Songkran is coming!
For those of you fortunate enough to be living it up in Thailand, you’ll know that the Thai New Year is fast approaching. This means that the Songkran festivities are also a stone’s throw, (or should that be a water balloon’s throw?) away.
Held on the 13th April each year, this nationwide festival is like nothing you will have been used to at home. Whereas your New Years may have been spent drinking copious amounts of alcohol and recovering the next day, Songkran celebrations are a great deal different. Basically, if you imagine one giant, nationwide water fight, that is what Songkran is all about.
Needless to say, as you’ll be spending a great deal of time shirtless, or wearing figure-hugging, soaking clothing, you’ll want to look your best when the water starts flying around. If you don’t have access to a gym, fear not, as you can still get Songkran-ready in the comfort of your own home.
Here are 5 basic, yet effective exercises to help you build up a body to flaunt during the Songkran festivities next month.
1. Push ups
Push ups are fantastic exercises to perform in the comfort of your own home because they are so simple. When done correctly, they are very effective in showing results fast. Push ups primarily target your pectoral muscles in your chest, though you can also give your triceps a heck of a workout in the process. Most of all, as push ups use a wide range of muscles you should expect to see an increase of muscle definition across the whole of your body, and ultimately, greater muscle growth.
Aim for around 4 sets of 15 – 20 push ups every other day, to begin with.
2. Abdominal crunches
When you strip off and get out of your soaking wet clothes, a flat stomach is just not going to cut it, as you will also ideally want a set of abs you could grate cheese on. This is where abdominal crunches are so useful. These exercises target your upper and lower abs, helping to give you a defined six-pack look. Ab crunches will also strengthen your core in the process.
4 sets of 30 crunches performed 3 times per week, is a great starting point.
3. Bodyweight squats
To perform bodyweight squats you should:
- stand up straight, put your arms across your shoulders or out straight in front of you. (whichever is more comfortable)
- Place your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, at a 10 and 2 position
- slowly squat down until your knees form at least a 90-degree angle.
- You hold this position for a second, slowly stand back up, and repeat as necessary.
3 sets of 10 reps performed twice per week will be sufficient enough, to begin with.
4. Pull ups
For pull ups, you will need a pull-up bar or a sturdy and secure structure. Pull ups are great compound exercises that strengthen and build muscle in the back, as well as the arms as well.
To perform pull ups you should:
- grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip an inch wider than shoulder width
- slowly pull yourself up until your chin is level, or above, the bar.
- Gradually return back down and repeat as necessary.
To target the biceps, use an underhand grip, bring your arms in, and pull yourself up that way instead.
4 sets of 8 reps performed twice per week will work wonders
Don't have the equipment? No problem!
Most of us do not have furnishings in our home that make a good makeshift pull-up bar. And if you are anything like me, you don't want to risk breaking anything and losing your security deposit. Have no fear! Here is a great alternative for anyone who can't do a pull-up at home...
Door Pull-ins are the easiest alternative. All you need is a towel and a door!
- Wrap the towel around your chosen door knob/handle.
- Ensure your feet have a strong grip on the floor (ideally bare feet)
- Place your feet against each side of the door in a gripped position
- Once you feel comfortable with the setup, lower your torso and bend your knees 90 degrees.
- Pull yourself towards the door using your biceps and upper back.
- Slowly bring yourself back to your starting position and repeat.
When researching pull-up alternatives, I found a great blog with other alternatives that you might prefer. Check out Neatstrength for more pull up alternatives.
To perform a plank you should:
- Get into a standard push-up position,
- Bring your elbows to the side of your body,
- Try to stay in a straight line for as long as possible.
You should soon feel a stretch in your mid-section, which shows the exercise is doing its stuff. Hold for as many seconds as possible. For optimal results, perform planks 2 – 3 times per week.
Although these exercises seem obvious and straightforward, it is important to do them correctly. Check your form in the mirror if possible because if they are not done correctly you will not see the desired the results. More importantly, you could cause yourself a physical injury.
These are a just a list of the best exercises you can do at home or in an open space with minimum or no equipment needed. If you have gym access there are more options available to you and more targeted exercises that will suit your needs.
Do you have any other surefire tips to get ready for Songkran? Comment below!