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Work to Wellbeing: Part 1 - Work Your Body with James Parsons

12 May 2020


In these uncertain times, it’s never been more important to take good care of our health and wellbeing – but doing so as New Zealand continues to work, play, exercise and relax from inside our bubbles (as much as possible), can sometimes be a challenge.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with our friends at The Blues to create Work to Wellbeing.

Over this four-part series we’ll cover fitness, stretching, nutrition and wellbeing – bringing to life tips and tricks from some of our favourite players (and their team of experts), for a holistic routine to help us take care of our minds and bodies under this new normal.


Part 1 – Work Your Body with James Parsons


For our first instalment, we’ve signed up Blues’ star hooker James Parsons to be your workout buddy - talking us through an easy-to-follow eight-step bodyweight workout (no equipment needed!) designed by Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at The Blues, Phil Healey.

Perfect for those stuck behind the desk working at home, this is a rounded full-body routine that targets arms, legs and core – to hit all the important muscle groups.

Complete this routine twice a week, mixing it up with cardio (like a run, bike ride or swim) on other days – and make sure you take at least two rest days each week, so your muscles have time to recover.

Check out the full video above for advice on the right form and technique to get the most out of your workout – and if you’re a beginner, or more advanced, try some of the variations below.

Plus, don’t forget to save our handy PDF guide for later.

  1. Prisoner squats – 10 x squats (targets quads, hamstrings, glutes)
  2. For beginners: try squatting with your back against a smooth wall (use a Swiss ball if you have one), to provide you with added support.
  3. For advanced: try incorporating some extra weight into this exercise, such as by holding 2L milk bottles (filled with water)!
  4. One-arm doorway row – 10 x reps each arm (targets arms, shoulders, back)
  5. For beginners: if single arm rows are too difficult, try using a beam, tree or similar structure so you can use both arms to pull and distribute your body weight evenly.
  6. For advanced: try an inverted row by lying underneath a sturdy table so your chest lines up with the edge of the tabletop, extending your arms and then pulling your body up towards the table while your feet stay on the ground.
  7. Push-ups – 10 - 20 push-ups (targets arms, chest)
  8. For beginners: if traditional push-ups are proving a challenge, try modifying to knee push-ups instead.
  9. For advanced: try diamond push ups, starting out with your hands together beneath you to form a diamond shape.
  10. Single-leg hip thrust – 10 x each leg (targets glutes, core)
  11. For beginners: try starting with a hip thrust, leaving your feet flat on the floor as you raise your hips and squeeze your glutes.
  12. For advanced: try incorporating extra weight into this exercise, by stacking and holding some heavy books (or your toddler, or the family dog) on your stomach.
  13. Bulgarian split squats – 10 x squats each leg (targets quads, hamstrings, glutes)
  14. For beginners: try starting with regular lunges, with your rear foot on the ground rather than elevated on a bench, and then progress into the split squats.
  15. For advanced: try holding a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells or 2L milk bottles filled with water to ramp up the intensity.
  16. Front plank – 40 seconds (targets abs, glutes, back)
  17. For beginners: try bending your knees to take the pressure off your feet. You can also try an incline plank, resting your forearms on a bench or an elevated platform.
  18. For advanced: try slowly lifting one leg off the floor and holding it up for a few seconds then repeat with the other leg. You can also incorporate an arm lift by shifting your weight to one side and extending your arm. Hold for a few seconds then repeat on the other side.
  19. Side planks – 20 seconds left and right (targets abs, glutes, back)
  20. For beginners: try bending your knees and start the plank from a sitting position. You can also try incorporating a Swiss ball under your flank (the side of your body between the ribs and hip).
  21. For advanced: Try raising your top arm straight in the air to increase difficulty. You can also try raising your top leg for an added challenge!
  22. Bench dips – 10 x dips (targets arms, back, shoulders)
  23. For beginners: try bending your knees to take some of the pressure off your triceps. You can also limit how far you lower your hips to make it easier.
  24. For advanced: try crossing one ankle over the opposite knee while lowering into your dips. You can also hold the ‘dip’ position to feel that extra burn!



This training plan has been designed by The Blues. You should always consider seeking professional medical advice before commencing any training plan. This plan is a guide only and you may need to adjust to suit your personal fitness level.