ESTELLE LOW shares her favourite ba­sic yet very ef­fec­tive no-equip­ment ex­er­cises.

Shape (Singapore) - - Get Fit -

Bodyweight ex­er­cises are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, thanks to a grow­ing trend in high­in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing, yoga and pi­lates. They can be done any­where, and don’t re­quire any­thing but a will­ing mind and body, and just 2m by 1m of space.

Af­ter at­tend­ing a gazil­lion gym classes and work­ing with train­ers, I’ve learnt that these nine ex­er­cises are non-ne­go­tiable, be­cause they are so good at burn­ing and firm­ing you in the right places. They may not look fancy, but the re­sults are fan­tas­tic! 1 SQUATS You saw this com­ing. Tar­get­ing the ma­jor mus­cles – glutes, quads, core – it’s no won­der that squats al­ways get called for in gym class. Big mus­cles, big burn! To start: Lower body and push hips back as if you’re sit­ting down. Shift body weight to heels and make sure tail­bone is tucked. Knees should not go beyond an­kles. Not feel­ing much? Turn the squat into a full-body work­out by adding bi­cep curls or over­head presses with a dumb­bell. Or add car­dio by do­ing squat jumps. 2 BA­NANA You’re fa­mil­iar with crunches and sit-ups. Now do the ba­nana, an­other treat for the core. Ly­ing face up, lift legs off ground and keep them as low as you can pos­si­bly hold. Lift up­per back and ex­tend arms over­head. Keep neck and shoul­ders re­laxed. Hold for 10 to 30 sec­onds. To dial down the in­ten­sity, bend knees and lift legs higher. 3 PUSH-UPS Love or hate them, push-ups are a must for build­ing up­per body strength, giv­ing you toned arms, chest and shoul­ders. Plus, they fire up your whole body in a jiffy, and are the step­ping stone to do­ing burpees. Start with knees on floor and grad­u­ate to man push-ups when you are stronger. Al­ways make sure hands are di­rectly un­der shoul­ders, and eyes are look­ing about 30cm ahead. Keep el­bows about 45 de­grees back; not flared out or tight to your ribs. An­other way to train: start face down with chest touch­ing floor, and then push up into plank po­si­tion as smoothly as you can. 4 PLANKS The mother of all core ex­er­cises, planks are so pop­u­lar for good rea­son: they ac­ti­vate all parts of the body – arms, shoul­ders, back, butt, abs and legs – that you want to tone. To do the clas­sic fore­arm plank, get onto fore­arms with body lifted in straight line. El­bows should be di­rectly un­der shoul­ders, and hips in neu­tral po­si­tion (not lifted or sag­ging). All mus­cles from shoul­ders to toes should be ac­ti­vated. Hold for 30 sec­onds to a minute.

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