I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’m a fitness freak, but I do like to keep fit. Right now I am stuck in my house and have been told to self-quarantine, so that means no gym, no running in the local park, and I’ve even retired my bicycle for the time-being. What I’ve done, though, is created a work-out that anyone can do and they can do it in their own house. It requires no equipment and it isn’t even that hard to do. It’s what I call my solitary confinement workout, and in the interests of helping people stay healthy, I’d like to share it with you.
You might find that you come out of your isolation feeling, and looking better than you have in years. Ok, so I am going to start with exercises everyone can do. I realize some of you might not be gym rats,but I promise you, you can do the following exercises and you’ll feel better for it. Remember that self-isolation can get a person down, as can tsunamis of bad news, so this should help make you feel better mentally,too. We’ll tell you at the end how you can make these workouts actually really good fun, and something that will put you and your buddies in the best of moods. Let’s just say we know how to do this because we listened to prisoners, and it makes their days a lot easier.
Ok, so one thing everyone can do is planking. You can even do this while you are watching TV or watching this video. It’s one of the greatest things in the exercise world, and it’s the true ‘every man’ and ‘every woman’ exercise. Why do it, you might ask? Well, it strengthens the core of your body,and if you are into fitness you’ll hear people talking about the core all the time. It’s just the midsection of your body. But it will also strengthen your arms, legs,shoulders and back. It’s kinda the go-to exercise if you’re not that fit. Plank for a few seconds and before you know it, you’ll be more capable of doing things like push-ups.
Ok, so some of you are thinking, jeez, I can’t even hold a plank. Ok, so at first don’t do the whole plank and let your knees rest on the ground. The next time, try pulling them up a bit. If you can plank for two seconds, well done…then go for three seconds. If you can plank for a minute, well, you’re already pretty strong. But then don’t do one minute a day. Rest a while, and do ten one minute planks a day. And guys, we are not trying to sell you some sketchy get fit quick program. Planking works. It is an excellent way to strengthen your body. Like we said, don’t feel down if you can’t do it well at first. Aim at one second. Then two seconds. If you aim too high, you’ll just give up. Never set the bar too high. Once you get better, you can switch it up a bit. Like doing it on your side.
We could almost just stop here, because planking really is that good for you. We’re not going to talk too much about push-ups or sit-ups because you already know all about those exercises. We will say, though, that we know some guys in prison will go over the top. That means doing as many push-ups or sit-ups as possible…until your heart is beating super fast. But just a word of advice here, only do this if you are fit already. We don’t want anyone getting injured especially when the healthcare system is already stretched thin. Only push yourself when you are already good at a particular exercise. And wow, those endorphins, you’ll soon stop being depressed about what you see on the news. And as an added bonus, you’ll be fit and your immune system will be in better shape.
Ok, another caveat, if you work out so much that you feel ill, there’s potential it will have the opposite effect and compromise your immune system. So be sensible. Ok, another great in-room exercise is the squat This will strengthen your legs and glutes and more, and also make your joints stronger. Before I started doing squats, I would struggle to pick up a coin on the ground. Now I can bend down like a beautiful, grace full ballerina. Again, start slow if you are not that fit. Go down ever so slightly and keep a straight back, your knees staying behind your toes, and push off your heels. Repeat until you are tired. For those of you thinking that is just too easy, try a pistol squat, which means going down on just one leg with the other leg pointing forward. You have to maintain your balance, and as many of you will find out, this isn’t an easy exercise. But if for some of you strong guys, if that’s still too easy, do it with a weight in your hands If you don’t have any weights or other equipment in your house and want to get stronger, you can just use household items.
Try using bags of rice, plastic bottles of water, heavy books. But maybe squats are too hard for you? Start with something called a “wall-sit”. Yep, you just sit against the wall as if you were in a chair but obviously there is no chair. Do this for as long as you can. You’ll know your limit because your knees will start to tremble. If you wanna make this exercise even harder,you can raise one of your legs off the ground. Do the same again, except raise the other leg off the ground. But again, this is an expert level wall sit so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it straight away. Ok, so you’re wanting to do more cardio-type exercises that increase your heart rate even though you’re stuck inside and don’t have room to run? One quite easy cardio exercise is simply standing up straight and pulling up your leg so your knee touches your hand. Then do the same with the other leg. If that is really easy for you, keep doing it and do it until you feel tired. When you are doing this fast it might feel a bit like you are dancing, or hopping. Do it for two minutes, take a short break,and do it again. This will strengthen your core and it will give your heart a good work out if you are doing it fast. It’s also a good warm-up routine, a favorite for those folks who do the 20-minute workout videos online.
