It is raining, windy, even snowy. The last thing you want to do is go out for a run, so what about a winter home workout? This article looks at the many possibilities of a home workout. It may be winter, summer, weekday or weekend, a home workout will stop you feeling guilty about skipping the gym.
Turn your living room into a gym
There will always be times when you can’t get to a class or gym session. It may be you’re running late, it might be you unexpectedly have to look after the children, you may be waiting for an overseas call. And then there is the weather. If we are to believe the news, we are set for the worst winter in history, so we might have no choice but to make the living room a gym. If you don’t feel you have enough equipment for a good home workout, don’t despair, there are plenty of ideas here.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
What exercises can be performed during a home workout without any special equipment and dumbbells? The answer is simple! Use your own body weight.
Getting a balance in your home workout
Balance exercises can work the whole body, and they really work the deep stabilising muscles in the body. For the following exercises use a water bottle, if possible filled with sand and with the lid tightly screwed on.
Exercise: Stand on your right leg, with the left knee drawn up towards your chest. Hold the bottle above your head in your left hand and hold the balance for about 30 seconds. After 30 seconds swap sides. Repeat the exercise 8-10 times, swapping legs each time.
Exercise: Stand on one leg, holding the bottle at chest level. Now slowly lean forward and place the bottle ahead of you on the ground, without placing your other foot on the ground. Stand up, then lean forwards and pick the bottle up again. Every time you repeat this, try to place the bottle a little further away, so you are increasing the challenge to your balance. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
Getting intense about your home workout
It is important that your home workout is performed with intensity. Whether you are concentrating on balance exercises or pumping out repetitions on a circuit – intensity is important.
Personally, when I introduce a client to circuit training, I try to vary the exercises so they are a mix of pushing and pulling activities. My circuits are whole body workouts, and I usually combine 4-5 pushing exercises and 4-5 pulling exercises. Each exercise is performed 15-30 times, although this can vary.
Circuits can vary, but one good circuit consists of variations of sit-ups and push-ups, performed in sets but without break in activity for 5 minutes. Then you rest, but during the rest time you do balancing exercises. This allows the heart rate to return to normal, but you are still working your muscles.
Other exercises that make up the home workout could include a variety of squat exercises. You can progress or change the emphasis of the exercise by varying the width of the legs or the depth of the squat or also tempo at which you are working. You might do a slow downward squat and stand up at a faster rate.
Variety is the spice of life
These variations can be applied to push ups as well. Changing the tempo, changing your arm and leg positions, will all add a different intensity to the home workout. You might want to do your push ups with your feet raised on a chair – this works the pectoralis. Narrow arm push ups work the triceps more intensely.
Rather than counting the repetitions, another way of adding variety to your home workout is to race against the clock. This gives your home workout more of a cardio focus. You can see how many repetitions you can perform in 45 seconds. You will need a short rest between these sets, but do not just stop, always keep moving.
Raising the temperature
To raise your heart-rate you can introduce some of the following exercises into your home workout:
Using your sand-filled bottle to give you some extra weight. The following exercise is designed to activate your whole body. Squat to place the bottle on the floor, now raise the bottle high over your head. Repeat this up and down movement as fast as you can for 45 seconds.
Next is 45 seconds of jumping jacks. Jump and land with your feet apart and the bottle raised high over your head. Now jump and bring your feet back together and the bottle held in front of you. Again, repeat the movement rapidly.
The third heart raiser in your home work out is ‘fast feet’. This is continuous fast running on the spot. Just lift your feet alternatively off the floor in small movements. Hold the bottle in front of you for extra weight, or just use your arms to pump energetically in time to your foot movements.
Now for the beast of the home workout. Leading exercise scientists believe that the Burpee is the MOST EFFECTIVE exercise, as it targets all five dimensions of fitness : endurance , agility, speed , strength and flexibility. 45 seconds of this exercise will leave you feeling that you have worked hard. The burpee combines a squat thrust, a push up, and a jump all in one movement.
Then there is the perennial favourite, the star jump.
Once you have done all of these cardio exercises, finish with a 2 minute plank.
Beating the bulge on your home workout
Make sure you build some abdominal muscle exercises into your home workout circuit. Elbow to knees sit-ups, crunches, Russian twists. There are a huge number of exercises we can use to tone the tummy, just choose your favourites.
Throughout your home workout, don’t forget to rehydrate. You are working as hard as you would in the gym, so replace lost fluids continuously.
I hope this article will give you some ideas when you are snowed in, or unable to get to the gym for any reason.
Remember to respect your body, as it is the only place where you live.
(image credit: athenites, luxandivy, lwrfitness)