With the lazy summer months sometimes dragging by, the incentive to stay lean and healthy can sometimes get thrown aside in favour of yet another episode of Netflix. I myself live in the middle of the countryside, ten kilometres from the nearest gym. That means a longer car journey just to work out, plus gym memberships can be expensive. Here are five easy ways to plan your workout programme at home, be that in your back garden, a local park, or in your bedroom ( provided there are no distractions nearby such as that tempting iPhone). Let's check out these five diy gym pieces of equipment and a ready to go work out exercise that will add interest to your day.
Exercise: Reverse Fly
Don't have kettlebells? Fear not, all you need is two empty plastic milk jugs. Fill with the required amount of water and you're good to go with two makeshift weights to work arms, back or whatever type of abs you wish to do. Just remember to keep a straight back and minimal slouching to correct your posture and avoid any potential injuries or pulls to your muscles. You can also use sand if available, some find that this provides added weight for more advanced muscle training reps.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees bent. Bend forward at the hips and let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders, palms facing. Raise both arms out to the sides as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to start. That's one rep.
Exercise: Lateral Band Walk
Though resistance bands can be relatively inexpensive, it's always handy to have your own one ready to go at home. Use a simple, long belt – one that will stretch easily under the pressure of your arms or feet. Or a towel. Resistance bands are so fantastic for almost every muscle in your body.
Don't sidestep the benefits of sidesteps to that lower glutes and leg area! Step into a resistance band or tie the strong belt around the lower legs, just above both ankles. Place feet shoulder-width apart to create tension on the band. From a half-squat position, shift your weight to the left side, stepping sideways with the right leg. Move the standing leg slightly in, but keep the band taut. Take 8 to 10 steps before heading back the other way. This is a handy one to do out in the garden if you've got a nice flat area of grass.
Exercise: Single Leg Lunge
oning up your glutes and quads? Dig out a low garden bench. Benches are the best for exercises as you can use them to lie on for pectoral/chest work and also squat to your heart's content off them. I like to use a bench which doesn't have the arm rests at the side these can get in the way when you're trying to do elevated jumps onto and off. Instead, why not find a sturdy wooden plank in good condition and line it up between two flat barrels. Make sure it's secure before you start working that lower body.
- Stand directly in front of a bench, your back to the seat. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, your hands on your hips.
- Reach one leg behind you, placing the top of your foot onto the bench’s seat. Your torso should remain upright, with a slight forward lean, both knees slightly bent.
- Bend both knees, lowering your torso toward the ground. When your back knee is almost to the ground and your front knee forms a 90-degree angle, reverse the movement and press yourself back to standing.
- Continue for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Exercise: Forward Fold for Hamstring and Back stretching
Yoga Fan? Why splash out on those foam blocks that can cost as much as a tenner when you can use any amount of soft books off your bookcase. Blocks are used in this muscle strengthening workout to further support your neck and spine which can cause strain of not properly adjusted. They also open up the pose to allow even more oxygen into your body.
Using a yoga block in forward folds is a way you can find better alignment when the flexibility isn't there yet. Sit on the edge of the block and make sure that your bum is centred and your spine is in a an even line to your glutes. Notice that the pelvis tilts forward a bit. Keep this tilt as you exhale and come forward. Hands can be on the shins or the feet.
Finally, for those of you that live on a farm like me, borrow two buckets from the yard and fill each with half amounts of water. Balance one in each hand and just walk up and down, the extra strength required to carry the heavy liquid is super great for the core and your upper shoulder muscles. Have fun!