Afraid of the gym, too busy or just can’t afford it? There is no excuse for not exercising at least a few days of the week, especially as many exercises can be performed anywhere, anytime.
1) Air punching/boxing
(works the whole body; arms, core, hips and legs)
Basic: Legs slightly apart and a little bent (to prevent knees locking). Punch alternative arms forward, twisting your core as you do so (this tones the core and arms in one).
Tip: Create a little sequence for example straight jab with the left arm, 2 straight jab with the right arm, left hook, right uppercut, repeat ×15 gathering speed with each repetition.
Make it harder: Add hand weights to really get the muscles working.
Basic: Extend your arms out to the side of your body. Make circles with your arms alternating between small and large circles. Circle the arms forward ×15 and backward ×15.
Tip: Keep arms straight (this ensures the muscles are engaged), don’t let the elbows drop.
Make it harder: Hold a small weight in each hand to complete the exercise.
3) Tricep dip
Basic: Sit on the edge of a bath, bench, table etc with your hands by your hips and fingers facing forward. Using your arms lower yourself so that your arms form 90 degree angles, then straighten your arms raising yourself up. Repeat ×15.
Tip: Keep your back close to the bath/table and shoulders downs to avoid straining them.
Make it harder: Move your legs further away, making the triceps work harder.
The focus: Core and back exercises
1) The plank
Basic: Hold a press up position for around 30 seconds, if preferred rest on your elbows and forearms rather than hands.
Tip: Ensure you squeeze your core to engage the abdominal muscles. Make sure your body is streamline by not only squeezing the abdomen but also the gluteal muscles.
Make it harder: In a press up position ‘go around the world’. By this we mean lift an arm and hold the position for about 5 seconds, replace it and lift the other arm and hold, repeat with the legs.
2) Side plank
Basic: Begin in a press up position. Take one arm off the floor and reach towards the ceiling tilting your body. The side of your body should be facing the ceiling and your fingertips should reach for the ceiling.
Tip: Squeeze your core to keep a straight line from head to toe.
Make it harder: Whilst in the side plank slowly lift and lower your top leg.
3) Reverse plank
Basic: Essentially the same as the plank but with your back facing the floor and your core facing the ceiling.
Tip: Squeeze your core and gluts to keep a straight line and get maximum benefits from the exercise. Avoid straining your neck by not dipping your chin.
Make it harder: Go ‘around the world’. Start by lifting your left leg and holding it for 5 seconds then replacing it on the floor. Repeat with the right leg, left arm and left leg.
The Focus: Legs
1) Ski squats
Basic: Legs shoulder width apart, feet facing foreword, arms relaxed. Bend the knees keeping your back straight and raising your arms (as if you were holding ski poles).
Tips: Don’t let your knees go over your toes, it increases strain on the knees which increases the likelihood of an injury occurring.
Make it harder: Add weights. Lighter weights allow long lean muscle to develop; heavy weights will build bulkier muscle. It is best to start with a lighter weight and use heavier weights as your strength develops, if desired.
Basic: Legs make a 90 degree angle, when you plié your thighs create a straight line but your knees don’t go over your toes. Feet turned out (facing away from your body).
Tip: Don’t rush, squeeze your gluts and core. Keep your back straight.
Make it harder: Add weights. Start with lighter weights and choose heavier weights when you are stronger, if desired.
3) Wall sit
Basic: Back flat against a wall and feet about 2 feet from the wall. Bend your knees, aiming to make a 90 degree angle with your legs. Hold the position for 30 seconds, until you feel able to hold the position for longer.
Tip: Keep your head and backflat against the walland evenly distribute your weight through your feet.
Make it harder: Add a ball between your knees and squeeze whilst you are in the wall sit position, this engages the abductor muscles (inner leg).
When exercising, remember to take your time, quality over quantity. 15 slow and controlled repetitions of an exercise are far better than 30 rushed ones. Everyone is different so feel free to tailor an exercise to your needs.