Friday 19 January 2018

Siobhan Byrne: Slowly does it can still see results

Taking your training down a few notches doesn't mean sacrificing fitness, says our fitness expert

Siobhan Byrne: variety in workouts is an important part of a lifelong fitness regime. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Siobhan Byrne: variety in workouts is an important part of a lifelong fitness regime. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan
Pushup 1
Pushup 2
Squat 1
Squat 2
Floordips 1
Floordips 2

Siobhan Byrne

There can be many reasons why we decide to slow our training down through life, and if you are trying to conceive, it could be an opportunity to change the pace of your workouts. Sometimes that can be hard to take, especially if you are an active person who really likes intense workouts. However, variety in workouts is an important part of a lifelong fitness regime.

If you are used to a higher intensity workout, or a circuit which will automatically increase your heart rate, and you want to slow it down, look at doing more straight sets where you control the elevated heart rate by taking rests after each exercise, and stick with the one exercise until you have completed the entire set.

Straight sets can be a great way to still really work the muscle. Really focus on the muscles you are using and concentrate on good form.

Let's look at some simple, basic exercises that you can perform anywhere:

Squats - with or without weights

Complete a set of between 12-15, then rest for 30 seconds before completing the second set, and follow suit for the 3rd and 4th set.


Simply doing a variation of this exercise can help strengthen the upper body.

Variations can include press-ups off toes from floor, press-ups off knees on floor or, using a bench, place your hand and body in an elevated position which will be easier again. Remember, anything in an elevated position will always be easier than something from floor level.

Floor Dips

Especially if you are working out at home, these are a great way to really target the triceps at the back of your arm. Make sure you have a full bend in the arm and come down into a slope to allow this, and that you do not bounce on the floor.


This is one of my favourite core exercises to put in at the end of a workout. There are two variations you can do, either on your hands which is a little bit easier, or on your elbows, so pick a version that suits your ability. Hold the plank for between 15-30 seconds or longer, again depending on ability. Repeat 3 sets in total.

Focus on basics


1/ Start face down on a mat with your legs straight and arms tucked in by your sides with elbows bent. Then simply raise your body up onto your toes and forearms and hold, keeping your back straight throughout.


1/ Start on knees or toes with hands under chest and back flat in plank position.

2/ Lower yourself to the ground, then back to start position. Keep the back flat throughout.


1/ Start by sitting on the floor with your hands behind you, fingers pointing toward your feet, and feet flat on the floor.

2/ Lift your hips off the ground so your weight is on your hands and on your feet. Dip down towards the ground bending at the elbows and return to start, straight-arm position. Your glutes should not touch the ground throughout this exercise


1/ Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.

2/ Lower your body toward the floor, sending your hips back and down and bending your knees.

Push through your heels to return to start position, keeping your back flat throughout.

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