For the past 10 years, I have used the money I would have spent on gym membership to buy exercise equipment that I can use at home. I don’t have anything against gyms – at various times in my life, they have been essential to me. But, like many people, I can't afford the time to make a regular gym commitment. Working out at, or close to, home has been my choice for the past decade.
As we go into Tier 4 lockdown, I wanted to share some of my favourite work outs that can be done at home, in your garden or local park. I am not a personal trainer or a doctor, so if any of the exercises interest you, you need to contact a qualified personal trainer and check with your doctor you're OK to go ahead.
At the beginning of lockdown, I wanted to vary my strength training and do something a bit more functional. I came across Indian clubs. Indian clubs look like a type of skittle, and are used to develop strength, mobility and agility particularly in the upper body. They were originally developed and used by the Indian military but have caught on as a craze across the world.
During the first lockdown, a 7-10 min Indian club work out became my favourite short break during my working day. I bought an Indian club making kit for around 20 Euros from Heroic Sport here. I love this kit because the clubs use fizzy water bottles. You can start light and gradually as you get stronger, you fill the bottles. It's also useful using plastic water bottles because when you are a beginner, you tend to whack yourself if you're not coordinated. It's much less painful to get whacked by a plastic bottle than by the expensive iron or wooden clubs!
Heroic Sport is run by Thierry Sanchez, former world kettle bells champion, and he has loads of instructional programmes that you can use to start Indian clubs safely. I have to stress here that if you don’t use Indian clubs safely, a rotator cuff injury is coming your way.
Peloton Digital App
During lockdown, a lot of people bought the Peloton bikes or treadmills. If you don’t know what Peloton is, have a look here. I already have a treadmill and an indoor bike, so I subscribed to the Peloton app. The app has live and prerecorded classes that you can watch along with on your treadmill and your bike.
During the strictest lockdown the Peloton trainers were able to broadcast their classes live from their own homes. This became a real lifeline during lockdown – sometimes simultaneously running or riding with thousands of other people all over the world was a really wonderful feeling of connection during the scariest days of lockdown.
Many people use the app in unusual ways – I used the riding classes to guide me through my rowing workouts. I know that others just listen to the running classes while they run outdoors. You don’t even need any equipment as there are loads of no equipment full body workouts, stretching and yoga. For around £13.00 per month, this app has been a lifeline for the whole family during 2020.
TRX at Home
About 6 years ago, I bought a TRX suspension trainer. The TRX suspension trainer was developed by a Navy Seal commander as a way of keeping fit and strong anywhere. It is a well made set of straps with an anchor point, which you can use outside or inside. Various personal trainers specialise in training TRX and I know that the TRX site has its own instructional videos. I haven't used these but it is quite important to have proper instruction as you can easily be injured if you're not careful.
Now that it’s winter, and so dark, I’ve set up my TRX trainer in our kitchen – see photo - whenever I walk past, I can do a few sets of something. I think the TRX is my favourite piece of exercise equipment.
In January, I bought this book, Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade.
The author has spent many years in prison and has developed a set of body weight exercises that can be done in a prison cell (or in room, during lockdown). The exercises start at a basic level and gradually progress until you are extremely strong. If you don't have a problem with learning from someone who has been in prison, then this is a really excellent book. Actually, it's quite a sobering read when you realise how much of your strength training up till now has been subpar.
This article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Before starting any new exercises or exercise programme, you should consult your doctor. You should not rely on this article as a substitute for professional personal training advice and this article does not replace a personal trainer. If you want to try any of the exercises and/or equipment I list above, you need to contact a personal trainer qualified in that exercise in addition to checking with your doctor that you are physically safe to do so.