A social distance-friendly total-body workout – no gym or equipment required.
Medically reviewed by Dr Juliet McGrattan (MBChB) and words by Harkirat Mahal
While gyms remain closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the good news is, you can still get a total body workout in either at home in your garden or at your local park. With the mornings and evenings warmer and lighter at this time of year, it’s the perfect time of year to take your sweat sessions outside.
These exercises below work on different body parts, so when completed together you should get a great all over body workout. You can also do these exercises with no equipment, relying on your own bodyweight.
A squat is one of the best bodyweight exercises for toning and strengthening your legs and glutes. However, it is important to do it correctly to protect your knees. Start with your feet shoulder-length apart. Stick your butt out as you squat down, like you are about to sit on a chair. When you push back up, use your hip and thigh muscles only. Keep your knees straight. If you are doing the position correctly, your knees will move for the first half of the squat and your hips will finish the movement.
This has to be one of my most favourite exercises. A plank can be completed anywhere. It is challenging and absolutely fantastic at strengthening your abdominal muscles and core. To get into a plank position, start by lying flat on the ground, facing the floor. Raise your upper body onto your elbows and your lower body onto your toes. Your body should be completely parallel to the ground. Make sure you are not in an upside down V shape with your bum pointing upwards. Hold this position for 30 seconds, rest and repeat up to three times. Once you get the hang of this, you should aim to hold your plank for a minute at a time.
- Mountain climbers
They don’t call this one a mountain climber for nothing – it gets its name because it mimics the position of a mountain climber as they venture up steep peaks. This move is great for building cardio endurance and core strength, as well as your arms, back and legs. Start in a plank position, distributing your weight evenly between your hands and toes. You hands should be shoulder-width apart and your back should be flat. Then pull your right knee to your chest, then alternate with your left. Do this as fast as you can while keeping your back flat and hips steady.
- Ski sit
This is a brilliant exercise for strengthening the legs and shaping the glutes. All you need for this exercise is a flat wall. Place your back against the wall, and as you slide your back down the wall, walk your feet out, until your knees are in a 90-degree angle. ‘Sit’ and hold this position for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat up to three times. As with the plank, build this hold up to 60 seconds.
- Lateral squat walk
The lateral squat walk is a great move and will help to strengthen and shape your leg muscles. Get into a squat position by lowering your bum down, as if you are about to sit in a low chair. Keep your chest up and your shoulder rotated back. Look forwards and try to ensure your weight is in your heels, so that you are really sitting back. Now, take small steps sideways, making sure you stay low throughout. Mark out a good distance of around six metres and once you reach this return back in this position. Complete this walk for 60 seconds at a time.
If you have the space, you cannot ignore one of the most effective and straight-forward pulse-racer and form of cardio: running. It is a great way to burn fat and lose weight (if that’s your goal). Sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds, and then walk or jog very slowly for 30 seconds. Complete five sprint-starts over five minutes to get your heart rate up quickly. Alternatively, exercises like burpees or high-knees (jogging on the spot but lifting your knees higher than usual) will also get the heart rate up, if you don’t have the space to do sprints.
To challenge your upper body, without any equipment, you need to start by getting into your plank position. Rather then resting on your elbows, straighten your arms and press your palms flat into the ground. Slowly lower your upper body down to the ground until it almost touches and your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle. Just as slowly raise your upper body back up until your arms are straight, but not locked. Repeat this ten times and for three sets, taking a minutes break in between.