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5 top at-home strength-training exercises
A total-body workout that’s social-distancing-friendly and doesn’t require a gym or equipment. Just because gyms have been closed to help limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, it doesn't mean your workouts need to stop!
With the nights getting shorter and the days warmer, you can take advantage and work-up a sweat in the garden. Plus, if a new study from researchers at the University of Innsbruck is any to go by, exercising in the outdoors can work wonders for your mood and anxiety-levels. The exercises below each act on a different body part, so you’ll enjoy an excellent all-round workout.
1. The plank
One of our favourite exercises, the plank can be done anywhere. Its challenging nature means it’s fantastic at strengthening your core and abdominal muscles. To achieve the plank position, start by laying flat on your front. Then, raise your lower body onto your toes and your upper body onto your elbows. Your body should remain perfectly parallel to the ground; and you need to make sure you’re not in an upside-down ‘V’ shape with your backside pointing skywards. Maintain this position for 30 seconds, then rest and repeat up to three times. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you should aim to hold the plank for a minute each time.
2. The ski-sit
This is an unbeatable exercise for toning the glutes and strengthening the legs - and all that’s needed is a flat wall! Simply place your back to the wall, then, as you slide downwards, walk your feet out until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. This position should then be held for 30 seconds, before you rest and repeat up to three times. Like the plank, try and increase the time of this hold up to 60 seconds.
3. Lateral squat-walk
A great move, the lateral squat-walk works to strengthen and shape those leg muscles: get into the squat position by lowering your backside, as if you’re going to sit on a low stool. Keeping your shoulders rotated backwards and your chest up, look forwards and try to ensure your weight is on your heels, so that you really are sitting back. Next, take small sideways steps, ensuring you stay low at all times. Measure and mark-out a good distance - around six metres - and once you reach this point, maintain the position, and return to your starting-place. Try and keep going for at least 60 seconds each time.
If you’ve got the room, you can’t ignore one of the simplest – but most effective - cardio-based pulse-racers: running. If you’re looking to burn fat and shed weight, this is the exercise for you. Sprint as rapidly as possible for 30 seconds, then jog slowly or walk for 30 seconds. Complete five of these sprint-starts in five minutes to get your heart-rate up in quick-time. If you don’t have sprinting-space, exercises like high-knee lifts and burpees will also raise the heart rate.
To challenge your upper body, without any equipment, you need to start by getting into your plank position. Rather then resting on your elbows, straighten your arms and press your palms flat into the ground. Slowly lower your upper body down to the ground until it almost touches and your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle. Just as slowly raise your upper body back up until your arms are straight, but not locked. Repeat this ten times and for three sets, taking a minute’s break in between.