Exercise Bike Intervals

 
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This option does require specialist equipment but exercise bikes are a superb tool for safe and effective interval training. Low impact, easily scaled to all fitness levels and perfect for people who are exercising indoors where there is no space to sprint. Start pedaling at an easy resistance to prepare your body for the interval sprints ahead. When you are ready increase speed, resistance (or ideally both) and go flat out for your target period of time. Rest then repeat

 

Ginga

 

Ginga is a simple capoeira move which tests your balance and coordination whilst gently raising your heart rate without overly taxing any one muscle group. It’s like a low impact version of jogging on the spot and makes a great active recovery compliment to more intense interval exercise.

 

Incline Chest Press

 

Similar in performance to the horizontal chest press only this time you push the bands out on an incline. This provides a different stimulus to the working muscles of the chest, shoulders and arms and is good for training variety. You will need to anchor the bands in a lower position to perform this movement effectively.

 

Pike Ups

 
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The Pike Up is a fantastic exercise for your mid-section, it will also ask questions of your upper body strength and flexibility. To perform this version of the Pike Up you will need to have a pair of fitness sliders, furniture sliders or even a skateboard to place under your feet.


Performance Tips


  • Start in the push up position with your feet on some sort of slider

  • Your body should be long and straight and your core muscles tensed

  • Don’t let your lower back cave in

  • Keeping your legs straight pike your body up so your feet come towards your hands

  • Go as far as your strength and flexibility will allow

  • Slowly and under control lengthen your body back to the starting position

  • Maintain tension in the whole body, particularly your glutes and abs

  • Don't let your lower back and hips collapse downwards

Burpee

 
 

Burpees are the classic bodyweight exercise for cardio conditioning. Quickly moving your body from horizontal to vertical recruits muscles from head to toe which your heart and lungs must work hard to support. Over the years I’ve found performing burpees using blocks or books allows for much smoother movement, reduced impact forces and better biomechanics without sacrificing cardio benefits.


Performance Tips


  • Starting in a push up position

  • Raise your hands on blocks if you want to make the exercise easier

  • Jump your feet forwards between your hands

  • Stand up tall then reach back down and jump your feet back to the start position

  • You should aim to move as quickly and quietly as possible

  • To increase the intensity of the exercise add a vertical hop as you stand

  • Be aware this does increase impact forces and is not necessary for cardio benefits

  • You can also increase the intensity by adding a push up at the bottom of the move

Rotating Side Plank

 

This challenging core exercise targets the abs and obliques and demands good full body strength to perform successfully.


Performance Tips


  • Place one forearm flat across the line of your chest
  • Reach under your body with the other arm
  • Rotate your whole body and sweep your arm vertically overhead
  • As you rotate allow your feet to pivot onto their sides
  • Smoothly rotate back to the start position and repeat
  • Be sure to work both sides evenly
 

Bear Crawls

 

A fun movement which will challenge your arms, legs and coordination whilst getting the heart racing. Don’t worry if you are limited on space, simply shuttle forwards and backwards.


Performance Tips


  • Start on all fours with your hands underneath your shoulders and your hips and knees bent to 90 degrees
  • You should be balanced on your hands and toes with your knees just off the floor
  • Begin the movement by moving your left arm and right leg forwards, plant and then repeat with the opposite arm and leg
  • Continue moving forwards in this fashion until you run out of space at which point either turn around or simply reverse the movement and bear crawl backwards
  • Throughout the exercise keep your spine in neutral (don’t let your hips pike up skywards or let your spine twist)
  • Try to keep your limbs moving in unilateral rhythm i.e. left arm working with right leg
 

Bulgarian Split Squats

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The Bulgarian Split Squat is a demanding one leg squatting variation where you rear foot rests on an elevated surface. To increase the challenge simply hold a weight in each hand. 


Performance Tips


  • Place your rear foot on a stable surface (not too high)
  • Hold onto a solid object for balance if needed
  • Keep your front heel grounded as you lower
  • Keep your knee tracking in line with your toes
  • Allow your rear knee to drop down towards the floor
  • Keep your front shin upright
  • Drive up to the starting position using your front leg
  • Hold weights in each hand to increase the challenge
  • Keep a strong, neutral spine throughout
  • Leaning torso forwards will increase hip recruitment
 

Weighted Row

 

The one arm row is an excellent exercise for the arms and upper back. Support your body with one arm and knee on a raised bench, the second leg providing stability from the floor. Use the working arm to grip onto a weight and keeping a flat, neutral spine pull the weight vertically upwards. Pause at the top of the movement then lower under control to the starting position.

 

Plank Hold

 

The classic strength endurance exercise for the torso. The plank hold helps build stability around your mid-section and is a boring yet useful exercise. Position yourself on your forearms and toes with a neutral spine then brace your mid-section plus glutes and hold for time. In the example above I am adding some additional tension by squeezing my elbows towards my toes and my toes towards my elbows.

