Christmas has been and gone, and if you concentrate really hard you might just remember the bold promises you made to yourself on New Year’s Eve. “This year is going to be different.” “I’m going to join the gym.” “I’m going to train really hard.” “I’m going to look awesome on the beach next summer.” You know the drill.
Here are some hard facts for you. Around 45 million people (some 70% of the UK population) made a New Year’s pledge to improve their fitness. Sadly 40% of those (18 million people) will have given up before the end of January!
There are many reasons why people give up so soon. Some genuinely don’t have time to get to the gym, others don’t really know what to do but are too proud to ask, or might have been given a boring programme to follow and lose interest.
It doesn’t have to be that way. What if there’s a way to train in your garden, in the park around the corner or on the playing fields close to your house? What if you never have to jog on a treadmill staring at a wall, but instead get to throw things around, get some fresh air and let off some steam?
I have put together a workout that requires minimal specialist equipment, takes up as little of your time as possible and can be performed in your garden or within a short running distance from your house. I promise it will be loads of fun, but also one of the most effective workouts you will have done in a long time.
As with all of these workouts, make sure you are nice and warm before you begin. Start off gently and as you get used to the movements you can increase the intensity. Start off performing as many repetitions of each exercise as possible in 30 seconds, with no rest in between. Take one minute to rest between sets. Repeat this six times and your entire workout is done bang on 20 minutes.
Allow the rope to lay flat on the floor, take hold of one end in each hand and step forward so that the rope hangs straight down to your feet and then runs flat along the floor to the anchor point. This will give you enough slack to be able to perform the exercises correctly. Start off simply with feet in a comfortable shoulder-width stance and bend the knees slightly as you slam the rope down into the floor with both arms working together at the same time. For variations, you can alternate the hands (second picture) or slam the rope diagonally to the left and the right. Either way your heart rate is going to go through the roof…or the sky, you will soon know what I mean.
Squat down with your bodyweight through your heels and a nice flat back until the bag touches the floor. Then launch the bag as high as possible by exploding out of the squat position and driving the hands up towards the sky. Now you can either attempt to catch the bag, or you can watch it safely to the ground…either way – don’t take your eyes off of it! Every single joint will have to work in unison, which gives you far more ‘bang for your buck’ than training them all individually. As you become more powerful keep an eye out for low-flying aircraft.
With one hand either side of the Sandbag, place it length ways across one shoulder. Step backwards into a lunge with the opposite leg. As you step out of the lunge, press the bag up and over your head so that it is now on the opposite shoulder. Repeat this process alternating from one side to the other. To increase the difficulty, you can either make the bag heavier, or you can add a plyometric element by jumping out of the lunge and switching the legs in mid-air. That should dust off the cobwebs…
Start with one hand close to the head of the hammer and the other hand at the base of the handle. If the right hand is closest to the head of the hammer, move the hammer to the right until your left hand is close to your right ear and the right hand is behind your right shoulder. As you pull the hammer forwards the right hand will slide down the handle but the left hand will remain tight. As the hammer strikes the floor/tyre both hands will be together. Now, once you ensure nobody is standing close by and you aren’t going to break anything – let off all that stress by unleashing hell with your hammer. Make sure you do as many strikes on the left hand side as you do on the right. If you fancy a challenge, try it single-handed.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to find somewhere to hang from. Allow the body to hang straight down to the floor with no swaying, then lift your legs up level with your hips into an L position, and hold, for the full 30 seconds, perfectly still. Once you have mastered that then add movement, from the L position lift your toes up to touch the bar and return to the L position. Avoid cheating by reducing the momentum as much as possible. By the end of the workout you will have abs of steel and a vice like grip… well, you’ll be closer to these than you used to be, at least.
Place the head of the hammer safely against the floor. Hold both hands together at the base of the handle and walk your feet back so you are in a straight plank position. Just holding that position is hard enough, but if you can manage it, add some movement. Steadily walk your hands one at a time down the handle towards the head of the hammer. As much as I tell you not to go any lower than you are capable of, we all know you are going to try and go all the way down to the bottom – so either make sure you are on a soft surface, or wear a gum shield…or a helmet…or both.