You Don’t Need a Gym to Get Fit
If you’re not a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or Crossfitter, you may think you need a gym to get in shape. But the truth is, all you really need is your own body, a backpack or bag, and the determination to succeed. So long as you have a body you can exercise from anywhere. With minimal equipment and a bit of creativity, you can actually get in amazing shape from the comfort of your own home.
So, how do you make the most of your bodyweight workouts at home? There are a few keys to making a successful in-home workout. Firstly, be sure that you are training properly (if you’re not sure how, your in-home personal trainer can help!). Then, you want to take exercises you would normally do at the gym and find ways to make them more challenging. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
One way to make workouts at home more challenging is to use various training techniques like training single-arm / single-leg exercises, drop sets, super sets, and pyramid sets.
- Drop sets – Involve performing an exercise to failure, then immediately reducing the difficulty by removing weight or changing the body position, and continuing until failure again.
- Super sets – You’ll be performing two exercises back to back without rest
- Pyramid sets – Start your first set with low-weight, high reps. After every set add more weight and lower your reps.
These techniques will create workouts that are more effective at building your dream body from home.
1. Split Squats
A regular 2-legged squat at home won’t be very effective because you’ll max out how many you can do. A challenging squat is usually going to be 1-2x your own body weight, and odds are you can’t fit 200+ lbs in a backpack.
So you’re asking yourself, how do I make squats at home challenging?
Well, you do them on one leg!
Make sure you’re doing any split squat correctly by keeping most of the weight on your front foot and focusing on bringing your back knee to the ground. Pay attention to the speed, you want to lower in a controlled manner.
There are a bunch of different variations of split squats you can try like:
- Regular split squats
- Back foot elevated split squats.
The first exercise is the easiest, and the last is the hardest. So, if you find that normal old split squats are hard, then stick to them and add weight as they get easier.
Now, remember the backpack I mentioned before? Well here’s where it comes in handy!
What you will want to do is find things around the house that have weight like books, bricks, bags of rice, or sand. Then, you’ll fill up your back with those things, and voila you have your own makeshift weights!
So, your plan should be to start off with the right level of split squat and then use your backpack as a makeshift weight. When that becomes easy enough you can move up to the next level of the split squat.
2. Single Leg Roman Deadlifts
These deadlifts are a great way to target your glutes and hamstrings. To perform them, lift one foot in the air and hinge at your hips, reaching towards the ground with your free hand. Keep your toes facing down on your free foot to get the most out of the exercise. Again, you can add weight by using your backpack or other household items to make the exercise more challenging.
Back exercises can be a bit trickier to do at home, but there are still plenty of options. If you’re just starting out, try towel-high rows using two towels with knots tied at one end. Close the door on the knotted towels and perform rows as you would with TRX straps (pictured below). Be sure to lower yourself all the way, and when you pull squeeze your shoulder blades.
Once this exercise becomes too easy you can move onto inverted table rows. For this exercise, you need a nice sturdy table that you can hang inverted from. From there you can row your heart away with this challenging & effective exercise!
4. Plank Dogs
If you can hold a plank for longer than 30 seconds, then it’s time to make it more challenging. Try the plank dog variation to add some difficulty. To execute this exercise, assume the plank position, brace your core by taking a big breath and squeezing your abs, then lift an arm and the opposite leg. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then switch sides. Be sure that your hips do not rotate to one side – there should be minimal movement.
If this is too challenging, try lifting only an arm, and if that’s still too difficult, start by lifting only a leg.
5. Decline Pushups
For working out at home everyone knows to do pushups, but once you can do 30+ they lose their benefit. To make a pushup more challenging consider incorporating decline pushups.
To do these you just need to find a stair or other elevated surface for you to put your feet on. From there brace your abs tightly, lower slowly to the floor, pause at the bottom, and push your body up.
How Many Sets & Reps?
Truth be told, for most people you won’t need to do a lot of work. For each exercise, you should only need 2-3 sets per exercise. Be sure when doing these exercises that you push yourself to failure, meaning you couldn’t do another without your form deteriorating.
You should be doing anywhere ranging from 3-25 repetitions per exercise.
People overcomplicate working out too much. Remember: keep it stupid simple. You don’t need to work out for 2+ hours to get results. The truth is this simple 30-minute workout can get you life-changing results.
It’s also important to remember that proper form is essential for maximizing the benefits of bodyweight exercises and minimizing the risk of injury. Make sure to research and learn the proper form for each exercise you’re attempting, and if you’re unsure, consider consulting a fitness professional or a reputable online resource. With proper form and a consistent training routine, you can achieve your fitness goals and get in amazing shape from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re interested in learning more about all things health and fitness, be sure to check out our Fenix Fitness Blog!