20200503 095123
Week 5, and I have realised that in every workout so far I’ve written a variation of the phrase ‘My upper body strength is weak’ / ‘I’ve had a shoulder issue so I’m not doing (insert press-up style move I don’t like here)’. This sentiment was compounded last week when I tried to pull myself up onto my waist-height garden wall and, embarassingly, just couldn’t do it.  Although that could be more to do with the lockdown bread baking and pizza nights than lack of strength... I'd suggest its a decent sized slice of each!

This week though, two things happened that forced me to pull my big girl leggings on and do something about it.

  1. I received a letter from the hospital saying that the scan I had pre-lockdown was clear of any spinal issues / major concerns (narrowing of nerve tunnel if you’re interested!). This means I am free to start building up that 'weakness'.
  2. Mark, one of LAL's expereinced instructors, posted a full 20 minute hand weights workout with options for beginners therefore helping you build strength from scratch.

It was a double-whammy of lockdown signs!

Mark has little dumbells for his workout and if you have these at home, that’s great. If not you can use anything with a bit of weight that you can get your hands round easily. So, tins of beans, small bags of rice, bottles of wine… (empty ones don’t count - you'll have to buy more).

Cue the irony of the pizza pasatta (700gms) coming to good use this fine Sunday morning as I got my jabs, rows and bicep curls on in the sunny spot of the kitchen. Well, it seemed only right to head back to the scene of the crime in an attempt to rectify things!

This video is a little different to previous ones. It is a full 20 minute workout with both a warm up at the start and a stretching session at the end. It makes it feel more like a full 'class' and so when Mark suggested that I get my favourites sounds on to keep things upbeat and energy filled it was Annie and Aretha circa 1988 that eased me nicely into the whole thing.

You don’t need loads of space for this one: most of it is done standing and the widest stance is a double side raise – so your ‘wing span’ wide. There are then some floor exercise in the second half which I managed no bother on a yoga mat.

This session is all about reps with weights which many of you will enjoy doing as part of your weekly routine, Building strength and conditioning into your regular regime is a tried and tested method of improving your overall fitness. Part of my contract with LAL sees me interviewing the emerging athletes who have the potential to bring Olympic medals and World Championship podium spots home to Perth. All of these athletes – without exception – use strength and conditioning to improve their sporting performance. 

You may not be looking to shave seconds off of your swimming time or improve your golf swing for international tournaments (although you might!) but the benefits are the same for all of us. Talking on a personal level – female, 40+, fluctuating hormones, expanding middle – they are sizeable, and include:

1: Maintaining Muscle Tissue

In simple terms, muscles are the basis of your metabolism, so if your muscles decrease by 8-10%, your metabolism will also decrease by 8-10%. By strength training twice per week you could change that 8-10% to ONLY 1-2%

rsz untitled design 2
2: Increased Strength

Increased strength allows you to lift heavier objects making daily tasks seem much easier. Think how great it would be if you could just lift your teenage child out of your workspace at the dining table right now!

3: Improved Bone Health

Strength training is effective in increasing bone density and strengthening tendons and ligaments. Developing strong bones reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and decreases the risk of bone fractures.

4: Controlled Body Fat

Quite aside from the calories burned during the workout, muscle burns three times the amount of calories that fat burns. Every. Single. Day.

5: Decreased Risk of Injury

Increased strength will allow your body to be more resistant to injuries, and general aches and pains.


How Did I Get On?

  • I really liked the warm up and stretch down at the end. I’ve said before I’m more of a class fan than hitting the gym so I don’t have a ‘routine’ for these when I’m doing it off the top of my own head.
  • The video is in ‘real time’ so it runs for a full 25 mins including the warm up / stretch. Mark also reminds you on several occasions to take a drink of water and to stay hydrated. I stopped and started it a few times to get the technique right before joining in his timed sessions.
  • Mark gives options where he thinks you’ll need them and explains how to get the less basic moves right before he starts on the count. I do think this helps both beginners and more experienced people as it tailors things to your ability.
  • 20200503 101711
    I am still rubbish at press ups and doing the lower options BUT after 5 weeks, they are better now than they were when I was Mrs Hinching it up in week 1. Progress – YAY!!!
  • I have always prided myself on having good core strength but in the last year I’ve felt that to be more of a ‘nostalgic truth’ than an actuality! People, I am fake newsing myself for sure. There were no cycles involved in this workout – that photo on the right is me trying to do sit ups without lifting my feet! WHAT.THE.HECK?
  • I might have been a bit ambitious with the 700gms bottles of passata; next time I do it I’m going to use cans of 330gms beans.

If building in some simple, straightforward Strength and Conditioning would benefit your fitness then this is a great place to start. If you're already experienced you might want to use heavier items and increase the reps. Either way, Mark will keep you focused and help you stay on track during life at home.

Follow the Live Active Leisure Facebook page for daily workout ideas every day at 10am.  

Have you tried out the At Home videos from other LAL instructors? Check them out on the YouTube Channel here >>

You can read Nicki’s week 1 – 4 Lockdown Diaries on our blog here >>>