As winter fully sets in and our motivation to get out and exercise diminishes as quickly as the evening daylight, the slippery slope to undoing all the good work we did in the summer months becomes more and more perilous. Add to that the month-long sugar binge that is Christmas, and it’s no wonder gyms are crowded to the max come January.
It’s at this time of year when the daylight draws in that the benefits of exercise are super important, not only for physical health, but the endorphins released from exercise are essential to your mental wellbeing. So, for the sake of mind, body and soul, give the below bodyweight workouts a try from the comfort of your own home.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Circuits
HIIT is just that, it’s short periods of highly intense exercise followed by a short rest period before performing another highly intense exercise. For this I like to pick five exercise, perform 30 seconds of work to 30 seconds of rest for each exercise and complete three rounds for a total of 15 minutes. Remember to keep the work periods as intense as possible.
Exercise 1. Squat Jump 30 seconds/rest 30 seconds
Exercise 2. Alternate lunge 30 seconds/rest 30 seconds
Exercise 3. Hip/glute bridge 30 seconds/rest 30 seconds
Exercise 4. Press up 30 seconds/rest 30 seconds
Exercise 5. Plank hold 30 seconds/rest 30 seconds
Repeat the above in order 3 times
Tabata is a variation of HIIT made famous by Dr Izumi Tabata that ‘boasts’ the same results in 4 minutes as 60 minutes of low intensity running. Although it only lasts 4 minutes you should complete a good stretching warm-up first. Tabata is performed doing 20 seconds of seriously intense exercise (working at 100% capacity) followed by 10 seconds rest before immediately going for 20 seconds again. The full circuit is 8 rounds of this 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. Remember, the exercises you chose for this workout must allow you to work at maximum capacity, think all out sprint rather than slow shaky push ups. I like to pick 4 exercises and run through them all twice. Pick any 4 of the below exercises and go as hard and fast as possible:
High knee on the spot sprints
EMOM stands for every minute on the minute and is a protocol that aims to reduce rest periods and increase intensity as the workout goes on. To set up this workout you will pick 4 exercises and alternate them throughout a 16-minute period. Set a timer and every time a new minute starts perform a set number of reps of an exercise, then rest for the remainder of that minute. As the next minute starts perform the next exercise for the number of reps and again rest for the remainder of the minute. As you become more tired through the workout the reps take longer to complete and the rest periods become shorter making the workout increasingly hard. Try the below as a guide, you can adjust the exercises or reps to match your level of fitness.
Squats x 15
Press up x 15
Lying leg raise x 15
Reverse lunge x 15
In the above example you would do 15 squats when the timer starts, then rest until the timer reaches minute 1, then do 15 press ups, rest until the timer reaches minute 2, then do 15 leg raises, rest until minute 3 and do 15 reverse lunge, rest until the minute is up then back to squats. Cycle through this 4 times.
Bonus workout/fitness test/actual torture – 7-minute burpee challenge
This is the simplest workout of them all, but by far the worst. Simply set a 7-minute timer and perform as many chest-to-floor burpees as possible in that 7 minutes. Beware, you will need to pace yourself, if you go off fast you will find yourself in world of trouble within 2 minutes. Try this every couple of weeks as a fitness test and aim to beat your previous score each time.
So, there you go, everything you need to give yourself a feel-good boost for mind, body and soul this winter without ever having to leave your own home. As always, check with your doctor before undertaking any new form of exercise for the first time.