No dumbbells? No problem. Fitness influencer Krissy Cela shares simple compound exercises that you can do at home using everyday items.
‘This is a great lower body compound exercise that helps to strengthen your muscles, boost co-ordination and increase core strength and stability. It’s also better on your knees than the classic lunge.’
Muscles used: Hamstrings, glutes, quads.
Use: A backpack filled with books.
How to: ‘Pop the backpack on your back for a classic reverse lunge, or wear it on the front of your body to challenge your core a bit more. Stand tall, feet hip-width apart. Take a big step back with your left foot, keeping hips square, and lower your torso until both knees are bent at 90 degrees. Press down into your front right foot as you step the left foot back to standing position. Repeat on the other side.’
‘A staple in any workout, squats replicate everyday movement patterns like sitting down and standing up. This variation is not only great for building lower body strength, but it also activates your core and upper body, as you have to stabilise the weight in place.’
Muscles used: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, core (also biceps and shoulders).
Use: A paint can or a heavy bottle.
How to: ‘Stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart, arms bent, holding your heavy item close to your chest. Send your hips back and down, keeping your back straight, chest up, until thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through your feet as you extend with control back to standing.’
- Krissy Cela wants to empower women through strength training
Single arm bent-over row
‘One of the most effective upper body compound exercises, this also increases strength and stability in your core. This movement should be a staple in any routine, as it helps to combat the effects of sitting – it literally pulls your posture back into place, helping to prevent injury.’
Muscles used: Lats, traps and rhomboids as well as rear delts, biceps and core.
How to: ‘Start by standing tall, a water bottle in each hand. Roll your shoulders back, pushing them down, to activate your lats. Hinge at the hips, (pretend you’re pushing a door closed as you lower your torso down). Go as far as your mobility allows.
‘In this bent-over row starting position, pull your right elbow behind you as you bring the bottle to your sternum. Once there, squeeze your shoulder blades together, before lowering the bottle with control back to your starting position. Repeat on each side.’
Standing shoulder press
‘This effective vertical pushing compound exercise builds your shoulders, upper chest and triceps while you increase core strength and boost your shoulder health.’
Muscles used: Shoulders, upper chest, triceps and core.
Use: Backpack/water bottles.
How to: ‘Doing this with a backpack enables you to load more weight, however water bottles are just as effective. Stand tall, arms bent, holding the backpack in front and close to your chest. Engage your core and glutes to avoid your spine arching and press the backpack overhead, elbows in line with ears. Lower with control back down.’
RDL (Romanian deadlift)
‘A powerful movement to target and strengthen your posterior chain, this is great for building muscle – and if performed correctly has been shown to reduce risk of injury by building core strength and strengthening the lower back muscles which are crucial to protecting the spine.’
Muscles used: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back and core.
Use: Paint cans.
How to: ‘Paint cans add resistance and are easy to hold, but water bottles make a lighter alternative.
‘Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms straight holding a paint can in each hand by the handle.
‘Hinge your hips back (as if you were closing a door with your bum), keeping your back flat and lower your torso towards the ground, keeping paint cans or bottles close to your body. You should feel a nice stretch in your hamstrings.
‘Allow the paint cans to go as far as your shins, then push into the ground with your feet, as you extend with control back to standing.’
Krissy’s Strong Express programme is available now on the EvolveYou app. Membership from £7.50 per month
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