Get your body moving!

Last week we looked at all the reasons that weight training is really important for your overall health. Today we look at some weight training you can do at home, in the garden or even after football training. These exercises are all based on body weight and are super for learning basic skills and getting stronger.

First up is the body weight squat. This exercise works the leg muscles, mainly those on the front of the thigh and your core. It also develops and strengthens the ligaments in the knee. The squat is essential for daily life, think of sitting down and standing up from low chairs.

How to do it:

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Body tall and core engaged.

2. Begin the movement by flexing your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips.

3. Continue down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause and return to standing.

Next is the lunge. It targets the legs and glutes (the muscles in your backside!) most deeply but also hits the hamstrings, calves and core. This exercise also helps to develop your balance and is great for functional fitness

How to do it:

1. Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up. Pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down. Always engage your core.

2. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position.

Now the lower body is done, it is time to move on to the upper body. The main exercise here is the push up. The push up works the muscles of the chest, core and upper arm.

How to do it:

1. Start on the floor with your arms straight and your palms under your shoulders – slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your feet close together and dig your toes into the floor and maintain the body flat like a plank.

2. Begin to lower your body keeping your back flat until your chest is nearly touching the floor. Keep the body in a straight line throughout the movement. Don’t let your hips sag.

3. Exhale as you push to the top position and continue to push up until your arms are almost straight.

An easier version of this is to start on the knees. Make sure and maintain a straight line from your knee, hip and shoulder! Next up we have the core. The plank is the basic position for strengthening our mid-section. This move also works our shoulders, glutes and lower back.

How to do it:

1. Start in the push up position.

2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet.

3. Hold the position for as long as you can.

These exercises can be performed in a circuit doing each exercise for 30 seconds and taking 30 second rests between them. As your fitness develops you can do this multiple times or eliminate/reduce the rest period.

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