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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! So over to you Megan…
So you’ve got press-ups and squats. That’s great! But what about cardio…
OK, OK, I can hear the groans already! But, when it comes to limited space, maximum impact exercises the burpee is the BOSS! The burpee, in 1 single move, gives us an all over body, strength building workout, that is also perfect to use as a high intensity cardiovascular endurance builder too. In short; burpees WORK.
The best way to learn a basic burpee, with good form, is to break it down. We call this the four count burpee. Your start point is to stand, as you would for a squat, in a strong, athletic, upright stance with feet shoulder width apart. Step 1 is to squat down towards the ground. Step two is to jump the legs out into a high plank or squat thrust position (pause here momentarily). Step 3 is to bring the legs back in, returning to your crouch position. Step 4 is to jump explosively into the air raising your arms above your head, before landing onto soft knees.
A regression of the burpee, with less impact for the joints, would be to step down into a high plank position, and then step back up raising the hands above the head as you do. Alternatively, if you want to retain the explosive nature of the burpee but remove the strains of going ‘to the floor’, you can burpee to a raised surface such as a stepper or stool.
A progression of burpees would be to go ‘chest to floor and knees to chest’ (sometimes known as a full burpee). With this burpee, instead of simply going to high plank on step 2; you would go to high plank then perform a ‘chest to floor’ press up. For step 4 you would not only jump explosively into the air, but also bring the knees into the chest in a tuck jump position.
The burpee brings everything to the party; arms, shoulders, chest, core, back, glutes, and legs – it’s all getting a workout with this one.
For swimmers with no pool however, the greatest benefit of the burpee has got to be the cardiovascular endurance gains. Burpees can raise your heartrate as high as a sprint workout, and burn around 15 calories per minute! So, when you get back in the pool, you’ll still be able to smash out the big sets!
This variation on the burpee really emphasises the explosive power from the glutes. In step 4 of the burpee, rather than simply jumping up, swing your arms squat slightly lower, and propel yourself forward in a standing long jump. Be sure to land gently on soft knees. If you have only a confined space you can either turn around and burpee back the other way, or jog back to your start point.
This burpee brings an added element of balance and increases core engagement. This time, in step two, you jump back with only one leg, keeping the other leg raised above the ground. Only lower the raised leg once you have completed step 3. To increase the difficulty of this variation, try adding a single leg press-up in at step 2.
This time, in step 4, you would perform an explosive box jump (an upwards and forwards jump onto a stationary box). The box can be anything, from a stepper, to a stool. Just ensure whatever you are jumping onto is safe and stable. This can be a great option for those who struggle with dropping all the way to the ground, as they can drop to the box to perform the burpee, but use the box jump to add intensity back into the move.
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