Exercise 2: Squats and resistance

First, some useful arm exercises using resistance bands. Something like these from Med-fit. We are going to cover bicep curls and tricep curls that you can do virtually anywhere. Great for toning up your arms and keeping those bingo wings at bay.

Before starting, warm up with a quick walk and do some stretches. Do as many stretches as you have time for, but definitely focus on the area you are going to work on. Take a look at this: www.sportsscience.co/flexibility/whole-body-stretching-routine/

A: Tricep curls.

As the name suggests, these are to work your triceps, that’s the main muscle on the back of your arm, opposite your bicep.

Choose a resistance band that gives you just enough of a workout without overdoing it, and hold one end in each hand. Put your left hand behind your back and rest it just above your pelvis on the left hand side. Put your right hand behind your head (via your left ear or you’ll strangle yourself :). Bend your right elbow at 90 degrees and adjust the band so it is just taut. Straighten your elbow, raising your hand to full stretch, feeling the work in your tricep muscle.

Raise and lower your arm like this in a slow, controlled fashion, ten times. Rest for ten seconds and repeat three, rest and repeat.

Change hands and repeat.

B: Bicep curls. Normally you would do these with dumbells or a bar bell, and you would stand up. the easiest way to do them with a band is seated. Simply put the band under your thighs, hold one end in each hand and adjust until just taut with the back of your wrists resting on your thighs. Your elbows will be bent approximately 90 degrees. Then bend your arms, pulling your hands to your shoulders. The back of your hand should face forwards. Repeat for three sets of ten as with the bicep curls.

Illustrations of bicep and tricep exercises as detailed in text

Tricep and bicep curls

(C) Now for the lower body, let’s cover squats first, not everyone likes them. Some people’s knees suffer when they do squats, and if that’s you, than obviously don’t do them – although they shouldn’t put stress on your knees if you do them correctly. The main golden rule is not to let your knees go in front of your toes. Also make sure your squat is controlled to get the best benefit, and use your arms if you need a little more balance. To really strengthen your core, you need to move your bottom backwards rather than your knees forwards. A good way to get used to doing squats with good posture till your core strengthens is to do them leaning against a wall. Not a brick wall, you need to be able to slide down it.

Do ten squats, then relax. Repeat 3 times. Or, follow the ‘Just 6 weeks app’ if you’re using that.

This will tone that bum, and strengthen your legs.

(D) Also good for strengthening the legs is the first of my leg lifts. You need a good all-round workout on your legs, so more will follow next month, but for now, these simple leg lifts will get you started.

Lie on your right side on the floor (a yoga mat or other soft surface is assumed, you can even do these lying on your bed, or a very long sofa). With your right arm supporting your head in whatever way feels comfortable and your left arm relaxed, feet together, simply raise your left leg until you feel a slight stretch. Move slowly and deliberately without jerking. Hold your leg at the top position for a count of ten and lower slowly. Repeat ten times. Roll over to the other side and repeat. Easy. But you will feel it in your legs. This will strengthen your glutes, and your various thigh muscles.

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