5 moves we should all be able to do

There’s no one-size-fits-all measure of health and fitness; our bodies are all different. However, while we’re all built differently and are good at a variety of things, there is a core selection of moves that we should all be able to do as a general foundation to fitness.

You can use these moves as a baseline fitness test and to check where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Also, use our instructions to check that you’re doing the moves correctly. We perform them unknowingly throughout our daily lives, in basic activities such as sitting, lifting and climbing upstairs. If you feel comfortable with these, you know your baseline fitness level is A-OK.

1. Squat

We spend more of our time sitting down, standing up and bending to lift things than we might realise. Since we risk putting strain on our spines and our knee joints, it’s wise to make sure we’re squatting correctly.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes slightly out-turned. Bend at the knees and lower to a basic squat position. Your spine should remain neutral throughout the move, and make sure your knees don’t bend too far forwards to the point where you can no longer see your toes.

2. Press-up

A press-up is not just a core exercise. Yes, you will tone your triceps and feel the burn in your belly, but this move also engages your entire body as you maintain balance and your body’s alignment. It is therefore one of the most valuable moves you can add to your workout repertoire and can give you a stronger core for the rest of your day-to-day life, too.

Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders and straighten your legs so that only your hands and toes are touching the floor. Keep your feet close together. Bend at the elbows and steadily lower your body to the ground, keeping your body in a straight line. Stop a couple of inches from the ground and straighten your arms, rising back up into a plank position, and then lower again. If you struggle to hold your bodyweight with your legs straight, bend them so your knees are on the floor. Lean forwards slightly, keeping your hands under your shoulders, so your weight is distributed across your upper body.

3. Dumbbell overhead press

When you’re lifting heavy objects, from shopping bags to children, we want your shoulders to be strong and for your range of motion to be on point. Practise a dumbbell overhead press to work on these two areas.

Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your wrists facing each other and the dumbbells at shoulder-level. Press the weights up overhead, focusing on fully straightening your arms, before lowering the weights back to your shoulders.

4. Plank

We use our core muscles way more than we tend to realise. The plank is an amazing move for strengthening that part of your body.

Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders and straighten your legs so that only your hands and toes are touching the floor. Keep your feet close together, and hold.

5. Lunge

When you’re climbing stairs, or generally moving around, keep a check on your balance, your coordination, and your strength on both sides of your body. Doing lunges can help strengthen these three areas.

Extend one leg behind you and one in front. Bend your front knee until it is at a right angle. Ensure your knee doesn’t extend over the toes of your front foot. Bend the back knee slightly, too, as you lower to the floor. Straighten your legs as you rise to standing, and then change sides.

How did you fare? If you found these moves anything of a struggle, be sure to incorporate them into your regular workout routine to really see the benefits in your day-to-day life. And let us know how you get on in the comments!


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