Personal Trainer's Home Workout Plan
By wlr Contributor Christina Neal Personal Trainer and Accredited Life Coach
No need to join the gym or buy expensive home fitness kit to lose weight and tone up. Achieve your weight-loss goals with this home exercise circuit devised by personal trainer Christina Macdonald.
It’s easy to get fit at home if you plan exactly what you’re going to do and set aside the time to do it.
Exercising at home is a cheap and convenient way of getting fit and losing weight. All you need is a relatively short window of time, and some dumbbells. If you don’t have dumbbells, use two cans of tinned food or two small water bottles for resistance. An exercise mat will also be useful – make sure it’s non-slip.
The exercises here will give you a total body workout and help you burn fat and tone up at the same time.
How perform the circuit
These exercises have been devised as a circuit to keep you moving and therefore make the session more challenging.
This will burn more calories overall and raise your metabolic rate, but you’ll also improve strength and body shape.
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds and then move on to the next exercise, performing it for 45 seconds, then resting for 15 seconds and then moving on to the next exercise and following the same work/rest intervals.
It’s a good idea to use an App on your phone to time the work/rest intervals (try Gymboss).
Perform all of the exercises this way and then have a 30-second to one minute’s rest at the end of each circuit depending on how you feel.
There are ten exercises here but if time is tight, you could break the exercises up into two separate circuits and do them on different days, as follows:
- Squats to shoulder press
- Narrow grip push-ups
- Mountain climbers
- Toe taps
Total exercise time: 15-18 minutes
Have a rest day between each session
- Lunges with hammer curls
- Glute bridges
Total exercise time: 15-18 minutes
Before you start
Make sure you warm up for at least five minutes before doing this circuit, either by jogging up and down the stairs, jogging on the spot or walking briskly up and down the stairs or around the house.
You should feel warm before you start. It’s also worth making sure you’re hydrated.
Adapt it to suit you
If you feel very tired during the circuit, then increase the duration of the 15-second rest intervals, or reduce the number of circuits down from three to two.
It’s fine if you want to adapt the circuit based on how you feel – start slowly if you’re new to exercise and remember that consistency is key. You’ll soon get fitter if you do it regularly.
Always use common sense. Stop and rest if you feel sick, faint, dizzy or exhausted.
If you’ve not exercised for a while, you could start by doing three or four exercises of your choice from the circuit, preferably
- one leg exercise such as squats to shoulder press or lunges to hammer curls
- one upper body exercise like narrow group push ups
- one abdominal exercise like crunches
Build up gradually.
How often for best results?
If you choose to do the entire circuit in one go, perform it three times per week, with a rest day in between each session.
If you break the circuit in half, then perform each mini-circuit twice a week, totalling four days a week with a rest day between most sessions.
Don’t forget to stretch
Always stretch at the end of each workout and hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to one-minute. Stretching can help to reduce post-exercise soreness.
Works the core, abs, obliques (side muscles), back, arms and front thighs.
- Stand with your feet approximately hip-width apart.
- Hold a medicine ball or weighted object like a dumbbell with both hands above your left shoulder.
- Keep your torso slightly twisted towards the left.
- Twist to the right and then lower the ball towards the floor on the right.
- Make sure you bend your knees to lower the ball towards the floor.
- Return to the standing position.
- Perform eight to ten reps (this should take about 20 seconds), then repeat on the other side before.
Tip: Focus on an object in front of you to prevent you from getting dizzy.
Squats to shoulder press
Works the front and rear thighs, bottom, lower back and shoulders
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent.
- Hold a medicine ball or weighted object just above your chest, close to your body. Alternatively, you can hold a dumbbell in each hand (with knuckles facing the ceiling) with your hands at shoulder height.
- Squat down, pushing your bottom back as if you were trying to sit down on the toilet or on a chair, bending the knees to 90 degrees.
- Keep your abs tight and keep your body weight pushing through your heels.
- As you squat down, make sure your knees don’t go over your toes.
