Five exercises to get you moving!
Whether you’re on holidays or at home, the last place you want to be is indoors at or at the gym on a beautiful sunny day. Not when you can get sand between your toes and the salty ocean breeze in your hair. But before you get comfy on the sand with your summer reading and icy-cold refreshments, kick your beach day off with a workout that’ll leave you feeling fit, strong, energised and sandy.
When I’m at home in Sydney, my fitness routine involves three to four pilates classes a week, a few spin and boxing classes, and a weekly training session with my trainer Adam Brown from CrossFit GEO. Usually we train in the park on grass, but with Australia being home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, I asked him to put together a workout using nothing but the sand.
It’s a really great workout for when you’re on holidays near the beach, because you don’t need any equipment and you don’t feel like you’re wasting precious holiday time inside a hotel gym. If I’m feeling jetlagged or a bit off from travelling, this workout is the perfect cure. It gets your circulation going, fills your lungs with clean ocean air, and helps ground you. Pair it with a post-workout ocean dip, and it’s the perfect way to cleanse your body after a flight.
Fresh ocean air isn’t the only benefit – when you workout on the beach, the unstable surface of the sand forces the body to engage other muscles that would not otherwise be used on a flat gym floor. Each time you perform the movement; the surface of the sand underneath changes, so your body is forced to make adaptations in order to perform the movement.
This is best done in the morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t too hot. So whether you’re on a tropical island in an exotic location, or you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, here’s one of my favourite workouts using nothing but the sand. Let’s get started!
The first thing you need to do is prepare your patch of sand! You’ll need an area of flat sand that’s approximately 15 metres long. Mark out your workout area by drawing five lines out in the sand, three metres apart (five-seven big strides) from each other.
The workout that Adam has set below suits beginner/intermediate fitness levels, but you can tailor it to suit your own personal fitness level. Increase the intensity of the workout by doing more reps (lunges, push-ups, tuck jumps, crunches and burpees) and by performing the reps faster with minimal rest:
- Beginner: 5–10 reps
- Intermediate: 10-15 reps
- Advanced: 20 reps
Start on line one, run to line two and touch the sand beyond the line, then turn and run back. Run to line three and repeat until you have completed all lines. Repeat the whole set three to five times with a one minute rest between each.
Exercise One: 10 lunges (alternate legs)
I only wear Brazilian bikini bottoms, so any workout that includes lunges gets a tick from me. Lunges are a great way to work the quads, hamstrings and gluteus (butt).
TIP: If you don’t have any knee issues, lunge so that your back knee hits the ground and goes through a full range of motion – you’ll get more out of it.
Exercise Two: 10 push-ups
This exercise improves your upper body strength by working your chest, shoulders and triceps.
TIP: Take your chest all the way to the ground for a full range of motion. Keep the core engaged and a nice straight-line front the toes to the head. If you are not strong enough, do them on your knees.
Exercise Three: 10 tuck jumps
This exercise will have you working your legs again, but this time in a more explosive manner by recruiting different muscles to dynamically jump into the air. It is a more intense movement and will facilitate improved cardio respiratory system if done quickly. It’ll work your legs (calves, hamstrings, quads and gluteus), core, arms and shoulders.
TIP: Use your arms to help propel yourself upwards and tuck the legs up as high as you can.
Exercise Four: 10 crunches
We love a crop top in summer, so this exercise is a must! It focuses on your abs and gets you sandy in the process.
TIP: Place your hands behind your head and raise your feet into the air with your knees bent.
Exercise Five: Five burpees
Burpees are a total body movement that will engage all your muscles – if done quickly they’ll do wonders for your cardio-respiratory system. All muscles in the body are used – legs, chest, shoulders, arms, core and back.
TIP: Start in a full standing position. Squat down, place your hands on the ground and kick both feet back so that you are in a plank. Drop your body down to the ground so that you are flat. Push yourself back up and bring your feet under your hips. Jump up and clap overhead. That’s one.
Your cool-down is an important part of your workout, so don’t skip it. Here are four great stretches to end your workout with – you’ll need to hold each one for a minimum of 30-seconds:
Stretch your legs – stand on one leg and grab the other one, pull your ankle towards your butt.
Stretch out your hamstrings by taking the feet wide and bending forward towards the ground. Try not to round out the back.
Stretch your chest and shoulders by clasping both hands behind your back at waist level. Straighten the arms and rise up.
Stretch your shoulders by taking one arm across your chest so that it is parallel to the ground. Use the other arm to pull it in tight against the chest.