An Englishman’s home is his castle, but, when equipped with some basic kit, it can also be his gym – a perfect fix for those days when bad weather or tight scheduling makes getting out impossible.
When you’re in a rush, gym-fatigued, or both of these, finding a slice in the pie chart of time for fitness isn’t always easy. Instead save on the travel and time spent waiting for the equipment to become free by bringing the gym to you.
Richmond-based personal trainer Matt Roots (mattroots.com) assures MAN London that you can guarantee yourself a quality, queue-free workout from the comfort of your own home…
High-intensity cardio, in a restricted space (indoors), without the need of
a turbo bike or elliptical trainer.
Bodymax Leather Jump Rope, £7.49, powerhouse-fitness.co.uk
Attachable to pretty much any doorframe, a pull-up bar offers
a host of different exercises for the upper body, including pull ups, chin ups and leg raises.
Body Sculpture Body Gym, £15, very.co.uk
Use your body weight and a bit of elasticity to perform traditional resistance drills. By anchoring the bands to a fixed point you can do standing chest presses, while by hooking them around your feet they give resistance to squats or bent-over rows.
Fitness Mad Resistance Tube & Guide, £7.99, podium4sport.com
The “Swiss” or exercise ball serves as a double whammy for workouts. Standalone – or sit alone to be precise – drills such as rollout and crunches can take on an added twist (Russian twists, too) as you aim to maintain your balance and so engage your core muscles. Secondly, it’s a bench for classic strength drills featuring dumbbells like pull overs and presses.
Gymnic Classic Plus Swiss Ball, £14.99, physioroom.com
Old-school Soviet training equipment, kettlebells offer both resistance and cardio options. Use them as dumbbells for muscle moves including rows and presses or for some high-intensity workouts following a kettlebell swing programme.
Men’s Health Kettlebell – 10kg, £19.99, argos.co.uk
Highly versatile, this can be used for lots of different boxing and MMA-style drills, as well as multiple other uses for cardio and conditioning training.
Lonsdale 3ft Punch Bag, £32, sportsdirect.com
Squats – the king of exercises
Want to build muscle, burn calories and avoid injury? Don’t stint on the crouch and thrust, says Michael Donlevy
The squat is the king of exercises. Yet like any monarch they can also be somewhat intimidating. Aloof, if an exercise can be aloof. Even people who use that gym membership find reasons to avoid them.
“Squats are usually preceded by a sharp intake of breath,” says personal trainer Jason Anderson (jasonanderson.co.uk). “‘It hurts my back.’ ‘It kills my knees.’ Personal trainers hear it all the time, despite the fact that it’s one of the greatest exercises known to man.”
Squatting plays a part in nearly everything we do: standing up, sitting down, picking things up and jumping all involve an element of squatting. “Even walking is basically a continuous cycle of twisting one-legged squats,” Anderson says.
The squat is excellent for burning calories, it’s great for improving strength and endurance, and it helps stimulate a cascade of muscle-building hormones to surge through your body.
Squats are important for sport, too. “You need to increase your explosive power to get faster in any sport,” says Darren Campbell, the Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter who’s since set up Pro Athlete Supplementation (pas-nutrition.co.uk) and now coaches professional footballers. “I work on it by doing squats, as well as cleans and deadlifts. In football, the first movement is so important.”
“Squats are my favourite exercise,” says Olympic triathlon champion Ali Brownlee. “It’s always hard to say what any one exercise is doing – it feels like we do a thousand things just to improve one event by fractions – but I’m sure squats help my legs stay strong at the end of a race. The other reason for doing them is injury prevention.”
“Cyclists should definitely do them,” says Myles Hopper, personal trainer at Fitness First on London’s Tottenham Court Road. “They provide greater stability in your knee, ankle and hip joints, as well as your back.”
Definite workout royalty. Now all we need are some commemorative mugs. ML