Home exercises – 5 to try

Home exercises - planking

In these testing times, you may be keen (or advised) to avoid your usual gym visit. A good alternative is to try some easy to do at home exercises that will keep your fitness ticking over.

A study in 2016 revealed that free weights in gyms carried 362 times more germs than a toilet seat. Not great eh? So, if like me, you attend a gym where you have no faith in their hygiene process, you might have considered binning this side of your fitness regime off for a while.

But instead of letting it slide, now is a good time to start putting a home workout programme into action.

Handily all you need is a floor with a bit of comfortable space either side. From core exercises at home to leg exercises, here’s 5 to try in the comfort of your own pad. These don’t require any equipment except yourself and maybe a mat for support.

Press-up / Push-up

This is perhaps the ultimate exercise that can be done in any location. The familiar instruction of: “Drop and gimme 20” can be applied to a field, gym floor, or in our case anywhere at home with sufficient space. Simply drop down as though you’re about to beat the hell out of the ground. Arms either side (hands at shoulder width apart) and bend the elbows as you lower your chest towards the floor and back up again.? As with all exercises, start small and build your number of reps. Experienced press-uppers might want to try a clap press-up. Mad but effective for the upper body if you can manage more than a couple!

Squats

Home exercises - squats

Glute strength by squatting (Pic: Oleg Magni, Pexels)

A staple lower body exercise that strengthens the glutes in particular. It is also great for runners with an eye on improving leg strength. Go down slowly as if you were about to sit on a chair, tensing your abdominal muscles as you go. As in the image above, arms are out in front, feet at shoulder-width apart. Gently rise back up to the start position and repeat for however many reps is comfortable.

Calf stretches on stairs

This can become one of your go-to home exercises. Simply head for your staircase and pick a step. For some reason I generally end up in the centre. Then, holding the rails either side for support, position one foot on the edge of the step, with your other foot resting slightly off it. Stretch your calf back slightly and you’ll feel the pull. Hold and feel the stretch for 20 seconds and switch legs.

Plank

The plank and variations of it are tricky to master. A great core exercise to perform at home, the normal plank can be seen in the main pic above. Once you can regularly hold for around 45 seconds, maybe move onto a side plank. But be warned, these aren’t easy at first. Crunches are another good way of improving or maintaining core stability.

Bridge

Combine this with your planking. Get down and lie on your back, feet at hip-width apart. Pressing into the heels, lift hips and bend the knees. To make this exercise more challenging, raise a leg and hold the position for 30 seconds if you can. Switch to raise the other leg and repeat.

Main pic – Li Sun, Pexels

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