Want to maximize strength training at home (or anywhere) while gyms are closed for the long weekend? Here are some ways!
Restock your fridge, update your music library, and turn off your morning alarm because the most awaited break is finally here! Holiday is exciting as we take time off from the daily grind and stress at work and spend time on things that nurture us – family time, self-care, or simply letting our hair down and giving our minds and bodies a much-needed breather.
As expected, our fitness routine gets sidetracked as we tend to skip going to the gym or attending our workout classes in favor of attending social gatherings. This time would also see many of us ramping up our calorie intake as we let our diet guards down for a while.
But having no access to the gym doesn’t have to mean being a complete couch potato during the break. Mind you, this is the perfect time to shake things up and try something different at the comfort of your own home (or hotel room if you’re out of town), with minimal or even sans any equipment other than creativity and will power.
Calisthenics training, commonly referred to as bodyweight training, involves any exercises performed using no added resistance aside from bodyweight and gravity. Aside from the obvious benefit of being able to perform calisthenics with ease (think anytime, anywhere without buying any expensive equipment), its effects are wide-reaching. It improves muscle strength and endurance, flexibility, balance and is an effective and healthy way to lose weight.
There are also advantages unique to bodyweight training such as proprioception or body awareness. Performing more advanced calisthenics moves such as handstands, planches, and back levers require not only physical strength but coordination, flexibility and control. This in turn contributes to heightened sense of position and movement in your body that makes you feel lighter and more agile. Functionality is another unique advantage of calisthenics. Because calisthenics promote the use of different muscles in the whole body rather than training them isolated, it develops ‘functional strength’ that can help us in performing practical movements in our daily lives.
If you’ve always been gawking at American Ninja Warriors, then what’s stopping you from starting your calisthenics training at home? Start with the good old basics – do pushups and pullups for upper body strength, and a variety of squats like goblet, overhead and sumo, for your legs and glutes. Add in burpees, mountain climbers, planks, crunches and lunges and feel your muscles worked out like never. Calisthenics can be a standalone regimen or incorporated in any body building or weight loss routine. Difficulty can also be adjusted easily based on the trainee’s fitness level.
Move over dumbbells, weighted water jugs are just as good.
If you’re into building muscle size, then dumbbells, barbells and weight machines are probably your best friends. But taking a break from the gym for the holidays shouldn’t be a hindrance in keeping up with your training. Common weightlifting moves such as deadlifts, lunges and squats can be done using items laying around the house. You may use water jugs, gym bags or milk cannisters filled with water, sand or kitty litter in place of dumbbells and kettlebells.
If you have older kids, let them join the fun. They can be your added weights for squats, or ask them to climb on your back as you do your planks. Just make sure to take extra precaution and only workout in a safe environment.
When was the last time you visited the children’s playground, climb a tree or ran through the park?
Phine Salvanera-Makanas is a “mompreneur” and an avid calisthenics practitioner. With a dose of creativity, she’s able to multitask between bonding with her kids and throwing a couple of strength training exercises such as doing dips and pull ups in their neighborhood playground, or even practicing her pistol while watching her kids swim.
“I maximize my time and make my workouts more enjoyable by involving my kids. They absolutely love it when I carry them while I do my squats, planks, and lunges I also try my best to introduce calisthenics to them while they’re young. They watch me do my dips using the parallel bars in the playground, and we have tons of fun hanging on the monkey bars,” Phine said.