Our Head of Fitness Justin has shared with us a few exercises to keep active at home!
Being restricted at home and unable to visit the gym certainly felt like a daunting thought a few weeks ago. Within a few days at home in Lockdown it felt like we were being inundated with 'At-Home Workouts' and we all attacked them with great gusto. However, it is very easy for motivation to slide and for the novelty of working out in our garden gyms to ware off.
I have pulled together some simple, but very effective exercises that you could either incorporate into your current workouts, or use to help get you and your family moving.
The key to being effective and getting the most out of these exercises, is to be consistent with them, much in the same way you were when coming to your favourite classes or to the gym.
Like with anything, start off slowly and deliberately so that you can ensure you are performing the exercises with the correct technique. This will enable you to master the movement pattern from which you can then look to challenge yourself appropriately.
Try and perform these with other members in your family so that you can all benefit from exercising together.
Body-weight Bilateral Squat
Perform 2-4 sets of 12-20 reps.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and then sink into a squat position (imagine you are sitting down on a bench). Ensure you keep your back straight and the weight in your heels as you complete the movement. Try not to hinge at the hips, in other words as you squat down your head shouldn't move forwards.
Body-weight Unilateral Squat
Perform 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps for each leg.
Stand in front of a low chair or sofa, and on one leg lower yourself onto the chair. Pause for a second and then return to a standing position without putting your other leg on the floor. Remember to keep your back straight, and weight in your heel as you perform the movement. Again, no hinging at the hip. For a harder progression don't fully 'sit-down', just lower yourself so that your bottom touches the chair and then return to a fully upright position.
Perform 3 sets of 10-20 reps on each leg.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your right leg into a lunge position, with your left knee bending so that it just touches the ground (or as low as you can get it). Step back up into a standing position. Perform all reps on one side before switching legs. Ensure you do not hinge at the hips, keep your torso upright and your head looking forward. Keep your arms by your side (do not use them to 'push' back up off the front knee) and shoulder blades pulled down.
Perform 3 sets of 30sec-1min.
Lying in prone position (on your stomach), place your hands next to your chest in line with your nipples. Keeping your entire body straight push-yourself up into a press-up position. Hold this position for the duration of the exercise. Do not pike your hips into the air, nor allow them to sag beneath the level of your torso. The aim is to be completely horizontal through the body. Remember to not hold your breath and try to establish a regular rhythmic breathing pattern whilst holding the plank. If this is too difficult, lower yourself onto your elbows instead of your hands, and if you need to further regress then lower your knees onto the ground as well.
Perform 2 sets of 5-10 reps.
One of my favourites. Start in a standing position with your feet together. Reach forward with your hands and try to touch your toes, then slowly walk your hands out so that you're in a press-up position, hold it there for a second and then walk your feet up towards your hands (or as close as you can get them) trying to keep your legs as straight as possible. Walk your feet back out so that you're in a press-up position again, and then slowly walk your hands back towards your feet. Hold it there for a second and then slowly return to a standing position. That is one rep.
Perform 2-4 sets of 20-30 reps.
Holding a light weight in each hand (dumbbells if you have them, otherwise a tin of beans in each hand will do) raise your hands out so that they are 90 degrees and you are in a cross position. From here, slowly rotate your hands forward so that you are making small circles in the air (the size of a tennis ball). Complete the desired reps, and then repeat the exercise but rotating backwards. Ensure you don't slump at the shoulders, keep your back straight and your shoulder blades pulled down.
Once you have mastered these moves, you can perform more repetitions or use weights if you have them. Don't be afraid to regress if necessary if you find these difficult, everyone is at different levels of fitness and ability and as I mentioned before the key is consistency and forming habits. Don't forget to supplement these with walks, runs or bicycle rides outside. Let's take advantage of the nice weather while we have it. Just remember to keep your distance between yourself and other members of the public, as per the government guidelines.