It’s been a long winter, so we have launched our Northern Bootcamp #GetYourSpringBack campaign to help people put the spring back in their step.
To kick off, here are three simple-to-perform exercises that will help you get on the road to feeling great again.
These are all examples of plyometric exercises – designed to make your muscles perform high levels of exertion over short periods of time, with the aim of increasing your speed/strength and power. Plyometrics are used by top-level sportspeople all over the world as a way to increase their explosive power.
The trick with all of these is that there are never any large weights involved. Doing just two or three reps of these shouldn’t make you tired – the trick is performing lots of small reps, which when combined will deliver the ‘bounce’ we’re looking for.
Top tip: remember to ‘bounce’ – all of these exercises should be performed by keeping your weight on the balls of your feet wherever possible.
Nice and simple – this is jogging on the spot, but lifting your knees nice and high. You can put your hands out flat in front of your, palms down, and try to hit your hands with your knees.
Try doing intense bursts of 10 or 20 seconds to begin with. Try to think like a sprinter and drive your knees up, as hard as you can.
Hint: keep your form – don’t move your arms, keep your body upright, and drive with your knees.
You do need a good skipping rope for this one, but they are inexpensive and are amazing for plyometrics work.
Start slowly and try to move your body and arms as little as possible. You should eventually be able to skip well just by flicking your wrists.
Don’t jump too high – the rope is thin and should be grazing the floor, so short, fast hops are the way to go here.
Hint: do your reps in minute-long intervals. Start by skipping for 20 seconds and resting for 40 seconds, then move to 30 seconds skipping and 30 seconds rest, and so on. Use a clock with a second hand to time your reps – it makes it easy to keep track of where you are.
This one can take a bit of practice, but the improvement curve is a steep one, so you quickly get good at it and when you do, you can really get ‘in the zone’.
Take a small object – anything will do, from a small ball, to a single house brick – and stand to one side of it, with both feet together. Then hop sideways over the object, keeping your feet together and your posture upright. Then go back the other way, and repeat 20 times in both directions (ie, count to 40).
Before long, you’ll be hitting your target really quickly, so increase the number of reps when you can.
Hint: keep your feet as low as possible. Try not to think about ‘jumping’ – it should be a smooth, controlled movement, with your torso staying as still as possible. Move your legs from the hips/knees.