There’s a seemingly endless range of new products and programs for getting fit hitting the market every year. But because we wanted to see if we could get results without spending any money, Broadsheet checked in with fitness expert Chris Feather of Sydney's 98 Gym.
“As summer comes around there’s a lot of people who want to start training, and some of them might not have exercised in a while,” Feather says. “This workout is great because you control how much you challenge yourself. So it accommodates all fitness levels, including athletes, and it won’t leave anyone behind.”
Feather has developed the below 20-minute AMRAP (which stands for “as many rounds as possible”) workout. It doesn’t require any gym equipment and can be completed almost anywhere.
The idea is to complete all four exercises in order, as many times as you can in the 20 minutes, keeping count of the total rounds you do. To amp it up, try to beat that number every time you work out. And while Feather notes the workout can be customised and tailored to include different exercises, it’s best to nail the basics first.
1. Single-leg lunge x 20 each side
Start in an upright standing position and step your right leg forward, bending the left knee as it drops almost to the floor. Repeat on the left side; that’s one rep.
Feather says a lot of people make the mistake of stepping either too far forward, which puts pressure on your hip flexors, or not far forward enough, which can put too much pressure on your front knee. The goal here is for your front foot to land about a fist’s width from your back knee.
Air squat x 15
From a standing position, set your feet at shoulder width, then focus on pushing your hips back and down while keeping your chest up as you move into a sitting position. Aim for your hips to sit slightly lower than your knees, then rise up again to the starting position.
According to Feather, the number-one mistake people make is letting their chest drop forward. It’s crucial to keep your chest up and proud. It can help to pretend you have a barbell on your shoulders, or to look at the brand name on your T-shirt (if you have one) in the mirror.
Burpees x 10
Starting in a standing position, bring your hands to the ground just in front of your toes. Then, jump your feet back to land behind you, creating a plank position. Lower your chest until it lands flat on the ground (imagine you are breaking your own fall), then move back up into the plank, stand up, and jump.
Some people will incorporate a push up into their burpee, but Feather advises against that for this workout because it can wear you out too quickly and lead to incorrect technique.
Shuttle run x 50m
The shuttle run acts as an active recovery because there is no dedicated rest time between rounds.
Think tall and maintain good form as you run at a pace of your choice. You can use this time to catch your breath and recover, but you can also use it to challenge yourself. As you get fitter the run should get faster.
After the run, start round two, completing as many rounds as possible within 20 minutes.
Feather recommends completing this workout one to two times a week. It’s a high-intensity training routine and works well alongside a few other, calmer summer workout sessions, like yoga, walking or swimming.
“As a gym owner I can understand how people get really into the idea of hitting the gym every day,” says Feather. “But I’m a big fan of variety. Whether that’s yoga, Pilates or soft-sand running, the change in intensity, as well as the change of environment, is good for you.”