1. Giant leaps
Jumping exercises help to develop explosive power in the legs and buttocks, and also boost your heart rate for fitness and fat loss benefits. Giant leaps add intensity, as you need to jump high enough to propel yourself forward.
- 1. Start in a basic squat position with your hips bent and feet shoulder width apart with arms by your side
- 2. As you start to swing your straight arms forward and up, leap forward as far as you can. Leave the ground on two feet, and land on two feet
- 3. Try to land softly, using your legs as shock absorbers by sticking your bottom backwards and lowering yourself down to reduce the stress on your knees. Return your arms to the side. You should now be back to the starting position
- 4. Repeat 10 – 20 consecutive giant leaps depending on your strength and stamina
Keep your core engaged throughout. If you are short on space, perform vertical jump squats instead.
2. Tricep dips
Triceps are the major muscle of your upper arm (most people think it’s the bicep), and is used during throwing, pushing and paddling. Dips target your triceps, rear shoulder and abdominals.
- 1. Place your hands on the edge of a bench, chair or coffee table, fingers facing down
- 2. Rest on your heels with your legs out in front
- 3. Lower your body down (not forwards) with elbows pointing back
- 4. Push back up through your hands up to the initial position
The straighter your legs are, the harder this exercise becomes, so adjust to suit your level of strength.
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3. Penguin crunches
It’s good to have an abdominal exercise that targets the side muscles of your trunk, and not just the front. Penguin crunches work your obliques which support the spine and assist with twisting movements important for paddling and ball sports.
- 1. Lay on your back with knees bent and heels near your buttocks
- 2. Contract/engage your abdominal muscles and raise your shoulders/neck up off floor
- 3. Keeping your arm straight, bend to the side and touch the left ankle with your left hand
- 4. Once again with your arm straight, touch the right ankle with right hand. It’s a bit like waddling like a penguin. Continue to mild fatigue
The higher you raise your shoulders, the higher the difficulty, so adjust to suit your level of fitness.
4. Mountain climbers with push ups
This unique movement combines elements of both strength and cardiovascular training.
The push up targets your chest, shoulders and core, while the split jump will target your thighs and get your heart rate up at the same time.
- 1. Start in a push up position with your hands and feet shoulder width apart
- 2. With your core engaged throughout, perform one full push up
- 3. Raise your bottom a little and bring your right leg forward so your right foot is on the ground under your right hip. Your left leg should still be straight and touching the ground behind you
- 4. Keeping your hands on the ground and arms straight, jump so that your feet swap positions, landing so that your left foot is under your left hip, and your right leg is straight and the right foot is on ground behind you
- 5. Do this split jump 4 – 8 times, finishing with both legs straight ready to perform your next push up
If you struggle to do a full push up, only lower yourself half way down. Vary the number of jumps and push ups depending on your fitness level.
5. Prone back extensions
If you work the front of the torso with Penguins, it’s important to balance that out by also working the back.
Prone back extensions target the muscles in your upper back, lower back and buttocks, with some involvement of your shoulders and core. It helps to counteract the forward posture common with seated desk work, and will improve spinal stability.
- 1. Lie face down on a towel or exercise matt with your fingers under your chin and elbows out
- 2. Slowly raise your torso off the ground by pulling your shoulders back and lifting your straight legs up
- 3. Once you are as high as you can go (only your stomach should be touching the ground) hold for 2-4 seconds
- 4. Return your arms and legs to the lying position for one repetition
Keep your neck in a neutral position throughout. Use your fingers to lightly support the weight of your head, tacking stress off your neck. Stop immediately if you feel any discomfort in your back.