Sportitude
×

Blog

Rainy Out? Try These Excuse-Busting Indoor Workouts

by Sportitude
2 Oct 2017

We can’t all be lucky enough to have our house decked out with our own personal gym but even so, storm clouds brewing shouldn’t put a stop to your training. Check out these indoor body-busting exercises that leave you out of excuses when it comes to skipping your workout. Plus, they’re a heck of a lot of fun.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are the old school cardio workout that keeps on giving, with both aerobic and strengthening benefits. All you need is your body and to keep a safe distance from furniture or your training buddy to avoid any hiccups to your routine.

Jumping jacks not only offer a full aerobic exercise, but are the perfect warm up activity before getting deep into your workout. They elevate your heart rate, burn calories, strengthen your muscles and encourage your lungs to breathe in deeper, so your bloodstream gets a boost of oxygen and in turn, your muscles.

All of your major muscle groups get a workout  - you’ll particularly feel it in your shoulders, back, thighs, calves and glutes, and by intensifying the pace you’ll get maximum aerobic benefits.

If performed regularly as part of your fitness routine, jumping jacks may assist in controlling high blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels – so you won’t feel quite as guilty if you indulge in a Tim Tam with your cuppa.

Stairs

If you’re dreaming of having an amazing booty, running up stairs offers the ultimate firming workout, because we’d be kidding if we said gravity works in our favour when it comes to having a flat or less-than-perfectly-round bum. Booty boot camp anyone?

Scaling stairs also does wonders for your cardiovascular system, improving the ability of your heart to transport oxygen and blood as it adapts to your intense exercise routine.

It’s an exercise that uses your entire lower body (glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps), core and burns calories like there’s no tomorrow (about 340 calories per 20 minutes for a 75kg person).

Ideally, having a flight of stairs containing at least 10 steps will help you get the most out of your training.

Running steps one at a time encourages quick footwork to stimulate fast muscle activation for a speedier bod. Alternatively, lunging yourself over every second step uses more power and contracts muscles so they’re working harder over a greater area, therefore increasing stamina and strength.

But what do you do if indoor stairs are not an option?  

Step Up

Look around. Grab a coffee table, sturdy chair or thick book that’s seen better days. Any platform will do if it can support your weight safely, but a specifically designed aerobic step is ideal because many are height adjustable and are built for traction.

Step up and down while watching your favourite flicks and repeat! Alternate your legs occasionally after reps for an even workout.

Tip 1: Ready to step up the intensity? Gradually increase the height of your platform to stimulate more glute and hamstring activation for improved strength benefits.

Tip 2: Switch up your routine by adding weights (whether it's dumbbells, full water bottles or a loaded backpack) for an additional element of difficulty.    

Squats

Remember the 30 day squat challenge? There’s a reason why this exercise gets so much attention – it’s darn good for you and anyone can do them.

You may think, “But I want to work out my entire body, not just my legs”. Scrap that thought, because squats have numerous benefits to your whole body, inside and out.

Let’s start with the basics. Yes, they do strengthen leg muscles and of course, your legs are what support your body – so this is vital to keep you fit and doing what you love. They activate a massive amount of muscles including the hips, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.

As they’re an intense exercise, squats promote wide muscle building by producing an anabolic environment in your body. This stimulates the release of testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) that are critical for maximising muscle mass, so both your upper and lower body benefit.

They’re a super powerful workout for your bum (or glutes if you want to get technical), toning, tightening and lifting – perfect for getting your bod ready for summer as you trade in your cuddly onesie for something with a little more va va voom. They also tone your legs, and by slowing down the pace of your squats, your muscles get an even more rigorous workout.

For maximum results in tightening your abdomen and strengthening your lower back, consciously clench in your abdomen as you squat down. 

Squats also increase the flexibility of your joints including lower back, hips, knees and ankles. They strengthen your core, improve balance and even reduce cellulite. 

Squat for weight loss? You bet. Being a strength-training exercise, squats boost your muscle mass, speeding up your metabolism and therefore burning calories at a faster rate. The more reps, the greater the benefits and the more muscle, the less fat. But don’t forget diet – for weight loss as long as you’re burning more calories than you consume, you’re on the right track. 

