It’s all very well to aim to beat someone else’s score or time, but you can get very real satisfaction from just trying to beat yourself with the added bonus that it will be more achievable. Recording your ‘personal bests’ and aiming to best yourself each time you do them again can not only help ensure you continue to improve your fitness and strength, but also gives you a non-appearance based goal to aim towards.
Record how many you do of the following until you can’t do any more. These numbers are your own personal bests; make these a part of each workout you do for the next four weeks and try to beat your numbers each time you train. Compare your numbers from the beginning to your numbers in four weeks’ time and you should see some good results!
Note: Technique always comes first, so if you feel it slipping due to fatigue it’s time to call it quits and write down your number. Sloppy technique leads to injury, so it’s best to play it safe.
- Seat touch squats (lower body)
Put a chair behind you, have both arms straight out in front of your chest (one hand on top of the other). Lower yourself as if you were going to sit down on the seat while breathing in. Briefly touch your butt to it without sitting down before standing back up again and breathing out. Keep your weight in your heels, your tummy pulled in and try to keep your feet flat on the floor. If you’re having trouble with the movement, think about sticking your butt out as you go to sit down.
- Push ups (upper body)
Get into push up position with palms flat on floor in line with your shoulders and elbows (think ‘goal post’ arms! Your arms and chest should be making a rectangle with the floor when your elbows are bent). Choose whether you are going to go on your toes or knees. Your body should create a straight line between your shoulders and whatever part of your legs are touching the ground. Pull your tummy in tight and be careful not to sag into it otherwise you may injure your back. Exhale as you push, inhale as you lower yourself down. You can always start on your toes and drop to your knees without stopping if you need to; just record how many you do of each for your personal bests.
- Star jumps (cardio)
Just like PE class at school. Jumps arms and legs out, jump arms and legs in.
- Crunches (abs)
Lie down with feet flat on the floor. Place palms of hands on your thighs, and crunch up, exhaling and sliding your palms on your thighs as high up towards your knees as they will go. Inhale as you come back down and return to your original position.
Remember as well, that if these exercises are too easy or become too easy, you can make things a little trickier. Try doing your push ups on your toes, carry some weight for your seat squats (dumbells, weight plate, or sack of potatoes if you’re at home!), and remember if you feel you need help or if anything doesn’t feel right to consult a professional.
Photo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – Ambro