You don’t need to be an experienced gym-goer or have a load of equipment stashed in your cupboard to get a good-quality workout done at home. With the right set of bodyweight exercises you can achieve everything you want to with your fitness, especially if you’re a beginner.
Personal training apps like Freeletics (opens in new tab) can help with that by providing the workouts for you to follow. For a taste of what’s available on the app, here’s a workout from it, with advice on how to perform the moves from David Wiener, training specialist at Freeletics.
“Stand with your knees gently flexed,” says Wiener. “Move your hips as if you were sitting in a chair, driving them backwards. Bend your knees and lower yourself until your hips are at knee level or slightly lower. Keep your back straight. Your weight should be distributed evenly across your feet – resist the temptation to let your heels leave the ground. Ensure that your knees remain in line with your toes and that they’re not turning inwards or outwards because this puts unnecessary pressure on the joints.”
2 Backward windmill
“Stand with your arms by your sides,” says Wiener. “Rotate your shoulders backwards with your arms remaining by your side, then rotate your whole arms backwards.”
“Lie on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground,” says Wiener. “Keep your feet and shoulders off the ground at all times. Put your hands next to your head, then bring your left knee up towards your chest and rotate your upper body to the right, so that your right elbow is touching your left knee above the hip. Be sure not to pull on your neck. While you are doing this, straighten your right leg but keep it off the ground. Make sure your shoulders and torso are moving and not just your elbows. Now do the same motion on the other side to complete two reps.”
Reps 10 each side
“Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outwards and arms held straight out in front of your chest,” says Wiener. “Step to the right into a slow, controlled lunge, pushing your hips back and down, and bending your right knee to track directly in line with your right foot. Keep both feet pointing forwards and your left leg straight but not locked. Your glutes should be below the top of your bent knee. Push off your right foot to straighten your right leg and return to the starting position.”
5 Negative press-up
“A negative press-up is a combination of a regular press-up and kneeling press-up,” says Wiener. “Begin by putting your chest on the floor, with your elbows bent, hands either side of your chest and your legs extended behind you. Then lift your body from the knees using your arms, then lift your knees up while your arms are holding your bodyweight. Lower yourself slowly. Your hips should always be off the ground.”
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Complete three rounds of the following, only resting at the end of each round.
1 Kneeling press-up
“Lie on your chest and stomach, with your elbows bent and palms flat on the floor alongside your chest,” says Wiener. “Keeping your elbows close to your sides, lift your upper body with your knees remaining on the ground. In a controlled movement, lower your body until your chest touches the floor again. Your shoulders and hips should form a straight line throughout, as if you’re holding a plank.”
“From standing, squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you,” says Wiener. “Quickly kick both feet out behind you so you are in a top press-up position, making sure your knees, hips and shoulders are aligned. Jump your legs forwards again to return to the squatting position, and jump up.”
3 Single-leg glute bridge
Reps 15 each side
“Lie on your back with your arms extended by your sides,” says Wiener. “Bend your left leg so your knee is at 90° and your foot is flat on the floor. Keeping your shoulders and your left foot on the floor, extend your right leg and lift your hips off the ground. Bring your right leg towards your body while your knee is extended, so that your right ankle is above your hips.”
Lower back to the start to complete one rep. Do all your reps on one side, then switch.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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