Just because you’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean you can’t get strong. These five exercises will build strong, powerful and injury-resistant muscles – a perfect foundation upon which to add more aerobic training once we’re allowed out and races are back on.
These exercises require no equipment, so you can do them anywhere:
Stand as tall as you can with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then drive yourself up and back to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Do two sets of 20 reps.
Watch out for: Make sure your knee doesn’t extend past your toes. Keep your upper body “tall”—don’t bend too much at the hip.
Stand with your feet staggered, your right foot forward. Squat down through your hips so that your left knee is lowered toward, but not touching, the floor. Lower down to a count of two, and rise back up to a count of two. Repeat on the other leg. Do two sets of 20 reps on each leg.
Watch out for: Ensure your front knee doesn’t extend past your toes, keep a 90 degree angle between your quadriceps and your shin. Keep your upper body “tall”.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, arms out, and palms down. Draw your belly button in, and lift your hips up by pressing your feet into the ground. Contract your core, your glutes, and then your hamstrings in this position. Hold for three to five seconds. Do two sets of 15 reps.
Watch out for: Keep your hips level—don’t let one side dip—while raised.
Starting at the top of a pushup position, bend your elbows and lower yourself down until you can shift your weight from your hands to your forearms. Your body should form a straight line. Contract your abdominals and hold for 45 seconds.
Watch out for: Don’t drop your hips or raise your bottom.
Clams are great for strengthening often-neglected glute muscles. Here’s how to do them:
- Lie on your side. Rest your head on your arm or hand as shown. Bend hips to approximately 45 degrees and bend your knees at 90 degrees. Make sure one hip is lying above the other. You should now be well aligned – your feet should be in line with your back.
- Take a deep breath in and as you exhale set your core muscles.
- Inhale and whilst exhaling float the upper leg upwards while keeping your feet in contact with one another.
- Inhale and as you exhale bring the leg down to the starting position.
Repeat 15 times each leg. If done correctly you should feel the muscles around the back of the hip bone (gluteus medius and minimus) working hard.
Focus on not allowing the alignment of the body to be disrupted with leg movement.
Single leg squat
Balancing on one foot squat down, bending at the knee and sitting your hips back as if you are going to sit in a chair behind you ( have a chair behind you when you start and you can sit onto it before coming back up again). Once down to about a 90 to 115 degree angle in your knee, extend your leg back up to standing. If this is too challenging allow the toes of your hovering foot to lightly rest on the ground. Complete eight repetitions then switch to the other leg.
Thank you to Bradford-on-Avon based personal trainer and run coach Kerry Sutton Perpetual Motion for the images and words.