Photo Courtesy of Faith Davis

Make a Home Workout Routine With These Tips From Trainers

Make a Home Workout Routine With These Tips From Trainers

No gym necessary

Photo Courtesy of Faith Davis

Gyms have closed, fitness classes have gone online and motivation to work out comes and goes. We’ve had to find ways to work from home as well as get creative with how we remain close to our friends and family — keeping up with our physical health shouldn’t be any different.

The Active Times has spoken to fitness instructors and trainers about how they’re staying motivated and adapting their workouts for home, so that you can do the same. These tips will keep you inspired and the tricks will get you thinking creatively. You can use bodyweight, books, gallons of water and towels to get a solid workout in, so let’s get started.

The tip: Think about why this is important to you

The tip: Think about why this is important to you

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Just as you’d set goals to successfully work from home, you should be setting goals for how to successfully work out from home. Ryan Stec, owner and head coach at True Grit Strength, recommends forgetting about your current limitations and instead, finding your emotional drive. Are you trying to maintain your general physical and mental health by staying active? Are you working out to lose weight? Are you wanting to put on some muscle mass or gain strength? Having an outcome in mind will help you stay on track to reach those goals during a time when you’re lacking a structured routine, he says.

The trick: Use a towel for resistance

The trick: Use a towel for resistance

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stec

Towels can be used for glute and ab exercises. All you’ll need are two folded up washcloths to place under your hands or feet. Make sure you’re standing on a tiled or hardwood surface, so the towels can easily glide with each movement.

How to: Use a towel for resistance

How to: Use a towel for resistance

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stec

For beginners, try reverse lunges, slow mountain climbers and slider leg curls by placing the folded towel under your feet so that they can easily slide on a hard surface. Looking for something more advanced? Try body saw pushups. Stec recommends repeating each of these movements 10 times, for three to five rounds. Rest for one to two minutes between each round.

The tip: Make a plan

The tip: Make a plan

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In the beginning of the week, decide which days you want to work out (tip: exercising before work could boost your productivity), and then designate a time and a place for the workout, says Stec. Because motivation comes and goes, he says having a set plan in place at the beginning of the week will remove some of the decision-making and will give you the focus to follow through rather than debating your motivation levels.

The trick: Use bodyweight variations to increase intensity

The trick: Use bodyweight variations to increase intensity

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When you’re at the gym, increasing intensity is as simple as using heavier weights. If you’re limited in the amount of equipment you have at home, or you have no equipment at all, this is when using your bodyweight in various ways comes in handy for progressing your training at home. Don’t forget to take extra care in stretching when increasing the intensity of your workouts.

How to: Use bodyweight variations to increase intensity

How to: Use bodyweight variations to increase intensity

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stec

For a beginner’s variation of the pushup, place your hands on an elevated surface such as a countertop, an ottoman, a couch or the second or third step on a staircase. The closer your hands get to the floor, the more difficult the pushup will be, Stec says. You can also slow down the tempo of your workout movements to increase intensity. To do this, simply count to three on your way down, and do the same on your way back up.

The tip: Train in a way that works best for you

The tip: Train in a way that works best for you

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Determine what you want to accomplish and find a routine or program that is tailored to your goals. Do you want to build muscle? Stay toned at home? Focus on losing fat? Smart training can help you successfully reach your goals, says Stec, and part of smart training is to recognize that we are under new levels of stress due to the pandemic. Whether it’s environmental stress, mental stress or physical strain, adapting your workout routine to best balance this new way of life is important.

How to: Avoid that extra stress

How to: Avoid that extra stress

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If five days of intensive training is too much to handle while working from home, caring for your family, cooking meals and keeping up on deep cleaning your home, that’s OK. If it’s safe to walk outside, do that instead for 30 minutes. Be sure to focus on proper warmups and cool-downs to promote recovery, thus less stress on your body.

The trick: Add a mobility routine to your workout schedule

The trick: Add a mobility routine to your workout schedule

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stec

Being at home means we’re probably not getting up to move around as much as we normally would. Maybe you notice that your step count has gone down or that your shoulders feel more tense. Adding mobility stretches in the morning, at night or even during a midday break will loosen your muscle tissues so they don’t get so tight as a result of sitting in the same position for long periods of time, Stec says.

How to: Add a mobility routine to your workout schedule

How to: Add a mobility routine to your workout schedule

Photo courtesy of Ryan Stec

Stretches that improve lower-body mobility include the hip flexor stretch, adductor stretch and the 90/90 stretch. Lower body stretches improve muscle flexibility in muscles we don’t use as much when seated, which is important for preventing injury when we do use them.

The tip: Incorporate higher-intensity workouts

The tip: Incorporate higher-intensity workouts

Courtesy of Megan Diehm

Home has become a lot of things recently: our office, our children's classrooms, our place to eat and our gyms. You might think that having to go fewer places during the day would mean people would have tons of time to spare, but that's just not the case. People are spending more time cooking for themselves and more time teaching their children. They are likely also spending more time cleaning and disinfecting. It can be hard to find time to work out, so doing a shorter workout might be best for a busy schedule. Increased intensity over a shorter period of time can increase your motivation because the quicker you can get the exercises done, the more time you have to rest, says Megan Diehm, a group fitness instructor.

