The No-Excuse Backyard Workout
by Kathy Smith
This weekend, skip the gym. (Seriously!) Most of us focus on trying to find time for a 30-minute workout, and yet, moving throughout the day is just as important. Don’t get me wrong…the last thing I want to do is discourage anyone from devoting time to exercise.
But what if I told you that you can slim your thighs and cinch your tummy with just a few quick moves in your backyard without any dumbbells? Today, I’ll show you 4 gym-free moves to try next time you step outside.
1. The Daily Warrior
- Facing a wall, place your hands at hip level.
- Walk your feet back until your body forms a right angle, with the hips directly over the feet, arms straight.
- Separate your feet hip-width apart, with the heels directly under each sitting bone.
- Separate the hands shoulder-distance apart and plant your knuckles evenly into the wall, pointing the middle finger toward the sky. Firm the outer upper arms and elongate the sides of your body and hips away from the wall. Keep your ears in line with your upper arms. As you reach the sternum forward, take the shoulder blades into the body.
- Keep the feet parallel and lift the inner thighs from the inner knees up toward the pelvis. Strongly engage thighs.
- Take the tops of the thighs away from the wall to elongate the sides of the body and spine. For stability, firm the sides of the hips to your midline.
- Keep your weight even in both hands and lift the right leg a few inches. Flex the foot to connect with the back of the leg.
- To make the move more difficult, lift your fingers off the wall.
2. Wall Turbocharger
Before you even step outside, get a jumpstart on your morning routine by incorporating the Wall Turbocharger into your beauty routine. Instead of leaning on the sink while you brush your teeth, do a turbocharger, and hold it there for 15-60 seconds. Suddenly your morning brush isn’t just about your teeth and gums – now it’s a great leg and glute strengthener, too.
- Place your back against a sturdy and flat wall
- Drop down so that your legs make a 90 degree angle.
- Slowly lift your right leg straight out so that it is parallel with the floor and hold it there.
- Hold for 15 seconds
3. Dynamic Pushup
Don’t under-rate this move…it may be a classic, but the Huffington Post recently rated it “The World’s Greatest Exercise.” You don’t need to “drop down and give me 30!” but simply adding pushups into your exercise routine can improve everything from your posture to your balance to your arm, chest, and core strength.
- Pressing your hands against a wall or ledge, place your hands under your shoulders, tucking your toes underneath you.
- Push up into a plank. Keep your abdominal muscles lifted up toward your spine. Have your hands pointed slightly inward.
- Lower yourself toward the wall, trying to achieve about a 90 degree bend in the elbows.
- Exhale as you press back up.
- Repeat with the left leg lifted.
Repetitions: 12 on each side
Whether you’re inside or out, this move can go with you anywhere! Next time you’re doing the dishes, try some calf raises while you wash, and shoulder blade retractions while you dry. This Power-Up move works the calf muscle, including the soleus, also known as the “second heart,” which is located in the back part of the calf, running down from the knee to the heel. It is used for standing and walking, and is an important muscle in heart health. Recent studies show that people with heart issues rely more on their ankle than their hip when walking, and that they should focus on exercising their calf muscle, targeting the soleus.
- Stand tall with feet together, holding onto a wall or ledge for balance.
- Lift up onto your toes
- Slowly lower yourself from your toes to a standing position.
Repetitions: 12 to 15.
- Keep your shoulders back and chest up. Always work on your posture before performing the move.
- Calf raises can be performed on a stair for more intensity.