Hit the freeway using your body weight to exercise at home
March 23, 2021
Juggling the calorie shrug with the demands of the daily routine: home admin plus WFH is a different ride altogether. But fitness experts such as Meenakshi Mohanty see a way out. “With our hectic lifestyles, and sedentary grid, free hand exercises are a superb, versatile option,” she says. “You could exercise anywhere and at any time.” Explaining that freehand exercises consist of workouts that can be done from the comfort of your home, Meenakshi points out that the intensity, workout and time will depend on the fitness goals you set for yourself. “Every exercise requires a different duration depending on your fitness abilities,” Meenakshi adds, emphasising on the need for a 40-minute workout every day, with the flexing including push-ups, dips between chairs, pullups, knee bends and sprinting. “This has a toning effect on the muscles and internal organs as well as improves your circulatory system function, bettering health. Advanced level freehand exercises can also help shape and add muscles to your body.”
While everyone goes on about the use of weights in building bone density, how far are we better placed with exercises that make use of our body weight? Prateek Kumar, fitness expert, founder FitCru, explains, “Freehand exercises work on both the stabiliser muscle groups and the principle targeted muscle groups. These exercises build up true strength, and when performed with the right form, range of motion and tempo, they work even better than traditional weight training exercises. Keep in mind that true progress will happen with time under tension (TUT) which significantly increases dense hard muscle.”
The latest jargon to hit the fitness circuit is “as many repetitions as possible” (AMRAP). This works to a superb advantage for beginners as well as seasoned warriors, as many rounds of the same exercise can be worked into a pre-determined time frame. Focus on form, rather than speed, to build upon strength and stamina, advises Meenakshi, too. “Start with five to six mins of constant workouts and gradually build the time and intensity once your body is used to the workout. Focus on getting the exercise technique right. You can do cardio for 30 to 60 mins for three to five days a week. Perform body weight exercises for two to three days a week, which involves all muscle groups,” she says. “To avoid i n j u r y, include stretching and flexibility in your daily workouts.Remember your muscles need time to recover. So choose one day where you can just relax your body.” Prateek points out that AMRAP works well for busy people who are looking at getting toned. “Do it four times a week, and divide your split as Day 1-upper, Day 2-lower, Day 3- push and Day 4-pull exercises,” he says. “Set three compound exercises, two isolation exercises, one core exercise and one exercise for endurance in each workout. Also ensure you keep a towel, stopwatch and a water bottle handy.”
Forget the fancy resistance bands; instead, make use of elevated surfaces like a chair. One or two-litre water bottles replace weights well, while basketball or football can work as props. “You can even use backpacks with loaded grocery, or heavy coffee books for exercises such as weighted Russian twists to squats or lunges,” suggests Meenakshi. Prateek recommends using a sofa as a leg press machine or a barbell, while substituting a pull up bar with a towel anchored in a door frame. “A PVC pipe can be used for mobility drills and one or two-litre bottles can be used in place of dumbbells for arm exercises such as arm curls, arm overhead extensions and arm overhead presses,” adds Prateek.
DIVISION IN THE EXERCISE GRID
“The split/ratio between cardio, weights and bodyweights mainly depends on the goals and the nutrition/ caloric intake,” explains Prateek. “If overall fitness is the goal then three to four forty-five-minute strengthtraining sessions with a good warm up before and a good cool down post the session is ideal.” In addition to all this, Prateek also suggests a sum total of 20-30 minutes of brisk walking daily to improve upon the quality of life. But more importantly, go easy, go strong. Listen to your own body signals and chart your own route.
DO IT RIGHT Score high on burning the fat, using these freehand exercises Hit the freeway ● Set a timer for 20 mins and do as many rounds as possible of the following until the time is up: 20 Jumping Jacks, 25 Squat Jumps, 10 Burpees, 15 high knees and Planks. ● AMRAP (as many repetitions as possible) works well for busy people who are looking at getting toned. Do it four times a week, and divide your split as Day 1-upper, Day 2-lower, Day 3-push and Day 4-pull exercises. ● Forget the fancy resistance bands; instead, make use of elevated surfaces like a chair. One or two-litre water bottles replace weights well, while basketball or football can work as props.
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