Introduction: [Collegiate Exercise] Dorm Room Fitness

Picture of [Collegiate Exercise] Dorm Room Fitness

In the midst of homework, exams, parties, and other college distractions, finding time to hit the gym can be difficult.  I've compiled a set of exercises that you can do from your dorm room.  For just twenty minutes a day, you will see results from these simple exercises!

Keep in mind that is is important to make an effort to hit the gym to lift weights and perform cardiovascular exercise as well.  On days when your schedule is just too packed to hit the gym for an hour, perform these exercises in your dorm and you will look and feel better!

My room is about 15' by 12'.  In just this small space, you can make a difference in the way you look and feel!

Step 1: Push-Ups

Picture of Push-Ups
Although the push-up one of the most common exercises, many people perform this exercise incorrectly. 
  • Begin with your hands at about shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Your body should be in a relatively straight line from our heels to your shoulders.
  • Lower your body down to the ground using your core (abs) and upper body.
  • Lower your body just until your chest touches the floor.
  • Now just push up with your arms, and chest muscles.
Be sure that your back remains straight, and does not sag.  The buttox also tends to rise up on some folks, so make sure you keep your buttox down as well.  Another issue comes when your hands are too far from your body, or too far in on your body.  Keep your hands directly under your shoulders when you begin the pushup. 

You can perform the following exercises in a circuit, performing 10 repetitions, and then moving on to the next exercise.

Don't fret if you can't do these perfectly yet.  As your upper body gets stronger, you will be able to perform them cleaner and you wil be able to do more of them.

Step 2: Sit-Ups

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Your core is an important part of your body, and the classic sit-up is a perfect abdominal exercise.
  • Sit on the ground in the seated position.
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground, and slowly lay your back down on the ground.
  • Now place your knees at about a fist's distance apart.
  • Move your hands up your thighs, and move up to the original seated position.
  • Do you best to keep your feet on the ground during this movement.
  • Once you are at the sitting position, you have completed one repetition!
  • Now slowly bring yourself down with your back on the ground and then perform another sit-up.
Just like the push-up, perform 10 repetitions and then move on to the next exercise.

Step 3: Sculls

Picture of Sculls
The scull is another abdominal workout.  It is short for the form of rowing, called "sculling," where this exercise takes the form of this style of rowing.
  • Begin by sitting on the ground.
  • Bring your legs in to your chest, with your arms spread out.  (Making your body like a T).
  • Now extend your legs out, and bring your arms in to your chest.
  • Now bring your legs back in to your chest, and spread your arms back out like a T once more.
  • Note, try to keep your knees as close together as possible when you bring your legs in.
  • This is a tough exercise, but very effective.
Perform ten repetitions of these "scull" abdominals.  Then move on to the next exercise.

Step 4: Chair Dips

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Triceps are an important muscle in your arms, and can make a difference in your arm strength when you perform tricep exercises.
  • Find a computer chair, or your desk chair in your dorm.
  • Sit on the ground, with your back rested on the front of the chair.
  • Lift your arms, and place your hands on the cushion behind you.
  • Push up with your arms, and lift your body off the ground.
  • Now let yourself down to the ground, and repeat.
Perform ten repetitions of this exercise, and then move on to the next one!

Step 5: Isometric Bicept Hold With a Towel

Picture of Isometric Bicept Hold With a Towel

The other important muscle in your arm is the bicep.  This exercise is not a repetition exercise, but rather an exercise of resistance.
  • Begin by twisting a towel, so that it is in a twisted, straight line.
  • Step onto one end of the towel with either your right or left foot (depending on which bicep you want to exercise.
  • Grab the other end of the towel with your hand.
  • Now try to create some tension in the towel, and enough so that you feel some pressure in your muscle.
  • Keep this tension up for about 30 seconds, and repeat until your biceps get tired.

Step 6: Door Pushups

Picture of Door Pushups

Door pushups are also a good exercise for both your arms and for your upper body.
  • Begin by putting your arms against the wall, and place your hands in the shape of a star.
  • Extend your arms, so that you are leaning against the wall with them.
  • Place your feet a few feet from the wall.
  • Note that the further from the wall they are, the more difficult your exercise will be.
  • Bend your elbows to about 90 degrees, and lower your body to the wall.
  • Straighten your arms to their beginning state, and you will have completed one repetition.
I usually perform ten repetitions, and then move on to the next exercise.

