Most at home workouts end up being nothing but long cardio sessions. They’re good for burning calories in the short term, or if you’re tight on time. But in the long term, there isn’t as much value. Now keep in mind, when asking this question, I’m assuming the average person asking that means with minimal or no equipment. Obviously if you can build an at home gym setup that’s a totally different story.
Make It Strength Focused!
The best way to get in shape is the ability to progress. In this case, if getting physically stronger is the goal, then being able to increase the resistance is the best way to achieve that. If you’ve never worked out before, than doing anything is going to help you improve your overall health. But there will be a point (3-6 months) where a beginner will need additional resistance to accommodate the newfound strength gains. Sticking with the same 10 pound weights just isn’t going to cut it. You can build a great physique just working out at home. However, if you want to drastically change the way you look, at home workouts aren’t going to cut it.
What an at home workout CAN be good at, is getting you super aware of how your body moves, and creating strong proprioception of being able to handle and control your bodyweight. This is important because a lot of injuries happen in the gym from guys ego lifting. Guys putting WAY too much weight on the bar and taking it through a shortened range of motion where they are getting little effect. They often take it PAST the range their body can handle at that increased weight. Being at home can allow you to check your ego at the door (I hope), and focus on quality movement patterns and recognize your limitations and get better at them. Increasing your strength by taking your muscles through a proper, full range of motion is key here.
Also keep in mind, don’t just limit yourself to exercises like push-ups and lunges. If you can get a hold of TRX straps, rings, or even working on handstand push-ups, the harder and more progressive variations of the exercises you get better at, the more they will challenge you in ways regular weights in the gym can’t.
- Do 1-2 mobility movements to get warmed up and prime the muscles being worked.
i.e. Lizard stretch with rotation and a 90/90 stretch
- Do 1-2 tension movements to further activate the targeted muscles.
i.e. Handcuffs with rotation
- Do 1 exercise per major muscle group for anywhere from 8-15 reps depending how easy or not it is.
i.e. Push-up, squat, lunge, plank variations, pull-ups, etc
Not Just For Beginners
At home workouts isn’t just for people who can’t get to the gym. Believe it or not, it is good to take a break from the gym once and awhile to let your body deload or recharge to super compensate for the gains made the weeks or months prior. Guys especially think they just need to keep loading up the volume and resistance non-stop, and the gains will keep coming. This is simply not true. There needs to be what is called a “supercompensation effect” where it takes a week or so for your body to catch up to the sheer amount of volume it has just been put through.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to change the stimulus your body is receiving. A lot of times, it’s the workout regimen you are not doing which is the one you should be doing most. So try it out for 1-2 weeks as a deload or a change of pace. It will allow you to bounce back quicker in the gym and you may even see bigger gains from it.