With the Coronavirus epidemic compelling the citizens of our wonderful nation to remain indoors, many Americans are already chafing at the restrictions imposed, including the inability to attend their favorite fitness studio classes or local gyms. It is absolutely imperative that each of us, however, keep mentally, spiritually, and physically active in order to weather this trying and challenging milieu. When I am not operating Mia Brazilia, my San Diego-based, women’s activewear and couture collection, I enjoy creating customized personal training programs for my clientele. For example, my Mia Brazilia customers will often inquire about what steps to take to get flatter abs or a more well-rounded booty. Not surprisingly, many of these same clients are now directly asking me what at-home exercises can be best utilized and deployed while collectively riding out this national and international epidemic of coronavirus. Thus, I offer the following four, daily stay-at-home exercises designed to keep a positive synergy between your mind, body, and soul:
1.) Push Up
- Why not start with this timeworn, exercise favorite recognized by all for its comprehensive feedback for the arms, shoulders, chest, and abs? Start by selecting a part of the house devoid of any nearby obstructions or impediments. Kneel down on either an exercise mat or the floor of your home. Conjoin your feet together behind you. Begin the push up by slowly bending forward and placing your palms flat on the floor, insuring that both hands lie shoulder-width apart with fingers facing forward. Next, shift your body’s weight forward until your shoulders lie directly over your hands. Adjust your hands accordingly to permit the full extension of your body, avoiding any bend at the hips or knees. Tighten your core region of abdominals, glutes, and quadriceps and align your head with your spine. Keep your feet conjoined with your toes pointing toward the shin. Now you are prepared to launch your first push up. Begin by lowering your body toward the floor while maintaining a tight core region and head-spine alignment. During this downward phase, do NOT let your lower back droop or your hips to arch upward. Continue your lowering movement until your chest or chin touches the floor. Now, for the second part! Press slowly upward through your arms, still maintaining your correct, tight core and head-spine alignment. Refrain from any lower back sagging or hip arching. Continue this upward, pressing phase through the arms until they are fully extended at the elbow joint. This two-part, controlled movement constitutes one push-up. Attempt to perform three sets of 10-30 repetitions each.
2.) Front Plank
- Now that you’ve warmed up with three sets of everyone’s favorite, the Push Up, it’s time to activate your abdominal muscles and back muscles with the Front Plank. Start by lying prone on your stomach on the floor with elbows tight at the sides and directly under your shoulders, palms down, and hands directed forward. Tighten your quadriceps to extend your legs and pull your toes toward your shins. Also, tighten your core region during the front plank. Begin the upward phase of the Front Plank by slowly lifting your entire torso off the floor, without compromising your tight core and legs. Like the previous Push Up, you will want to avoid any sagging of your lower back, arching of the hips, or bending in the knee while performing a Front Plank. It is also crucial that you avoid shrugging of the shoulders or shifting of the shoulder away from its y-axis over the elbows with your downward-facing palms. Maintain a calm, breathing form while maintaining this front plank position for 5-10 seconds. Next, initiate the downward focus of the Front Plank by slowly lowering your body back toward the floor, insuring that the core region remains tight and knees are fully extended. Relax your breathing cycle at the end of each plank. Perform three sets of 10-30 repetitions each.
3.) Forward Lunge
- After completing the Push Up and Front Plank stay-at-home exercise stations, it is now time to engage your lower-body extremities. The Forward Lunge is ideally suited for this endeavor with the quadricep and hamstring muscle groups of the leg region fully engaged (along with the abdominal, hip, and glute regions). Stand in your house with your feet together and your arms positioned to the front at shoulder height with elbows fully extended. Slowly drop your shoulders down and back without any arch of the lower back and activate your core region in order to tighten your spine. To conduct a proper Forward Lunge, it is important that the supporting, standing leg maintains body stabilization after the other foot is lifted off the floor. Any tilting sideways or swaying in the upper body will compromise the efficacy of the lunge. Begin by lifting one foot forward off the ground, keeping your focus on dropping the hips toward the floor, rather than propelling your hips forward. This will alleviate any inclination to over-extend your initial, forward movement. Continue to lower your boy to a comfortable position with your front thigh lying parallel to the floor and your shinbone engaged in a slight forward lean. During this first lunge forward, also bend forward at your hips while preserving a flat back and directing your extended arms toward the floor in front of you. Ideally, your hands should reach below the knee, thus engaging your glutes fully. Proceed to firmly push off with your front leg, activating your quads and glutes to permit a return to your upright, starting position. Alternate forward lunges with opposite legs for one complete repetition. Perform three sets of 12-15 repetitions.
4.) Side Plank
- The last at-home exercise for your Coronavirus lockdown fitness session is the Side Plank. At nearly every gym in San Diego that I host a Mia Brazilia Pop-Up Show, trainers are deploying the Side Plank as an effective exercise for the abdominals, glutes, and hips. Side planks, however, are just as easy to perform at home. Start by lying on your side on the open floor of your home with legs extended and the left leg lying completely on the right leg. Bend the right leg at a 90-degree angle while keeping the left leg extended (the inside of your left foot should be making contact with the floor). Raise your upper body in such a manner to support your body’s weight on your right arm, with your right elbow bent to 90-degrees and positioned directly under your right shoulder. Keep the head aligned with your spine and your hips and right knee in contact with the floor of your home. Start the upward step by breathing out and tightening your core region to enable an erect spine while slowly lifting your hips and right leg off the floor. Maintain head-spine alignment and observe that your right elbow remains positioned directly under your shoulder and does not shift or slip. Now, breathe inward and slowly return yourself to your original, starting position. Perform three sets of 15-30 repetitions for each side.
The Coronavirus and the ensuing “Stay-at-home” orders or lockdown directives do NOT need to be the death knell to your dedicated, personalized physical fitness regimen. By adopting a daily, modified, stay-at-home exercise circuit of Push Ups, Front Planks, Forward Lunges, and Side Planks, you can sustain your fitness goals and deliver a satisfying and rewarding workout that will rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit.