Now that Christmas is over, I’m starting to feel concerned that I’ve neglected my exercise routine – not to mention, my mind and body – for the past week. On top of that, since I’ve been away for the holiday, I’ve been feeling some separation anxiety from the fitness studio where I belong, Oxygen Fitness Studio.
While I’m back in Augusta and have access to my favorite fitness facility, many of us are still away and may be again for New Year’s. That’s why post highlights exercises that you can do on your own with household items until you can return to your fitness facility.
I believe in only talking about things that I understand well enough to contribute to a productive conversation. With that being said, I provided suggestions for exercises that I do frequently in one of my favorite classes at Oxygen, OxyBlast, and that you can use in your own strength-training workout. However, in an attempt to provide a well-rounded report on “portable” classes, you’ll also find links to information on barre and yoga, which are two other popular classes at Oxygen and globally, below.
Here are a few of my favorite strength-training exercises, which just so happen to be ones that you can do anywhere with typical household items!
First, I’d like to share a couple universal tips:
- Never lock out joints in any of these exercises – or really ever in fitness.
- Watch your posture, and always brace your abs, which is essentially pushing them out rather than sucking them in. If you’re not sure how to do it or how it should feel, just cough or sneeze. Feel it? This is important, because it provides stability and protects your back during exercise.
What to use: Stairs (the bottom, not the top!)
What to do:
- Incline lunges: Standing at the bottom of the stairs facing up the stairs, place your front foot on the first step with both feet shoulder-width apart. You can either put your hands on your hips or hold a gallon jug of milk or a detergent bottle. Move your back foot far enough back so that your front leg creates a 90-degree angle when you lunge; there should be a straight line from your knee to your ankle. If you don’t have a mirror to the side, then just make sure that you can still see your front foot right in front of your knee. Engage your back leg’s calf muscle. Alternate legs.
- Decline lunges: Just pivot around from the incline lunge position, and you’re ready to do a decline lunge. You’ll still be standing at the bottom of the stairs, facing away from the stairs. Alternate legs.
What to use: Full gallon jugs of milk or detergent bottles, bags of flour or sugar (we know you don’t have lots of sugar hanging around!)
What to do: Hold the object in front of you and to your chest. Your feet should be parallel and a little farther than shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing forward. Sit back into the lunge as though you’re sitting back into a chair, and keep your gaze directly ahead and slightly up (if you’re inside, where the wall meets the ceiling). When you squat, your legs should form 90-degree angles. If you don’t have a mirror to the side, then just make sure that you can still see your front feet in front of your knees. Stand up tall, and repeat.
Hammer curls (biceps)
What to use: Full gallon jugs of milk or detergent bottles
What to do: Hold one can in each hand, with your palms facing inward and elbows to the sides of your body. Keeping your elbows close to your body but not touching, bring your hands and the jugs/bottles up toward your shoulders. Feel free to alternate arms.
Tricep dips – This is how my husband does them at home!
What to use: Two “cushionless,” sturdy chairs facing each other (their distance depends on the length of your legs)
What to do: Sit on one of the chairs, and lift your bottom up by pushing off of your hands, which should be facing forward and shoulder-width apart, with your fingers curled over the edge. Shift your hips forward, in front of the chair behind you, and put your heels up on the other. Drop your hips down so your upper arm and lower arm create a 90-degree angle. Lift back up, and repeat.
Lateral raises (shoulders)
What to use: Canned food
What to do:
- Front lateral raises: With a can in each hand, slowly raise them straight in front of you to shoulder height, back down to the front of your thighs and repeat.
- Side lateral raises: This one is similar to the front lateral raise; the only difference is the direction in which you’re raising your arms. For this one, raise them out to your sides.
Read more about Oxygen’s OxyBlast class here.
One of the many wonderful benefits of barre is that it builds lean muscle.
What to use: Counter top with an overhang or back of chair
What to do: I’m quite far from being a barre extraordinaire, so check out some of these exercises.
Read more about Oxygen’s barre class here.
Yoga – Deep Breathing
While friends and family are blessings, indeed, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Before you start eating your feelings, give deep breathing a try. It offers the following benefits:
- Reduced anxiety, stress and depression
- Increased energy and muscle relaxation
- Lower blood pressure
What to use: Yourself!
What to do: I’m quite far from being a yogini, so check out some of these exercises.
Read more about Oxygen’s yoga class here.
If Augusta is home for you…
…or you find yourself staying in town, be sure to check out the schedules: