Let’s get real here people, home workouts are a kind of a requirement right now.
Whether you’re living in a place with a required isolation, or just doing self quarantine for safety purposes, getting out to a gym is just not an option for the vast majority of people.
For most people who are used to having a gym and a routine based around going to that gym, it can be a big struggle to shift over to a home workout.
I get it, as someone who is used to spending the majority of my training session using a barbell and throwing it around, I initially felt lost.
When I first sat down and started planning out different home workouts I could do with my minimal equipment, I really struggled.
With my background so heavily focused on developing strength, I have an innate bias towards certain lifts, certain movements, certain ways of challenging people.
I was met with a need to update and re-evaluate.
Fortunately, my experience and time spent coaching people kicked in and the creative juices started flowing.
This lead to the formation of a ton of home workouts across different goals, such as building strength, becoming more explosive, or cardio focused work.
Teddy and I decided we wanted to give away these programs (TOTALLY FREE) to help out everyone else struggling – so feel free to check them out.
If you haven’t ever made an account in our software, you will need to do that first (free).
Now here are a few different tips to make your home workouts (or workouts in general) more effective!
Maybe you’ve heard of supersets before, but never heard of the term competing.
Supersets in general usually refer to performing multiple movements (commonly 2) back to back.
This is usually done in a format where each movement is done for one set before coming back to the first movement and repeating it.
For the vast majority of the time when we are prescribing supersets, we utilize what’s called a non-competing superset.
This is where you pick movements that don’t really challenge the performance of each other.
For example, performing a DB Romanian Deadlift and a DB Floor Press back to back. Since the RDL utilizes mostly posterior lower body muscles and the floor press uses primarily anterior upper body muscles, these don’t have much overlap.
Using a training method like this can allow someone to pump out more total work in a shorter amount of time as they can use their needed rest from the one to perform the other movement.
As long as you are generally fit enough to handle that (which is a valuable thing for overall health), then you shouldn’t see much if any detriment for each movement.
Contrasting to this is the competing supersets where we actually specifically pick movements which WILL interfere with each other.
This is usually done to encourage a higher level of challenge, reach more fatigue, create a higher metabolic stress, and get more effective reps with a generally lower weight.
An example of this might be performing alternating reverse lunges and then performing bodyweight squats.
By doing this, we can take movements/loads that would otherwise not necessarily reach a sufficient stimulus to encourage strength & hypertrophy and push for it.
This is one that is particularly effective for people who are stronger and training with less equipment.
A few examples:
Single Leg Hip Thrusts & Walking Lunges
Push Ups & Chair Dips
Supine Leg Lowers & Planks
2. Use your household items for more challenge
Time to Macgyver up folks.
Grab your backpack, some books, a few tupperware lids, a towel, and a milk jug and you’ve got yourself a sick set of home workout equipment.
When it comes to training, the vast majority of people are looking to build muscle & burn fat.
This will be best achieved through working in a 5-15 rep range for the majority of the time – with that rep range being challenging.
If you’re an experienced trainee, many home exercises are not gonna be sufficiently challenging.
By utilizing something like a backpack filled with books we can crank up the effort level to things like squats, push ups, good mornings, etc.
Many people have seen sliders before, but if you don’t have any and aren’t able to order some/go out and get some, don’t worry, you’re not hooped.
Instead, toss a tupperware lid on the ground and you’ve got yourself a basic slider.
If you’re on carpet, it can work really well. If you’re on hardwood, tile, or something else, you might want to use a towel to prevent scratching your floor.
Adding in a slider to many movements can make them just that little bit more challenging – sliding lateral lunges, sliding push ups, etc.
For those with a milk jug, it delivers an easy and inexpensive dumbbell that you can scale the weight with – fill it up more for more load, leave it more empty for less!
Over the last few years we’ve seen a trend in research point towards that to get the best stimulus for building muscle and strength, we need to reach a higher threshold of effort in our sets – AKA “effective reps”
For home workouts, we are often limited in load so then pushing into some more challenging reps by “going for broke” and repping it out can be a viable option to hit those needed effort ranges.
That’s where AMRAPs or as many reps as possible comes in.
This is something we utilize in the free home workouts we mentioned for movements like push ups or RFESS, as most highly trained people can handle doing more than 15 reps. To make them effective we need to consider pushing until failure, or close to it, and that’s going to require doing a ton of reps.
Doing 2-3 sets of these can be very very demanding but very very effective.
4. Ditch the sets and reps
You don’t have to use sets and reps for parameters in training.
Many people fall into the trap of believing that the only way we can program is by performing a certain number of reps for a certain number of sets – but that is so very wrong.
We wrote about timed sets before and we are huge fans of them.
For trainees, it’s a simple thing of setting a timer and pumping out reps until the timer goes.
For trainers & coaches, it’s a great means to not be worried about what rep someone is on and instead just focus on quality of movement.
Check out the article to learn how to use them.
5. Go unilateral – or at least less standard bilateral
Unless you’re a more novice trainee, movements like bodyweight squats, bodyweight hip thrusts, and bodyweight good mornings are not challenging. While you could go for the AMRAP or timed protocols as mentioned, for many that is just unrealistic and asking for a ton of reps.
Instead, shifting to unilateral movements like single leg squats, single leg hip thrusts, single leg good mornings can be a more viable means to a challenging set with reduced rep demand.
For many people, going to totally unilateral options in the upper body isn’t realistic if we are doing a lot of bodyweight stuff – single arm push ups are pretty darn hard unless you’re Rocky.
That’s where the less bilateral comes in – shifting to a staggered hand grip on push ups or inverted rows is a good option for a lot of people and just gradually progress how staggered they are.
Try out these five different tips for more effective home workouts!
If you want to some FREE guided workouts, check out our free home workout group.