Cambridge Physiotherapy clinic - gym advice and exercises

The news that gyms are likely to re-open soon is exciting but might also feel a little intimidating after such a long break.

Having a fitness plan means that you are less likely to overdo things in the early stages (which might cause an injury) and more likely to stick with it, until grabbing your gym bag becomes part of your regular routine again.

Consistency is the key to restoring your fitness and strength and if you haven’t done much exercise recently, then don’t wait until the gyms are actually open to get started. Even a little bit of training at home will help you bridge the gap between lockdown and your usual class or weights session.

First choose an activity you enjoy – for example a quick walk, a light jog or a gentle bike ride – and keep moving for up to 20 minutes, at least three times a week. If you aren’t breaking a light sweat after 10 minutes, then you need to move a bit faster. If you like running, take a look at our modified Couch to 5K programme for more ideas.

After a couple of weeks, add in some light strengthening exercises. Common areas that people injure at the gym are the shoulders and knees. So the exercises I have recommended below are designed to build a scaffold of muscular support around these particular joints. You can do these exercises at home or in the park with a resistance band, so long as you don’t currently have an injury. If you do, get some advice first before starting any fitness programme.

Shoulder strengthening exercises

Repeat each of these exercises 15 times slowly with really good control and form:

  • Front raises and side raises with a band

Place a resistance band under your feet and hold each end. Breathe out and lift your arms up in front of you until your hands are at shoulder height, pulling on the band. Lower slowly. Then lift your arms out to the side, again to 90 degrees. Alternate between front and side raises.

  • Brugger with elbows bent with a band

Wrap the ends of the band around your hands and start with your elbows bent to 90 degrees. Draw your shoulder blades together and spread your hands apart, pulling on the band. Straighten your arms keeping your shoulders, so your arms reach out to the side and the band is pulled tight across your chest. Then return slowly again.

 

  • Upright rowing with a band

Place a resistance band under your feet again, cross the ends over and hold in each hand. Pull the band up to to your chin with your elbows high. Lower again slowly and repeat.

Knee strengthening exercises

Repeat each of these exercises 15 times slowly too:

 

  • Squats

Slowly lower your body into a squat position as if you were going to sit into a chair, keeping yours knee roughly in line with your feet. Push through your heels to rise.

  • Step ups

Stand with one foot on a step (or park bench) and shift forwards over this foot. Step up slowly, keeping your knee cap in line with your foot. Keep your pelvis as level as possible.

  • Lunges

Put one foot in front of you and walk it out to the side slightly so it doesn’t feel like you are walking a tightrope. Lower your back knee towards the floor, keeping your front knee in line with your foot. Push through your front heel to rise.

If you can’t yet do these or feel you need more help please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Physiofit team.