Ever since quarantine started in March 2020, many of us have found ourselves being stuck at home while being forced to come up with creative home workouts in order to stay on track. Most people are still living busy lives even with being “safer at home.” Let’s face it – time is precious and we don’t want to spend a ton of time on training nor do we want to spend tons of money on a home gym set up. So, let’s talk about some solutions!
Utilize your body weight
You would be so surprised by how effective bodyweight training can be! Many people reading this are probably well past advanced when it comes to your average bodyweight exercises like squats, push ups, and more.
So how do you make these more challenging? Try to accomplish different skills. If you can bang out 200 bodyweight squats without a break, then try to work towards a pistol squat (single leg squat). Challenge your balance with sissy squats and shrimp squats. Get out of your comfort zone and get upside down by training handstands or piked handstand push ups. Work on your posture with prone pullbacks or handcuffs.
Utilize a single versatile tool like a heavy kettlebell, a heavy dumbbell or a pair of gymnastics rings
A heavy kettlebell or dumbbell can give you a ton of options without having to switch your gear out, put things away, grab new things, etc. You can do an entire workout with either of these tools. An example could be a kettlebell “flow” workout. This is where you perform all your reps of one exercise and then immediately transition to the next exercise, etc.
An example could look like: 10 single arm kettlebell swings per side, 10 kettlebell front rack squats on each side, 10 single arm kettlebell snatches per side, 10 kettlebell rows per side – rest, rinse, and repeat.
Gymnastics rings are one of our favorite tools. You can do many different movements on these babies and they provide a serious challenge for your stability. Try a set of regular dips on a bar vs ring dips and I can guarantee you that the ring dips will be much more of a challenge for you. Bonus – this will definitely cause some muscle gain and strength since it’s a novel stimulus!
Utilize tempo work and limit rest periods
Try 10 bodyweight squats. Now, try 10 bodyweight squats where you control the eccentric and concentric for 5 seconds AND pausing 5 seconds at the bottom of each rep. Significantly harder, eh? This is just one example that can be applied to most bodyweight exercises.
Try making your rest periods only 30-45 seconds between sets. This will be a time saver as well as make your sets way more intense without fully allowing your muscles to recover in between sets. This wouldn’t be ideal for maximal strength work, but for submaximal training, it can be a great tool.
Utilize sub-maximal loads instead of trying to set PR maxes.
Getting geared up and getting psyched up for heavy maxes takes a lot of time. You have to make sure you’re adequately warmed up and mentally psyched up. Train so that movements are challenging (you can make a weight heavier by utilizing different tempos and rest periods!) and relatively heavy, but don’t always work at maximal effort (strength wise). This will increase strength over time by allowing you to recover faster and get in more volume.