If you aren’t a morning person, the thought of jumping out of bed to get to the gym may sound like the worst idea in the world, especially on a lazy Saturday morning.

Wouldn’t you love a workout to tone and tighten your legs, abs, and shoulders without even getting out of bed? These five exercises require no clothes, no equipment, and can be over and done with before you make your morning coffee.

Benefits of exercising in bed

Unless you sleep on a bed of concrete, most mattresses provide a slightly unstable surface. Similar to using a foam mat or exercise ball, bed exercises may help recruit small stabilizing muscles while working large prime movers. Unstable surfaces can be beneficial for building core strength, improving balance, and toning areas of the body like the abs and glutes.

Supine leg marches

This exercise targets the muscles of the glutes, legs, and core. It’s a variation of a regular glute bridge.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed, hands by your side.
  2. Lift your buttocks off the bed until your body is in a straight line.
  3. Without straightening your leg, press into your supporting heel as you lift one leg off the bed. Bring the knee toward your chest until it’s in line with your hips.
  4. Return your foot to the bed and repeat on the other side without lowering your hips.
  5. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

Reverse crunches

This exercise targets the lower abdominals. Slower is better for this movement. Focus on core stability and don’t rely on gravity or momentum.

  1. Lie on your back with your hands by your side, palms down.
  2. Keeping your legs straight, use your abs to lift your legs toward your face until your toes touch the headboard.
  3. Slowly lower your legs back to the bed, engaging your abdominals. Don’t let your lower back arch up off the mattress. Feel as if you’re knitting your ribs together and pulling your bellybutton toward your spine.
  4. Repeat 10 times. Complete 3 sets with a 30-second rest between sets.
  5. If this is too challenging, try decreasing the load by bending your legs to 90 degrees and moving through a smaller range of motion.

Straight leg lifts

This exercise targets the quadriceps on the front of the thigh. It’s often seen in physical therapy, as it’s ideal for people with knee pain or instability.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight, feet flexed, toes toward the ceiling.
  2. Lift one leg to 45 degrees, engaging the quadriceps on the front of the thigh.
  3. Hold for 1 second and lower back to the bed.
  4. Repeat 15 to 20 times on each leg. Complete 3 sets with a 30-second rest between sets.

Modified handstand push-ups

This exercise targets the shoulders, upper back, and core muscles. It can help build shoulder stability and strength for full handstand holds or handstand push-ups.

  1. Lie on your belly with your head near the edge of the bed.
  2. Slide yourself forward until your hips are on the side of the bed. Place your hands on the floor in a handstand position, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Lower yourself toward the floor, bringing your head between your hands. Try to remain as upright as possible. You can change the intensity of the exercise by walking your hands out to make it easier, or bringing your hips off the bed to make it harder.
  4. Repeat for 10 repetitions. Rest 30 seconds. Repeat 3 sets.

Glute hamstring leg lifts

This exercise is great for targeting the glute and upper-hamstring area. Focus on engaging the buttocks muscles, keeping the core tight and working your body against gravity in a small range of motion.

  1. Lie on your belly with your feet toward the end of the bed.
  2. Slide yourself back until your legs slightly hang off the bed. Your hip crease should be about 6 inches from the edge of the bed.
  3. Place your hands under your head for support if needed.
  4. Engage your core by pulling your bellybutton up off the mattress.
  5. Put your heels together, toes apart, and lift your legs toward the ceiling without arching too much through the back. You should feel this movement primarily in your glutes.
  6. Lower down halfway and repeat 20 times.

Takeaway

Try these exercises in bed to tone and tighten your buttocks, abs, and shoulders. And hey, if you’re craving some cardio, I’m sure you can grab your partner and experiment with other ways to get your heart pumping before the sun comes up. (Yes, we had to go there!)


Natasha is the owner of Fit Mama Santa Barbara and is a licensed and registered occupational therapist and wellness coach. She’s been working with clients of all ages and fitness levels for the past 10 years in a variety of settings. She’s an avid blogger and freelance writer and enjoys spending time at the beach, working out, taking her dog on hikes, and playing with her family.