Lockdown coming to an end! Summer around the corner! 50plus? Carrying a few Covid pounds? Not been to the gym for a while? Don't worry, here are three easy steps to get you off your sofa and back into the gym.
Step 1: Get off the sofa: The first step is always the hardest.
I know it sounds obvious, but at 50plus and after a year at home, this can be a lot harder than it sounds. We all know what it's like, you plan to go for that run or do that YouTube exercise class but something comes up, something gets in the way. Well if you're going to get those pounds off you're going to have to find a way past those distractions and start your journey back to fitness.
Step 2: Visit your GP/doctor.
Your doctor is your first stop on your road back to the gym. I don’t care how good you are feeling, if you’re reading this then you’re probably over 50 and before you start any kind of exercise program you must visit your doctor or GP.
Step 3: No gym required!
OK, now time to get down to work. No special equipment required, just enough space to layout on the floor.
Here's what we are suggesting you do:
10 x Press Ups
10 x Crunches / Sit Ups
10 x Body Squats
1 x 10 Seconds Plank
10 x Lunges - (5 Each leg)
10 x Glute Bridges
NOTE: Remember this isn't a race and we're not twenty-one, so take your time. If you can't do ten of any of the exercises right away, that's fine. Do what you can and build from there. If anything feels wrong or uncomfortable, stop! There’s a fine line between pushing the mind and injuring the body. Wisdom far exceeds unnecessary stubbornness.
Target Areas: Chest. Triceps. Anterior Deltoids (front shoulder).
Method: (Can be done on toes or knees).
Hands under shoulders. Hips straight and pelvis tilted forward so that your back/spine is in a neutral position (see notes). Core tight (tense abdominal muscles).
Arms no more than 45 degrees angle and shoulders locked down. Breathe in and bend both elbows to at least 90 degrees, if not a little more. As you breathe out, straighten your arms back up and return to starting position.
Target Areas: Abdominals. Core.
Method: Lay flat on your back.
Put your hands, flat down on the front of your thighs, and aim to touch your knees as close as possible. If possible go further and touch your knees with your wrists or the elbows. Engage the stomach muscles and keep your eyes looking up. This keeps the oxygen flowing and takes some of the pressure off the back of your neck. Alternatively, your hands can be lightly placed behind the back of your head to support the neck. Careful not to jerk/pull your head.
Target Areas: Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes.
Method: Stand up with your spine in a neutral position and the core engaged.
Gently bend both knees and inhale. Ideally, your knees are in alignment with the ankles and should not pass your toes. This prevents stress on your lower back. (Basically, avoid looking like Elvis). Keeping your core engaged, as you exhale stand up by extending your legs.
10 Second Plank.
Targeted areas: Core (Lower Back, Abs, Torso), Legs, Shoulders.
Lay flat on the floor/ground.
Elbows directly under shoulders. Engage your core and balance on your forearms and toes. This can also be performed on your knees; or using straight arms with hands on the floor, directly under the shoulders.
Targeted Areas: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings and Core.
Method: Stand tall with a neutral spine.
Take one long stride. Slowly bend the knee of your back leg towards the floor. The front knee should be in alignment with the ankles. Push up with the front leg back to a standing position. Repeat either with the same leg or alternate the legs until the target number has been achieved.
Target areas: Glutes, Hamstrings, Core and Hips.
Method: Lay flat on the ground.
Heels about thirty centimetres from glutes/buttocks so that the knees are bent. Engage the core and take a breath.
Lift your hips and pelvis off the ground and breath out. Squeeze the glutes and abs at the top of the repetition.
1 - Neutral Back/Spine position:
A neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when all three curves of the spine - neck, middle and lower - are in alignment. This is the strongest position for the spine when we are standing or sitting, and the one that we are made to move from.
2 - Core Engagement:
Open the chest with the shoulders gently pulling down.
Push the pelvis and engage the glute muscles, the lower part of your abs should feel engaged to support the lower spine.
3 - Keep the exercise fresh:
Change the order you do the exercises in. Build up slowly, give your body (and mind), time to get used to the movements and start to develop an easy, and quick pattern.
4 - Pyramid sets are another step forward.
After warming up:
Set 1 - 10 reps of the 6 exercises - 2 minutes rest.
Set 2 - 20 reps of the 6 exercises - 2 minutes rest.
Set 3 - 30 reps of the 6 exercises.
Good luck and see you back in the gym soon.
Author: Mark Armstrong / JamesG