Step 7: Planks

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Planks are a great resistance exercise for your abs, and you can perform these on your side as well.
  • Begin by laying on your stomach.
  • Put your elbows and forearms flat on the ground.
  • Tighten up your stomach, and make your body as flat a possible.
  • You will be able to feel your abs tighten, and this means you are working them out!
  • Keep your head up, and make sure your buttox does not droop, and your bax does not sag.
  • These are common mistakes that come as you get more fatigued.
30 seconds to a minute is a typical length of time for your planks.  As your abs get stronger, you will be able to do the planks for a longer amount of time.

Step 8: Body Squats

Picture of Body Squats

Your legs are important too!  For your legs, we can do some squats for your thighs and gluts. 
  • Begin with your legs wider then shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your back straight, and lower your body by bending your knees.
  • Get your body into a seated position, and then push back up.
  • Do this slowly, and make sure that your muscles are being stretched and contracted.
  • Straighten your legs up, and stand back up straight.
Perform ten repetitions and then go on to the next exercise.

Step 9: Elevated Push-Ups

Picture of Elevated Push-Ups

For the stronger bunch out there, elevated push-ups are a more difficult, but an even better workout than regular push-ups.
  • Find a desk or a chair, and place your feet up on to them.
  • Now, refer to Step 1, and perform a push-up just as described.
  • These are slightly more difficult, so you may need to do two sets, with five repetitions.

Step 10: Lunges

Picture of Lunges

Another great thigh exercise is called the lunge.  Although this is best used with a weight in each hand, this is still a great aerobic and muscular exercise.
  • Begin with your feet at about 75% of your shoulder width apart.
  • Step forward with one leg, (left or right, they will alternate each time).
  • Bend your body until both of your legs are at 90 degrees.
  • You should step about 2-3 feet from your original position.
  • Now just push back up with your front leg.
  • You can switch legs now, and repeat the steps once again.
Do your best to lunge 10 times on each leg.  That would be a total of 20 repetitions.  If you have some weights to hold on to, that would make this exercise even more beneficial!

Step 11: Leg Lifts

Picture of Leg Lifts

Another fantastic abdominal workout is leg-lifts.
  • Begin on your back.
  • As you lift your legs, lift your arms up to meet your legs.
  • This is essentially a crunch, except your legs are straight, rather than bent.
  • I usually perform 12-15 repetitions of this exercise.


blueye81 (author)2015-10-05

Nice workout! My chair is a bigger one in which I can dip while holding my legs up, or the other way round, holding in the upper (dip) position (in German "Unterarmstütz") and lift the legs (for abs). At least two exercises which can be done during bootup,.. :-P

RoanneB (author)2015-02-10

Great workout! I would add in some weights though. There are a bunch you can get at reasonable prices and they barely take up and space. Definitely adds a ton of new exercises you can do, especially for your arms! Plus people tend to get bored really fast if they only do the same 4-5 exercises all the time ;)
Chumlee (author)2013-05-21

this is sick, nice one (y)

basementhacker (author)2013-04-08


basementhacker (author)2013-04-08

Another style of planking is to put your elbows on the ground and lift up with your back, facing the ceiling - works your lower back just like your abs.

basementhacker (author)2013-04-08

Once you've built up enough arm muscle, you can move these to the floor. When I first started doing these on the floor, I had to do five at a time, and then eventually moved up to ten reps.

basementhacker (author)2013-04-08

For Cross Country we do LOTS of these sculls - brilliant exercise incorporated from our crew team at school. Thanks for putting this in here!

jacquelinekvz (author)2012-07-30

Great selection of exercises, with a focus on a strong core. I like!

For cardio I'm thinking I could add a few minutes of skipping rope outside...

ChewyCov (author)2012-02-13

this is great! i used to play rugby long ago, so i'm trying to get my fitness and strength back up to where it used to be so i can start again, and this guide seems to be helping with the strength and endurance aspects! unfortunately, my room is even smaller so some of the exercises i cant do, and others, i'm just too unfit and can only do 1 rep! but thanks, this really helps!

