No Excuses: Indoor Workouts For The Manic Monsoon
I’m exhausted. I have too much work to finish. I ate salads today. I need to watch this very important episode…the list of reasons to wimp out of a workout is endless. But when the weather is so dreadful that you can’t travel to the gym or go for a run outside, you have a valid explanation, right? Wrong.
In the last fitness column, we spoke about making a commitment to fitness and stressed on the fact that something is always better than nothing. Make this your mantra when the rain is lashing against your windows. Exercising doesn’t always have to be such a huge production and, in fact, working out at home can be quite satisfying since it takes very little preparation, no expenses and zero conveyance.
So scroll down, gear up and start stretching, as we show you how to stay fit indoors and in a relatively small area. Also, if you’re one of the many fit-conscious people who get stuck at the office for long hours, all you need to do is step into an empty pantry or conference room for ten minutes. (We do it all the time.)
The word itself makes some of us groan in frustration, but this is one of the most effective full-body exercises around. If you only have 5 minutes, this is all you need for a quick fat-burner.
1. Start in standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet.
3. Jump straight back with your feet, getting your body into push-up position. (For an advanced workout, do a push-up at this stage.)
4. Jump with your lower body and bring your feet back to their original position.
5. Finally, jump into the air in one burst, reaching your arms straight overhead.
These can be done practically anywhere and, once you’ve mastered the basic version, you can try it with your hands placed on an elevated surface. They tone the abs while increasing heart rate and working the hip flexors.
1. Start in push-up position, with your palms on the floor and body forming a straight line from your shoulder to your ankles. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor and wrists directly under your shoulders.
2. Lift your right foot off the floor, pulling your knee as close to your chest as possible.
3. Return to starting position.
4. Repeat with left leg.
5. Keep your core contracted throughout.
6. Increase speed according to your comfort level.
Jumping rope or skipping quickly boosts your heart rate while toning your upper and lower body simultaneously. If you don’t have enough space to swing a rope, you can ‘ghost jump’ – mimick the movement without an actual rope – which is equally effective.
Keep it interesting by varying your speed and intervals, jumping on one leg at a time or making a playlist and jumping to the different beats of each song.
While squats in general are great for toning (see the variations in Last Leg: 10 days to Party-worthy Legs), adding a jump after every squat will not only bring cardio into the mix but also ensure that you really feel the burn in your quads and glutes.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Squat down as if you’re sitting in a chair, keeping your back straight and knees over your toes.
3. Engage your core and jump up straight, pushing with your legs and reaching up with your arms.
4. Land with your knees soft and return to squat position.
If you’ve never done one before, don’t be intimidated. Start off with your knees on the floor or just place your hands on your desk and do elevated push-ups. It will all be worth it when you see toned, lithe arms in the mirror! You can even get your best friend to join in like this:
1. Start on all fours and get your hand placement right. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor in order to work your biceps, or place them wider if you want to work the chest.
2. Stretch your legs behind you to form a straight line from your head to your feet.
3. Bend your arms and lower your body in one line until your chest almost touches the floor. (Your elbows should be tucked in if you are doing bicep push-ups.)
4. Push yourself back up while exhaling. Repeat.
No, this is not a dance form. All-round abdominal strength is ideal for any season, and this exercise will give you exactly that. All you need is a workout ball or a dumbbell. You can even use a full bottle of water or a heavy book, if you’re at the office.
1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and back straight.
2. Lean your upper body backwards, keeping the spine straight, until it is at a 45-degree angle with your thighs.
3. Keep your core tight and engaged from here on until you finish your set.
4. Hold your prop out in front of you with both hands.
5. Exhale and twist as far as you can to the right. Inhale.
6. Exhaling again, twist to the left this time. Repeat.
7. You can take the exercise further by lifting your feet off the ground and increasing the weight in your hands.
Once you’ve aced all the basics of these power-packed workouts, try out the advanced versions, mix and match your favourites and let us know what worked best for you. And, like we always say – eat well, rest well and stretch your body before and after workouts to avoid injuries. Go get ’em!