Whatever your daily routine, chances are you spend too much of your day indoors. In fact, most estimates suggest we spend roughly 90 per cent of our time within four walls. And this dearth of fresh air, green space and sunlight has an impact – on our mood, motivation and overall wellbeing.
Okay, so you might not be able to drag your desk out into the back garden. But swapping the bright lights of your local leisure club for an open-air garden workout? That’s easily done. Besides, summer is coming. Make the most of it.
Contrary to what you might think, gym-free training needn’t mean foregoing muscle-building for a lighter effort. Using nothing more than a garden bench or two (or deckchairs, if you like) and a resistance band, your alfresco efforts can serve up some meaty muscle-building, with a side of stamina and seared kilojoules. It’s the perfect appetiser ahead of a weekend barbecue and offers a mind-clearing mood-boost on your WFH lunch breaks.
Our three-tiered approach divides your body up to optimise the pump, but it also makes it easier for you to sub in these garden workouts for your usual gym go-tos. If you want to make this your regular routine over the next six weeks, work your way through all three sessions in a linear fashion. Let rest days fall where they may, then repeat, aiming to beat your performance each time.
Now, who’s hungry for progress?
Your first session focuses on pressing movements, targeting your chest, shoulders and triceps – the mirror muscles, in other words. It’s a primo grilling that will add slabs of prime beef to your pecs. Start a countdown for 20 mins and do as many rounds of the below as you can. Rest as needed to keep your form tight – but avoid going too hot, too early, and running the risk of overcooking.
Jump up on your boxes, benches or deckchairs with your arms locked out straight, supporting your body weight (A). Bend at the elbows, slowly lowering yourself until your elbows are at right angles, ensuring they don’t flare outwards (B). Drive yourself back up to the top and repeat.
2. Feet elevated push-up
Kick both your feet up on to your box, creating a strong plank position with your hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart (A). Slowly lower your chest to the ground (B) before explosively pressing back to lockout and repeating the move.
3. Hands-elevated push-up
Place your hands on your box and assume a strong plank position, with your arms straight and your hands below your shoulders (A). Slowly flex at the elbows, lowering your body towards the box until your chest just touches it (B). Power back up and repeat, keeping a steady rhythm.
4. Banded lateral raise 21s
Step both feet into a light resistance band, gripping the top, with tension, at waist height (A). Pull the band up, laterally, until your hands reach shoulder height (B). Do 7 reps in this fashion, followed by 7 reps only performing the top half of the movement, and finally 7 reps of the bottom half.