JungleMugsy (author)2011-12-30

This is almost always good for programmers! All that hard work sitting at a computer is really wearing me down.

fitness4life (author)2011-12-12

I just wanna add to be careful when doing dips. Depending on how deep you go, they can hurt your shoulder, due to the hyperextension of the shoulder girdle. Otherwise, great exercises for dorm space!

nicoleb00 (author)fitness4life2011-12-12

i don't think the shoulder girdle range of motion includes hyperextension....retraction, elevation, depression, and protraction

fitness4life (author)nicoleb002011-12-18

Perhaps its shoulder joint then...yes, i believe it is. I was just always told to be careful on these is all. I don't think it will be a huge issue unless if a person has recurring shoulder injury though.

Eacon (author)2011-08-24

Nicely mixed and practical exercise series for the stressed student in a swotting phase! A good way to relax your brain and work those muscles - for a change... =)

bridge47 (author)2011-07-08

Very nice! Perfect mix of exercises and good instructions too

jsl127 (author)2011-07-07

Perfect exercices for vacations, tanks a lot Brennn10 ;)

destructopop (author)2011-07-05

Ooo! The chair dips are exactly what I needed for my triceps! :D

dwest-1 (author)2011-07-05

Seems like there is something missing at the end of text (maybe repetitions)... Great 'able, thanks.

Brennn10 (author)dwest-12011-07-05

Thanks for catching that. It must not have saved. It is corrected now!

devinhoo (author)2011-06-30

Props for watching Harry Potter in the background. :D

ATTILAtheHUNgry (author)devinhoo2011-07-02


planethalia (author)2011-07-02

Also, great for young working people in small aparments! Thanks for the tips!

abnor (author)2011-07-01

It looks silly but exercise is exercise! I would prefer to take a job around the campus, but that's just me!

menahunie (author)2011-07-01

Great tips. from my dorm days I hope the carpet was clean? LoL..
There was real skanky stuff that was "spilled" on it during parties..

juanvi (author)2011-06-30

thanks, ive been looking for something like this...
do you recomend like exercising one day and resting the next one? fo muscle rest and so??

Brennn10 (author)juanvi2011-06-30

Since this exercise regiment is more intended to maintain muscle growth and to tone your muscles, I reccomend doing this every day that you don't have access to a complete gym where you are using weights and cardio machines.

art.z (author)2011-06-30

Aw man, I was actually working on a instructable like this, I was only searching for more exercises, because I didn't have that many steps (No Xbox for me, I guess)

Really nice instructable, I would add those door pull-up bars too, they are really good and you can even use it to hang clothes! lol

Kasm279 (author)2011-06-30

Good, 'ible. One thing I would like to mention though is that with the chair dips, make sure you have a chair without wheels!

froggi (author)2011-06-30

This is a great "able" overall.... One thing I'd like to comment on and that's the sit-up section...... It all starts off brilliantly but you'd be best not doing the complete sit-up.... Only reason I say this is that when your trunk/torso gets past about 20/30 degrees from the horizontal, the back muscles begin to kick in and eventually take a greater part in the total movement. If you're trying to develop the abdominal muscles then a "crunch" is more beneficial to strengthen the front of the abdominal belt....
Still it's a great sequence of exercises....

Iam4NUru (author)2011-06-30

you have just won my vote because this is what I will be doing during our "active rest week" of summer training so I dont get yelled out for not working out during that week. :D

mistressdominastar (author)2011-06-30

Simple but effective. Wish I had this when I was in college.

Dartag (author)2011-06-30

This will work well for traveling folks who can't get away from the hotel room, or have limited (treadmill or stationary bike only) workout rooms in the hotels. Thanks!

capricorn (author)2011-06-29

A complete and funny program.

Tthank you for sharing this mate, I'll be at it from now on :)

mottiru (author)2011-06-29


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More by Brennn10:Real Time Temperature Logging With Arduino, NodeJS and Plotly!Build a Controllable Coffee Roaster from an Air Popcorn Popper[Collegiate Exercise] Dorm Room Fitness
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