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story.lead_photo.caption Josh Holt demonstrates the Slam Ball Ladder Press on March 18 at Little Rock Racquet Club (before gyms and fitness centers closed). (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Celia Storey)

This is a tricky time for people who've always relied upon fitness centers or group studios. Transitioning to a home workout can be daunting at first, but there is a key to success. That key is intention.

It's about making a commitment to maintain an active life each day, regardless of the circumstances.

As Arkansas fitness centers temporarily close their doors in response to the social distancing order from the governor, exercisers are forced to get creative. Home-based routines are not without their challenges, but they also have some inherent advantages.

Working out at home doesn't necessarily require equipment, but if you have a little money to spend, a few pieces can help. A couple of stretch bands with handles, a BOSU ball and a medicine ball would be a good starter kit. All of this can be acquired for less than $150 through any online sporting goods store.

This "equipment package" is portable, using it requires very little dedicated space, and this gear provides the foundation for hundreds of great exercises.

Once the starter package has arrived, it's time to get to work. Think about the basic movements you do during a normal gym-based workout and take some time to break them down. Squats, chest presses, hamstring curls and other basic movements you've done on machines or with weights can be revised for use at home with a little creativity.

Stretch bands can be anchored beneath the BOSU ball, in a door hinge or underneath your feet. Each of these anchor points will provide a different angle of resistance, so you can challenge muscles from a standing, lying or seated position.

A chest press, for example, can be performed lying on one's back on the BOSU with the stretch band underneath it. An upper back row can be performed by anchoring the band in a door hinge and then squatting. Bicep curls, overhead presses and upright rows can all be performed while standing on the stretch band.

When you sit down to think about it, you'll realize basic movements are completely within the realm of possibility with this basic equipment package.

This week's exercise features the medicine ball, which is a very versatile source of resistance for many movements. The Slam Ball Ladder Press is appropriate for all fitness levels, as intensity can be adjusted by speeding up or slowing down repetition speed.

1. Select a medium-weight medicine ball and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the ball with both hands against your chest.

2. Press the ball overhead and then slam it on the floor directly in front of you. As you slam it down, squat slightly by bending the knees and hips.

3. Pick the ball up off the floor and this time, press it up overhead twice.

4. On the second rep, slam it to the ground again.

5. Continue this pattern, adding one more shoulder press repetition after each slam until you reach 10 presses.

This exercise is more about the repetition pattern, as it continuously challenges the exerciser as the set progresses. One could just as easily reverse the pattern and begin with 10 overhead presses before slamming the ball and work their way down the ladder.

Either way, I like this type of pattern for a home-based workout because it keeps the mind engaged. Sometimes, that's the key to staying committed when exercising at home. Now, let's do it.

Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Style on 03/23/2020

Print Headline: Home-based workouts easy with basic equipment

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