 

Wall Sit

 

This static hold is great for building a base of strength and endurance in the legs (particularly the quads.) With your back pressed into a wall slide down until your knees and hips are at an approximate 90 degree angle. Your shins should be vertical. Hold for as long as possible. To make the exercise harder simply hold weights in each hand. Since this is a very quad dominant move try to balance it out with some hip and hamstring dominant exercises e.g. bridges.

 

Step Ups

 
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A functional lower body exercise which strengthens all your major leg muscles. To make the movement more challenging you have three simple options. Increase the height of the step and thus the range of motion, hold onto a weight in each hand or do both.


Performance Tips


  • Find a stable elevated surface

  • The higher the surface, the harder the exercise

  • Place your whole working foot onto the surface

  • Using the working leg alone, drive up to the standing position

  • Either bring your rear foot to rest on the elevated surface (easier),

  • Or let it rest just off the back(harder)

  • Or drive your rear knee up and through (harder still)

  • Reverse the movement under control until your rear toes gently tap the floor

  • Try not to rest too much of your weight on the rear foot

  • Hold weights in each hand to ramp up the intensity

Resistance Band Curls

 

An excellent arm developer which also requires a reasonable degree of full body tension to stabilize effectively. 


Performance Tips


  • Lock a band against the floor with your feet
  • Brace your torso and grip hold of the band
  • Curl both arms by flexing at the elbow
  • Keep both wrists in neutral alignment
  • Keep your hands apart throughout
  • Widen your feet to increase resistance
  • Lower back to the start position and repeat

With Tube Resistance Bands...



Split Stance Band Curls


 

Power Pull

 

The Power Pull is a superb horizontal pulling movement. Perfect for building a strong upper back and powerful arms. These kinds of horizontal pulling movements are great for maintaining a level of structural balance to the upper body.


Performance Tips


  • Adopt a split stance with the opposite leg forwards
  • Brace your body to create a solid platform to pull from
  • Keep your spine tall and grip the band in one hand
  • Make sure there is some tension on the band
  • Powerfully pull the bands back
  • Allow for a slight rotation in your torso as you pull
  • Pull your elbow back past your torso
 

Climbers

 

Climbers are a simple but effective torso exercise which target the hip flexors and core muscles. Effective in a circuit when done for high reps.


Performance Tips


  • Adopt a strong push up posture with hands under shoulders
  • Maintaining this posture drive one knee up towards your chest
  • Don’t let your foot touch the ground
  • Reverse to the starting position then repeat with the other knee
  • Maintain posture throughout the exercise
  • Don't let your hips pike up or drop down
  • Continue at a steady rhythmic pace
 

Basic Bridge

 

A good activation drill for the glutes, the basic bridge also helps stretch out the hip flexors which get short and tight when confined to a chair all day. Rather than passively perform this exercise engage the mind-muscle connection to fire your glutes as hard as you can!


Performance Tips


  • Lie on your back, knees bent and your feet flat on the floor

  • Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the floor

  • Continue until they are fully extended

  • Your butt cheeks should be squeezed tightly together

  • Don't hyper-extend your hips

  • Only lift as far as you can by squeezing your glutes

  • Either hold at the top of the movement for time or repeat for reps

  • Can be performed with a wide, hip width or narrow stance

 

Sprinting

 

Sprinting is one of the most powerful and natural movement patterns which synergistically strengthens and conditions the muscles in the foot, lower leg, upper leg and hips whilst also providing a great cardiovascular workout. Whether it is 50m or 400m a couple of high intensity sprints will do wonderful things for your body composition and fitness. If it has been a long time since you last sprinted you will want to make sure you have a basic level of strength, mobility and fitness before easing your way back into this type of activity slowly and carefully.

 

Reverse Lunge

 

The reverse lunge is a single leg squatting exercise which targets a large percentage of your lower body muscles. Weights can be held in each hand to increase the challenge of this exercise.


Performance Tips


  • Start in the standing position

  • Take a big step back behind you with one leg

  • Drop straight down into the bottom of a lunge position

  • Your front heel should remain grounded and your shin tall

  • Your center of gravity should drop straight down, not back

  • Allow your arms to swing forwards (bodyweight variation)

  • Hold the bottom position for a few seconds to increase difficulty

  • Drive back up to the standing position using your front leg.

  • Keep your knees tracking in-line with your feet

 

Air Squats

 
 

Air Squats simultaneously target and strengthen all the muscles in the lower body and hips. Air Squats are also an excellent ankle, knee, and hip mobility drill. If you struggle with this exercise check out the chair squat variation demonstrated below.


Performance Tips


  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider

  • Toes should be pointing straight ahead or slightly out to the side

  • Descend into the squat by sitting back onto your hips

  • Imagine a rope tied around your waist pulling you backwards

  • Keep your heels grounded, shins tall and your knees tracking over your feet

  • Descend as low as your mobility allows then pause for a few seconds

  • Allow your arms to swing forward to act as a counter weight as you descend

  • Visualise pushing the floor away from you as you SLOWLY stand up tall

  • Squeeze your glutes (butt cheeks) as you stand up

  • To make the exercise harder go even slower and avoid fully extending the legs