It’s a difficult time of year to get yourself to the gym. It’s cold and dark, you’re tired from Christmas, and the gyms are busier than ever. 

Luckily, weights and machines aren’t the only way to get results when it comes to your fitness goals.

The movement vs weights based approach

How we move when we exercise directly affects the results we achieve. The most commonly used method is to load a movement with weights. Our muscles react to how we move; the muscle flushes with blood, and the fibres stretch, tear and repair – this is how we condition and build our muscles.

However, it’s a misconception that you have to load (use weights) in a movement in order to get this reaction. To get the long lean look and increase mobility a muscle should be stretched and trained at length as well as working with your energy systems to get the perfect workout for you and the results you desire.

Movement training looks at exactly how an individual performs an exercise and then refines that exercise for that specific goal. A classic example is ‘the lunge’, most commonly done to tone up the glutes, but most often felt in the quads. By taking a simple exercise and adapting that individually for the clients body you can get a much better reaction in the muscle than loading a generic movement with a weight in the ‘hope’ that it will work. Yoga has also been built on the foundations of body movement, with a healthy and balanced lifestyle wrapped around it.

With the right movement specialist you can achieve exceptional results, keeping your body long lean and strong over the winter period. With expert guidance, a workout at home can be more effective than performing the same squats every week at the gym.

Some exercises to try

We’d always recommend getting in touch with one of our highly qualified personal trainers to get efficient results, but if that’s not an option, it’s worth playing with different versions of some simple exercises that we’re all familiar with.

Push ups are an effective exercise and can be done anywhere. We tend to do just one type, but by changing the hand and arm positions you can get a much more varied workout. Start with having your hands as wide as they will go, do a push then bring them in closer.  Do another and continue to bring them closer until your hands are touching. Your chest should touch the floor each time so if you need to drop to your knees to get the range then that’s fine – range of movement is more important than doing lots of smaller fast rep movements as it lengthens the muscles. Once you have mastered that, try changing the angle of your hands. Start by having them facing forwards, then turn them in, and then out. Lastly, you can move your arms in front of you. Again, start as far in front as possible and move them back toward you with every repetition. Once you have mastered all of the above you can start to combine all of them in different sequences.

You can then apply this concept to some other basic exercises: lunges are also easy to do and again we tend to do them the same way. Lunging forwards, start with the foot turned in, then straight (normal), then out. You might notice yourself aching in different spots the next day.

A quick thirty minute workout

Just twenty to thirty minutes of getting the heart rate up and strengthening your muscles every few days will bring a whole host of health benefits – you don’t need to drag yourself away from your family to spend hours in the gym this Christmas. The below is an example of an express, minimal space workout that I recommend to clients when they’re going on holiday.

As with all exercise warm up correctly and consult a professional if you have any injuries.

Jogging on the spot 1 min

Running up and down the stairs 1 min

Skipping 1 min

Push ups (arms Narrow) 1 min

Lunges 1 min

Pushups (arms wide) 1 min

Squat or squat jumps 1 min

Lie down stand up 1 min

Skip 1 mins (or other cardio)

Rest 1 min

Repeat 3 times