Ricky Warren has been practising bodyweight exercise and mixed martial arts for over 20 years, and more recently he has begun specialising in calisthenics. Not only is Ricky a qualified personal trainer, but he also has degree in biology from the University of London.
As the festive season begins (as does all the eating, drinking and being merry that it brings), Ricky has shared some short, fun exercises that you can do at home with the family over the Christmas period, just in case you’re feeling like you’ve let your fitness slip a little too much…
At this time of year, I really look forward to getting together with loved ones, eating a whole load of food and seriously satisfying my penchant for custard. That said, the holiday season needn’t be a short-lived memory of overslept mornings, hangovers and food comas!
To help sustain at least a little bit of healthiness over the festive period, below are some short, silly, energy-boosting exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home using just your bodyweight, in between watching films and trips to the kitchen for mulled wine, of course… (An intense Metafit class might not be priority number one at Christmas!)
Sitting around for long periods of time can really stiffen up our muscles. Let’s face it, holidays are for resting, but having a quick stretcharoo throughout the day will actually help your muscles stay relaxed and supple. Stretching also enhances blood flow around the body and stops you from feeling sluggish. Go on, give these three a go and stretch things out!
The hunchback fix
Hold the top of a doorframe with your fingertips and push your head forward through your shoulders, leaning your weight past the tops of your feet. Carol singing throughout is optional.
The stiff leg fix
With one foot on the ground, place the other on the highest stair that you can. Then lean forwards drawing your belly button into your upper thigh. Keep the legs straight, using your hand above your knee if you need help. Don’t push too hard, just move slowly with timed breathing.
The cranky hip fix
Leaning towards the sofa, go into a kneeling lunge. Push your hips down towards the floor and keep your chest up whilst doing this.
Cracker tug of war
There was once a time when getting a mini screwdriver and a paper crown (which never really fits) was a highlight of Christmas Day dinner. Although those days may be numbered, there is still much excitement to be found in the sudden burst of adrenaline and muscle power that occurs the moment a cracker is to be pulled.
For this exercise, the cracker tug of war, you will need a family member to play with. The aim of the game is to win as many cracker prizes as possible, so get down on all fours in the plank position and raise your cracker-slinging arm. Whether it’s best of six or twelve crackers, rally through a whole box before declaring the overall winner. Be sure to hold your plank solidly for the whole game, and then afterwards, as a reward, you can roll around in a sea of Dad jokes…
The Christmas jumper challenge
We all own that favourite Christmas jumper. The one with holes in and mulled wine stains on – the one we’d only be seen in at our parents’ house.
Incorporate your favourite festive knit into a little Christmas workout by standing on one leg, removing the jumper, placing it on the floor and then putting it back on. Do this five times on each leg and then repeat the whole thing another five times. A great full body workout, try to keep your spine straight and make sure you alternate which arm you pick up the jumper with. Remember, the tighter the jumper, the better. Try racing friends or family for a laugh whilst doing it.
The chocolate tin challenge
Here’s a game to do early on Christmas Day, so most of the good chocolates are yet to be eaten. To play, get on your back in the sit-up position. Your opponent sits in front of you, about half a metre away, selects a chocolate from the tin and then throws it towards you. If you sit up and catch it before it hits the floor, it’s then yours. Simple.
Sound too easy? You must do at least five normal sit-ups in between each chocolate being thrown as well!