We all have excuses for not getting enough exercise: we have no time, no money, get bored with running, or are too embarrassed to work out in a gym. Online workouts eliminate these issues, although to find the most effective videos you have to wade through the bad (weird teenage boys performing workout video parodies that don’t make sense) and the ugly (workout injuries caught on tape) to get to the good (genuine fitness experts talking you through a routine).
So, to help you out we’ve scoured the net, all the while dodging many a dodgy video, to find you the best free online workouts., plus where to try their equivalents in Dubai.
The 300 workout
Best for: A true challenge
Lee Hayward can deadlift 530lbs, so is a good man to listen to if you want to bulk up. He’ll talk you through the 300 Workout: the routine that actor Gerard Butler and the lads in 300 used to transform themselves into ripped Spartans. You’ll need a gym and it involves 300 reps of six different exercises. You’ll do 50 reps of each exercise, which include pull-ups, deadlifts, push-ups, box jumps, floor wipers (the hardest: a dynamic leg raise that involves holding a barbell) and clean-and-press weightlifting. The key isn’t to increase weights, but to complete the workout in a shorter time. Warning: Lee is full of good advice, but this is an advanced workout. Too hard? Modify the routine and drop the total reps to 100 to begin with.
Click here for video: The 300 Workout Program; Lee Hayward
Try it in Dubai: While there’s no class that focuses specifically on the 300 Workout, an explosive boot camp is a good place to start. Try Original Fitness Co, which offers monthly packages for Dhs900.
Best for: Time-starved people who want to strengthen their posture and core
Run by fitness company Spark People, this workout starts with a variety of crunches, Pilates-style leg lifts, planks and stretches. It’s a lot harder than it looks (your stomach will burn after mere minutes), but instructor Nicole is fantastic at giving alternative tips for those struggling, and she explains every move very well.
Click here for video: 15-minute abs workout
Yoga for beginners
Best for: Those who want mental as well as physical wellbeing
This 30-minute video (it’s in three parts on You Tube) is a fantastic and very attainable introduction to yoga. Dutch instructor Esther Ekhart is the best yoga instructor we’ve found online. Her channel, yogatic, also has yoga to help combat headaches, flat feet, pregnancy, anxiety and more. There’s no soft-focus hippie music accompanying her videos, so you might want to play a CD at the same time (or hire someone to play a wind flute in your living room).
Click here for video: Beginners’ yoga; Esther
The world’s fastest workout
Best for: Quick weight loss
Run by ‘body transformation’ expert Stephen Cabral, this four-minute Tabata workout involves repeating one exercise as fast as you can with correct technique for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 seconds. It’s effective because it raises your metabolism for around 24 hours (the harder you push, the longer your metabolism will be charging). It consists of two sets of squat thrusts, mountain climbers, high knees standing jog and jumping jacks, and it kills.
Click here for video: The world’s fastest workout
Learn a range of injury-preventing stretches from six-time Iron Man world champion Dave Scott. Taking five minutes to do these every day will also increase your range of motion and help you to perfect other sports techniques, including running, swimming and yoga. We only have one criticism: the guy doing the stretches should have worn longer shorts.
Click here for video: Top six stretching exercises