With so many options and a vast array of advice, it’s no wonder many people are confused about the best way to get fit. Do we head inside to a gym or outside to a park? Do we need to exercise for 90 minutes a day or will 10 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) get the same results? Are team sports the key to adherence or is it better to get a personal trainer?
The short answer is that there’s no one-size-fits-all exercise regime. It all comes down to what you enjoy, how you enjoy doing it, what your end goal is and how much time and money you can afford.
However, there is one thing that is vital if you are to succeed: consistency. That not only means you commit to exercising regularly, it also means that the workout itself has longevity.
Vlad Shatrov, Runlab founder and trainer, says it’s not necessary to keep looking for the latest fitness craze. You just have to identify quality exercise that you can do regularly and that fits into your lifestyle.
Below are five examples of really simple bodyweight exercises that you can do anywhere at any time and athletes have been confidently doing them forever – because they work!
- Stand with your back against a wall.
- Put your feet far enough in front of you so when you slide your back down the wall your thighs are parallel to the ground, knees at 90 degrees.
- Hold this position with your back pressed into the wall.
- To make the exercise harder lift one leg at a time, slowly alternating between each leg. To make it harder still, raise your hands above your head.
- Start by holding the squat for 30 seconds then resting for 30 seconds, repeating three times. Increase the time of your hold as you get stronger.
Glute and Bridge Hold
- Lie on your back with your feet placed flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Engage your core and drive your feet into the ground before slowly lifting your hips by squeezing your glutes. Lift until the body is in a straight line from knees to hips, hips to shoulders.
- Hold for 30 seconds, still squeezing the glutes, then slowly lower. Repeat 3 times.
- To progress the exercise, when your hips are up, lift one foot off the ground and hold for 5 seconds then replace and repeat with the other foot. Continue alternating between feet.
- Keep the core engaged to ensure the hips stay level.
- Start in a high plank position with the palms of your hands flat on the ground just under your shoulders or slightly wider, fingers pointing forward.
- If you’re a beginner, you can take your weight on your knees, feet raised in the air. Advanced runners should take their weight on their hands and the balls of their feet.
- Slowly lower your body until your chest grazes the floor, then push up. Keep your back flat and eyes focussed about a metre in front of you to keep a neutral neck.
- Start with 3 sets of 5 with a 30–60 second rest between each set. Gradually work up the number of repetitions as you build strength.
- Lie face down on the ground and then either take your weight onto your elbows and knees or your elbows and the balls of your feet, depending on your fitness level.
- Ensure your body is in a straight line and your hips aren’t poking up in the air then engage the core.
- Hold for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
- As you become stronger, increase the length of your hold.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Lift yourself up onto the balls of your feet, hold for one second, then slowly lower your heels to the floor.
- Complete three sets of 10 raises with 30–60 seconds rest between each set.
- To make this exercise harder, complete a set on one foot at a time. You can also use different muscles by doing the calf raises with the toes turned in and then turned out.
Try to do these exercises every other day – they’ll provide an all-over strengthening workout and remember: exercise doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.