Training at home can suck. It’s not the same environment as the gym, your workout buddy isn’t there to compete with and you’ve got nobody to people watch while you take your rests. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Here are my top tips for a successful training session at home.
1. Plan your sessions in advance. If you’re not the super organised type then at least plan your workout for that day - if you like to write lists then plan the week so you cover different movement patterns eg. squats/deadlifts/push/press. If you just make it up as you go along you’re more likely to cut your workout short because you’re not fully bought in or you get a bit tired.
2. Don’t give yourself too much to do! If you write a ridiculously long workout and you’ve got a habit of getting bored half way through then you’re just going to demotivate yourself. Aim for approximately 12 sets of exercises of a moderate difficulty. You’ll feel great once you’ve ticked everything off and as a result, be more likely to work out again that week.
3. Target different body parts and movements. If you do the exact same workout every day you’re not giving your body time to recover and you run the risk of injuries - especially if what you’re doing is super high rep, high intensity stuff. Instead try the following split:
Knee dominant (squats/lunges/step ups) + Pull (pull ups/rows) + Core (anti-extension)
Hip dominant (deadlifts/RDL/bridges) + Push (push ups/bench/overhead) + Core (anti-rotation)
You could do these full body splits twice per week if you wanted to, but you’ll see better results doing that than slogging through the same workout every single day.
4. Train with a friend. Obviously you must adhere to social distancing so stay safe if you choose to train outside with a friend. But if the weather is bad, hop on zoom or facetime and train together that way! It keeps you accountable to finishing your session and you can have a catch up during rests.
5. Swap the HIIT for isometrics. It’s no secret that I am not a fan of high intensity workouts for the masses. Sure they are appropriate for some people but I’ve seen far more injuries and knackered knees from HIIT classes than I have from strength training. Not to mention the fact that most HIIT classes use intervals far too long for you to be working at maximum intensity anyway. So if you love a challenge, try some long duration isometrics instead!
I’ve recently started implementing far more extreme iso’s during training and in addition to building endurance, I can see two other very clear benefits. Firstly, there’s a huge mental battle involved in holding a position for any period prolonged of time. I usually aim for 3 mins max during mine and about 1 minute in you get the first thoughts about stopping. If you can hold out, push through those thoughts and work your way up to your target you’ll have achieved more than just a physical adaptation. Secondly, when you’re holding for example a single leg hip bridge you need a greater degree of physical awareness to ensure you maintain good form. This awareness of what your body is doing and how it moves will feedback directly into the rest of your training. Just don’t overdo it. 1-2 isometrics a week will do the trick alongside the rest of your training or you’ll get sick of them pretty quick!
Most importantly of all, train to grow and to see what your body is capable of - NOT just to burn calories or as a punishment for eating some chocolate earlier. Exercise should be hard work yes, otherwise your body won’t adapt - but there’s more to it than just mindlessly sweating doing burpees for 30 mins. You’ll achieve a lot more if you change your mindset.
If you want some guidance and support over lockdown then get involved in my Locked Down Strong programme. It’s 6 weeks of training, 3 sessions per week working on strength - training with or without equipment in the comfort of your own home. Train with a group and keep yourself accountable and motivated! For more info email me at firstname.lastname@example.org