How To Do This Backpack Workout:
“Fill your backpack with books, tinned food, bottles of water, or anything else you can find to add enough weight that will challenge you,” says McDonald. “Perform each rep with control and focus on form throughout.”
Backpack Workout For Full-Body Muscle
1. Bent-Over Row
15 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest between sets
- The bent-over row is an awesome strength-builder for the upper back, as well as the posterior chain and biceps.
- Keep a soft bend in your knees and hinge at your hips until your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
- Start with arms at full extension, then contract your lats to pull the bag into your stomach, keeping your elbows tucked in.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the movement, then lower with control.
- To increase the difficulty, single-arm row the backpack instead.
2. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
12 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest
- This move targets the hamstrings and glutes.
- Gripping the bag, step one foot out in front of the other, keeping both feet hip-distance apart.
- From there, slightly bend the back knee to increase the tension in the lead leg.
- Keeping your chest up, hinge at the hips, leaning forwards until you feel the stretch.
- Rise back to the start, complete the reps, then repeat with the other leg in front.
3. Russian Twist
30 secs / 6 sets / 30 secs rest
- Start by sitting up with your legs slightly bent and heels off the floor.
- Hold the bag out in front and focus on keeping your spine neutral.
- Rotate your shoulders from side to side and rotate your trunk.
- Just before the bag hits the floor, twist across to the other side.
- Keep it up for 30 secs, rest for 30, and repeat.
4. Overhead Lunge
12 reps / 5 sets / 60 secs rest
- The overhead lunge works multiple muscle groups, while challenging core strength and stability.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Raise the bag above your head on one side, brace your core and step forward with your opposite foot.
- Drop your back knee until it’s just off the floor, then return to standing.
- Focus on hitting a 90-degree bend in both knees when you’re at the bottom phase of the move.
5. Upright Row
15 reps / 4 sets / 60 secs rest
- The upright row is a great exercise to build shoulder strength.
- Starting with the bag held with a narrow grip and hand fully extended, pull the bag up your body.
- Allow your elbows to flare out to the side and raise them as high as possible while keeping the bag close to your body.
- The focus on this exercise is to isolate the shoulders with a slow, controlled movement, and to keep elbows higher than the wrists at the top.
- To progress, try using just one hand to pull the bag through the movement.
12-15 reps / 5 sets / 90 secs rest
- Start in the high plank position with feet shoulder-width apart and hands slightly more narrow.
- Keeping your core tight, bend at the elbows to slowly lower your chest down to the floor, ensuring your elbows stay close to your body.
- Once your chest is just off the floor, press yourself back to the starting position.
- To make it harder, raise alternate legs off the floor with each press-up, or bring the hands closer together to target the triceps more.
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