Some people love the gym. The noise, the atmosphere, the friends, the sense of challenge, the chance to have some ‘me’ time, THAT smell.
Some people, well, don’t. They may even actively hate it. Which is fine, we’re all different. So how to fulfill your exercise needs without stepping foot in to the gym? Well it can be done! You make your home your gym, and I don’t mean chucking out the lawn mower and ping-pong table from the garage and loading it with second-hand weights and treadmills. In fact, you may need next to no equipment at all. Through years of experience working as a personal trainer I have seen every type of workout program. Here are my tips for a great home based workout.
So here are some tips and routines that anyone, regardless of physical ability, can do from their own home and still feel like they’re making some serious changes for the better.
Advantages to working out from home
The cost. Quite simply, it costs less than your monthly gym subscription. So that’s good.
Security. For a lot of people, feeling like you’re being watched, getting unwanted attention or feeling like you’re doing it ‘wrong’ is a big factor in not liking the gym. Well draw the drapes, and work out without a worry in the world.
Convenience. You wake up…and you’re in your ‘gym’. You get home from work….and you’re in your ‘gym’. Half the battle of exercise is just getting yourself out of the house in the first place, so if you don’t even need to be leaving the house you are half way there already!
Too comfortable? If people like the gym because of its motivational benefits (the noise, the people, the smell etc) then the opposite could apply when exercising from home. Don’t get complacent, be strict with yourself.
Neighbors. Depending on your living arrangements and what exercise you’re doing, there could be noise issue – whether that’s the thudding on the floor as you bash out some burpees, or the noise of your favorite exercise tunes bleeding through the wall. Be considerate so that you keep your neighbors on side!
Distractions. TV, family, pets, phone. All things which shouldn’t be an issue in the gym but suddenly get in the way as you’re trying to get fit from home. Pick a time when there will be fewest distractions and have a conversation with the people you live with to ask them to give you some space when you are working out.
What exercises could you do?
Lots. They key to working out at home is going to be something called ‘body weight exercise’. What equipment will you need? Nothing other than your own body. As the name suggests you are simply going to use your own body to create the resistance and weight needed to have a great work out. The most obvious example of this type of exercise is the humble push-up. But there are loads of similar exercises you could do, and regardless of how fit and strong you may or may not be, you can tailor these to create a program that will test you. Mix it up, alternate and challenge yourself. Get a ‘tabata’ app that counts bursts of exercise and counts short periods of rest – these will give your workout structure and you can make them as long or as short as you want.
Here are just some of the exercises available to you…
Muscles used; chest, back, arms, abs.
How?; Back straight, hands shoulder width apart, as you lower down tuck your elbows in to your side (don’t spread your elbows out like chicken wings)
Easier; Do the push up normally but in a knelt stance rather than fully extended legs. Your knees are your pivot and you are then taking less of your body weight through the arms and chest.
Less easy; Place your hands closer together and underneath your chest. Or raise your feet by resting them on the edge of the couch.
Muscles used; thighs, buttocks, hamstrings.
How?; Stand with feet shoulder width apart, keeping your back straight slowly drop your buttocks to the floor. Come up again slowly. Keep your heels locked to the floor at all times.
Easier; don’t go too deep. Build up to it.
Less easy; on your way back up, end each squat with a jump. Really power through. If you can, land that jump on to something stable like a low wall or solid box.
Muscles used; almost everything! But particularly triceps, buttocks and your core.
How?; start sat on the floor with your hands and feet flat to the floor facing forward. Lift your buttocks slightly off the ground and walk backwards on your hands and feet.
Easier; do it for less time!
Less easy; rest something heavy on your belly as you do it.
Muscles used; pretty much the ultimate all-body exercise
How; start laid flat on the floor face down, as if at the start of a push-up. Perform a push-up and as your arms are nearly fully extended jump your feet forward so you are now in the start of a squat. Then with your feet flat to the floor jump up straight with arms in the air, before returning to the start position. It should be one fluid motion.
Easier; if initially too difficult, eliminate the jump.
Less easy; try it with a small dumbbell in each hand. If you don’t have dumbbells, well buy some…you can buy a small set for under $20!
TIP! Try the 100 burpee challenge. Literally time how long it takes you to do 100 burpees (it may take some time but grind them out one by one!) Make a note of the time then after 4 weeks of training do it again – I bet you’ll be able to do more and whilst feeling stronger.
Muscles used; legs and heart. It’s great for out and out fitness.
How?; it’s essentially jogging on the spot but done properly. Stand with your arms slightly extended in front of you at waist height. Jog on the spot but make sure you are brining your knees up high enough to touch your hands.
Easier; start with hands high then do a set with the hands SLIGHTLY lower
Less easy; lift both knees at the same time. Essentially a standing jump but bringing your knees as high as you can, keeping your back straight.
These are just some of the more common body-weight exercises out there, but there are tons. A quick Google search will uncover plenty more and even accompanying fitness instructor videos. For more advice from personal trainer experts, check out my category on personal training.
Tyler Read has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Tyler is also a certified personal trainer with NASM, ACE and CSCS. Tyler’s main goal is to help people get started in the personal training industry and to become successful personal trainers. Tyler is the owner of Personal Training Pioneer which helps people get started in the personal training industry and become successful.