Turn your donga into a gym (or how to exercise in a tiny space)

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When time and space are limited and it’s too bloody hot to train outside, try this heart-starting circuit in your donga (perfect if you can’t leave the house too). The circuit has been designed by Mareike Bout, one of South Australia’s leading personal trainers.

Perform the program as a circuit – that is, without resting between exercises, a total of five times. (If you are new to exercise, perhaps perform each exercise for 15 seconds and complete the circuit three times, building up slowly to five times.) The five-rep circuit should take you no longer than 25 minutes. And please take care if it is really hot. Drink lots of water and adjust your workout accordingly. Don't overdo it!

When the program is done in conjunction with a 20 to 30-minute run or brisk walk (weather permitting) you have a very effective full-body workout that will keep you fit, lean healthy and strong.

Push Ups (30 seconds)

  • Assume the classic pushup position: legs straight, hands beneath your shoulders.
  • Brace your core.
  • Keeping your body rigid, lower yourself until your chest touches the floor.
  • Then push back up until your arms are extended.

 

Quick Feet (30 seconds) ... knowing the average donga, you might want to take this outside!

  • Start with knees and elbows slightly bent.
  • This movement involves running in place.
  • As quickly as you can, lift one foot and then the other, maintain a low center of gravity.
  • Land onto toes.

 

 

Body Row (30 seconds)

  • Place a towel over a stable beam or around a pole.
  • Grasp the ends and extend arms out in front of body at chest height.
  • Lean back and keep entire body aligned.
  • Begin motion by “squeezing” shoulder blades together.
  • Pull chest to hands then pause at top of movement.
  • Keep body aligned throughout motion and wrists straight.

 

 

Squat Jump (30 seconds) ... might be best outside too

  • This movement involves a jump in place.
  • Start with your hands by your shoulders.
  • Squat down to approximately 90.
  • Initiate movement with an explosive vertical jump, at the same time explosively push your arms up overhead.
  • Land on toes then heels.

 

 

 

Side Isometric Abs (30 seconds on each side)

  • Perform a side isometric abs hold.
  • Looking straight ahead, move the hips up and down.
  • Ensure not to overly side flex the spine - a movement of 10-20cm is recommended.

 

 

Prone Runners (30 seconds)

  • Start in a push-up position (as shown below)
  • With a straight body line, step in towards the hands with one foot
  • The hips, knees, and feet should all line up (as shown)
  • Simultaneously switch feet position (the forward leg extends back and the extended leg comes forward)
  • The idea is to perform this exercise quickly

 

 

 

Forward Lunge (30 seconds)

  • Start with small step and a shallow knee drop.
  • Step forward, allowing the body to react to the ground force, gravity and momentum.
  • Return to the starting position and alternate.
  • As the movement looks more fluent, gradually increase the range of motion of the step.

 

 

Hovers (30 seconds)

  • Draw your lower abdomen inward toward your spine.
  • In optimal postural alignment tighten your butt and lift your body up onto forearms.
  • Your spine should be in a neutral position and your glutes should remain tight without compensatory motion.
  • Keep chin tucked in.

 

And don’t forget to repeat five times (but don’t overdo it if you’re just starting out).

More expert advice on health and wellbeing

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Mareike Bout is a qualified and registered personal trainer who specialises in holistic fitness and lifestyle coaching. She is a recognised leader in the industry, receiving the peer-voted South Australia Personal Trainer of the Year award in 2008. She is also a regular guest on Adelaide’s top-rating radio station FIVEaa. Mareike runs her personal training business, One Life Live Well, both online and from a private studio in Adelaide.