Here's How to Make Your Home Workouts Challenging
Home workouts. A two word phrase that can strike fear into the avid gym-dweller, or a sense of comfort into those who enjoy the amenities their home environment has to offer. Most people who dislike home workouts fall into one of two categories: 1. The gym environment is something they feed off of, and to remove that from the equation of exercising would be the downfall to their discipline, or 2. They just don’t find home workouts challenging enough. This could be due to several factors, but limited equipment often plays a role. We are going to focus on the second category, when home workouts just don't feel challenging enough.
Let's break it down.
Of course, you can always add more repetitions to an exercise if the weights you have at home do not suffice, but that can get repetitive and boring. Our ability to strengthen and change our bodies and muscles relies on the overload principle, which means we need to increase the duration, intensity, or type in order for us to see adaptations. Enter our three tactics.
1. The first way we can improve our home workouts is to turn a bilateral exercise into a unilateral exercise. That’s a lot of jargon, so allow us to explain. A bilateral exercise is a movement performed on both sides of the body simultaneously. For example, a bodyweight squat would be bilateral. But to make this exercise more challenging, you can try a single leg squat to a chair, which would be unilateral (or single-sided). You can do this strategy with most exercises.
2. The second strategy to try is increasing time under tension. With this, you increase the duration of the repetitions. For example, if you are doing a bodyweight squat again, you can slow down the tempo to a four count on the way down and again on the way back up. This would then increase the time that your muscles are under load, allowing you to focus on form and the intended muscle group(s) you are trying to work.
3. The third strategy is to make it a multi-muscle movement. Sticking with the body weight squat example, you can implement this method by adding an overhead press at the top of your squat, making it a squat to overhead press. You are adding some load to the squat and then adding an upper body challenge.
Home workouts don’t have to be complicated. The key is to be consistent in your workouts and challenge yourself so you can progressively overload your muscles and reach your goals. Try one or more of our three tactics above to improve the effectiveness of your workout, and let us know how it helped!
P.S. Still having troubles with your home workouts? Click here to secure a spot in our calendar to see how we can help you reach your goals from home!
Jessica Corkin is a certified personal trainer at Begin Within. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and has spent the last seven years working in the fitness and wellness industry. When she is not virtually training clients, she enjoys strength training, running, being outdoors, and spending quality time with her husband and dog. Oh, and also making educational content like this.
Get our free Stay at Home Workout Guide (that has 3 FREE workouts included) here.