Sunday 18 February 2018

Siobhan Byrne: Spring into a new fitness routine

Small changes make a big difference and are easier to maintain

Siobhan Byrne: spring is the perfect time to start a fitness routine
Siobhan Byrne: spring is the perfect time to start a fitness routine
Split squat 1
Split squat 3
Split squat 4
Split squat 2
Squat thrust 1
Squat thrusts 2
Plank jacks 1
Plank jacks 2
Jumping squat 1
Jumping squat 2
Jumping squat 3

Siobhan Byrne

Busy workloads and day-to-day responsibilities can mean we would rather sit on the couch and relax with a glass of wine than do any type of training. As the days get longer and brighter, if you have struggled with starting some sort of fitness routine to benefit your health, well-being and waistline, then this is the perfect time for you to start.

I'm a little partial to hibernating in winter but brighter days definitely make being more active and going outdoors much more appealing, so you are not on your own if you're struggling.

What is important is that you put a stop to the inactivity as summer approaches. Always remember that small changes do make a difference and tend to be easier to stick to long-term, unlike drastic changes in diet and training that will leave you exhausted, burnt out and unable to keep with the pace.

Don't compare yourself with others, you only want to be the best possible version of yourself and, in my experience as a trainer, the people who maintain the best body shape for life are the ones that truly find a great balance between training, eating balanced meals and enjoying life. They never feel deprived but look forward to treats. They never feel over trained but miss training if they have to skip it.

Look for a happy balance in your own life. If you struggle to get in shape and keep fit then start slowly by adding 20-30 minutes of working out three to four times per week. That can consist of walking, running or basic workouts.

If you have managed to keep to a basic programme over the winter months and want to crank things up to see more results, then increase your strength training programme by adding extra exercises that make you work at a higher intensity, such as these split squats (on the right).

Finding balance is the key to you achieving results that you will be happy with.

This week's four exercises will help increase intensity in your workouts.

Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week

Focus on higher intensity

Split Squat

1/ Stand upright with your feet split from back to front.

2/ Lower your body down towards the ground like a lunge position.

3/ Push off the front foot and jump into the air.

4/ Landing with the opposite foot forward. Repeat. Advance this exercise further by using a weighted ball or dumbbell holding it at chest level.

Plank Jacks

1/ Start on your toes and hands, with your arms straight, back flat and feet together.

2/ Jump your feet out to the sides without moving hand position. Immediately jump back to the middle and repeat. Keep your back flat throughout.

This exercises can be done with or without sliders

Squat thrust

1/ Start by going into a squat position with your hands on the ground and feet placed on sliders or cloths on the floor.

2/ Then thrust both legs out and back to full extension, keeping the back straight and not dipped. Then return to start position and repeat.

Ensure that you keep your tummy tight and do not let the lower back dip when your legs are extended.

Jumping squat

1/ Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your side.

2/ Bend your knees and lower your hips back and down towards the floor.

3/ Push through your heels into a jump and repeat.

Tips for any jumping movement

* Start by slowly warming up the body with small jumps, developing it as you move to a faster-paced and higher jump;

* Always land softly while having complete control over your body;

* Always workout on a soft flooring.

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