Home workouts are not everybody’s favs… I know that much… In fact, I even prefer to workout at the gym. I find myself more motivated and therefore getting more of a workout in… but with gyms closed around the world, that’s not a luxury that we have right now.
This means we need to make the most of our home workouts now! In this post, I’m going to help you maximize your home workout! (We’re going to get you sweating more than you usually do at the gym!)
Here are 5 ways to maximize your home workouts (PLUS a Free Resistance Band Home Workout!)
1. Increasing Number of Reps
There used to be a belief amongst the fitness circles that you could only gain lean muscle if you did 6-8 reps per set.
People believed anything more than that would be detrimental to muscle growth. If this were the case… it’d be bad news for all of us training from home with limited equipment. The 6-8 reps encouraged by the old research were required to push you to failure or close to it; and, it is very unlikely that many of us would have enough weight to lift to reach failure with 6-8 reps.
The good news is that recently, a meta-analysis has been published on this topic and it clearly shows that you can build lean muscle across a wide spectrum of rep ranges – as high as 30 reps per set!
What does it all mean to you?
Well, it means that given the limited variety of weight/equipment that you have to train from home, you can still get results with them as long as you are pushing yourself with those higher rep ranges.
Slowing down the movement and focusing on the negative/eccentric part of the movement is not only going to make it more challenging, but it will also help you build muscle.
There has been an increasing amount of evidence to support the beneficial effects of eccentric exercises on body composition and other health-related parameters.
What is an eccentric contraction:
Eccentric contractions are the movement of a muscle while lengthening with the load.
Or a bit of a more complex description is:
“An eccentric muscle contraction is the stretching of a muscle in response to an opposing force on that muscle, in which the opposing force (weight being lifted) is greater than its current force production.”
You can read more on Eccentric contraction here.
Examples of slowing down the tempo/ eccentric contractions are:
- As you lower the weight when doing a biceps curl
- As you lower the bar when doing a chest press
- On your way down when doing a squat
3. Reducing Rest Time
Rest time is the time you take to catch some air and give your muscles some break in between exercises. It is common to see people chatting around in gyms and wasting a substantial amount of time resting more than necessary.
Reducing the rest time in between exercises might not only make your training sessions more time efficient, especially for us moms trying to train around nap time or before/after the kids go to bed, but it can also help with gaining lean muscle.
Well, according to studies if your goal is to gain lean muscle, the combination of moderate-intensity sets with short rest intervals of 30–60 seconds might be exactly what you need for max results.
This is perfect for all of us trying to maximize our training efforts at home as we try to juggle working from home, tending to the kids, homeschooling, and dealing with a pandemic. Pheew!
4. Using makeshift loads
Have you ever heard the saying: “It doesn’t have to be perfect, it needs to be done.”
That’s exactly what we are talking about here!
Some people are struggling to find a variety of dumbbells, or even a set of dumbbells in store or even online. Are these people supposed to stop training because of it?
I used to think that using random stuff from home as equipment was silly, but the reality is that desperate times call for desperate measures… and, as long as you are keeping active and staying consistent with your workouts, nobody cares what you are using as load.
You can 100% get creative with the things that you have at home and get to work with them.
Here are some option of things that you can use to replicate dumbbells and barbells:
- Water bottles
- Gallons of water
Another thing that I REALLY like incorporating in my workouts and have been finding them incredibly challenging are resistance bands, and those you can still find on websites like Amazon and Better Bodies carry some as well. Here and here are some of my favorites.
In fact, recent studies have shown that for some muscle groups, resistance bands actually show MORE activation than free weights.
5. Schedule your workouts as if they were a business meeting
One of the BIGGEST reasons why women around the world are not being able to get their workouts during this pandemic (well… aside from the stress and uncertainty of it all) is because they say they do not have time.
And, with two kids 3 ½ and under, I totally know what they mean.
I know how it feels when you open your eyes and don’t stop for anything… it goes from telling the kids to stop fighting, stop trying to destroy the house, repeating: “no, you cannot eat your slime”, all while trying to keep the house somewhat clean, get on a conference call for work and meet deadlines.
It literally feels like groundhog day, and to be honest with you… training is probably THE ONE thing that is keeping me sane and giving some structure to these unconventional days.
So, how do I and my girls manage to find the time to train while dealing with quarantine and everything that has come with it:
We schedule our workouts as if they were a business meeting!
In the morning my husband and I take turns with the kids and our workouts are on the family schedule just as we would schedule a business meeting.
My workout time starts at 7:30, and my husband will train either before or after me (normally before), and he watches the kids as I get my workout in. Then, once I am done I take over the kids so he can work.
Maybe 7:30 is too early or too late for you, and that’s fine. I am just using my schedule as an example, but you have to find that time of the day where you can squeeze a workout in, even if just for 30-40 minutes, and commit to that time as you would with any other important appointment.
Whatever you do, force yourself to set aside the time to workout!
There you have it! 5 ways to maximize your home workouts to make sure you’re making the most of the time you have! This is not the time to fall behind on our goals. We need to make sure that we are still working hard. Working out will help improve your mood and reduce stress during this time. I promise!
Now, as I promised, my totally FREE Resistance Bands Home Workout! Click HERE to break a sweat!