Sara Sandman, illustration, fitness, 360 MAGAZINE

Stay Home. Save Lives. GET FIT!

By Kathleen Trotter

You don’t need a gym or expensive equipment to stay fit and active throughout isolation! You can get a killer full-body workout with your own body and a resistance band ($10) combined with a clear plan of attack! (Not to mention a healthy dose of positive self-talk, something like “I CAN make it through this …. I AM a survivor …. I WILL make the best of this …. This too shall pass.”)

Make a schedule. Be intentional. Have a PLAN!

“Hoping” that one will be active is never a viable fitness strategy, but it is especially useless during a global pandemic. Isolation has unequivocally shifted our life rhythms, our realty — and thus our habits. Your health habits are shifting whether you are conscious of it or not. The question is, are you creating new habits by default or design? 

If you don’t consciously create a plan of action and schedule in your workouts, chances are, you will take the path of least resistance — a path likely filled with Netflix and wine!

So, schedule in your workouts! Make moving a priority. You will be a more emotionally resilient, focused, compassionate version of you if you do — not to mention your immune system will thank you! 

Full-body workout — all you need is a band

Resistance bands are fantastic. They are light and inexpensive — roughly $10 — and you can do everything with them, from squats and biceps curls, to lunges and lateral raises, to overhead triceps extensions.

If you want to go wild, invest in a door frame attachment (also under $10,) that lets you hook the band into any door to create a make-shift cable machine. Then you can replicate any exercise traditionally performed on a cable machine, including wood chops, triceps press-downs, etc.

Warm up

Dance around for five minutes, or do five cardio moves — high knees, bum kicks, etc. — for one minute each.

Main set

Next, do the following, repeating it two to three times.

Push-ups, 10 to 20 reps. On knees or toes, bend your elbows and lower your chest down toward the ground. Exhale as you push yourself back up. For an extra challenge, after each push-up, try jumping your feet toward your hands and standing up. Lower down again. Repeat.

Seated V hold and rows, 12 to 15 reps. Sit on your bum with the band hooked around your feet. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Lean back 10 degrees and hold the lean throughout the motion. Engage your core to stay stable. Use your upper back to row your elbows backward. Imagine cracking a walnut between your shoulder blades. Slowly release. 

Lunge and lateral raises, lunge and front raises, 12 to15 reps per leg. Start standing. With your right leg forward and the band under your foot, hold either end of the band in each hand. Start with your arms straight at your sides. As you lunge, raise your arms to shoulder height — keep them straight (lateral raise.) Lower your arms as you stand up. Use the bum muscle of the front leg to power you up. When you do the exercise with your left leg forward, straighten your arms forward to chest height (front raise.)

Plank scapula retractions, 10 to 20 reps. In a plank position, balancing on your hands and toes, bring your shoulders blades together, then apart. Keep your arms straight and your lower back neutral. Activate the muscles between your shoulder blades.

Squat and biceps curls, 12 to 15 reps. Stand on the band with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Bend at your hips, knees, and ankles, and sit backward like you’re sitting in a chair. Do a biceps curl as you squat. As you stand up, straighten your arms.

Overhead triceps extension, 12 to 15 reps per arm. Stand holding one end of the band in your right hand. Reach your left hand behind your body and anchor the band. The closer your hands are together, the harder the exercise will be. Keep your right upper arm into your right ear as you straighten the arm. Slowly release.

Band balance, 20 reps. Tie the band around your thighs. Balance on you right leg with the left leg bent. Engage your core and the bum muscles of your right leg to stay stable. Use your left bum muscles to pulse leg to the side. Repeat 20 reps before switching sides.

Do one to three minutes of any cardio (burpees, high knees, jumping jacks, etc.)

Rest for a minute. Have water. Repeat.

To amp it up … 

Do a Tabata before repeating the main set. Tabata is a form of interval training. One set of Tabata consists of eight sets of 20 seconds of all-out work followed by 10 seconds of recovery. Try running your household or condo stairs, or doing burpees, squat jumps, or jumping jacks. Trust me, you will be sweating in no time — no gym required!

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