Do you find yourself reliant on the apps that schedule your workout in order for you to actually follow through with your workout? If a class you love is waitlisted, do you have a backup plan? Let us not forget that day that Mindbody crashed worldwide. I know I was caught off guard that morning.
The simple fact is that you need a backup plan. Life happens, technology happens, waitlists happen, traffic happens, trains happen.
You don’t have a squat rack, a spin bike, or a punching bag? OH NO!!!! I guess we’re out of luck. Article is over, on to the next one.
Through progressions, regressions, and a few very simple workout accessories, you can take yourself to that same dark place your favourite instructor or trainer does within your own home under your own direction very easily.
A staple to have in your home is a foam roller and a lacrosse ball. These are both readily accessible locally or online and should be in the price range of $20-$30 collectively. With these tools you will do some self-directed myofascial release (or as I like to call it, “massage on a budget”).
The importance of myofascial release is to increase circulation in your body ahead of the workout and release tension in your muscles to allow them to return to their proper length. If you imagine yourself like an elastic band, before myofascial release your “elastic band” is knotted at the centre. Your workout pulls on that knot. when you’re not try to untie that knot. The knot I am describing represents your body’s muscle tension. Release tension before your workout to avoid worse tension after. Your muscles will perform better, your range of motion will be better and your risk of injury will reduce significantly.
Take the lacrosse ball and either lean against a wall or on the floor and roll it along your upper back on each side of the spine. If you have crackly knees, a good trick is to take the ball into the knee socket and reach for your shin and bring it into your body gently. This increases the mobility in that joint releasing tension that may have been focused in one area of the joint.
Roll on your back with the foam roller between you and the floor, put focus on getting the area of your thoracic spine (where your ribs end on your back up to your shoulders). Hit up your glutes because let’s face it, that booty though. Turn over to your front side, put some focus on your quads, bring your knee out and angle the roller 45 degrees to get your inner thighs.
Don’t forget to stretch. You’re going to start with the 90-90 stretch. Choose a lead leg, bring it in front so it rests across the ground in front of you, you should have a bend at the knee to create a 90 degree angle to your body. Your secondary leg will follow suit matching that same bend lateral to your torso. You can lean forward or you can gently pull on the outside of your leg lead leg. Take your hands and plant them behind your body, take some time here. After a few reps of this, switch legs, change the direction of your feet. Go through the stretches once more. This is a great stretch to increase hip mobility.
Next sit on your calves. Your shins are facing the ground and you are sitting on your legs. Throughout this stretch, you will keep your butt glued to your ankles, this is to stabilize your torso and maximize the stretch for your upper back. You are going to take your left arm, and bring your forearm as close to the ground as you can while keeping your butt in place. Now take your right arm and bring it to the sky. You are aiming to have your extended arm perpendicular to the ground. This stretch is geared to mobilize your t-spine.
Let’s start off with some dead bugs. Lay down on your back, focus on keeping your back flat to the ground, tilt your hips to achieve this position fully. All limbs are up, your legs are bent at the knees with your shins parallel to the ground. Your arms are pointing directly up. You are going to bring your left arm back within 4 inches of the ground and extend your right leg straight so your ankle is 4 inches off the ground. Bring those limbs back up and do the reverse. Right arm, left leg. Do 40 reps of this in total. Increase difficulty by slowing down the movement and remember to keep your back flat. You should feel this in your abdomen.
It’s time to work those legs of yours. You are going to start with a goblet squat. You have options for this. For a goblet squat you can do this with anything that you are able to safely hold at the your sternum. This can be a dumbbell or kettlebell obviously, but if you don’t have one in your home, you can use a bag of flower, a textbook, a can of paint, you get the idea. It is also viable to do these squats with body weight as well. Do 3 sets of 12 reps. Focus on keeping your back flat and bracing that core. I want you to aim for an RPE of 8, so if you are finding the weight to be way too easy, I want you to slow down your descent. Count out 5-10 seconds as you go down and then rise back up at your regular tempo.
Does your home have a hallway? Your next drill is going to be lunges followed by banded lateral walks. 20 bodyweight lunges, 20 lateral walks (10 in each direction). You can find minibands often in packs of 3 with light, medium, and heavy tension for around $10. Choose a tension that challenges you but that you can do 10 consecutive steps with. The band will go right above both knees. Remember, for lunges, it is not mandatory to make knee contact with the ground, as this can cause more harm than good in some cases. Bring your knee in close proximity to the ground and then go back up. You are going to go through this twice. 20 lunges, 10 lateral walks to the right, 10 to the left, repeat.
Your next set of exercises is going to be a push pull combination. You are going to do 10 pushups followed immediately by 10 bodyweight rows. You will do 3 sets of these in total and try to go into each set with minimal rest. This will increase the intensity. For bodyweight rows, you can use a table by positioning yourself with straight legs, chest facing up, with your shoulders and head under the table. You will grip the ledge of the table with your finger tips and pull your body up with your legs straight and ankles in contact with the ground while keeping a neutral spine and not bending in the body. If you want to make this more difficult, elevate your feet onto a stool or chair assuming you are able to reach the table from the ground. For the pushups, if you can not do 10 regular pushups from the ground, use a chair, keep your feet on the ground as usual, brace your core, don’t dip at the waste and pushup with your hands elevated. If you are a pushup master and bust out 10 in a row like nothing, slow down your descent to the ground. Count to 10 to slow down your tempo.
Your last exercise is going to be with a resistance band. These can be found for about $20 and often come in sets with ranges in tension. You’re going to do a bicep to tricep circuit. 20 reps of bicep to 20 reps of tricep, 3 sets. If you cannot complete 20 reps with the lightest tension, go to the number that you can hit, and add a 4th set. For example, if you can only do 8 reps in a row, do 4 sets in your drill instead of 3. For biceps you are going to place both feet on the band, slight bend in your knees, wrists facing forward, and bring your forearms up to your chest. For triceps you are going to step on the band, bend at the knees, push your butt out while keeping your back straight. You’ll bring your elbows behind you as far as you can, and then extend your arms. If you are a beast with the highest tension cable, add 5 reps to each set.
Here’s the finisher. 40 frog pumps. Lay down on the ground, bring the bottoms of your feet into each other. Keep your shoulders planted on the ground and lift your hips up in the air. Don’t lift your hips so high that you arch your back.
Now you're sweaty, hit the shower!
Chris Liddle - L2 Fitness
See all the movements and the full workout in our Digital Edition.