- Come back up to an upright position so that your legs are straight, and as you come up, push the weight or dumbbells above your head so that your arms are straight.
- Lower the weight back down to your chest (or shoulders if using dumbbells), squat down again, then repeat pushing the weight overhead as you come up again.
Tip: Only squat down as far as feels comfortable and make sure you don’t arch your lower back when pushing the weight above your head. If you don’t feel stable when squatting then widen your feet.
Narrow grip push-ups
Works the triceps (rear upper arms)
- Kneel down on the floor.
- Cross your ankles.
- Place your hands underneath your shoulders.
- Make sure your back is flat and not rounded.
- Keeping your elbows close to the side of the body gently bend them and lower your chest down towards the floor.
- Straighten your arms back up to the starting position.
- Keep your upper and lower body straight throughout the exercise.
Tip: Keep your elbows tucked in to the side of the body to target the triceps.
Lunge to hammer curls
Works the legs and biceps (front upper arms)
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing inwards towards the sides of your legs.
- Stand up straight with good posture.
- Keep your back straight and tighten your abs.
- While keeping your body straight, take a step forward and sink down, bending your knee into a lunge.
- As you go into the lunge, curl your arms up towards your shoulders.
- Return to the standing position and repeat on the other leg.
- Keep your back straight, shoulders back and abs tight during the exercise. Only use a small amount of weight – hand weights or small dumbbells will be fine.
- Make sure your knee doesn’t go over your toes – remember to sink down.
Works the shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, obliques (side muscles), abdominals
- Place your hands directly underneath your shoulders on the floor.
- Keep your body in a straight line like a press-up position.
- Lift your right foot off the floor.
- Pull your right knee into your chest as close as possible to your right elbow.
- Return your right leg and repeat with the left leg.
- Alternate between right and left.
Tip: Breathe out when you pull your knee towards your chest.
Crunches with legs at 90-degrees
- Lie on your back on the floor with your ankles crossed and your legs in the air at a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your lower back pressed into the ground.
- Look up to the ceiling.
- Crunch your head and shoulders off the floor.
- Pull your belly button in towards your spine.
- Slowly lower with control.
Tip: Make sure you don’t hold your breath and don’t pull on your neck with your hands.
- Works the shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, obliques (side muscles), abdominals and legs
- Crouch down on the floor and place your hands on the floor in front of you.
- Jump both feet back into a plank position.
- Lower your chest to the floor to perform a press-up. If it’s too hard then lower your knees to the floor and perform a modified press-up.
- Push back up to return to the plank position.
- Jump your feet back in towards the hands.
- Explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms overhead.
Tip: If you find this too difficult, walk your legs in and out instead of jumping.
Works the bottom
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of the feet flat on the floor.
- Make sure that your feet are hip-width apart with your toes are facing forward.
- Gently contract your stomach muscles to press your lower back into the floor.
- Keeping your abdominals tight, gently lift your hips up off the floor, pressing your heels into the floor.
- Squeeze your bottom as you lift your hips, and then gently lower your hips back down to the starting position.
Tip: Don’t over-arch the lower back as you lift up.
Works the muscles at the side of the abdominals
- Lie on your back on the floor with your legs at a right angle.
- Keep your hands next to your ears.
- Crunch your left elbow over to the right knee while extending your left leg.
- Return to the centre position.
- Crunch your right elbow over to your left knee while extending your right leg.
- Alternate between left and right.
Tip: Keep the tempo controlled to prevent too much momentum.
Works the lower abdominals
- Lie flat on your back on the floor and lift your legs up with your knees bent and your arms relaxed by your sides.
- Push your lower back firmly into the floor.
- Slowly lower your legs down until your toes touch the floor.
- Ensure that your lower back is not arching as you lower your legs.
- Slowly lift your legs back up again and repeat.
Tip: It might be hard to prevent your lower back from arching at first but the exercise will eventually get easier. If your back arches as you lower your legs to the ground, then don’t lower them quite as far.
Model: Kelly Louise
Exercise Your Way to Weight Loss
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