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So your local pool is shut, and your local sports shop is all out of home training equipment. Sound familiar? In recent weeks steepers, spin bikes, dumbbells, resistance bands and any other home gym equipments have been flying off the shelves at an alarming rate. But, you don’t always need all the latest gear and gadgets to get a good workout, infact, sometimes you don’t need anything at all!
So, before you resort to practicing your technique in the bath; take a look at our guide to 5 body weight only exercises brought to you by one of our very own, Megan, who is a qualified personal trainer and also a qualified swim instructor. These exercises are sure to help keep your fitness coming on swimmingly this year.
Yesterday you mastered the perfect press-up. That’s great! Now for the next move…
Squats are an excellent choice for Runner’s, Swimmers, Cyclists, and well everyone. They are a great lower body workout, for building strong and powerful glutes and thighs. What is less well known is that the core, lower back and calves, also get a good workout from a well executed squat. Start with the feet shoulder width apart and toes turned slightly outwards. Slowly bend the knees and drop the hips, lowering the body down. You should keep your weight back, towards your heels. It should feel as though you could lift your toes off the ground at all times during your squat. At the bottom of the squat, pause, momentarily, before pushing strongly back up to your starting position.
A really simple way to regress a squat is simply by not squatting as low. Instead of focusing on ass to grass (as they say in ‘the industry) take time to consider form and technique. You can always start by squatting down to a chair then, either change the chair for something lower i.e a stool, or remove assistance all together. A good test of squat form is simply to stand up from an armchair or the sofa, without putting your hands down to help!
The easiest way to progress a squat is by adding weight. Now this does not necessarily mean barbells and gym gear. As a simple rule of thumb that’s worth remembering is that 1 litre of water= 1kg of weight. In our house we’ve been using a 10 kg bag of cat litter!
For swimming, squats help build powerful quads and glutes which is absolutely vital to an efficient and powerful kick. The explosive power gained through squatting is also great to give your dive that all important boost!
You would begin these as you would the concentric (descending) phase of an ordinary squat. On the way back up however, you engage your core and jump up explosively. When landing, be sure to land onto soft knees and lower back down into a squat position to finish 1 rep. The jumping element of this exercise adds to the explosive power generated, and when carried out over several repetitions, also becomes an excellent cardio workout.
Start in the same position as you would for a regular squat. When you are ready to jump, drop into a shallow squat, then extend explosively from the hips, jumping upwards and forwards. Swing your arms, and push down hard through your feet, to propel yourself onto the box.
This variation of the squat begins with a wider stance (about half a shoulder width wider than a standard squat) and the feet pointed further out. The aim of the sumo squat is to push your hips back and squat down, while keeping the back straight and upper body lifted. In this position more balance and core engagement is required than would be in a standard squat. The sumo squat is a great all round lower body strengthener, as it utilises muscles in the inner thigh, as well as the glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves.
This is a very advanced strength based move, which involves performing a squat on one leg, with the raised leg extended out in front of you. As well as utilising every muscle of the supporting leg, pistol squats require incredible core strength to retain the upright position of the body, as well as high levels of balance and flexibility.
No Pool, No Gym, No Weights? No Problem! Come back tomorrow for more body weight workout hints, tips, progressions and more…
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