Our latest post is by Maria Foran, personal trainer with Drogheda’s Boyneside Strength and Performance – the ultimate training facility for improving strength, performance, achieving goals and transformations. It is leading the way when it comes to athletic development, powerlifting and body composition in the North East with a team of expert coaches. They’re very proudly built on results and powered by progress!
Doing lots of exercise doesn’t mean going out for a run or heading off to the gym… there are lots of exercises you can do at home! No weights needed or equipment required – just your body and motivation! Working out doesn’t have to be a grueling or nasty experience… it can be fun! Simply put your favourite music on and if there are kiddies around, ask them to join in. The main thing is that health and fitness doesn’t have to be a chore – it should be part of an enjoyable lifestyle and fun too.
1. Push Up
Lie down on your stomach, feet together, with your hands directly below your shoulders. Push yourself up off the ground. Throughout the entire movement, your body should be in a straight line. From your heels to your neck, nothing should be bent. Be especially certain not to let your hips drop toward the ground, or let your bum stick up in the air. Always keep your midsection tight. Let your chest fall until your arms are at least parallel to the ground.
Putting your knees on the floor and carrying out the above. If you’re not ready for the push-up, you can start working up to it by placing your hands on an elevated surface like a table, chair, wall. The higher the surface the easier it gets.
2. Mountain Climbers
Start in the classic push-up position, keeping your neck, spine, tailbone and legs in a straight line. Keep your elbows straight with your arms locked out and hands directly under shoulders. Keeping the rest of the body totally locked in place, bring your left knee to your chest and place your foot on the ground. Straighten your left leg while at the same time pulling your right leg towards your chest. It should be as though you are running in place while in a push-up position.
3. Seated Dips
You’ll need to find a horizontal surface between your knee and waist-level for this one. The lower the surface, the more intense the movement will be, but keep in mind it can not be below knee level. With your back to the surface, place your palms on the surface behind you with your knuckles pointing forward. Walk your legs forward until they are straight out in front of you. Lower your body straight down, bending only at the elbows and shoulders. Your upper arms should be parallel to the ground. Keeping your back a couple of inches from the surface, push yourself back up until your arms are straight again.
Bending your knees, putting your feet flat on the floor will make this movement easier.
4. Glute Bridges
Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Using only your legs, raise your hips upwards as high as you can. Your thighs should be in a straight line with your back. Hold this position for two seconds squeezing your bum as much as you can. Then slowly lower your hips back to the starting position.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed straight ahead. Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your hips until your right knee almost touches the floor. Both knees should be bent to a 90-degree angle at this point. Your left knee should be over your ankle, not past your knee. If your knee is coming over your toes, try and take a bigger step, keeping your back straight and your eyes forward. This position should be maintained throughout the exercise. Push off your left heel and step back to the starting position. Repeat the movement with your other foot.
Walking lunges – you can do this movement by stepping your left foot forward, but instead of stepping back to the starting position, bring your right foot up to meet the left one then take a step forward with your right foot, repeating the motion.
Reverse lunges are done by taking a big step backward instead of forward. Again, bending your knees and lowering your hips, then pushing yourself back up with your front foot and stepping forward so your feet are in the starting position.
6. Calf Raise
Stand on one leg at the edge of any stair or another stable platform. Only the ball of your foot should be on the platform and your heels are in the air. Hold onto lightly to the bannister or wall for balance. Keeping your knee slightly bent throughout the movement, lower yourself down as far as your calf can stretch, holding for a second then pushing off the ball of your foot to bring yourself as high as possible. Then hold for a second.
If it’s too tough to complete with one foot, try it with two feet at once.
Lie down on your tummy, then prop yourself up on your elbows, bent at 90 degrees, shoulder width apart so that your forearms are on the ground. Now try and place yourself that your shoulders are over your elbows. Pushing into your heels and keeping your bum clenched, hold this position for as long as possible. Be sure to keep your pelvis down and your body straight from head to heels.
8. Russian Twists
Sit upright on the ground with your arms crossed and knees bent. Lift your feet off the ground. Twist so that your left elbow touches your right knee, then twist the other way so that your right elbow touches your left knee. Go back and forth, twisting as much as you can at the waist without lower your legs. Keep your feet together.
9. Wall Sits
Stand with your back to a wall. Move your feet away from the wall, but keep your hips and back against the wall so that the wall is supporting you. Bending at the knees, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your knees should be over your ankle and be bent at 90 degrees. Hold this position for as long as possible.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your head up and eyes forward, bend your knees pushing your bum back as if you were to sit on a chair. Continue to do this until your bum is a couple of inches above the floor. Lean your upper body slowly forward as you go down, being sure to maintain your eyes in a forward position with your head until your shoulders are over your knees. Be sure that your knees do not pass your toes. Then keeping your heels on the floor, slowly stand again using only your legs to lift you.
If going into a full squat is too difficult at first, you can use a surface that is knee level or below, slowly lowering yourself with the same stance as above. Driving up off your heels when your bum has reached the surface to come to the start position. You can also hold onto something waist level to steady yourself. When you are comfortable with this you can begin to use lower surfaces to develop your strength, eventually training your body to come into the full squat without any surfaces underneath you.