It’s that time of year again. Summer is over, the kids are back in school and Christmas decorations are already going up in the stores. For a lot of us, summer makes staying physically active a lot easier. For one, you may be more likely to find a gym buddy since everyone is talking about working on their “beach body”. Plus of course, the warm weather means we are always outside! Any time spent outside is typically more active than time spent inside on the couch. Now winter is rolling around and between travel and the colder weather…you know the drill. Hitting the gym is just more challenging.
Luckily, there are still ways to maintain the progress you have made this year through to the next. It may not be the most interesting workout you have ever done, but it’s better than nothing! The following three moves will target all major muscle groups, don’t take too long, and can be done with ZERO equipment. They’re also low impact, so if you are recovering from an injury they may be a good option for you. I like these moves because I can do them anywhere, anytime.
Why: Personally, I never did pushups until I tried the P90X program. Now I LOVE pushups. They keep your upper body strong and defined even if you haven’t gotten around to working out with heavier weights in a while. Plus they are easy to modify. If you aren’t comfortable doing a standard pushup, you can always do them from your knees.
What They Work On: Biceps, Triceps, Chest, Shoulders, Upper Back
How To Do It: Starting on hands and toes, make sure your hands are shoulder width apart, with wrists directly under shoulders and you are spreading your fingers apart for a secure foundation. Your elbows should be close to your sides. Make sure your back is straight and your core tight. At a controlled pace, bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the ground. Keep your head and neck neutral and stable. Now push yourself back up.
Why: Squats are not only one of the best exercises for burning calories, they also help prevent lower back injuries. By maintaining strong legs and glutes, your low back is protected.
What They Work On: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, Back, Abdominals
How To Do It: Starting from a standing position (weights optional) with your feet hip distance apart, at a controlled pace lower your bottom towards the floor as if you were about to sit in a chair. Be sure to maintain a flat back and keep your knees behind your toes. At the bottom of your squat, squeeze your glutes and stand back up.
Why: Maintaining a strong core
is beneficial in multiple ways, including giving you better posture and flexibility. A strong core also prevents us from injuries to our back, shoulders, and legs.
What They Work On: Abdominals, Glutes, Hips, Quads, Hamstrings. Personally, I also believe they work on strengthening your mind power and self control! Holding this position can be as mentally challenging as it is physically challenging.
How To Do It: Start in a pushup position, but rest your elbows on the ground, forearms on the floor in front of you. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders, with your head and neck in a neutral position. Your entire body should be straight from your head down to your toes. Now hold this position for as long as you can! See how you do and try to work up from there. In the beginning, holding this for just one minute can be very challenging!
Using these three simple moves, you can create whatever kind of workout you want. Get creative! If you’re somewhere you can run outside, do a set of each of these moves, then run around the block and do it again. This can be as quick as a 10-20 minute workout, something anyone should be able to fit in their schedule.