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It will only add 2 minutes
At-home workouts often lack a good pull exercise. People, in general, don't do enough pulling movements, even when the gym is open.
There are two I recommend. Add these to your routine as otherwise, you'll not be getting the total body benefits you need during #StayAtHome.
When the gym was open, I always rowed every session and did other pull exercises such as rope pulls and cable pulls. I don't have that access now.
The one drawback with pulling movements is that for the most part, you need some equipment to perform them—either specialised machines at the gym or dumbbells, bars, or a structure for attaching resistance bands.
That doesn't suit most people at home. I've seen videos of people attaching bands to the tops of doors and such, but it doesn't look too safe to me.
You can see at the gym that pushing movements are more popular, but that doesn't mean you should neglect them in your at-home program.
You need to have pushing strength and pulling strength to have a healthy posture and balance in your muscular strength. Pulling movements will also work the supporting muscles of your core and lower body as well, including your hamstrings.
Having the ability to pull with the correct muscles — using the surrounding joints, tendons, and ligaments — will improve your joints and balance.
The most convenient pull exercises at home are isometric exercises. That's because (a) they work very effectively, and (b) you can use something which everyone has in their house.
For these two exercises, you will need a long broom handle, or equivalent - a strong pole. (There is an option in each exercise if you do not have a broom handle available.)
Isometrics are simply neuromuscular contractions without movement - keeping the muscle at the same length and contracting.
Isometrics had a boom in the 1960s and has come in waves ever since, the last big surge in the early 2000s. Now, they are on the rise again, and research on isometric training is returning it to elite sport.
Isometric exercises are great because you only need a short hold - aim for an intense ten-seconds grip for each of these.
Studies have shown that a 7-second muscle contraction increases strength by about 5 per cent.
As you get older, you lose muscle tone, the ability to digest essential amino acids and flexibility. But isometric exercises with regular practice can allow you to maintain your muscle strength.
In fact, isometric exercises are a necessary kind of strength training for an older person who would like to stay healthy and mobile - and for everyone else who wants to avoid muscular decline.
Don't forget to breathe in as you start to squeeze your muscles. Use a sipping breath or a long breath — slowly breath in filling your diaphragm - whatever feels most comfortable.
Do these two, 3 to 4 times each, for 10 seconds each, I have included photos from an original 1966 book by the isometric Guru of the time - Victor Obeck.
1. Isometric Backward Pull
In a semi-squatting position, grasp the broom handle with your hands shoulder-width apart and place it in front of your knees. (If you don't have a broom handle grasp your knees directly.)
Now, pull the handle upwards and backwards against your knees while breathing in - all the while keeping your back straight. Hold as strongly as you can for 10 seconds.
2. Isometric Forward Pull
In a semi-squatting position, grasp the broom handle with your hands shoulder-width apart and place it behind your knees. (If you don't have a broom handle grasp behind your knees directly.)
Pull the broom handle upward and forward against your knees while keeping your back straight. Breath in, while squeezing your muscles, and squeeze as intensely as you can. Hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat the one variation 3 times, and then the other. Or alternate - doing the backward pull and then the forward pull as a set, repeated three times.
Adding these two simple short exercises to your at-home routine will build you a better posture, and improve your joints, tendons, and ligaments as well as your lower back and hamstrings.
And now I'm off to order a broom handle - I broke our kitchen one!.
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter