By: Nickie Hayes
Now more than ever, it’s easy to slip out of exercise goals set for the new year. Not only is it difficult to have the motivation to go to the gym consistently, but COVID-19 might prevent people from being able to go to the gym at all. However, it’s not necessary to have a gym membership to perform an invigorating full-body workout. Gerson Melara, a personal trainer from Long Island, says it’s essential to stay active during the pandemic.
He said, “We were in lockdown for I believe around six months, and that left a lot of room for people to become sedentary.”
At Melara’s gym, they did Zoom group exercise classes free of charge. However, that is not an option for everyone. Going to the gym is not necessary and never has been, but it can be hard to start alone. Becoming more motivated to stay active can take time, and Melara believes the best way to begin a healthy lifestyle is to start gradually.
“Start off slow, most people get the impression that they have to take a HIIT class or High-Intensity Interval Training class immediately to see results,” said Melara. “I find that if you jump into the fire right away, you’re going to burn out.”
He explains starting at a low level and increasing the intensity to the best of your ability without pushing your limits will help begin a drive for fitness and one’s own journey to greater health.
“Only you know how far you can take your body, so just listen to it,” Melara said.
This exercise routine is a great place to start for beginners and can be adaptable to fit the needs of the individual
- Neck – Wall Rear Neck Bridge
Find an empty wall and an optional pillow for more support and comfort. Place the back of the head on a wall, with the pillow in between, and place the feet a foot away from the wall. Keep the rest of the body straight, with a slight bend in the knees. To perform the exercise following ExRx.net, roll the head towards the ceiling, arching the spine and straightening the knees simultaneously. Return to the original position by rolling the head back down slowly, releasing the arched spine and slightly bending the knees again. Continue these movements for two sets of 10 repetitions, with a 10-second rest after the first set.
2. Arms: Tricep Dip
For the first of the two arm exercises, start with tricep dips. To begin, sit on the floor and go into a crab-like position, with the arms extended, holding you above the ground and legs at a 90-degree angle from the ground. Perform the exercise by bending the arms, and in turn, lowering the body closer to the floor. Repeat for two sets of 15 repetitions, with a 10-second break between each set.
3. Arms: Arm Circles
For the second arm exercise, begin by standing or sitting with arms extended fully out towards the left and right. To do this exercise, create small circles rotating the arms towards the front. After completing two sets of ten repetitions, take a 10-second break. Finally, repeat another two sets of ten repetitions, with a 10-second break. However, perform the small arm circles rotating towards the rear. To make this more difficult, do not let your arms fall to your sides on the 10-second rest period.
4. Lower Back/Hamstrings: Kettlebell Good Mornings
While teaching his Zoom classes, Merlara said that he had the individuals grab household items or large water bottles to perform exercises. To begin the next exercise, he said to keep the legs straight while hinging the hips back. Simultaneously, hold the weighted object at the middle of the chest. Let the body fold forward, maintaining the rigidity of the upper body, or in other words, straight and strong. Then, bring the body back to an upright position to start the exercise again. Continue this exercise for two sets of 10 repetitions, with a 10-second rest between the sets.
5. General Back: Deadlift
This is another exercise Melara suggested that he would do with his group exercise classes from home. He said to start the deadlift with the weighted object right between the feet. Next, squeeze the armpits back, protrude the chest forward and hinge at the hips while the hands come down in between the feet. Then grab the weight and stand all the way up. Finally, bring the item back down to the floor in the same way it was picked up. Repeat this exercise for two sets of 10 repetitions, with a 10-second break in between.
6. Chest: Push Up
Most know what a push-up is, but the proper technique will enhance the exercise. Make sure to keep the body straight as you perform the exercise, keeping the arms at a 90 degree angle from the body. To make this exercise easier, lower knees to the floor while still maintaining the same technique. Repeat this exercise for two sets of eight repetitions, increasing to ten repetitions if possible. In between the two sets, take a 10-second rest.
7. Abdominal Muscles: Lying Leg Hip Raise (Inverted Crunch)
To start this exercise, lay down on the floor, with the hands at the body’s sides for stabilization. Next, bend the knees and bring them towards the shoulders, lifting the hips off the floor. When in the contracted position, the back is fully flat on the floor and the legs are resting on the stomach. Lastly, extend and lower your legs back into the lying position where you started. To make this exercise more intense, do not let your heels touch the ground as you are extending them out of the contracted position. Repeat this for three sets of 10 repetitions, with a 15-second rest between each set. This exercise was found on ExRx.net
8. Gluteus Maximus – Squat
This is another exercise, like the push-up, that most people know of, but technique is crucial to get the most out of the exercise. When performing the squat, stand with hands out in front. Think of it as a hip movement backwards, allowing the knees to bend forward slightly but not letting them pass the toes. If this occurs repeatedly, it can actually do more damage than good by putting strain on the knees. Other tips for doing the perfect squat include keeping your back straight and chest up and making sure feet are flat on the floor. Repeat this for three sets of 10 repetitions, with a 10-second rest between each set
9. Quadriceps (Thighs) – Step-Up
The first stage of this exercise is finding a stair to do the step-up on. According to ExRx.net, to start the movement, place one foot on the stair and extend the hips and knee to bring the next foot onto the stair. With the second foot brought up, bring it back down to the lower step, and return to the starting position bringing the first foot back down. Repeat these steps starting with the opposite foot, alternating the first foot that performs the exercise. Continue performing the exercise for three sets of 15 repetitions, with a ten-second break in between each set. To make this exercise more challenging, find a larger step to perform the exercise on.
10. Gastrocnemius (Calves) – Standing Calf Raise
Stay near the stair you found for the previous exercise, because it will be needed for this exercise as well. Starting by placing half of each foot on the step, allowing the heels to extend off the edge, holding onto a railing or the wall for balance. Begin the exercise by extending the ankles and lifting the heels as high as possible. Lower down the heels and bend the ankles to return to the starting position. Do this for two sets of 15 repetitions, with a 10-second rest after the first set.
Staying physically active is always important, and this exercise routine can be a gateway into beginning a healthy lifestyle. Forming healthy habits will be the key to getting out of the rut COVID-19 has put so many in. It takes hard work and determination, but the results are worth the effort. Do not let the pandemic get in the way of achieving new goals and reaching unforeseen heights.