Half-term is almost upon us! However, if you’re like us then you can’t keep still for too long. I have detailed a few simple exercises that are effective and can be tailored to your level.
Here is one of our favorites – the push-up. It can be done almost anywhere and will help you with kong vaults/cat pass, the upper stage of climbs-ups and will allow you to save yourself easier should you fall towards the ground face first!
1. Start by laying on your front on the floor then tuck your hands under your shoulders.
2. Make sure that your elbows are tucked to your sides.
3. Keeping your feet and hands exactly where they are get into the top position (this one isn’t a rep).
This top position should be as straight as possible. To get straight make sure you’re in this top position and then clench your glutes (bum) and tense your abs. Make sure your hands and feet are fairly straight as well as wonky hands and feet compromise how much power your muscles can generate.
4. Start lowering slow into the bottom position again, but do this slowly as if you are trying to pop a bubble that’s below you. Keep everything tight and controlled.
Then push back up as fast as you can keeping your body strong and straight.
Those are the simple steps to a push-up, but you have to be disciplined with it. As soon as you let your back bend you need to stop what you’re doing and reset as this will not build strength but just damage your back!
How many reps or sets?
I don’t like putting numbers on them usually so I say as many as you can TRULY do (your head will give up before your body), then wait for a couple of minutes and the go for another two sets with another break in between them. Once you have exhausted how much you can push, get back into the top position and then let yourself down slowly again. This is called an eccentric motion. Once you have done all of the concentric motion you can, squeeze the last bit of juice out of your muscles by doing eccentric.
If you really need numbers then try doing 10 reps – 2 min break – 8 reps – 2 min break – 6 reps – 2 min break
How to make it easier
There is no such thing girl push-ups! Easier push-ups should also NOT be achieved by using your knees! You should find a raised platform like a table or even more perfect; stairs. Set up the same as if you were on the floor i.e. hands under shoulders, get back into up position and tense glutes and abs then treat them the same. They are easier when your top half is raised because the weight is sent further down your body. You can then keep going down steps with each set to make it increasingly harder.
If you want to make it harder than ground level then put your feet up on a step.
These are another fun-da-mental exercise that we love.
If you have a bar above head-height then great, but if not then find a rail that’s lower and get in a hangwith your fingers pointing away from you then straighten your body by tensing your glutes and abs again. Once you have tensed make sure you’re not swinging and pull up quickly then lower down slowly.
Keep straight and tensed though all pull up and go for as many as you can.
If a pull up is too difficult right now, use a chair to help get your chin above the bar and then slowly lower yourself back down to straight arms. This is using the same eccentric method described for the push ups above.
Once you have cracked these you can try muscle-ups, but take it slow and make sure you keep good form. These will help with climbing and cat-leaps so get started!
These are mainly to help your jumping but also contribute towards landing as well. They also can be down anywhere.
1. Start in an upright position and tense your glutes and abs.
2. Fall in to the lunge by leaning forwards and putting one leg in front with your feet pointing straight forwards.
3. Bend your front leg to a 90 degree angle and allow your back knee to come down close to the ground but not touching.
Be sure to to keep your chest up and pointing forwards.
From here just use your front leg to push back up, switch legs and repeat.
You can use weights held at your shoulders to make it harder on your legs and get closer to higher weight and lower reps which is what will give more explosive power on jumps.
These are a great way to get strong legs and core whilst getting your heart pumping. Over short distance, sprinting is a great power exercise and useful for when a long run up is not an option.
I would say that the best way to increase power whilst increasing endurance is to run roads with lamp-posts and jog in between two then sprint the next ones and alternate this until you need to stop.
Apart form these exercises you can always just do Parkour with strength building in mind i.e. lots of plyo jumps and climb-ups etc. With waist up exercises I would say that body-weight is fine, but at lower body extra weight is often needed to increase power. You should go to a gym and get shown how to squat and lift properly before you attempt these at home as they can get complicated.