Lockdown has forced us to slow down, but if you feel like you’ve slowed down a little too much, into a bum imprint on the sofa kind of speed, get your get up and go back with a little help.
We asked trainer Olivia Williams, who trains clients at London’s coolest new gym, Rumble in Dalston, for her easy, step-by-step at-home exercises that are so easy you can do them, well, while watching Netflix.
Read on and make a step to getting back on that fitness wagon.
- Lay on a flat surface with your neck in a neutral “chin-tucked” position. You can also perform this exercise on the edge of a bed/table or even with a reduced gravitational pull by leaning into the back of your couch at a 45 degree angle.
- Raise your arms (with your thumbs up) toward the ceiling at a 45 degree angle until they are level with your body.
- Hold for a few seconds and then release, bringing your arms back down.
- Stand upright with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. It is not necessary to lock the knees so aim to soften the knees with a slight bend, cushioning the weight.
- Set your arms by lifting them up, gently pressing your shoulders back and into the wall along with your elbows and wrists. The line of your upper arm, from your shoulder to your elbow, should be perpendicular to the floor.
- Tilt your pelvis under as you engage the core and press your lower spine into the wall. Your chin should be tucked in towards the chest with your eye-gaze ahead.
- Inhale. On the out-breath, slowly extend your arms upwards into a Y-shaped position, maintaining that constant contact with the wall. Slide the arms back down the wall to your original set position, inhaling on the way down.
Resistance Band Pull Apart
- Hold the band in front of you with your thumbs pointed inwards. The level of resistance can be altered depending on the distance between your hands.
- Pull the band apart and make sure to rotate your thumbs backwards at the peak of the stretch.
- Bring the band back in front of you working slowly on the return.
- Volume is key. It is much more beneficial to perform lots of repetitions at a comfortable resistance as opposed to doing a low number at a high intensity.
Resistance Band Mid Rows
- Sit with your legs extended out in front of you with your feet flexed.
- Place a resistance band around the soles of your feet and take hold of the band with your hands on either side. Your spine should be neutral and comfortable with each vertebrae stacked one on top of the other.
- The resistance can be changed depending on the position of your hands (the closer your hands are to your feet, the tougher the resistance will be)
- With a tight hold, begin to pull the resistance band away from your feet with your elbows brushing your ribcage as they shoot back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and then relax as you return back to neutral. (This exercise can also be adapted to target the muscles from a different angle – Face Pulls. Instead of pulling the elbows back at a rib cage level, instead pull the elbows back, out and wide upwards towards either side of the face for an extra engagement of the rear deltoids, rhomboids and external rotators – infraspinatus and teres minor).
Foam Roller Thoracic Spine Stretch
If you don’t back-bend into the crab quite like you used to in the yesteryears, passive back bending might just be your saving grace. This stretch can help you relieve tension in the upper back and alleviate poor posture that stems from all that leaning and hunching forward.
- Position yourself on the floor with your knees bent and your feet parallel, hip distance apart.
- Place the foam roller behind you and begin to lie comfortably with the foam roller under your spine, your pelvis should be tucked, protecting the tailbone, and your elbows should be out to the side with your palms facing upwards supporting your head.
- Inhale and relax into this position for up to 1 minute. You should feel a nice encouragement of passive flexion through the thoracic spine along with a cheeky bonus that spreads an opening of the chest and front of the shoulders.
- Use the strength of the core to bring yourself out of the exercise and if it is more comfortable for you, you can lean your weight to one side aiding your return back to a neutral seated position.
Perform each exercise one after the other for 10-15 repetitions each and repeat for 3 rounds of workout!
Targeted stretches should be performed, with stretches being held for 20-30 seconds, prior to exercising and post-workout.