Workout At Home:  5 Everyday Items To Help You Exercise

We've come up with simple exercises to do at home, without equipment, to help you stay in shape! 

We are living in strange times, when staying indoors might actually be safer and more beneficial than going out for some sun and fresh air. With the closure of gyms, sports facilities, and neighbourhood parks, some of us fall into that abyss of despair and hopelessness – how on earth (or off it) are we going to remain active? How are we going to keep our arms and legs toned? How are we going to prevent those abs from merging into one? How do we stay nimble?

Therefore, here's a creative re-look at 5 everyday objects around us to help us achieve our fitness goals! Plus, there is no fitness equipment needed for these workouts! This article seeks to provide another perspective of the concept of #homegym, and to provide some home workouts that can keep us healthy during this #circuitbreaker period.

1/ The Stairs

The stairs

There should be a flight of stairs near you, whether you live in a private property or HDB. Below are some work out and stretching ideas involving the stairs. Please wear proper footwear when doing these, and if the staircase is located in your own home, refrain from waxing the steps the night before your workout (as this will make the steps very slippery and dangerous)!

- Toe Taps

Tap each foot, left then right interchangeably, on the last/ lowest step of the staircase. Go at a pace quick enough to raise your heart rate. To make this workout more challenging, propel your arms as well, as though you are running i.e. raise your right arm when your left foot is on the step, and vice versa. Keep tapping for 60 seconds non stop, and repeat for 3 sets.

- Stairs Shuttle Run

Run up the flight of stairs! Once at the top, jog or walk down to the bottom, and run up again. Keep your knees raised and eyes on the steps while running - you wouldn’t want to miss a step. Keep this up for 2 minutes - the number of round trips will depend on how long the flight of stairs is. Repeat for 3 sets.

- Stairs Hop Squat

Hop onto the first step with both feet, do a deep squat, then hop onto the next step. Hop and squat till you reach the top of the stairs, then jog or walk to the bottom and hop/ squat till the top again. Do this for 2 minutes non-stop, and feel the burn! Repeat for 3 sets. Pay attention to your posture when landing - with soft, bent knees. When squatting, keep your feet flat on the ground, chest proud, and back straight at all times.

- Calf Stretch

Go up a step, and take turns placing each foot on the edge of the step. Press that foot down and feel the stretch along your calf muscles. Remember to switch feet to stretch both calves!

Wall Exercises

2/ The Wall

It shouldn’t be difficult finding a wall near you! Because if it is… then you might be in trouble. Workout and stretches involving the wall are versatile, and can be done when you are watching the TV, eating dinner, brushing your teeth… you get the picture.

- Invisible chair
Lean back against the wall, with your back flat against it, and lower yourself down onto an imaginary chair till your knees are bent at 90 degrees angle.Your hips should be at the height of your knees, which should be directly above your ankles. Stay in this ‘sitting’ position for 3 to 5 minutes, or for as long as your Netflix episode if you are that strong.

Repeat for 3 sets.

Remember to activate your core throughout, by sucking in your belly as though bracing for a punch into the stomach. Keep your back straight too, and keep breathing.

- Wall push-ups
Imagine doing a push up, but on the wall instead of on the floor. Place your hands flat on the wall, shoulders’ width apart and fingers pointing to the ceiling. Take a step backwards, away from the wall while keeping your hands on it, such that your body is tilted at an angle. Now, time to work the pecs! Inhale and lower yourself onto the wall without moving your feet (or hitting your face), exhale and push the wall away. Keep your back straight and core engaged throughout the entire motion.

Repeat for 3 to 5 sets of 20 reps.

Still not sure on how to do this exercise? Refer to the images below!

Wall Push Ups
Wall Push Ups

3/ The Chair

Grab a chair from your dining room or study - a stationary one without wheels and preferably without armrest. You might want to grab a mat for the workouts and stretches involving a chair below as well.

Seated Leg Raises

- Seated leg raises

Sit with your back straight against the chair, with your hands down by your hips and grabbing the edges of the chair for support. Your back should be away from the backrest of the chair, and your elbows should be bent. Take a deep breath in, then exhale and raise your knees towards the ceiling, away from the ground. Once your knees are almost at chest level, slowly lower them to the ground again, but try not to let your feet touch the ground before raising the knees again.

Repeat for 3 sets of 10, with slow and controlled reps.

Throughout the exercise, your upper torso should be stationary for as much as possible (i.e. back straight, core engaged, and eyes forward on a faraway object to help with balance). For additional support, you may use a Back Mobility Balance Cushion. Click on the link below to find out more!

Filename without extension

- Hips thrusts with a chair

Place your mat on the floor and lay down on it. Your feet should be facing the chair. Place both feet on the chair, and your arms on the sides of your body. At this point, your tailbone should still be on the mat, and your legs should be straightened. Take a deep breath, exhale and raise your hips towards the ceiling while keeping your legs straight. You could use your arms to push your trunk up, but most of the effort should be coming from your core. Once your pelvis is in line with your torso and legs, hold the position for 30 seconds.

Repeat for 3 to 5 reps to strengthen your glutes.

Lower Back Strech

- Lower back stretch

Sit up straight on your chair, with your feet placed naturally in front of you and knees at a 90-degree angle. Place your left hand on your right knee, and your right hand on the left-back corner of your chair. Take a deep breathe, exhale and pull gently with your left hand while twisting your torso towards your right. Allow your head to naturally turn towards the same direction while keeping your neck neutral (i.e. not strained or tensed towards any particular direction, up, down, left or right) at all times. This stretch is helpful for releasing tension from the lower back. Hold the twist for 30 seconds, before slowly rotating back to the starting position.

Repeat for 3 sets, before moving on to stretch the other side of your lower back by rotating left.

In order to do this, simply mirror-image what you have done; by placing your right hand on your left knee, and left hand on the right-back corner of your chair.

4/ The Water Bottle(s)

Water Bottle Strengthening

Time to make some improvised dumbbells! If there are no water bottles available, look out for milk cartons, tupperwares, or anything that can store water without leaking when overturned. The beauty of this is that you could calibrate the weight of your ‘dumbbells’ according to your strength - simply by filling them up with more water, or getting bigger containers!

If you need something bigger, check out our 2.2L water bottle! 

- Bicep curls

With your makeshift ‘dumbbells’ in hand and arms at the sides of your body, bring one dumbbell up to your shoulder each time, and then back down to the side of your thighs. Your elbows should be fixed at the side of your torso and your back should be straight at all times. Repeat for 3 sets of 20 reps for each arm, or however many reps you are comfortable with based on the weight of your ‘dumbbells’.

- Tricep raises

With ‘dumbbells’ in both hands, arms slightly bent and behind you, lean your body slightly forward and raise both arms towards the ceiling together. Repeat for 3 sets of 20 reps.

- Shoulder presses

Hold the ‘dumbbells’ in both hands, and raise them to the front of your shoulders. This will be the starting position for the shoulder presses. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a deep breath, exhale and press both ‘dumbbells’ towards the ceiling while keeping your torso firm and your core engaged. Then, lower your arms in a slow and controlled manner back to the starting position. Repeat for 3 sets of 20 reps.

Yoga Strap

5/ The Towel / Belt

Similar to a yoga belt, any regular belt or towel can be improvised as a stretching aid.

- Quadriceps stretch

Lie down on your mat facing the ground. Hook your belt under one ankle, and with one or both hands on the other end of the belt, gently pull your ankle towards the back of your bum. Your hips should be firmly on the ground and your spine should remain neutral throughout the motion. Hold the posture for at least 30 seconds before switching the belt to the other ankle. You should feel a nice stretch along your quads.

- Hamstring stretch

Lie down on your back on the mat. Hook the belt under the sole of one foot, and pull the other end of the belt with both hands towards your chest while slowly elevating your entire leg towards the ceiling. Hold this posture for at least 30 seconds before switching the belt to the other foot. Do keep your legs straightened and spine flat on the mat throughout the entire movement. To deepen the stretch, take deep breaths and pull the belt closer to you on the exhales.

As always, safety rules apply to the above workouts! Please do not go beyond your usual ranges of motion, and slow down, reduce the reps, or stop entirely when you experience pain. Above all, break a sweat, have fun, and make the most out of this #stayhome period!

Alphonso

Written By: Alphonso Lim

Sport Leader for Fitness, Decathlon Bedok

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach "

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