Spring in your Step!
Spring is finally here, which hopefully means better weather and less clothing! It’s almost time to put away our winter woollies and get out our summer dresses and flip-flops.
I always say summer bodies are made in the winter. It’s a hard concept as most of us like to wrap up warm and hibernate during the cold months, but the good news is it’s not too late to start working on that bikini body. With a few tweaks to your workouts, you can get the results you want. So, if you have been lying low this winter, here are some basic exercises you can start doing at home to get you ready for summer.
Working our largest muscle groups is always a good place to start as the more muscle we have, the more calories we burn.
When you add muscle to your frame, your body has to expend more energy to maintain that muscle tissue. So, when you are at rest or even sleeping, you will be using more calories.
The largest muscle in the body is the gluteus maximus (otherwise known as your bottom). Performed correctly, the classic squat will work your bottom, quad muscles (the front of your thighs) and your hamstrings. Once you start squatting, your bottom will start to lift and feel much perkier ;-)
A squat can be performed lots of different ways. The basic squat is a good place to start. So here we go!
Take your feet hip-width apart, keep your weight through the back of your feet and imagine you are driving your weight into your heels. Keep your feet firmly on the ground at all times. Keep your chest open and your shoulders back and push your bottom back (imagine you are going to sit down) As you sit back, make sure you keep your knees facing forwards (don’t allow them to rotate in) and ensure you can still see your toes / trainers (don’t allow your knees to travel past your toes). This way, you can ensure you are sitting back and not leaning forward. Push through your heels to rise and squeeze your bum as you come back up to standing. Common mistakes are not going low enough and losing your posture.
Have a go and see how you get on!
As a beginner you should aim for 15-25 squats….
Keep a record of how many squats you do and try to improve it by a few more each time you do a set!
Another great exercise to work your core (tummy) muscles is the plank.
The plank helps develop strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and glutes, making it a great prerequisite for working out regularly, lifting weights or playing sports. Even though you aren't moving or lifting a weight, you have to constantly squeeze your abs to hold the position. Most people can't last 30 seconds on their first attempt, so don’t worry if you need to rest before you reach that goal. If you struggle to hold a full plank, you can rest your knees on the ground, but remember to keep your body weight forward!!!
To perform a plank, get into push-up position on the floor, bending your elbows 90 degrees and resting your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. Your initial goal should be to hold the position for 30 seconds.
The longer you can hold the plank, the more resilient your lower back will be to injury. Perform planks several times each day (1-2 times), trying to hold the position a little longer each time. Keep a record and aim to improve your time every few days.
Both of these exercises should be performed with care. If you are unsure about how to achieve the right position, ask a fitness instructor for a demonstration