: On a firm sofa, sit up with your knees bent, feet flat on the couch cushion, and back straight. Place a throw pillow between your knees. Lean back, grasping the back of your thighs just below the knees, and tuck your chin toward your chest. Squeeze into the pillow as you slowly roll down until your arms are straight and your head is almost on the couch behind you. Hold for 4 to 5 deep breaths. Then slowly roll back up. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Benefits: The exercise strengthens the abs and inner thighs.

8. Pillow slides

How to do it: Start in a push-up position with your knees down on a pillow and a towel underneath both hands and knees. Engage your core and slide the towel out in front of you until your back is flat. Return to the starting position. Repeat. Complete 8 to 10 reps.

Benefits: This exercise helps strengthen your abdominal muscles and build muscle in those areas.

9. Kneeling ankle squeezes

How to do it: Set a chair or box in front of you and place your hands on it for stability. Ideally, the chair or box should come up to about your waist. Position the chair so that your arms can touch it naturally and you do not have to stretch to reach it. Press your ankles together and flex your gluteal muscles. Take a breath in when you begin squeezing and let it go when you release your muscles. Hold this motion for about 10 seconds.

Benefits: It strengthens your gluteal (buttock) and ankle muscles.

10. Quad sets

How to do it: Place a pillow lengthwise under your knee. Pull your toes back and push your leg down to squash the pillow. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat up to 20 times. You should feel your thigh and glute muscles during this exercise.

Benefits: This exercise is a great starting point if you have difficulty squatting, climbing stairs, or balancing on one foot. Practice this routine 1-2 times per day to help rebuild the basic strength in your knees.

What at-home tools do you use to exercise?

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