10 exercises you can do at home – to help you love working out again
Have you lost your workout mojo? With the Olympics starting in a couple of weeks, it’s got us all to thinking about improving our fitness levels and setting ourselves personal goals (not that, we realise, we will be winning the 100 metres any time soon).
A lot of us have gotten into the mindset of thinking that working out is just about burning calories and losing weight. It isn’t – physical activity is not just a way to earn and burn food, it’s about self-care, socialising or a chance to switch off.
Instead of using the number on the scale or a picture in your sports bra to gauge progress, put the focus on how regular movement can make you feel. Do you notice an improvement in your mood? Concentration at work? Better quality sleep?
The only numbers I would encourage you to track are the ones relative to your activity. Perhaps it’s distance, time, weight or rep? (note: not even these are essential to have fun moving your body, not all workouts need or should be quantified). Your workouts should be motivated by self care and respect.
Fitness can often look quite complicated and the gym can be a very intimidating place for some. So, I have put together 10 of my favourite exercises to get you started, that you can do at home, in the park or in the gym.
10 EXERCISES TO HELP YOU TRAIN HAPPY
1. Sumo Squat – Feet in a wide stance, toes turned out. Keep the weight in the heels, hinge the hips back and simultaneously bend the legs to 90 degrees. Aim to keep the body as upright as possible, at the bottom of the squat, push through the heels and squeeze the glutes to push yourself back up.
2. Kneeling Press Ups – From a plank position, let the knees gently drop to the floor. Hands should be beneath your shoulders, with a nice straight line from head to knees. Bend the arms to a 90-degree angle and lower the whole body (knees to head) down and then push through the palms to push the body back up.
3. Single-Leg Split Lunge – Stand with one leg forward, and one leg back with your body in the middle but slightly tilted forward over your front leg. Aim to bend both legs to 90-degrees without hitting the floor, push through the heel of the front foot to come back up and repeat.
4. Walkout to plank – Stand at the end of your mat, slightly bend the legs and walk your hands out in front of you into a straight arm plank position. Make sure your back is flat and core and glutes are engaged in the plank. From there, start walking the hands back in towards the feet and stand up.
5. Lying Glute Bridge – Lie on the floor with your legs bent and heels close to your glutes. Push through the feet (particularly the heels) to bring yourself up into a bridge position, clench the glutes. With control, lower down, lightly tap the floor and push back up.
6. Dead Bugs – Lie on your back with your legs in the air at 90 degrees and your arms pointing towards the ceiling. If comfortable, slightly lift the upper back off the floor. Extend the right arm and left leg, extending both away, before bringing them back to the start position and then repeating on the alternate side.
7. Lying Back Raises – Lie flat on your tummy with your hands by your temples. Aim to lift your chest off the floor and, as you reach the top range of your raise, extend the arms down to the hips and then slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Bring your hands back to your temples and repeat.
8. Explosive Star Jumps – A heart raiser! Start with your feet hip-width apart, and squat down with your hands touching your toes (or as low as you can go). Jump up into a star jump position, but make sure both feet come off the ground.
9. Ice Skaters – Stand on your right leg, with your left leg behind you in a curtsey position that is off the ground. Extend the left leg out towards your left and jump from the right foot to the left, bringing the right leg behind in a curtsey lunge. Use arms to help with balance and power.
10. Plank Shoulder Taps – In a straight arm plank, be sure to have a flat back; core engaged and glutes clenched. Take the left hand and tap the right shoulder, then take the right hand and tap the left shoulder. Be mindful of keeping the hip movement to a minimum and keeping your plank as strong as possible.