As the festive season approaches, so do the opportunities for excesses in all forms. On of the forms that leave consequences hard to get rid of is excess weight. Whether temptation comes in the form of chocolates, multiple Christmas parties and lengthy family meals, you need to stay in control of your diet, health and ultimately your fitness. Couple that with less time for workouts as the gym is closed over the Christmas and New Year period and your calendar is filled with office and family parties or lucky you, holidays abroad, what can you do?
That’s right. You have to work out with what you have. In that case, it will be old-school exercises. You don’t need a gym for them, you don’t need special equipment and you can do them anywhere, in your hotel room, at your in-laws, in your beach house. However, many of these exercises are too easy if you are used to training with heavy weights at the gym? So how can you benefit from easy squat sessions with no weights on your shoulders when you normally go over 100 kg? How can you benefit from a back raise when you do the deadlift with more than your bodyweight on the bar? Here are a few twists you can follow to toughen up your home workout.
When doing press-ups, instead of placing your feet on the floor, place them high up on a chair or even on a table. This is the incline version of the bench press and you will be working your upper pecs more.
As the higher you raise your legs, the more you solicit your shoulders, why not go all the way into a handstand position with your feet against the wall, arms shoulder-width apart and lower your body by bending your arms and then pressing up again. This is the shoulder press version. You might find that your head doesn’t allow you to lower yourself sufficiently. Just find two blocks to place under your hands. They could be big books for example.
We’ve got the triceps covered but you can also do dips. Grab a chair, position it in front of a table on which you will rest your feet while your hands will be on the edge of the chair. Lower yourself by bending your elbows and then up again. You will find this quite easy so get someone to sit on you close to your upper body or place a few litres of milk or water on your lap!
You can also do dips for chest by using the back of two chairs as parallel bars to move up and down by the strength of your arms and chest. Position is everything to target the external parts of your pecs, so get the gap between the chairs just right.
With squats, do the one-leg version. Raise one leg in front of you and touch a wall or a chair lightly to keep your balance. This exercise is more than doubly challenging because not only because one leg lifts your bodyweight instead of two but also because you have to balance your body on that one leg and concentrate on keeping the other leg up.
If you haven’t done lunges for a long time in the gym, you can do them now without weight. The stretching action of this exercise is already half the benefit.
To target the back, find a sturdy mop stick that can be used as a bar and place it over two chairs. Lie under the bar and pull up your body in a back row-style movement. If you can find an arrangement to place a bar horizontally above your head, do so and use it for chin-ups and pull-ups, working your lats and biceps. Try pull-ups with one arm only for a more challenging version.
If you can find someone heavy enough, get that person to sit on the very end of your feet as you lie on a bed with your torso beyond and facing the floor. In this position, you can do back extensions. Hold a dictionary in front of your with arms straightened to add some resistance.
We’ve got the pushing and pulling muscles covered as well as the leg muscles. Now for the abs, do leg raises between each exercise.
To round up your training, perform it circuit-style without rest between exercises and for several sets. This should work you into a good sweat and you might find it quite challenging. Save it till next Christmas afterwards or until you go abroad for an extended period of time with gym.