Home Workouts- What You Can Do to Get the Most From Them
With the everlasting uncertainty that is currently looming over the country, it is becoming increasingly hard to maintain structure in all forms of life, not just with one’s fitness goals. With the closure of gyms becoming a common occurrence, it can be hard to maintain any form of fitness routine in such a climate, leaving us with little option but to revert to home workouts.
Home workouts are a tough challenge for most, leaving the upbeat environment of a gym with a plethora of machines and facilities, for a cold garage with old paint tins is never a nice trade off. Unless your bank account runs exceptionally deep, you will have to make some sacrifices, with an Olympic barbell alone costing £120 and weight plate prices being surged upwards of £3 per kilo.
However, there is hope in the attempt to retain muscle during these unprecedented times if you know what you are doing. The ability to build muscle in such an environment is exceptionally diminished and will prove a heavy task for anyone, although the degree of effort in which it takes to build muscle, is far more than which it takes to retain it.
First of all (if you have a bank account like mine) you will need to be thrifty in your approach to accessing equipment, being as minimalistic as possible will still reap some reward. Purchasing light-heavy bands off of sites such as Amazon will cost you around £40 for a set which will provide resistance from 2.5kg-55kg depending on the band. These are exceptionally versatile and can be used for a multitude of home workouts such as leg extensions/ curls, lateral raises, banded squats, RDL’s etc.
If you are patient enough you can also meticulously search sites such as Facebook marketplace/shpock etc, as there are some diamonds hidden in the rough. Most sellers are currently increasing prices etc to correlate with heavy demand, but there are some who simply just want rid of things that are taking up space.
You do NOT need Olympic standard equipment here, small weights sets with 1 inch bars are perfectly sufficient and wont break the bank. If you’re lucky enough you can possibly procure items such as a bench and racks for relatively cheap. If you pair this equipment with bands, you will have plenty of weight to work with.
As a general rule of thumb, I personally won’t buy anything over £2 per kilo.
Finally, if you’re unfortunate enough to have none of this available to you, you can always build what you need. Wood and concrete are exceptionally cheap per kilo and if you have even a slightly practical mind you should be able to build things such as a rack etc. If you’re lucky enough to know anyone in the scaffolding industry, these can be exceptionally useful in building things from pull up bars, barbells and racks. If you want to get really inventive, you can use the Likes of B&M or Home Bargains as they sell some home DIY items such as hooks, rings etc which can be helpful for band work. Using buckets filled with water etc are another alternative to using weights.
How to get the most from your training
In regards to training, patience is key as your sessions will be long, frustrating and a lot of the time you will want to just skip it altogether. From self-spotting, to adjusting the same set of dumbbells ten times per session it will be a true test of patience. It is important to keep your intensity as high as possible during these sessions and understanding that with limited equipment comes a limited exercise availability, meaning it may be worth your while to split sessions into something along the lines of:
- Push, Pull, Legs splits
- Upper/ Lower
- Full body
All of the above suggestions are of course subjective to the amount of equipment available.
Finally in order to achieve the best stimulus in such situations it may be useful to delve into the various training intensifiers that can be applied to most, if not all movements (I have actually written a detailed blog on the Fitbook website on this topic, be sure to check it out). Equipment such as blood flow restriction bands are relatively cheap off of sites such as Amazon, these are exceptionally good for training with lower loads as they restrict venous return while still allowing arterial flow by strategically wrapping the topmost portion of your limbs. By restricting the veins and not the arteries, blood can keep pooling into a working muscle and it stays trapped there.
By Tireoghain O’Neill