It’s the new year and despite all the evidence we have that resolutions rarely stick, many people will make a renewed commitment to their health & fitness. Although statistics point against us and our resolutions, I don’t think there is anything wrong with making a fresh start and moving forward in the direction of what we want (you don't have to necessarily wait until Jan 1st for that shift to happen…but that’s another blog post I suppose)!
If you are like millions of others you may have a gym membership that has long been collecting dust. Perhaps you show up once or twice a year out of guilt of the monthly payments you are making, but you really don’t enjoy being in the gym. You aren’t sure what to do there and the biggest hurdle can be actually getting out the door to make it there.
One of the biggest factors for success in reaching your health goals is consistency. And one of the best ways to ensure consistency is to make things as easy as possible on yourself.
If getting to the gym is a hassle that you avoid it like the plague…make it easier. Buy a few small weights & workout items to have at home, so you can get a workout in without having to travel to & from the gym. You don’t need a lot of space, just a few key pieces of equipment and a bit of knowledge as to how to structure a good workout…or someone to provide one for you.
Living in Vancouver with limited space means I am picky about my purchases for fitness items that I will use and store in my home. I look for items that are high on functionality and low on storage space. As with anything, I prefer to purchase something that will provide good value for money spent and will be fun to use, and not just collect dust in the corner.
In my opinion, one of the best additions to your home gym is a set of kettlebells. As you progress and add you to your gym you might decide to expand your kettlebell collection, but to start, one (or ideally two) kettlebells will set you up well and will give you endless combinations of effective strength & conditioning workouts.
If you have never used a kettlebell before it would be worth your time and money to hire a trainer to walk you through the basics to ensure you are doing exercises with proper form to maximum your workouts and minimize risk of injury.
Once you have a kettlebell give the following workout a try:
- 10 x Kettlebell squats
- 10 x Push ups
- 10 x Staggered Deadlift with Kettlebell
- 10 x Bent over Row with Kettlebell
- 20 x Kettlebell swing
- Hold plank for 1 minute
Repeat circuit 4 times
*If you don’t have a kettlebell you can sub dumbbells in for most exercises, and replace the swings with 1 minute of skipping or steps up on a bench for the cardio component of the workout.
Keep elbows in and hold kettlebell at your chest. As you inhale, lower down into a squat., keeping your weight back on your heels. As you exhale, press through your heels and squeeze you bum as you come up into a standing position.
Place hands a bit wider than shoulders. As you inhale lower down toward the ground, when you exhale, press through all five fingers and press up into high plank.
**If you cannot do a full push up from the group, do an incline one. Check out this post on how to master a proper push up!
Staggered leg deadlift
Stand with legs about a meter apart, center your weight over your front foot and have your heel up on your back foot, using the back leg primarily for balance & support. If your right foot is forward, hold the kettlebell with your left hand.
Hinge forward, keeping your spine neutral. As you exhale press through your front foot and squeeze your bum. Complete all reps on one leg before switching sides.
**You can sub the dumbbell in the photo with your kettlebell for this exercise
Hinge forward, keeping spine neutral. As you exhale pull the weight towards your chest, as you inhale extend your arm straight out. Try to focus on keeping the hips & shoulders square to the ground and do not rotate through the torso.
Start with the Kettlebell out in front of you, spine in neutral position, and feet wider than hip width.
Swing the kettlebell toward yourself, keeping the bell as high as possible in the inner thighs. Spine stays neutral throughout the whole movement and the focus is on the hip hinge. Push the hips out behind you until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings, at that point press through your heels and squeeze your bum as you come up into a standing position. Keep arms straight and allow your lower body to do the work and generate power here versus pulling the weight through and up with your arms. Kettlebell does not need to swing higher than chest height.
**The Kettlebell swing is a complex exercise and you would benefit from having a trainer or someone with some experience show you proper form.
Marisa is BCRPA personal trainer and a fun-fitness-fanatic living the active dream in beautiful Vancouver, BC. She hikes, swims, runs, bikes, bootcamps & yoga's as much as possible, outdoors when possible, and believes everything is possible. Find her on the web at www.motivatedmovementpt.com and on Facebook and Instagram.