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Missing The Gym? Here's How A Personal Trainer Achieves A Gym-Worthy Workout At Home

We may have to wait a little longer for gyms to re-open but thankfully it's possible to achieve a gym-worthy session from the comfort of your own home.

No workout equipment? No problem. Getting fit at home doesn't need to be fancy. Aaron Smyth, McSport Strength & Fitness Advisor shares his top tips and exercises for a simple, yet effective home workout...

Whether you're an ardent gym-goer or caught the exercise bug during the first lockdown, being refined to the four walls of your home to not only work in, eat in, sleep in – and now exercise in –is no easy task. 

First, there's finding the motivation. Then, there's not having the luxury of a home gym setup. How is one expected to tone and define their biceps without the aid of a weight bench? And don't say by lifting tins of tomatoes...

Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually need a gym-like set up to achieve the same level of workout you're used to. "It’s super easy to stay on top of your fitness goals with minimal equipment," says Aaron Smyth, McSport Strength & Fitness Advisor. "Most of my clients are using less than three pieces of kit for example a kettlebell, set of dumbbells and a resistance band."

Even if you don’t have a lot of equipment, at-home bodyweight workouts are a clutch and allow you to keep up your fitness routine. You might think your options are limited if you don’t have a whole rack of equipment at your disposal, but that’s definitely not the case. There's an at-home version of nearly every type of exercise. You can use bodyweight exercises to work nearly every muscle in your body, from your quads (read: squats) to your glutes (read: glute bridges) to your chest (read: push-ups) to your core (read: plank variations).

Aaron Smyth, personal trainer and McSport strength and fitness advisor

Aaron Smyth, personal trainer and McSport strength and fitness advisor

That's all before mentioning the myriad of exercises you can do outside the home. But, for those of us who aren't into running and don't own a bike, it's time to figure out how to do circuit training, TRX, HIIT and more, in the living room. 

To help you get there, we quizzed personal trainer and McSport Strength & Fitness Advisor, Aaron Smyth on how to actually work out at home - and stick with it. 

JUMP SQUATS + LUNGES

While going for a walk is a great way to get the body moving and the opportunity to clear your head, there can be something a little dissatisfying for the gym-enthusiasts amongst us - no matter how many steps we fit in. This is likely due to the fact that a walk doesn't get the whole body moving or work up too much of a sweat. To give you that post-gym feel, Smyth's advice is to clear some space in your living room or head out to your back garden and practice plyometrics. "Jump squats and lunges are great for muscle tone but also really work up a sweat and get the heart racing."

HOW TO:

Step One: Start by slowly descending into a squat by sitting back into your hips and knees.

Step Two: Push the floor away and fully extend your hips and knees, leaving the floor as you come upwards. 

Step Three: Land softly under control while keeping the knees in line with your hips and feet, not allowing them to cave inwards.

For a jump lunge: When you’re in the lunge position, keep your legs, knees and body all at 90 degrees to one another. Jump and when you land, land with a soft knee right back into the lunge position with your upper body over top of the back knee.

ISOMETRIC HOLDS

"An isometric exercise is a form of exercise involving the contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint," explains Smyth. "Isometric holds, in particular, are also amazing for muscle tone but are a lot easier on the joints for example a wall sit is a serious burner for your lower body without massive impact."

HOW TO: 

For upper body: Try lifting a slab of beer and hold in place. This means your biceps will be contracted but there is no movement of your arms. 

For lower body: For an Isometric squat, sit into a squat position and hold that for anywhere from 30-60 seconds.

Dumbbell thrusters

For a strong workout that gets the whole body moving, Smyth suggests dumbbell thrusters. "They are a brilliant full-body exercise that can be done by all at any fitness levels."

HOW TO:

Step One: When performing this exercise, the dumbbells should rest up by your shoulders.

Step Two: As you get into the squat position, keep your head and chest up, sit back into your heels. 

Step Three: Ascend up from the squat position and extend your arms, locking biceps to ear. 

DEVIL PRESS

"The devil press is a little more advanced than dumbbell thrusters but are just as effective for a full-body workout. Simply put, they are where you do a burpee into a thruster," explains Smyth.

HOW TO: 

Step One: Start each rep with the dumbbells on the ground. Then, with your hands on the dumbbells, you perform a burpee, with chest making contact with the floor.

Step Two: From here, you will jump to your feet, never taking their hands from the dumbbells. 

Step Three: Next, snatch or swing both dumbbells from the floor simultaneously, and finish with both locked out overhead, with hips, knees, shoulders, and arms at full extension.

MAN MAKER

Last but not least, a man maker is the ultimate exercise to really push yourself. "Man maker which is a tough full-body exercise that really puts your strength and fitness to the test," explains Smyth. 

Step One: Begin with a push-up with your hands on the dumbbells. 

Step Two: At the top of the push-up position, complete a dumbbell row on the right, then a dumbbell row on the left arm. 

Step Three: Jump the feet into a Squat stance with the feet outside of the dumbbells. Perform a thruster (see above). Reach full hip, knee, and arm extension at the top of the movement.

And there you have it! The best at-home workout to give you gym-worthy results. But even after that, if you still find you're craving the gym - head over to Aaron Smyth's Instagram page @thebodysmyth to catch Aaron’s live workouts. However, it's equipment you're after, be sure to check out mcsport.ie, Ireland's leading supplier of sports and fitness equipment.

Main image by Aikomo Opeyemi

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