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College Health: A Quick Dorm Room Workout

I have been really involved with health and fitness for the better part of 2 years now. I’m not a “fitness guru” or “wellness influencer” by any means. I’m just trying to practice good, clean habits that will develop into a healthy lifestyle. I typically workout 5 days a week and try my best to eat a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and fats, despite the limited (and not the best tasting) options in Denison dining halls. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely feel lazy/tired sometimes and skip the gym, something I was guilty of twice this past week! Or sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in work and can’t sacrifice a minute of doing something other than reading my political science homework. And sometimes (okay, a lot of times) I am starving when I get back from class and all I want to do is curl up on my bed, turn on Drunk History (highly recommended) and chow down on Cheez-its, pistachios, and cereal. On Monday, I felt all of these things.


I got back from class and decided to have a snack and relax for a bit before heading down to the Mitchell Center. This turned into me watching TV for two hours, feeling guilty, and then opening up my book to read for class the next day. Then a friend came in and we ended up talking for over half an hour. At that point, it was early evening and I had decided against the gym for the sake of my reading. I don’t like going to the gym much later than 3:00 p.m. anyways because it gets busy very quickly after that with sports teams and/or other gym-goers. The best time is right after class when it’s pretty empty.

Anyways, I was starting to get a headache and my lower back started to ache from sitting and reading for so long. I knew that my body was giving me a bit of payback for not doing my daily exercise. I workout for physical benefits, but also for a lot of mental benefits as well. It clears my head of daily stressors when I’m running. It makes me feel strong and powerful when I incorporate heavier weights into my workouts. And something really big for me is that a good, exhausting workout helps me sleep much better at night, something that I need this year after having issues with restless sleep.


So, I put my book down and opened my workout playlist on Spotify. Over the next 35-40 minutes, I did a mix of abdominal and arm/shoulder exercises that I will list at the end of this article. They were all very simple exercises that I had done before, nothing really challenging. Anyone looking for a quick workout will be able to do this workout in their dorm room, common room, or any open space. Also I want to add a big disclaimer: I’m not the strongest person in the world. I modify certain moves or lower the number of reps/sets that I can do, especially for my weaker areas like my arms. But for my stronger areas like my abdominals, I usually have to increase the number of reps in order to “feel the burn.” Anyone who attempts this workout or any new routine that you find should keep their own strengths and weaknesses in mind and tweak the plan for their own body. Don’t push yourself to a breaking point because somebody else could go that far.


Workout Routine:

  •  50 crunches- make sure to support your neck and raise your upper body to the ceiling rather than moving your head back and forth. Push your lower back to the floor

  • 10 regular push ups (modification pictured)- drop to your knees if you have to, but make sure that your body still forms a straight line (i.e. don’t stick your butt in the air). Lower your body down and up with a slow and controlled motion

  • 60 second plank- head down so your neck isn’t strained and body should be parallel to the ground

  • 10 tricep/chair dips- have your legs extend straight in front of you while holding yourself up on a chair. Lower yourself down by sending your elbows straight back

  • 50 dead bugs (pictured)- lay on your back, stick your arms straight up, and puts your legs up and bend them to a 90 degree angle. Lift and lower opposite arms and legs to the floor and back up again, pushing your lower back into the floor

  • 10 wide stance shoulder presses/push ups*- facing a desk or table, place your hands wider than your shoulders and lower down, keeping your core tight to protect your back. Go slowly and push your elbows out

  • 75 vertical ankle touches- stick your legs straight up in the air and reach opposite hand for opposite ankle, lifting upper back off the ground with each reach

  • Repeat 2-3x! (I only did it twice)

*This is definitely not the right name but I forget what it’s called


Don’t forget to stretch afterwards! My chest/shoulders were decently sore afterwards so make sure to really stretch the areas that you don’t always work. Of course, get a good, relaxing shower in afterwards and try to get your full 8 hours of sleep to reap one of the best rewards of exercising!

Claire is a Cleveland native in her fourth & final year at Denison University and is excited to continue her role as the Co-President for the Denison chapter! While she studies Spanish and Political Science, she loves to write in her spare time. She wants to emphasize topics that she is passionate about, spread positivity and optimism in the world, and connect with people through her writing. When she isn't writing or studying, you can find Claire spending time with her family and friends, staying active, enjoying the outdoors, or listening to music.
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