The trick: Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) workouts

The trick: Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) workouts

Courtesy of Megan Diehm

An EMOM workout is when you do a set number of reps for an exercise within a one-minute period and then you rest for the time remaining on the minute once you’ve finished. Diehm created a 10-minute EMOM exercise session that you can do using only bodyweight.

How to: Do an Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) workout

How to: Do an Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) workout

Courtesy of Megan Diehm

 

It’s set up like this: 15 squats, 15 jump squats and 15 pulsing squats. Do all of those within one minute. If you have time left, rest. As soon as the next minute starts, repeat that exercise. Continue for 10 minutes.

The tip: Utilize your time by working out multiple muscle groups

The tip: Utilize your time by working out multiple muscle groups

Courtesy of Faith Davi

NASM-certified trainer Faith Davis has been working out from home for the past nine years. To use her time effectively, she likes workouts that target multiple muscle groups at once. Workouts that target more than one muscle are called compound exercises. They get your heart rate up, they improve your joint mobility and they require focus — great for if you find yourself unable to concentrate during home workouts.

The trick: Use a chair for upper- and lower-body workouts

The trick: Use a chair for upper- and lower-body workouts

Courtesy of Faith Davis

 

No matter how much time you have for decorating your home, you definitely have some form of chair. If you don’t have a chair, use a couch or bench. With chair workouts, you are able to target many parts of your body including the arms, abs, glutes and hamstrings.

How to: Use a chair for upper- and lower-body workouts

How to: Use a chair for upper- and lower-body workouts

Courtesy of Faith Davis

 

A movement that targets all of those is the dip to one-leg hip bridge. For this exercise, you’ll start in a seated position on the edge of a chair. Place your hands at the edge of the chair with your legs bent at a 45- or 90-degree angle and feet hip-width apart. Scoot up so that your butt is off the chair now and your arms are holding you up. Lower your body to the floor so that your elbows bend to 90 degrees. Raise yourself back up as you straighten your arms. Now, bend one leg up toward the ceiling and push up with your hips. Squeeze your glutes and lower your leg back to the ground. Repeat this exercise 12-15 times. Alternate legs or do six on one leg and then six on the other. Rest after the reps and do three more sets.

The tip: Balance strength training with cardio

The tip: Balance strength training with cardio

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Depending on your fitness goals, mixing strength training with a cardio regimen might get you the best results, says Jacqueline Howard, a cycle and torch instructor at Studio Three in Chicago. If your fitness goal is to bulk up, don’t worry that cardio will burn the muscles you’ve gained — it will help improve their strength and endurance. If your fitness goal is to burn fat, cardio will help, but adding strength training will increase muscle mass, which will burn calories even when you’re at rest. Howard says the balance is important because if you don’t have the muscles to support your joints, you could end up overdoing the cardio and potentially injure your body.

The trick: Laundry detergent and books for weights

The trick: Laundry detergent and books for weights

Courtesy of Jacqueline Howar

If you don’t have your usual dumbbells, plates or barbells at home, use everyday items. Howard uses laundry detergent for arm workouts and a backpack filled with books for leg days. She says a great way to target your glutes and hamstrings is to use a backpack full of books for front hinges.

How to: Safely use your homemade weights

How to: Safely use your homemade weights

Courtesy of Jacqueline Howard

 

To complete a front hinge, wear the backpack in front of you and cross your arms over it so it looks like you’re hugging the backpack. With your knees slightly bent and your spine neutral (not arched inward or outward), hinge forward like you would do for a deadlift. Bend as close to the ground as you can without allowing your back to arch. Bring yourself back into the standing position and squeeze your glutes at the top. Try this movement 10-15 times before taking a rest. Repeat four times.

The tip: The best type of movement to do involves a large range of motion

The tip: The best type of movement to do involves a large range of motion

Courtesy of Joey Orgel-Swidler

For Joey Orgel-Swidler of Joe Barbell Club in Brooklyn, New York, keeping your home workout consistent with what you’d normally do at the gym is the best way to prevent your health and wellness from taking a hit during this pandemic. When you’re at the gym, you have equipment like dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells and you’re doing exercises that entail a large range of motion. This means you’re taking your joints and muscles through the full extent of movement that they can handle comfortably. At home, you might have to get a little creative in order to keep your workouts consistent with what you’d do at the gym.

The trick: Use a tote bag filled with books

The trick: Use a tote bag filled with books

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Easily add weight to your workouts by filling up a tote bag with books. For a full-body movement, Orgel-Swidler suggests the clean and press.

How to: Clean and press with your homemade weights

How to: Clean and press with your homemade weights

Courtesy of Joey Orgel-Swidler

 

For this exercise, you’ll start by holding the tote bag at your waist with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Lower the bag so that it touches the floor — you’ll be in a squatting position — and then quickly stand up, pull the bag with you, and end the movement by pressing it over your head and lowering it back to your waist. This should all be done in one fluid motion. This is just one tip to get creative with, but there are more ways to use items in your home for a total-body workout.

 

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