Simple Workout Exercises for Confinement

Published on February 1, 2021

Exercising is extremely important for our physical and mental health. Nowadays, it could not be more true, as we are facing numerous restrictions: We can’t go to the gym, we can’t meet our friends and family, we work from home and don’t have much time outdoor. Also, many of us live in tiny spaces. In this article, I am sharing a small set of exercises that are suitable for our confined lives. Maybe you’ll find them useful too!

How I came up with it

Let me start with some background. In Q4 2019, I visited UIUC in Champaign (IL, US) for 3 months for a research project. I rented a small room in a house1 and made very good friends at the local Roller Derby2 leagues, the Twin City Derby Girls and the Prairieland Punishers. I wanted to experience Roller Derby in the US but, at the same time, I was afraid to hurt myself, and I did not want to use a foreign health system (and we all know that in the US it is crazy expensive…). So I came up with this small set of exercises that I would do almost every day in the evening. I bought for $20 a small graphic tablet to a student and drew it to increase my commitment and share it with peers!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a health or sport expert. There are many great resources out there. A well-known reference for confined exercises is the book by famous prisoner Charles Bronson: Solitary Fitness. But hopefully, this one-pager is a good start for someone to exercise on their own or with friends.

The Daily Derby Hell Workout

It appears that this browser does not support embedded PDFs. Please download the PDF to view it: Download PDF.

Put the exercises together, and you get a nice routine, which I call the Daily Derby Hell Workout!

By the way, Dr. Frog is my Derby name ☺.

For Sally, here is the song: Flower (Moby). At “Bring Sally up”, you go up. At “Bring Sally down”, you go down.


The advantages of this routine are as follows:

  • You need almost nothing!

I recommend having 2 Gallons of water (as weights), perhaps one more for drinking, and a stopwatch or phone. It is nice to have some music, a mirror (to check your posture) and a balance pad (but you can fold a blanket 4 times for a similar effect). It is easy to do this routine when you travel or don’t have the equipment.

  • You work on your core muscles!

So you reduce your risk of getting injured and improve your posture. This is also good for practicing ankle and back intensive sports like Roller Derby.

  • You can do it almost anywhere, any time!

You can adjust the time and difficulty on each exercise depending on your needs and level. I recommend you to spend up to one hour on this routine. Switch the order of the exercises as you see fit and to avoid getting bored. The exercises do not require you to jump around so you can do them in tiny spaces as well.

  • You can share it!

You can call your family or friends via Skype, Zoom, or any videoconferencing tool and do the routine together! The PDF is a creative common material (CC-BY-SA-4.0) in DIN A4 format.


I followed this routine for about 3 months and ate as healthy as I could (organic vegetables, as much as possible) and gained about 4 kilos on top of my modest 60 kilos, no fat. This routine did not only help me preventing injuries (I did several scrimmages, had Roller Derby 2-3 times a week and went to the skate park on the weekend), but also helped me to be successful in my research stay. After that, I could also see a notable difference in my performance as a skater and generally felt stronger and more balanced in my body.

You can enhance the workout further by adding other exercises (there is room for notes in the bottom-right corner) and embed it in a Tabata routine. If you are not familiar with Tabata-style workouts, the concept is simple: You do W series (typically 2 to 3) of X exercises (typically 10 or more), each for Y seconds (typically 60) with Z seconds of break in-between (typically 20). There are great free apps out there to help you manage time, like this one. In the future, I will be sharing some of our Tabata series (I say our because we are putting them together with Charlotte, my significant other).

I think the routine would benefit from more exercises for legs. Do you see further exercises to include in the routine? Please share them via the comment section!

Take care everyone and stay healthy!

  1. Actually, not any house in Champaign, the Ivy House! It is an art gallery with a few rooms for rent on the second floor, which I found via Airbnb: 

  2. In case you don’t know it, Roller Derby is a roller-skating contact sport played by two teams of fifteen members. See this one-minute introduction: