How are you all doing out there? We’ve just finished week 3 of social distancing here in the Netherlands.
In the first week or so, I could feel a lot of determination and motivation from people in regards to not only how they’d hunker down, but also how they would work on themselves and their training during social distancing.
We’re almost at our halfway mark now in Holland (unless the measures extend again, which the government has told us to prepare for), and it’s a little bit like in a long-distance race. It’s around here, when most of the hard work is done, that we can sometimes “hit the wall.” Maybe it’s just setting in that this could go on for a while. Maybe you’re really starting to miss seeing friends in person now. Maybe it’s finances, maybe it’s just feeling a little low about the fact that a lot of people are affected by this. Maybe you’re still feeling great! That’s okay too.
I emphasised from the beginning of this that I think we need to look out for each other, and remember that we’re all in this together. Now is the time when the reality of our situation might settle in, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by what’s happening to us. I want to be clear; I don’t want to place any shame on anyone for feeling overwhelmed during a globally scary time. But I still believe that one of the best things for us is to also consider how we can support others during this time.
Got a teammate who’s struggling to train solo? Give them a video call and workout together. Vulnerable neighbours who might be scared of going out to get essential supplies? Send them a message or a note and see if you can do something to help.
I also want to keep supporting you all throughout this as much as I can. In the scheme of things, don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall off the training wagon during a global pandemic. But do remind yourself why you do what you do; whether you’re training because you love to be fit, because you’ve got a race coming up, or because you want to keep your body healthy, tap in to your “why” to help keep the motivation going during this time.
If you’re an athlete or working specifically on rehab, you’ve likely got a program in place. If you just need a full body workout to get your blood pumping (and that can apply to you as an athlete too!), here’s another one you can do at home, in your tiny apartment, with no equipment!
During the live trainings I use this Interval Timer. It’s available for free on YouTube, and it’s an easy way to motivate yourself to keep doing an exercise (it’s only for 30 seconds!). In general, I do 3 sets of an exercise, but if I’m short on time, I might only do 2.
P.S. Remember, supersetting means alternating between exercises. All exercises were performed for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between.
Superset 1 (6 x 30 seconds total)
- Squats with Heel Lifts. Option 1: Standard body weight squat. Option 2: Squat down, then at the bottom of the movement lift one heel off the ground to engage the calf muscle. Don’t let the ankle or knee position bow inwards. Put the heel back down on the floor, then return to the starting position. Repeat, alternating which heel lifts each time.
- Glute/Hamstring Walkouts. Start in a bridge position (shoulders on the ground, feet flat on the ground and hips lifted so the body is in a straight diagonal line from knees to shoulders). Then, lift both toes off the ground so all your weight is in your heels. Slowly alternate walking each foot away from the body until the point that you feel the hamstrings are sufficiently challenged, then slowly walking them back in to the starting positon. Keep repeating!
Superset 2 (9 x 30 seconds total)
- Bridge Heel Taps. As with the Glute/Hamstring Walkouts, start in a bridge position. Keep your hips high as you lift one foot off the ground, keeping roughly the same angle in the knee (not bending or straightening it any further). Lift the knee up to the point that it is directly over the hips, then tap the foot down to the ground. Make sure you keep your weight entirely in the foot that is flat on the ground; the lifted foot is only just tapping the ground.
- Bridge Heel Taps. As above, but on the other side!
- Quad Leanbacks. Come to sitting tall on your knees. Your knees, hips, and upper body should all form a line, like you’re in a plank position. Cross you arms over your chest, and keeping this plank position in the body, lean back slowly until you feel the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) working, then slowly come back to the starting position. Repeat, trying to avoid bending in the hips or arching in the back. Note: If you have knee problems, you may want to either put a blanket or folded yoga mat underneath your knees, or you may want to opt for another quadriceps exercise, like lunges.
Superset 3 (6 x 30 seconds total)
- Cross Body Crunch. Start by lying on your back, feet flat on the floor (Note: Sensitive low back? Keep your feet on the ground during this exercise). From here, lift your feet up and bring your knees to a 90 degree angle, directly over the hips. Take your fingertips behind your ears and pull your navel in towards your spine. Crunch upwards, sending the right armpit towards the left knee, without your knees moving at all. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- Reverse Plank. Option 1: Hold a standard bridge positon. A good option if you’ve got really tight shoulders. Option 2: Sit down with your feet flat on the floor in front of you, knees bent up towards the ceiling. Place your hands roughly by your hips, then push through your hands to lift yourself into a reverse tabletop position. Option 3: Literally a high plank position, but in reverse! Sit with your legs out in front of you, heels on the ground. Placing your hands roughly by your hips, push through your hands and straighten your arms to push up into a reverse plank.
Superset 4 (6 x 30 seconds total)
- Plank High Kickback. As you’ll see in the video below, this is one I like to do with handweights. So if you’ve got some weights at home, you can add an extra challenge! No weights? No worries. This is an especially good challenge for the core if you try not to let your hips and low back move. Assume a high plank position (if you have wrist pain in high planks, you can do this from an elbow plank). Bracing your core, take a straight arm up and back behind the body. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- Slow Plank Lower. This is one of my favourites! Do this really slowly and I promise you’ll feel your triceps the next day. Option 1: Especially if you’re not yet able to do push ups or tricep push ups, start in a knee plank position. Bring your hands to underneath your shoulders (or slightly further forward if that’s more comfortable on your wrists), and point your elbows to the back wall behind you. Letting your elbows brush alongside your body the entire time, lower your body to the ground as slowly as you can while maintaining a plank position. Return to the starting position in any way comfortable; we’re just focusing on the lower portion of the movement here, so don’t crank out your back forcing yourself upwards if you’re not yet strong enough for that. Option 2: As above, but on your toes!
That’s it! Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be doing another free live workout over on my Instagram channel at 9am CEST this Wednesday the 8th of April to help you stay strong and sane at this crazy time.