We understand that this is a challenging time for all, and although we are pleased to have gained clearance from the Federal Minister for Health that it is currently safe to remain open for business, we appreciate that everyone is facing a different set of circumstances and understand that some of our valued clients are unable to physically attend the clinic during this time.

Keeping active and physically fit is always important and can help to strengthen muscles and bones, improve your mental health and mood, improve your sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers as well as assist in weight management. It is likely that some of your usual exercise options may not be available to you currently, and so with this in mind, our physiotherapist Sarah Yule has outlined a few simple exercises that can be completed independently focusing on involving all the major muscles groups using little to no equipment for easy at home completion. You should aim to complete the following exercises a minimum of 3-4 times weekly.

Body weight squats

Squats help to improve the strength of your major leg muscles including your quads, glutes and hamstrings.

How to complete:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • As you squat, bend from your hips.
  • Keep your back straight as you push your hips back and counterbalance by leaning your torso forwards.
  • Do not allow your knees to travel too far forwards.
  • Your weight should be on your heels, not your toes.
  • It might help to imagine you’re trying to sit down in a chair that is too far away from you.
  • Tense your bottom muscles at the bottom of the squat and keep them tense as you straighten back up to the start position
  • Aim to complete 10-15 reps, 3-4 sets.

Advancements: Try placing a resistance band loop around the top of your knees and focus on pushing your knees out against the band as you complete the above squat movement.

Lunges

Lunges are another great exercise that improves the strength of your major leg muscles, whilst also incorporating a level of balance.

How to complete:

  • Stand upright with your legs at shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
  • Take a medium sized pace forward and then enter into a lunge by lowering your body downwards using your legs.
  • Allow the forward knee to bend until your thigh is parallel to the floor making sure you keep your back straight.
  • Return to the starting position by pushing up off the front leg.
  • Repeat for the other leg.
  • Keep your abdominals tight and your feet shoulder-width apart throughout the exercise.
  • Perform this exercise at a slow controlled pace.
  • Aim to complete 10-15 reps, 3-4 sets.

Advancements: Try a lateral lunge out to the side instead of in front of you.

Single leg Sit-To-Stand

As human beings we spend a lot of time on one leg during activities such as walking, running, climbing stairs, etc. This exercise aims to increase both our single leg strength and stability.

How to complete:

  • Sit up straight with your buttocks to the edge of the chair.
  • Lift your unaffected foot off the ground and keep it in front of you.
  • Try to do this exercise without using your hands.
  • Keeping your affected knee in line with your toes, stand up by pushing down through your foot until you are completely upright.
  • Hold this position and then gradually sit back down.
  • Control this movement and then repeat.
  • Make sure your knee always points directly in front of you.
  • Aim to complete 10-15 reps, 3-4 sets.

Advancements: Try a single leg squat without a chair, or try holding a weight at your chest whilst completing the exercise.

Push ups

This exercise trains our major upper limb pushing muscles including the pecs and anterior deltoid muscles.

How to complete:

  • Start in the press up position with the arms directly under the shoulders, fingers facing forwards and the back and trunk level and straight with the toes on the floor.
  • Lower the body using the arms and shoulders until the chest just touches the floor, keep the trunk straight and arms aligned with the shoulders.
  • Press up using the arms and shoulders only, keep the backside in line with the back and shoulders and do not arch the lower back.
  • This exercise can also be performed by starting with the knees on the floor and then commencing the press-up from this position.
  • Aim to complete 10-15 reps, 3-4 sets.

Advancements: Try adding a 2 second pause at the lowest point of your push up.

Standing Row

This exercise trains the major pulling muscles of the upper limbs and back including the middle traps, rhomboids and posterior deltoid muscles.

How to complete:

  • Tie a resistance band around a solid object and hold the ends in each hand.
  • Stand on both legs with your feet hips width apart, keeping a good upright posture.
  • Bend your elbows and pull the band back, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Control the movement as you return your hands to the start position.
  • Keep your core strong throughout this exercise.
  • Aim to complete 10-15 reps, 3-4 sets.

Advancements: Complete a single arm row,, or increase the difficulty of your resistance band.

Plank

This exercise aims to build the strength of the core/ abdominal muscles. Strong abdominal muscles help to support our back and therefore it is important that you do not feel your back hurting during this exercise.

How to complete:

  • Lie on your front with your toes on the floor.
  • Place your forearms on the floor and push up, lifting your torso and legs.
  • Hold a straight line from your shoulders to your feet for as long as you can, preventing the back from sagging.
  • Keep your buttocks squeezed and your hips level.
  • You will feel the core muscles working.
  • Aim to hold for as long as you can maintain correct form, and repeat for 3 sets.

Advancements: Try completing a sideways plan.

These exercises are a great way to maintain fitness and build strength through the major muscle groups. If you require, your physiotherapist is able to adapt and modify any of these exercises.

To develop an individualised program for yourself, call us today or book online.