Covid-19 and fitness aren’t exactly the best of friends. Across the world gyms have been closed, sports centres have been shut down and outdoor gyms have been cordoned off. Fortunately, it’s still possible to get a comprehensive full-body workout at home. Read on to enjoy our guide to stay strong in isolation

Core

Plank (1min x 3reps)

The plank is the holy grail of core exercises. It targets your abs, strengthens your back and most importantly, can be performed anywhere, anytime. Last month a 62-year-old ex-marine held the plank for over eight hours. We recommend trying a minute to begin with.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your front with your forearms on the floor in line with your shoulders and your fists clasped.
  2. Push your bodyweight up so that it’s resting on your forearms and toes.
  3. Keep your stomach parallel to the floor and squeeze the muscles in your bottom and thighs.
  4. Hold this position, ensuring that there is a straight line running from your heels up to your spine and to your head.
  5. Release when time is up.

Video Tutorial

Bicycle Crunch (3 x 20reps)

This exercise targets your lower abs, hips and obliques. It also makes you look like a beetle stuck on its back. Hey, we promised to keep you fit, not that you’d look good while doing it!  

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with your arms hands behind your head (as if you’re sunbathing).
  2. Bring your knees into your chest and raise your shoulder blades off the ground. This is your starting position.
  3. From this position, straighten out your right leg so it’s parallel to the ground. As you do so, turn your upper body to the left so your right elbow touches your left knee.
  4. Bring your right leg back into your chest so you’re in the starting position.
  5. Now, repeat the same motion but switch sides. Extend your left leg and touch your right knee with your left elbow before returning to the starting position. That was one rep.
  6. Repeat.

Video Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FGilxCbdz8

Reverse Crunch (3 x 12reps)

You’ve probably heard of the crunch already. While it’s an option, some fitness experts say it places unnecessary stress on your spine. Instead, try out the reverse crunch.

How to do it:

  1. Lies flat on your back with your hands by your side and palms facing the floor.
  2. Keeping your legs extended, raise your legs just off the floor. This is your starting position.
  3. Without bending your legs, raise them so their 90 degrees from the floor. Hold this position for one second.
  4. Here’s the difficult part. From this position, lift your lower back from the floor and thrust your legs upwards further into the air. Hold this position for 1 or 2 seconds.
  5. Return your legs to the starting position. That was one rep.
  6. Repeat.

Video Tutorial

Legs

Bodyweight Squat (4 x 25reps)

Your legs need to stay strong in isolation also. If you want to develop strong glutes and thighs, squats make perfect sense. They engage your legs and bottom in all the right places and, once again, can be performed anywhere. If you find these are too easy, add a bit of weight by holding something while you perform the exercise.

How to do it:

  1. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your legs so that you are in a squatting position with your bottom about an inch from the ground. Hold this position for one second.
  3. Return to the standing position, pushing your hips out and driving up from your feet.

Video Tutorial

Squat Jump (4 x 15reps)

If you live above other people, we recommend doing this next one during the day. Angry neighbours aside, it’s a great exercise. It works the same muscles as a normal squat but introduces some cardio to get your blood pumping.

How to do it:

  1. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend your legs so that you’re in a squatting position with your bottom about 3 inches from the ground.
  3. From this position, jump as high you can, thrusting your arms in the air. Make sure you push through your toes. This will allow you to jump higher and with more power.

Video Tutorial

Side Lunge (4 x 12reps)

This exercise needs to be performed with control to avoid injury. It works the quads and glutes and is great for building functional strength.

How to do it:

  1. Stand up straight and place your hands together, keeping your shoulders rolled back. This is your starting position.
  2. Step your right leg directly to the side so you’re in a wide stance.
  3. Bend your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Hold this position for one second.
  4. Push away from the floor with your right leg to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this on one leg for the desired reps. Then switch to the other leg and do the same.

Video Tutorial

Chest

Push ups (4 x 12reps)

What would a quarantine work out plan be without the push up? In this topsy-turvy world we live in, sometimes it’s nice to fall back on the old tried-and-tested. The push up is just that.

  1. Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Extend your legs out behind you, keeping your glutes squeezed, core engaged and back straight.
  3. In a slow, controlled movement, bend your arms so your chest almost touches the ground. Breathe in as you do this.
  4. Pause, then push yourself back up, squeezing your chest as you do so. Breathe out as you do this.
  5. Repeat.

Video Tutorial

Single Legged Push Up (4 x 10reps)

The single legged push up is just one of countless push up variations. By keeping one leg in the air, you lose some stability, forcing your muscles to work harder. Give it a go and you’ll see the difference!

  1. Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
  2. Extend your legs out behind you, keeping your glutes squeezed, core engaged and back straight.
  3. Lift one leg off the ground. It shouldn’t touch the floor throughout the exercise.
  4. In a slow, controlled movement, bend your arms so your chest almost touches the ground. Breathe in as you do this.
  5. Pause, then push yourself back up, squeezing your chest as you do so. Breathe out as you do this.
  6. Repeat exercise for desired reps before switching legs and repeating it.

Video Tutorial

Diamond Push Up (4 x 8reps)

The diamond push up is the same as the normal push up but with a different hand position. This small change makes the exercise much harder because your weight is now shifted away from your triceps and elbows. Instead, your chest had to do all the work.

  1. Get down on all fours, placing your hands on the floor in a diamond shape directly in line with your chest.
  2. Extend your legs out behind you, keeping your glutes squeezed, core engaged and back straight.
  3. In a slow, controlled movement, bend your arms so your chest almost touches your placed hands. Breathe in as you do this.
  4. Pause, then push yourself back up, squeezing your chest as you do so. Breathe out as you do this.
  5. Repeat.

Video Tutorial

Arms

Triceps Dip (4 x 12reps)

Triceps make up 75% of your arm. So, if you want arms like Arnie, you’d better not neglect them. For this exercise, you’ll need to get your hands on the latest fitness gadget – a chair.

  1. Facing away from the chair, place your hands on its corners. (In the video his hand position is slightly different, but we recommend our way to reduce stress on the shoulders).
  2. Extend your legs straight out in front of you. Your feet should be touching each other
  3. Engaging your triceps, slowly lower your body until your bottom almost touches the floor.
  4. Hold this position for one second.
  5. Pushing up through your triceps, raise your lower body up again until your arms are straight
  6. Repeat exercise.

Video Tutorial

Inverted Rows (4 x 12reps)

For this exercise, you’ll need something raised off the floor which you can get your whole body under. A sturdy table is ideal. Please only do this exercise if you are certain that the equipment you’re using can safely hold your weight.

  1. Lie under a table facing upwards.
  2. Grip the edge of the table in an overhand grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart
  3. Squeeze your abs and glutes so your body is in a completely straight line.
  4. Pull yourself up to the table until your chest almost touches the underside of the table. Keep your body straight throughout this motion.
  5. Lower yourself back down, still holding the table.
  6. Repeat.

Video Tutorial

Reverse Hand Push Up (4 x 9reps)
  1. Lie face down on the floor with your palms in line with your chest. Your palms should also be face down.
  2. Rotate your wrists so that your fingers are facing backwards.
  3. Extend your legs out behind you, keeping your glutes squeezed, core engaged and back straight.
  4. In a slow, controlled movement, push up from the floor. You should feel your biceps and shoulders being activated.
  5. Pause, then lower yourself back down so your chest almost touches the floor.
  6. Repeat exercise.

Video Tutorial

Shoulders

Arm rotations (4 x 20reps)

Before covid, walking into the kitchen to find someone whirling their arms like some sort of malfunctioning domestic robot would be cause for concern. Nowadays, it’s a great way of training your shoulders while isolating. What strange times we live in…

  1. Stand up straight
  2. Extend your arms out straight by your sides so they’re parallel to the floor.
  3. Clasp your hands in loose fists.
  4. Draw circles in the air with your fists for 10 seconds.
  5. Draw slightly larger circles with your firsts for 10 seconds.
  6. Do the same motions again but, this time, draw anti-clockwise circles.
  7. Repeat.

Video Tutorial

Decline Push Up (4 x 10 reps)

We’ve got another push up variation to stay strong in isolation. This one requires your legs to be raised off the ground. A bench, chair or raised bit of your garden will work just fine. By angling your body downwards, this one forces your shoulders to take charge of the movement.

  1. Find a space where there is a ledge slightly raised off the ground. This could be a bench, a chair, or just a raised area of floor.
  2. Get down on all fours, placing your feet on the ledge and your hands on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. Make sure your body is straight, keeping your glutes squeezed, core engaged and back straight.
  4. In a slow, controlled movement, bend your arms so your nose almost touches the ground. Breathe in as you do this.
  5. Pause, then push yourself back up, squeezing your chest as you do so. Breathe out as you do this.
  6. Repeat exercise.

Video Tutorial

Handstand Push Up (4 x 8 reps)

This is one for more the more advanced among us. You’ll need good core and shoulder strength to do this. If you don’t yet feel confident doing a handstand push up, start off by using a wall for support.

  1. Get into the handstand position, keeping your legs completely straight. Don’t allow your back to curve forward over your head.
  2. Lower yourself down by moving your shoulders forward and allowing your elbows to point backwards.
  3. Lower yourself down until your noses almost touches the floor.
  4. Push yourself back up, driving with your shoulders and triceps
  5. That was one rep.

Video Tutorial

Got your physical fitness down? We hope you enjoyed our guide to stay strong in isolation. It is also important to look after your mental health too! Check out our blog on Protecting your mental health in isolation here.