With every exercise, there is regression and progression. It doesn’t matter how new or experienced you are in fitness and exercise, you will always be able to challenge yourself; so those who say they can’t do a particular type of exercise; this one’s for you!
This exercise is notorious for poor form. Make sure when you squat, your knees don’t travel too far over your toes, and you don’t roll your shoulders forward. Chest up, butt out!
Sit on a chair, stand up; simple! That is basically what a squat is. If you are feeling a little bit more confident, you can hold onto the back of a chair or wall for support, and go as low as you are comfortable.
Include weights; dumbbells by your side or a barbell overhead. You could even be a little crazy and do squats on a bosu ball; this will minimise your stability and incorporate your core a lot more making you work a lot harder! Other progressions include jumping squats or one legged squats.
A lot of newbies struggle with this one! The most important training tip for this exercise is to make sure your body is aligned; so toes/knees – hips – shoulders – head.
If you are really new, start on an incline. This incline can be at any angle you are comfortable with, and when you feel more confident, you can decrease it. An example of a starter incline would be pushing yourself off of a wall. The next (harder) incline would be doing a push up off a table. The next (harder) incline would be a low step. The closer to the ground you are, the harder the exercise. Once you have mastered the incline, you are ready to do push ups on your knees on the ground.
Push up progressions; actually, ANY progression is usually a bit on the adventurous side. To progress on the classic push ups, you can do it with one hand (something I am practicing at the moment actually), you can have one foot off the ground (easier than one hand) or pop your foot (or feet) on a medicine ball. The possibilities are endless!
Some people find it difficult to get their balance right; so some topple over to one side when they do a lunge. A great starting point is to just do a pulsing lunge and stay on the one side. Once you get more confident with this, you can alternate legs. A great way to anchor yourself down so you don’t wobble is to hold onto weights either both by your sides, or to have it over your head.
To progress on a lunge, you can add weights to incorporate a bicep curl, shoulder press or rotation. Mix it up a little; all these extra add on’s to the classic lunge means you need to be mentally coordinated, as well as physically. Another great lunge progression is the jumping lunge; so in lunge position, launch yourself off the ground, switching legs, and landing on the other side.
This one is quite tricky to do by yourself. Unless you have been doing planks for a while, it’s difficult to see if your body is aligned unless you’re doing it next to a mirror. A lot of people either let their hips sag, or raise it too high. Same as the push up, you want to make sure your toes/knees – hips – shoulders – head are all aligned.
Plank difficulty rules are similar to those of a push up; the closer you are to the ground, the harder the exercise. So doing a plank on your hands will make this exercise a lot easier. Once you are confident with this, drop down onto your elbows and knees. Once that has been mastered, you can go onto your toes and rock the classic plank! Just make a mental note of your alignment.
One foot off the ground, alternating legs, adding a rotation, both feet on a bosu or fit ball, popping a weight on your back; the possibilities are endless! Be creative!
Everybody hates doing a burpee; but they are the best all over body exercise you can do.
Come down, step out, step back in, come back up; a regular burpee, but not as explosive.
When you’re down and out, add a push up. Burpees are one of those exercises where you can add a variety of exercises in between. You can add a clap to that push up. You can do a burpee lap, where instead of jumping up in the same spot, you leap forward (trust me, it’s hard!).
You can never be bored with exercise if you’re willing to challenge yourself a little! And the feeling of being able to successfully execute a progression is awesome!