It takes squat to stay holiday-fit!September 26, 2012
They say change is a good as holiday but when it come to maintaining a well prescribed resistance program both can leave you on the back foot.
So how does one keep on top of their strengthening routine while on holiday or without access to a gym or their normal work-out equipment? It takes squat, literally! I recommend stripping back to two fundamental exercises; the ‘split squat’ and the ‘push-up’. Here’s why and how…
1. SPLIT SQUAT
WHY: A ‘split squat’ is basically a one-legged adaptation of the basic ‘squat’ movement we all love to hate. The ‘split squat’ has a leg up on the conventional ‘squat’ however, as it’s considered a compound movement which uses every muscle in the leg. The one-legged movement also requires more stabilization around the pelvis which in turn promotes core stability.
HOW: In a wide stance, stand with left foot forward and right foot back. Drive your front leg, buttocks down, toward your heel and withhold all weight from your back leg.
Bend knees, keeping left knee over your ankle and lower right knee almost to the floor. Keep a tall back and avoid pushing hard off back leg or gripping hard with your toes on front leg, instead focussing weight on your front heel. Return to the start position and complete 10 repetitions on each side.
Heighten the effectiveness of the ‘split squat’ by adding an upper body twist. This will destabilise movement further, therefore increasing the demand on both your leg muscles and core. And, if you really want your ‘split squat’ to reach new heights, incorporate a jump between legs.
WHY: In my opinion, the humble ‘push-up’ is the most underrated resistance exercise. Like the ‘split squat’, the ‘push-up’ promotes core stability by causing instability.
There are many takes on the traditional ‘push-up’ but I personally don’t advocate the close-grip or the 90 degree elbow splayed variation as they promote internal rotation of the shoulders which preferentially loads internal rotators over external rotators, placing pressure on cuff tendons and the neck.
HOW: Lower your body to the floor and assume the push-up position with your elbows locked at 45 degree angle, pointing just wide of your feet.
Keeping your body straight, lower your body to the floor by bending your arms and pushing up until arms are extended. Remember to push your abs out, and tuck your chin as this will drive movement from the arms and not the arches of the neck or lower back. Complete 20 repetitions per session.
No excuses next holiday!