Over the last few months, the coronavirus has rocked a lot of our worlds. Now — and for the foreseeable future — lots of us are working out at home instead of going to the gym.
This is great for social distancing and helping to flatten the curve, but when you’re used to working out a fully stocked gym, having limited or no equipment available can put a bit of a damper on your workouts.
If you’re stuck exercising at home and aren’t feeling like you’re getting as much out of your workouts as you’d like, I’m here to help. Here are some of my favorite tips for working out at home at any time, including while you’re self-quarantining and practicing social distancing.
Invest in Some Equipment
You can get a lot done working out at home without any equipment at all. At a certain point, though, bodyweight-only workouts can get a little boring.
Having a few pieces of equipment on hand can help you keep things interesting and maximize every training session you do. Here are some of my favorite pieces of at-home exercise equipment:
- Pull-up bar
- Resistance loops
- Resistance bands
- Foam roller
I also recommend picking up a jump rope. Jumping rope is a great way to get in some cardio without having to go running (ugh) or do a billion jumping jacks.
Multi-Task While Exercising
Working up the motivation to exercise is already hard, but during a global pandemic, it’s especially challenging.
If you’re struggling to get motivated for your workouts, try pairing them with something else you enjoy. Do a workout while you catch up on a favorite TV show, for example, or while you listen to a favorite podcast.
This lets you kill two birds with one stone, and you’re less likely to get bored since you can’t people-watch like you can at the gym (come on, we all do it).
Find Ways to Increase the Intensity
It’s a total myth that at-home workouts can’t be difficult. You sometimes have to get creative, though, when it comes to increasing the intensity, especially if you don’t have a lot of equipment available. If you want to make your home workouts more challenging, try one of (or a combination of) these tips:
- Shorten rest times
- Increase the number of reps/sets you do
- Slow down your reps or add pause reps or half raps to create more time under tension
- Double up resistance bands (if you have them) to simulate adding weight
- Get creative with weights (use soup cans, water bottles, put books in a backpack, etc.)
- Try AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) or EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) workouts to get your heart rate up
When doing exercises like push-ups, try elevating your feet. This increases the intensity in a major way without you having to keep adding reps.
But, Be Smart About It
I think this is sort of an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think adding intensity is always a good thing. This is a stressful time, and when stress is high, I don’t recommend beating the shit out of yourself during your workouts. Now might be a good time to scale things back and give your body a break. Still move, but consider making your movements a little lower impact and make recovery a priority.
I have another unpopular opinion in this same vein. I’m not a fan of doing tons of jumping/plyometric exercises.
I think these exercises (squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps, etc.) can be used strategically to help people become more explosive and increase their power output, but they’re meant to be done with low reps and long rest periods. I hate seeing workouts that call for tons of jumping exercises with no consideration for the mobility or skill level of the person doing the workout.
Can some people incorporate plyometrics and jump training into their routine without any trouble? Of course? Are they ideal for the average person, though? In my opinion, no.
If you’re thinking about adding these kinds of exercises into your workout, do so intelligently. Give yourself time to recover between sets, and focus on the quality of the reps, rather than the number or how sweaty you can get.
Get Everyone Involved
If you’re working out at home with your kids and feel like you can’t exercise because they’re around, get them involved. Chances are they need to burn off some energy; why not let them exercise with you?
Even if they can’t do everything as prescribed, or if they don’t want to do the whole thing, it’s still fun for them to move around with you. You get to set a good example and teach them about prioritizing exercise, too.
Keep in mind, too, that some movement is better than none. Even if you can’t finish an entire workout without someone needing a juice refill (or whatever it is kids require), that’s still better than not doing any movement at all.
Schedule It In
Finally, make sure you’re scheduling time for your workouts each day. You might be stuck at home, but having a routine is still important. It gives you a chance to experience some normalcy during very abnormal times, and it helps you ensure you get your workout in no matter how busy you get.
Write down a time to exercise each day and hold yourself to it, just like you would any other appointment or task. This will hold you accountable and decrease your chances of forgetting to do it (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t love crossing an item off their to-do list?).
Try These Tips for Working Out at Home Today
Home workouts don’t have to be boring, and they definitely can still be effective. Keep these tips in mind and you can stay motivated while working out at home and get through this period of social distancing without losing your gains!
What are your favorite tips for working out at home? Comment down below and let me know!