Military members must maintain a certain level of fitness to complete their jobs and pass fitness testing. COVID-19 presented a challenge in maintaining fitness when gymnasiums on and off base closed. Getting back into the routine of working out takes the same amount of time as building any routine. It takes 21 days to build a habit, so start building the habit of a new exercise routine with these exercises.
Do it like boot camp – a 12-week regiment where you start off low and slow and increase the reps and weights used over the 12-week period.
Before doing embarking on any exercise routine, check with your medical provider to ensure you are healthy enough to do so.
Equipment needed: barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells – weight amount dependent on what will be challenging to you.
If you have a question on what the exercises are, descriptions are below and you can use your friendly internet search engine to find videos on how they are done
Start with 3-4 Rounds of 10-20 reps of these exercises, and slowly build up as able. If you need to go down to 2-3 rounds – do it! Any start is better than no start. Rest for 30-60 seconds in between sets.
- Jumping Jacks – these are great for getting the heart pumping and muscles warm
- Push-Ups – Challenging muscle groups of the upper extremities, core, and cardiovascular system with this – mix it up with putting your hands out wide or narrow to challenge different muscle groups of the arms and back
- Inverted Rows – These challenge the upper extremities and core similar to push-ups, but with the different position it challenges different muscles
- Box Jumps – these can be done on a park bench or your (non-carpeted) steps in your home; the key is to not jump off the box/step/bench but to step down to avoid injury to the Achilles tendon (the back of the ankle)
- Reverse Lunge – stand hip feet apart and step one foot back and bend your back leg so your lower leg is parallel to the ground and the forward leg is parallel to the ground as close to 90 degrees as possible
- Forward Lunge – stand hip feet apart and step one foot forward and bend the forward leg, so the knee is over the foot and get as close to 90 degrees as possible
- Sumo Squat – feet outside the hips and squat low with putting the knees over toes and getting the knees as close to 90 degrees as possible
- Plank – try 30 seconds at a time and build up from there
Start with one set of 10 of these exercises and increase the number of sets as able. Rest for 30-60 seconds in between sets.
- Weighted Squat – Rack dumbbells at the shoulder, feet hip-width apart, and squat with the goal of getting the lower legs at a 90-degree angle
- Renegade Dumbbell Row – While in plank put a dumbbell in each hand. With the arm fully extended, squeeze the muscles between the shoulders to bring the dumbbell toward the chest pulling the elbow behind you. If a full plank is difficult, go to your knees. If you do not have back problems, you can do a bent-over row bending at the hips with soft knees and doing the same squeeze between the shoulder blades to pull the weight toward you.
- Bicep Curl – With a weight in each hand of the extended arm towards your body, bend at the elbow pulling the weight toward the chest.
- Overhead Press –With two dumbbells, one in each hand, you can start from fully extended arms to bicep curl and then push the weights overhead; or start from racked weights at the shoulders.
- Weighted Sumo Squat – Add one dumbbell or kettlebell centered at your core and hold the weight steady as you do the sumo squat.
- Kettlebell Figure 8 –With feet shoulder-width apart with soft knees, hold the kettlebell in one hand and go between the legs switching to one hand and going around the corresponding leg and then back between the legs and to the other hand and corresponding side. This one is not only strength training but cardio too!
- Skull Crushers – While standing or in plank position, with arms extended out with dumbbells in hand, bend the elbows to 90 degrees holding the weights on the sides of the head – don’t actually crush the skull
- Chest Fly – From plank position, extend the arms out in front holding the dumbbells and lower the weights to the sides and then squeeze your chest muscles to pull them back to in front of you.
Mix and match bodyweight and weighted exercises and increase sets with each passing week or two to increase strength training. Add in cardiovascular exercises like jogging and dancing. A variety of exercises like yoga can add flexibility in addition to strength training.
Any start is a move in the right direction. What is your favorite exercise?