Gym currently packed out with panicked office workers flailing about in the hope of acquiring a post-Christmas super body? Don't worry, we've got you an at home workout routine that'll cut out the middle man.
Having tapped the considerable knowledge of two of PhD's elite athletes, we've put together a simple, effective workout that doesn't require an array of equipment or weights - just you, your living room floor and a shred of commitment.
Fetch a towel and get started.
Your abs are one of the easiest muscle groups to work on if you can't/don't want to squeeze in to a packed out gym. PhD athlete and WBFF Pro Muscle Model Roger Snipes gives his insights on how to get a tight mid-section:
"Some people think that if they just do crunches, they'll hit all angles of the abdomen and achieve a perfect six pack. If you're looking to obtain a good set of abs,you need to realise that there are three main areas that need concentration - and these can be attended to without any gym equipment."
You'll engage your upper abs in any movement that sees you lying on your back and lifting your shoulder blades off the ground. To work out your upper 2 – 4 abs, Snipes suggests crunches: "You can start by either placing your hands behind your head or on your quads (that's your thighs), and slide your hands up towards your knees as you raise your shoulders off the ground. You should feel the contraction in your upper abs." Try three sets of eight crunches to start with, adding more sets as you gain strength.
Any leg raising movements will contract the lower bottom 2 – 4 set of abs. "Lying on your back with shoulder blades off the ground to contract your abs, keep your legs raised about five inches from the ground. Then, start to lift your legs until they reach a 90 degree angle (or as close to it as you can manage). Slowly lower your legs back to their starting position five inches from the ground." Again, try three sets of eight repetitions, ensuring you're in control of the tempo of raising and lowering your legs.
To engage the muscles that run round the side of your abdominals, get into a side plank position by placing your body its right side, hips off the ground while resting on your right forearm. Begin the move by lowering your hips to the ground before raising back up whilst maintaining a stable posture - and without losing balance. Start out with 10 raises on your right side, before resting for 30 seconds and repeating the action on your left side. Try four sets of ten raises on each side.
When you're finished working your mid-section, PhD athlete and personal trainer Tony Pang has a couple more exercises you can do away from the gym to make sure you’re still maintaining your strength in as many areas as possible:
Simple, but so effective. "This is a great compound exercise that will engage core, chest, shoulders and arms," explains Pang. "Make sure that your core is tight and that there isn't an arch in your lower back." Pang's pro tip to ensure you keep tension in your chest is to make sure you try to pull your hands in towards each other during the movement. Try pushing yourself to four sets of ten press ups to get a better posture and stronger upper body.
"This brilliant glute-developing exercise gives your lower back added support." Keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, take one step forward - your foremost foot should be flat to the ground, while raising to your toes on your back foot. Keeping your body straight, lower your back knee to the floor and then extend back up. "Keep the tempo controlled and focus on keeping tension on all the muscles in your legs and core," says Pang. Start with three sets of ten repetitions on each leg, adding more sets as you gain confidence.
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