In this current unprecedented – and hopefully unrepeated – time we’re living in, getting outdoors, to the gym or to the yoga studio is next to impossible. It’s safe to say that for a lot of us, our fitness levels are going to take a hit. Obviously, it’s never been easier to do workouts at home, thanks to myriad equipment and Zoom video calling to bring the gym indoors.
But that naturally requires motivation, something that the distractions of home life can hugely affect. It’s all too easy to think “what’s the point of doing some upper body exercises today? I’m just going to sit down after”.
However, achieving your goals is easier than you think, especially if you break it down into short periods. We spoke to Ben Lucas, Director of Flow Athletic and former Cronulla Sharks player, to find out just how ripped you can get during two weeks of isolation.
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When posed with the question of what can be achieved, Ben bluntly told us, “a lot”. However, he adds that we should all be realistic. “It’s important during this time of isolation that you don’t lose motivation to continue if you don’t hit your goals in this two week period.”
“My suggestion would be to set a goal, do your best but at the end of the two weeks assess how you went and tweak your goal for the next two weeks accordingly. This way you will be inspired to continue and it will teach you to be a little more realistic.”
We asked Ben to break things down into three categories: strength, cardio fitness and flexibility and got him to suggest some exercises and workouts that can easily be done in the home so that we don’t all become couch potatoes.
Focusing on strength for the moment, Ben says, “For simplicity sake, let’s say your goal is to do 10 more push-ups than what you are doing now, for some people that could be achievable.”
When it comes to push-ups, there are a few variations you can carry out, all of which relate to where you position your hands. An example workout could include 9 sets, split into three, with a 45-second rest between each set.
- First three sets: neutral grip (hands shoulder-width apart)
- Next three sets: wide grip (hands 3 inches wider than shoulder-width apart)
- Last three sets: close grip or tricep push-ups (hands 3 inches apart and elbows in)
“Obviously you would practice doing push-ups to achieve this, but you should also work key muscles in other ways and other areas, to get stronger in general in order to achieve that additional ten.”
“Exercises you can be doing include bench press, overhead press, bicep curls and tricep extensions.”
As for how you can do these exercises, you can either pick up a set of dumbbells or a barbell from a fitness or department store, or you can follow the advice of fast-talking German Jo Lindner and use a set of resistance bands – or if it allows, your sofa.
“Only do these exercises every second or third day to give your muscles time to recover and get stronger. If you don’t achieve ten more push-ups in two weeks, slightly tweak your goal.”
You can even use push-ups to work your arms, but instead of getting down on the floor, you can use the walls of your home, and the sofa for tricep dips.
And, as we all know, you should never skip leg day. Easy leg exercises can include lunges and squats, and if you have some weights, you can add in a few deadlifts, too.
As with all exercise, Ben puts a heavy emphasis on your form and technique,
“If your form is better doing push-ups on your knees then start with that and move up to toes. You will get more out of an exercise that you are doing properly, and possibly cause an injury doing something incorrectly.”
Ben’s overall message to anyone attempting exercise at home, is to set goals. “If you don’t have one to work towards, you won’t be able to track your progress”, and ultimately, if you don’t quite hit them, don’t be put off and give up. Simply “amend your goal based on the results” and you’ll soon start benefitting from the positive energy when you hit them.