Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go. Freelance personal trainer based in Malaysia, Obadah Darwisha – or Jay, as he is known in the fitness circuit – takes us through five basic bodyweight exercises with varying levels of intensity, for a real calorie-burning workout.
Burpees are a calisthenics exercise that aims to build muscle strength and endurance in both your upper and lower body. For a basic burpee:
- Start in a squat position with your knees bent, back straight and feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your hands to the floor in front of you. Your hands would be between your feet.
- With your hands supporting your body weight, take a big step back one leg at a time. Your feet should be close together, and you will now be in a plank position.
- Keeping your body straight from head to toes, do one push-up. Ensure your back is straight and does not dip or form a triangle. Your hands can be positioned closer to your body to work your triceps, or spaced further apart to work the back and shoulder muscles.
- Walk back one foot at a time, so your feet are back in the starting position.
- Stand upright and stretch your arms above your head. Perform 20 reps.
- Level 2: For step (iii), instead of walking back, jump back with both legs at the same time. In step (v), jump forward.
- Level 3: For step (vi), jump up with hands raised over the head.
- Stand straight with feet together and hands on your waist.
- Step forward and bend your leg in a 90-degree angle. Bend your rear knee, so it is parallel to the ground. Both legs will form an ‘L’ shape. Ensure your front knee does not go beyond your toes.
- Bring your front leg back and repeat the lunge with the other leg. Body stays in position while the legs move front and back.
- Perform 20-30 reps per leg.
- Level 2: Lift your arms straight up as you lunge forward (iii).
- Level 3: With the same leg position, bring your opposite hand up (runner’s position). Jump and switch legs and hands.
Single Hand-Toe Touch
There are several variations to this, but in this version:
- Lie on your back with legs fully extended and close together, and arms extended behind the head.
- Raise one arm above you and raise the opposite leg. Reach forward while pushing your upper body up, almost like a sit-up, until your arm touches the toes (knee can be slightly bent).
- Put down and repeat with the other hand and leg. Perform 20-30 reps on each side.
Variation: Double Toe Touch Crunches
To do a plank properly:
- Assume the push-up position, with elbows lined up directly below your shoulders and palms flat on the ground.
- Legs should be straight with knees locked, not bent; your toes firmly on the ground.
- Your entire body should be straight from head to toe; your chin should be down close to your neck. Ensure your back is straight.
- Squeeze your glutes. Your buttocks should not sag or be raised too high.
- Hold this position for as long as you can – start with at least 30-45 seconds and work your way up.
- Side plank: One hand remains on the floor, with legs extended and stacked from hip to feet. The upper leg can be brought down to touch the floor for added support and balance.
- Hip Twists: Once you have held your standard plank position, twist your hips from side to side for 30 seconds. You can alternate between a standard plank, hip twists and side plank for maximum impact.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (or slightly wider), with arms straight down at your sides.
- Push your hips backwards, bending your knees as if you are going to sit down. Keep your back straight. Your knees should not extend beyond your toes.
- When your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause. Push up evenly and return to the starting position.
- Perform 20-30 repetitions. On the last squat, hold the squat position for an additional 15 seconds.
- Squat Jump: When you are in the squat position (iii), jump up lightly before landing gently on your feet. Ensure you land on the front pads of your feet first before your heels.
As a rule, Jay advises starting and ending any workout with some basic stretches. Before starting the bodyweight exercises, he recommends two minutes of stretching followed by a 15–20-minute run or jog to increase the heart rate. To end the routine, he suggests 15-20 minutes of cooling down stretches.
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