The current COVID-19 situation has seen the closure of many gyms, pools and other exercise avenues. This has made it somewhat difficult for some to exercise with limited access to equipment. In this week’s blog we will discuss some basic and inexpensive equipment that can be useful for everybody. They can be used not only to perform a large range of different exercises but also to help in the self-management of aches and pains that may have developed over the past few months in lockdown.
Spiky ball, bodyballs, pocket physio
A spiky ball, bakballs or pocket physio’s are all simple tools that can be used to self-massage or relieve tension in tight areas. They are particularly effective at releasing tightness due to myofascial trigger points. These areas that feel ‘knotted’ and can form in response to poor posture and over-use. There are some parts of the body that you can’t quite get to with a foam roller or traditional massage techniques and this is where these devices come in handy. Using the spiky ball against a firm surface, you can regulate the amount of pressure by adjusting the position of your body. They can be used on any part of the body but are particularly useful for paraspinal musculature, shoulders, between the shoulder blades, glutes/other hip musculature, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves.
For an idea on how to use a spikey ball and instructions on the use of bakballs check out the links below:
Theraband’s are light and compact elastic resistance bands that take up little room and can easily travel with you anywhere. They come in a variety of strengths generally from yellow lightest resistance to black the heaviest. You don’t necessarily have to keep buying new colours though as you can tie the band to make it more or less slack. For a harder workout, use a thicker band, add more bands or simply stretch the band more. Perform the same exercise for strength with a heavy band or for endurance and conditioning with a light band. They are inexpensive and can provide an effective workout in encouraging a full recovery post-injury. You can also use the band for general toning of muscles once you have recovered from your original injury, therefore, a good investment!
You can use the theraband to help strengthen most muscles of the body and easily adapt your workout by adjusting the reps and resistance. You can also change the cadence or rep speed to change the load on the muscles you are working.
Below is an example of a full body circuit using only a theraband and everyday home furniture.
Dumbbells or other weights are a great way to take an exercise to the next level. They can be used in your hands to add weight to lower body exercises or make upper body exercises such as bicep curls, overhead press, lateral or front raises much more difficult. Even weights as light as 2kg can increase the intensity of an exercise significantly. If you don’t have dumbbells at home then there is plenty of other ways to add resistance to an exercise. For example, some heavy books can be used to replace dumbbells for any exercise, soup can, water bottles, a backpack or gym bag with books or other heavy items inside can also be useful.
See below for an example of a basic full body dumbbell workout.
The take home message from this blog is that you don’t need any fancy equipment or special space to keep fit, healthy and stay pain free. Some of the most enjoyable workouts are those that require no equipment whatsoever. It’s just a matter of getting up off the couch and getting moving. But if you’re unsure where to start or are experiencing pain when you exercise then it is best to seek professional advice first. Book in to see a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist at Back in Motion Aspendale Gardens here.