Strength and Tone Exercises for Everyone
This is an easy way to add some simple strength and toning exercises into your daily regime. You can use a weight (2 – 10 kg) for some of the exercises but if you don’t have one use a bag of spuds instead! Go through each exercise in succession.
A) WIDE SQUATS
Stand close to your step/bench. Run or step up onto the step, right foot then left and step back down. Aim to step/run up fast and step down with a little more control. So it’s step/run up right, left, step down right left and repeat. The faster and higher you go, the harder it will be. Always make sure the whole of your foot is going onto the step. Keep your back tall and try to look straight ahead. Repeat for one minute then change leading legs so that you’re running up left, right, stepping down, left right. For a harder variation try jumping up and landing in a squat on top of the step and stepping down.
B) NARROW PRESS UPS
In a kneeing position, hands underneath your shoulders, knees in line with hips, bend at the elbows keeping your elbows tucked into your sides – imagine holding a ruler underneath each armpit! Lower your nose to the floor in front of your fingertips. Lift, focusing on squeezing through the backs of your arms and repeat. For a harder version take your knees behind your hips or if you’re feeling really strong you can take your knees off the floor and rest on the balls of your feet. Be careful your back doesn’t sag.
If you are new to exercise or have any issues with your knees, do this exercise first holding onto a sturdy support, such as the back of a chair. Start with your feet hip distance apart. Step back with your right foot keeping the ball of the foot in contact with the ground, heel off the ground. Keep your weight centred onto the ball of your right foot and the heel of your left, bend slightly at both knees to lower your torso vertically to the ground. Lift back up and repeat 6 – 10 times on each leg. Deepen the lunge action to increase the intensity. If you want to work even harder, hold your weighted object close to your chest.
D) ABDOMINAL BRACE
Kneel on your hands and knees, with hands directly underneath your shoulders and knees in line with hips. Make sure your back is in a neutral line and tuck your elbows in and have them slightly bent. Your body weight should be forward so your eye level is above your fingertips. Curl your toes under to rest the back of your toes on the floor. Slowly lift both knees off the floor. Keeping your back still and your tummy pulled in tight. Focus on a deep feeling in your tummy and pelvic floor. If you find this hard, immediately lower back down. Build up to hold it for 30 seconds. Lower and repeat 3 – 4 times. For a harder version try extending one leg.
Repeat exercises ‘a’ to ‘d’ to complete your 10 minute workout.
Also try: Body Pump classes, Fitball classes and gym workouts
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