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What to do at the gym

During a time when our stress or anxiety levels may have been higher than usual, keeping our bodies moving and putting our self-care front and centre has been paramount. One thing that many have done to help over the last year is exercise.

As lockdown eases, we wanted to provide some clarity around what you can expect on your visit to a Better gym or leisure centre in England, Wales and Belfast.

This article includes the measures we're taking to keep you safe in our gyms. 

What is now possible at your leisure centre?

From 19 July 2021, restrictions will be easing in England and gym sessions, swimming and fitness classes will open up. But as part of our Safer, Better, Stronger commitment, we will continue to take steps to ensure our customers and colleagues are safe. 

Our approach has been developed in partnership with industry experts to focus on four key areas:

  • Hygiene and cleanliness
  • Increased ventilation
  • Pre-booked sessions
  • Play your part

In Belfast and Wales, we will continue to stick to the government’s physical distance regulations and operating at reduced capacity across all facilities. 

For more information about our safety procedures and practicalities of our leisure centres during coronavirus, click here.

What can you do at the gym?

From 19 July 2021 in England, you can use the machines, weights and do floor training exercises at the gym and have someone spot you. Whether you prefer a dumbbell workout, a session on the machines or equipment-free cardio, we’ve got you covered with some gym workouts from Ben Jones, experienced Educator at Technogym.

If you want to find your local Better leisure centre, enter your postcode here.

Recommended workouts

Make the most of your workouts with our suggestions below.

Each workout has a 5-minute warm-up, 45-minute exercise routine and 5-minute cooldown. Please wipe down the area you’ve been using and make your way out of the building within an hour.

For all of the below workouts, be sure to warm-up and cool down.

Ben Jones recommends the following 5-minute machine warm-up.

5-minute cycling warm-up:

  • Begin with low to moderate intensity
  • Increase resistance each minute
  • Steady 70-90 SPM

To cool down, we’d recommend stretching for 5 minutes. You can find a selection of full body stretches in this guide or use the stretching routine below. 

No-equipment workout

If you don’t feel comfortable using the equipment yet, you’ll be able to use the marked floorspace to get a good 45-minute cardio workout at the gym. 

Forty-five minutes no-equipment workout from Technogym Educator Ben Jones.

Mobility routine:

1 min each (alternate sides)

  • Dynamic calf stretch
  • Dynamic hamstring stretch
  • Dynamic hip flexor stretch
  • Torso twists
  • Arm swings/circles

Cardio warm-up circuit:

30 seconds per exercise and repeat the circuit twice

  • March on the spot
  • Side-step
  • Backwards lunge (alternate) with forward arm raise
  • Squat and reach up to side (alternate)
  • Heel flicks

Bodyweight HIIT:

Each round is 30 seconds and rest recovery is 15 seconds

  • 4 rounds of mountain climbers
  • 2 minutes rest
  • 4 rounds of star jumps
  • 2 minutes rest
  • 4 rounds of burpees

Strength:

As many reps as possible in four minutes

  • Prisoner squat x 10
  • Push up x 10
  • Lateral lunge x 10 each side (alternate)
  • Shoulder taps in push up position x 10 each side (alternate)

Core exercises:

One minute for each exercise and rest as needed

  • Plank holds (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down)
  • Bicycle crunch
  • Dorsal raise

Stretching routine:

Hold each stretch 15-30 seconds each side

  • Calf stretch
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Inner thigh stretch
  • Glute stretch
  • Chest stretch (both arms behind back)
  • Lat stretch (both arms overhead)

30-minute full body workout with weights

If you’re seeking a more intense workout for your time slot, one way to do this is by weight training and incorporating dumbbells into your workout.

You will need:

  • Weights that suit your strength and fitness level
  • A bench

Full body workout with dumbbells from Technogym Educator Ben Jones.

Supersets:

45 seconds per exercise, no rest between exercises the two exercises in each pair and one minute rest between each superset. Repeat each superset 3-4 times.

  • Superset pair 1: Chest press and high row
  • Superset pair 2: Leg extension / Leg press and leg curl
  • Superset pair 3: Arm curl and overhead arm extension
  • Superset pair 4: plank holds (5 seconds up, 5 seconds rest) and dorsal raises

If you prefer to use machines, you can get your heart pumping with a 45-minute cardio workout.  To make the most of your time on the cardio-vascular equipment, its best if you select a routine that incorporates a range of speeds and resistances / inclines.  You’ll be able to select these settings on the machines at a Better gym.

For this 45-minute cardio-vascular workout, Ben Jones recommends fartlek training, which is a type of interval training that involves switching from fast to slow periods of exercise.

 

Steady block:

  • 5 minutes of hard effort (7 out of 10 effort)
  • 2 minutes recovery (3-4 out of 10 effort)

Hill repeats x 4:

  • 1 minute high incline/ resistance (7 out of 10 effort)
  • 1 minute low incline/ resistance (4 out of 10 effort)

Speed interval training x 5 repeats:

  • 1 minute hard intensity (7-8 out of 10 effort)
  • 1 minute easy intensity (3-4 out of 10 effort)

Repeat an exercise of your choice from the above.

Cool down:

  • Reduced intensity for 5 minutes, decreasing intensity each minute

At-home workouts

If you can’t get to a Better leisure centre or you don’t feel comfortable visiting a gym yet but want to continue being active, have a look at our online exercise sessions with Better at Home. If you have some equipment at home, you can work up quite a sweat doing a full-body resistance band workout, just make sure to do stretching exercises whenever you exercise to avoid joint and muscle pain.

If you’re a Better member and you’d like to have your membership unfrozen or reactivated, or you’re new to Better and you’d like to join our community, click here.