The "new year, new you" anthem is being propelled in our faces everywhere at this time of year. Are the abundance of #fitspo images fuelling your get-fit fire or leaving you feeling a little overwhelmed as to where to begin? Or has your new year regime started a little too strong such that your flame might be snuffed by February?
Truthfully, there is no right time to kick-start your get-fit regime and whilst fitness is my lifeline, I do believe in approaching our goals with a mindset of long-term health, sustainability and of course, enjoyment! These are my kick-start strength building exercises accessible to all levels, with intensity that can be modified according to your progressing fitness. Easy to squeeze in for even the most time poor, practiced 3-4 times a week, you will be feeling stronger and more energetic sooner than you might expect. Let's move!
Take a wide stance with your feet turned out approximately 20-30 degrees. Stand tall, tuck the tailbone under, clasp your hands at your chest. Inhale and sink down into the squat, ensuring the knees follow the line of the feet (and don't fall inward), till you hit roughly a 90-degree bend in the knees. If that's too much, sink a little less. Prevent the chest from falling forward. Press into your heels to activate your glutes (I call this my bao) exhale and press back up. The slight turnout helps to target your inner thighs in addition to your quads and glutes. Target 3 x 12 reps with a 60s rest between sets.
By far one of the best all-body strength builders you can practice! It targets the core, glutes, legs and shoulders. Come down to the floor: with shoulders stacked over elbows, clasp your hands and press the forearms into the ground, keeping your shoulder blades spread across the back. Walk your feet back to hip width apart, tuck the tailbone under, activate your bao (glutes), thighs and core as you hold your torso parallel with the floor. Don't let the lower back sag! Try 3 x 10-60s pending your current level, with same time frame of rest between sets.
Elevated Push Up
Taking an elevated position is a great way to get strong for floor push ups. Use a bench/chair/table. Place your hands just wider than shoulder width apart, turn your fingers in slightly, so your elbows rotate out. Step your feet back to hip width apart, so that your shoulders line up just before your hands. Tuck your tailbone under, switch on your bao, brace your core. Inhale to lower the chest towards the hands, elbows out. Exhale to push back up. Try 3 sets of 5-20 with 60s rest between
This is for core stability, which is the foundation of a strong body. Come to hands and knees, shoulder and hip width apart, shoulders over wrists, hips over knees. Tuck the tailbone and engage core – the idea is to keep a stable torso, without letting the lower back arch. Extend one leg behind you (yep turning on that bao again). Extend the opposite arm ahead of you, as you try to maintain balance. It can be a surprising challenge! You might have to start with lifting a few inches off the ground initially and work up to horizontal.
Work that bao! Lay on your back, knees bent & feet flat, hip width apart, so the shins are roughly vertical. Press into your heels, tuck your tailbone under and lift with your glutes to raise your body to form a line from knees to shoulders. Don't let the lower back arch! Squeeze and hold for a moment, then lower back down. Try to actively put your mind in your glutes as you lift to get them firing. Repeat 3 x 10-20 reps with 60s rest between.
Try these now and start feeling fitter and more fabulous head to toe!
Disclaimer: For demonstration purposes. Always consult with your doctor/physician if you have any pre-existing health condition/illness before attempting any exercise. You are responsible for your health.