As winter approaches we get the urge to stay home and hibernate. But that’s no excuse to skip your workout.
All of these exercises can be done in the comfort of your home or backyard. When you don’t have time to go to the gym, this set of movements will help build and maintain your strength and energy levels.
Squats strengthen all the muscles in the lower half of the body and are great for toning up your buttocks, hips, and thighs.
Squatting is also a functional movement because it replicates movements we do on a daily basis like squatting down to pick things up, and getting out of chairs (which becomes more difficult as we get older). How many times have you heard someone say they hurt their backs doing these two common movements? Squats help prevent these injuries and will keep you strong for life.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart.
- Bend your knees and lower your hips toward the floor like you are about to sit on a chair.
- Make sure your knees are tracking over you big toes and keep your lower abdominals pulled inward to protect your lower back.
- In the deepest part of the squat position your buttocks should be almost as low as your knees. However, if you have any knee or hip issues avoid going this low.
- Hold this position for a moment, then straighten your legs to return to the start position.
Do 3 sets of 15.
Push-ups are the best exercise for strengthening your upper body. They focus primarily on the chest muscles but will also help tone and shape your shoulder and arm muscles.
Women typically have weak upper bodies so doing push-ups regularly is an accessible way to make sure your upper body is strong.
- Place your hands on the ground so they are two hand widths outside of each shoulder.
- Full push-ups are done on your toes but if you are just beginning or haven’t done them in a while, start from your knees.
- Your hips should be slightly forward so your body is in a plank position.
- Lower your whole body toward the floor keeping your entire body together, you don’t want your chest or hips to lower independently.
- Then press firmly into your hands and push back up into your start position.
Do 3 sets of 12.
This exercise strengthens and tones your entire abdominal area. It specifically targets your oblique muscles, which will give you a more shapely-looking waist.
- Start lying on your right side.
- Prop your body up on your right forearm and the side of your right foot. Your legs will be stacked one on top of the other. Squeeze your inner thighs together.
- Imagine someone is holding your hips up to avoid them sinking. Keep your abdominals engaged.
- Hold your plank for 30–45 seconds for one set.
Do 2 sets each side.
Single Leg Bridge
This is a true buttock blasting exercise. It will tone, strengthen, and shape your buttocks and the back of your thighs. The bridging part of the exercise (when you are rolling up and down away from the floor) is great for improving mobility in your spine and strengthening your back.
- Lie on your back with your feet hip width apart and your arms lying beside you, palms resting on the floor.
- Press your lower back toward the floor and start to slowly lift your bottom, then lift your lower, mid, and upper back until you’re in a bridge position.
- Hold this pose.
- Tighten your buttocks and lower abdominals and lift your right leg up and hold it up for 5 seconds.
- When you lift your leg it is important that your hips don’t lower out of the bridge position.
- Place your right leg back down then lift your left leg and hold for 5 seconds.
- Lift and hold 5 times on each leg for one set, then lower back down to the floor.
Do 3 sets.
Seated Side Twist
It is important to be in the habit of stretching as part of your workouts because it will lengthen your muscles and help reduce soreness. This stretch will release tension from your spine and buttocks and lengthen your spine, waist, and hamstrings.
- Sit with both legs straight out in front of you.
- Bend your right leg and cross it over your left, placing your right foot on the outside of your left thigh.
- Hold your right knee with your left hand and look over your right shoulder.
- Gently twist your spine and torso, repeat on the other side.
Hold each side for 45 seconds.
Emma-Kate Stampton certifies Pilates instructors and is a certified personal trainer. With 12 years of industry experience, she is passionate about sharing the gift of health and well-being. Emma-Kate is based in Brisbane, Australia.