There’s a great juxtaposition of priorities that people experience when summer is getting closer. They want to play, and they want to be fit, and they still have to work somewhere in the mix! It’s busy times trying to fit it all in, but here are 10 great exercises that can be done anywhere, any time...so no excuses!
- Bodyweight Squat: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Begin lowering your body, bringing your arms forward as you drop your hips back. Keep your chest high and try to maintain the natural arch of your back. When you get down low enough, ideally at least to where your thighs are parallel with the ground, reverse the action and return to standing.
- Plank: From a prone position (face down) on the ground, raise your body up onto your elbows and make a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs to hold yourself in that position for a period of time. A great way to build up to holding a plank for a whole minute, is to start with 15 seconds three times, and then increase the time as you get better.
- Push Up: Remember that Plank? Start from a plank position, but with your arms fully extended underneath your shoulders. Now lower yourself almost to the ground, before reversing the motion and extending back up to a plank position. That’s one!
- Wall Sit: All you need is a wall for this one. Back up to a wall and push your feet out so you are leaning against the wall. Now slide down the wall until your legs are at 90 degrees with your thighs parallel to the ground. Adjust your feet so that your ankles are in line with your knees. Hold for 30 seconds, working your way up to 1 minute.
- Side Lunge: Take a wide step out to the side with one leg so that your feet are about twice your shoulder width apart. Lean forward bringing your arms up in front of you and push your hips back sinking downward. Keep your knee behind your toes and use your arms out in front as counterbalance. Repeat on the other side.
- YTA: From a prone position on the ground (face down), slightly raise your torso off the ground, making sure to keep your neck in line with your spine and your eyes on the ground slightly ahead of your body. Raise your arms up a few inches off the ground and sweep them up above your head into a “V” with your palms facing each other, thumbs toward the sky. Hold the “V” position for two seconds, then move down into a “T” with your arms straight out to each side, holding for two seconds, before finally moving down near your sides, with your thumbs still pointed at the sky (as best you can) and your arms elevated a couple inches off the ground in the “A” position. This may seem easy at first, but 15 or 20 times will burn like crazy.
- Bridge: Lay on your back on the ground with your knees bent, and your feet planted on the ground hip width apart. Place them 6-12 inches from your body. With your hands resting on the floor by your hips, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips off the ground until your knees are in a straight line with your shoulders, hips fully extended. Squeeze and hold at the top of the movement for 3 seconds before slowly lowering down almost to the ground and repeating.
- Bench Dips: Find a bench, couch arm, chair edge, or otherwise moderately elevated surface that is a good height for sitting, and fairly sturdy. Sit down, placing your palms on the seat beside each hip, fingers down over the edge. Lift your hips up off the surface and scoot your legs and hips out until your arms are supporting your weight above the chair or bench. Now lower your body down using your arms until your elbows are bent to 90 degrees back behind you, then push back up straightening your arms again.
- Leg Raises: Lay on your back on the ground and place each hand underneath your lower back for support. Slowly, keeping your legs straight, bring them up together so they are perpendicular to the ground and the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat.
- Toe Reaches: Stay down where you were for the Leg Raises, and pull your legs back up to the top of the movement. Pulling your toes down toward you, reach up with both hands at the same time toward your toes, holding the crunch at the top for a second or two.
Any of these exercises can be done without much preparation, or equipment. Even in the Bench Dip scenario, you could probably find a rock to use in the absence of a chair or bench. Use the exercises in sets of 10, or as a circuit to get your muscles burning, and get you well on your way to a fun summer in the sun. Move, sweat, and reap the benefits anywhere, anytime.