Once you’ve mastered the basic squat using your own body weight to improve your strength, consider adding weights into your routine to keep it fresh and challenging, or try out more complex varieties like the jump squat or sumo squat.

Tip 1: Hand and arm placement will alter your centre of gravity when squatting. We find it helps to have your arms straight and extended, parallel to the ground for additional balance, although some people prefer to position their elbows tucked closer to their body or hands behind their head.

Although anyone can do it, squatting does take some thought and consideration to do so accurately, safely and to minimise injury risk. Particularly, keep aware of the alignment of your knees throughout your reps.

Tip 2: As a beginner, how many reps you aim for per day is up to you – how you feel emotionally and your fitness levels. Whether you start with mastering 5 per day or 50 (this is usually a bit high for beginners unless broken into smaller sessions), try and gradually increase the number to continuously challenge your body and support better health.

Push Ups

Drop and give me 20!

For many of us, push ups are certainly not our idea of unicorns and rainbows, conjuring up images of sweat, blood and tears.

But if you want to say "Hasta la vista baby!" to a squishy (for lack of the better word) upper bod, it’s time to open your eyes to the benefits of push ups. Once you get the hang of it they’re not that bad, we swear! 

If you’ve given push ups a shot before, you’ll remember the ‘burn’ of your exercising muscles as your body lowers to the ground.

Push ups are a compound exercise involving full body activation. Biceps, triceps, core muscles and lower body all reap the benefits as they support and stabilise your hard-working body, tighten and tone your core and build endurance.

Love your heart! By triggering major muscles groups, push ups push your heart harder to transport oxygenated blood to fuel muscular tissues, aiding in cardio health and minimising body fat storage.

Push ups also stimulate HGH, the human growth hormone that promotes muscular growth. Push ups can improve your flexibility as they stretch your biceps and back muscles, and dramatically reduce risk of future back and shoulder injuries.

If you’re stuck in an office chair all day or just love to slouch about in a snuggly beanbag, your posture may also benefit from adding push ups to your regular fitness routine. They strengthen muscles that are key to healthy posture including your neck, so you’ll be strutting your stuff in no time. 

As a weight bearing exercise push ups may improve bone density, and stronger bones may decrease the risk of skeletal system diseases including osteoporosis.

Got 5 spare minutes? Don’t sit down. Push up!

Tip 1: If you aren’t ready to tackle the standard push up with perfect precision, consider modified push ups (check out the photo above). Form is everything when it comes to push ups, so you may be better off starting with less strenuous versions. We can’t all have the rockin’ body of the terminator after just one rep after all (shucks!).

Tip 2: You can fine-tune your standard or modified push ups to boost the intensity of your workout on specific muscles. If you're seeking to target your outer chest (or pectoral if you want to get fancy) muscles, position your hands wider apart. Alternatively, positioning your hands close to the body tends to be more challenging, putting more strain on your inner chest and arms (triceps) to activate these areas.  

Dance Like It's 1999

Our personal favourite and yes, daggy dancing is totally acceptable. We’re constantly raising the volume on our upbeat tunes, dancing up a storm of sweat and loving every minute.

Whether you squeeze in your dance session into the few minutes you’re waiting for your toast to pop up or kettle to boil, or you dedicate a serious length of time to it, it’s a valuable exercise to increase your heart rate.

Regular dancing may improve your aerobic fitness, endurance, balance, spatial awareness (oops, tripped over the cat again!), coordination, agility and flexibility (because we all want the power to bend like a pretzel!).

It promotes a healthy heart and lungs, increased muscular and bone strength, assists with weight management and gives you a mood boost so you feel amazing in your own skin.

Feel free to dance like it’s 1999 and bring on the killer moves. After all, who's watching?

Tip 1: Take a breather and stay hydrated between dance sessions. Like any exercise, remember to stretch pre- and post-workout.

Tip 2: Invite a friend onto your improvised dance floor for a dance-off.

Now, take a break from surfing the web, turn up your favourite tunes and dance. We dare you.

How’d that feel? We bet you’re smiling from ear to ear.