Now, if you really feel up to it and can do the things we have already discussed, you will want to do one of the best indoor exercises known to man. It’s called the burpee. This will strengthen multiple muscles at once and make you super fit. It’s almost a total body exercise all on its own! We should say, though, that it’s not easy and so if your workout routine up until now has consisted of walking to the car or squatting on the toilet, don’t try burpees before you’ve planked for a while, are ok at push-ups and have done some of those wall-sits. It’s up to you, but you can also add a push-up to your burpee when you drop down for an extra challenge. It might look easy to some of you, but just try doing ten burpees in a row. If that is no trouble, try doing 20. If it’s really hard for you, do them slowly and don’t jump at the end. Work up to that. And have a towel at hand, because you’ll sweat a lot. This next one has the best exercise name of all time. It’s called the up dog down dog exercise.
You’ll start in the push up position and then move your body until your bottom is in the air and you look like an upside down “V”. Now you are up dog. The next part is basically going back down,until your legs are almost flat to the floor, your chest is straight, and your head is looking right up. Ok, so that doesn’t look too hard to you,but it’s such a good exercise when it comes to your mobility. If you sit at a desk all day you might start to hunch from time to time, but this exercise will straighten you out. Next up are lunges, which basically consist of lunging forward, hence the name!. Keep your chest up and your back straight and look straight forward. You can try first with your left foot forward and then do it with your right foot forward. You can of course add stuff to this, like doing a star jump at the end of the lunge. This will tire you out fast.
Some very fit people will jump from lunge to lunge many times over, but that’s certainly not for beginners. You’re going to see fitness websites telling you to do 20 reps or so, but try to do just one lunge at the start, and build up, only doing as much as you feel comfortable with. Again, now is not the time for any of us to be getting injured. Now, we’ve got another great exercise for you, but one that you will do only when you are already in pretty good shape. It’s called the mountain climber. You will need to get in the push-up position,or look like sprinters do when they are waiting for the starting pistol to go off. One leg will be fully extended and the other one bent forward. You then explosively jump so that your legs have switched positions. As with burpees, this exercise is for people who’ve already mastered the easier ones we’ve talked about.
Next are dips, and all you need for those are chair and a table. These are pretty hard, too, so make sure you are strong enough before you injure yourself or break something in your house. You don’t really need two objects, either,you can dip from any solid surface. Note the word “solid”, don’t dip off your grandma’s fragile antique coffee table or a wobbly chair. Ok, so we realize some of you are thinking right now, thanks FITNESS FREAKERS, these really are exercises I could do at home, but you know what, I know I won’t do any of this. Well, you’ve just got to make it fun. What this writer does is award himself after a workout. You want to have a nice cup of coffee? Well, you can only have that after 20 burpees. You want to watch that next episode on Netflix? That will cost push ups and sit ups and 30 seconds against the wall. You should also mix-up your session from day to day. A fun way to dp that is to choose four of the exercises we have talked about today. Then get a pack of playing cards.
This is what some people in prison call the“deck of pain.” Maybe one day hearts will be squats with a jump. Clubs will be lunges, Diamonds will be 5 second planks and spades will be sit-ups. You then pick a card, any card, and if it’s the seven of hearts you will have to do seven squats. If you pull a ten of diamonds, that will be a 50 second plank. Jacks are eleven, queens are 12 and kings are 13. If you pull an ace, that means you do the exercise to your maximum ability until you give up. Trust us, an ace of burpees is some workout session. Better still, do this with someone else, and you pick their card. Oh, it’s so much fun when you pull an ace for them.
That might sound sadistic, but in the end,it’s all in fun and will make you both fitter than you’ve ever been. Of course if you’re isolating, doing it with someone else can be hard, but trying doing it over video chat with someone else. Not only will this cheer you and your buddy up, but you’ll be doing yourself a big favor. You can get amazingly fit in a small confined area, just ask Britain’s most notorious prisoner, one Charles Arthur Salvador, aka, Charles Bronson, who set workout records and gained an almost superhuman strength during his very long incarceration.
He claimed he could do 1,727 push-ups in an hour at the age of almost 50, and his book, “Solitary Fitness” is still sold today. There’s even more exercises you can do from home or with minimal equipment, so check out some of these other amazing exercises videos on our @fitnessfreakers58, then start doing the deck of pain game…. and then tell us in the comments section how great you feel after just one week.