The Best At-Home Exercises For Young Athletes to Stay in Shape

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This pandemic has gone on for months now. In Canada, where I live (or in the northern USA), we are currently experiencing much colder weather, giving us less opportunity to stay active with outdoor activities.

Throughout the pandemic, though gyms were closed, athletes still found ample opportunity to stay in shape. They could go to a community track or even a local park for an excellent workout. With gyms still being closed or being shut down again, athletes still have to find new methods to stay in shape and keep their motivation high so that workouts continue and they stay game ready.

Just as an athlete needs to stay in shape and game ready, every individual needs some way to keep active. It's the gym they count on for many adults for the physical activity they so desperately need. Gone are the days of hunting and physical labor for food and house maintenance, so with gyms closed, other avenues must be taken.

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This pandemic has gone on for months now. In Canada, where I live (or in the northern USA), we are currently experiencing much colder weather, giving us less opportunity to stay active with outdoor activities.

Throughout the pandemic, though gyms were closed, athletes still found ample opportunity to stay in shape. They could go to a community track or even a local park for an excellent workout. With gyms still being closed or being shut down again, athletes still have to find new methods to stay in shape and keep their motivation high so that workouts continue and they stay game ready.

Just as an athlete needs to stay in shape and game ready, every individual needs some way to keep active. It's the gym they count on for many adults for the physical activity they so desperately need. Gone are the days of hunting and physical labor for food and house maintenance, so with gyms closed, other avenues must be taken.

I have been lucky enough to continue training all throughout this pandemic by way of virtual training and having virtual groups of young athletes. Everyone is looking for the best way to either stay active for performance or a healthy lifestyle. Let's take a look at some simple yet effective exercises athletes and non-athletes can do at home to stay in shape.

Simple Exercises To Stay In Shape

Lower Body

Split Squat

  • Place foot behind your lead foot at a distance, so when your back knee is on the ground, your weight is through your lead heel, and your lead knee is behind your toe.
  • With your hands on your hip, proceed to lower your knee to the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat for 8-20 repetitions.
  • For a progression, keep all your weight over the lead leg, and don't let your back heel touch the ground when your legs straighten.
  • For a regression, shift weight to your back leg and let your back heel touch the ground when your legs straighten.

Rear Elevated Split Squat

  • Place your rear foot on a chair, couch, or any other elevated piece of equipment.
  • Place your front foot at a position so that your weight is through your heel and the knee is not over the toe when you lower.
  • Place your hands on your hips, and slowly lower and raise.
  • For added difficulty, more down to a slow count of 5.

Single-Leg RDL

  • While standing in an upright position, start to bend over while raising one leg.
  • With the balancing leg slightly bent, keep a straight line from the heel of your raised leg to the head of your body.
  • Make sure you keep your back straight, chest out, and shoulder blades retracted.
  • Don't round your back to reach for the ground, instead spread your arms like an airplane and only bend down as far as your hamstrings allow.

Glute Raises

  • On your back, place your hands on your hips and raise your hips in their air, squeezing your glutes.
  • Slowly lower to the starting position.
  • For added difficulty, try putting one leg in the air and completing the exercise with one leg.

Upper Body


Push-ups

  • Lying face down, place your hands slightly outside your shoulders, with your thumbs in line with your shoulders.
  • With your feet together, push yourself up, keeping a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Keep your core stiff and tight
  • Different variations include putting your hands together, holding one foot in the air, and lowering very slowly.

Towel Pull-downs

  • Start in a tall kneeling position, with your knees together, and core tight.
  • Grab a towel with both hands, about 10cm/6in apart.
  • With your forearms vertical, create tension and try to rip the towel in half.
  • Proceed to raise your arms straight in the air, above your head. Keeping your arms vertical.
  • Lower slowly to the starting position, squeezing your back as you lower and repeat.

Towel Rows

  • Start in a tall kneeling position, with your knees together, and core tight.
  • Grab a towel with both hands, about 10cm/6in apart.
  • With tension created, trying to rip the towel apart, push out, horizontal.
  • Proceed to bring the towel in toward your body, slowly, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and repeat.

Core

Moving Plank

  • Start in a traditional plank position, balancing on your forearms and toes, keeping your core stiff, your knees off the ground, and keeping a straight line from your heels to your head.
  • Proceed to move into straight arm plank, moving your right arm first, followed by your left arm.
  • When you get into the straight arm plank position, move back to the traditional plank position, moving your right arm, followed by your left arm.
  • Repeat, moving your left arm first. Complete 10-20 repetitions
  • Move your legs/feet apart for more stability and keep the legs/feet together for less stability.

Rotating Plank

  • Start in straight arm plank position, with your legs spread wide and your core tight.
  • With your toes still facing the ground, rotate your chest to one direction, lifting your arm and moving it along with your rotation.

Deadbug

  • Starting on your back, lift your legs with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your arms straight in the air.
  • Continue by putting your straight right arm above your head while at the same time extending your left leg.
  • Bring both arm and leg back to the starting position and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. That equals one repetition.
  • Repeat the process for up to 30 repetitions, depending on your fitness level.

Birddog

  • Start on all fours, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands directly below your shoulders.
  • Raise your right arm, stretching it out straight, parallel with the ground.
  • Simultaneously raise your left leg, stretching it out straight, parallel to the ground.
  • Return them both to the starting position and repeat with the opposite limbs. That is one repetition. Complete 15-30 repetitions.
  • For added difficulty, bring in the knee and opposite elbow, extend and repeat up to 20 times. Repeat with the other arm and leg.

Plyometric

Plyometric exercises are great for athletes. To keep it short and not too scientific, it is just the muscle lengthening and quickly shortening. Think of your muscle as an elastic band. Stretch the elastic and let it go. What happens? The same thing that will happen with your muscles when you stretch them and then rapidly "let them go". I won't get into all the exercises you can do at home, but they include box jumps, countermovement jumps, tuck jumps, squat jumps, 2-foot to 1-foot jumps, 1-foot to 2-foot jumps, transverse plane jumps, and more. Sports are very plyometric, and the better you can make use of these exercises, the better you'll on the ice, court, or field.

The exercises listed all should be done with the guidance of a professional. The desired outcome will determine what exercises you should do. Every exercise has a purpose, and knowing the exercise is only one step. Rest times, how many repetitions you should perform, and how many sets you should do each exercise is another step. But, they are all exercises you CAN do at home, so there are no excuses for having no gym for workouts!


Topics: AT-HOME WORKOUT | TRAINING | WORKOUT | YOUTH ATHLETES