As most of us know, strength training is the gold component of any regime. Incorporating consistent strength training can help (obviously) increase your strength, but can also strengthen your bones, improve fat loss, and even improve coordination.
If you’re like a lot of other people and have found that they no longer have access to the gym or fitness studio, or you just don’t feel comfortable going back to the gym just yet, home strength training is still a viable option for making gains – it just takes a dash of creativity.
You might not have the equipment that you would have at a gym, but anyone can do strength training from home, even with no tools at all. Ideas for home workouts are everywhere using simple resistance equipment, higher-end workout machines, or even nothing but your own bodyweight.
Let’s dive in to see you can create a successful home environment for your strength training regime and start killing it ASAP.
Getting the Right Equipment
Versatility is important when it comes to equipment if budget and space are an issue – you want to be able to get the most out of your strength training equipment and do multiple things with one tool.
A couple of simple and budget-friendly essentials for home strength training:
- Dumbbells are one of the most basic pieces of strength training equipment you can have in your home. You can do virtually any movement, from curls to presses to squats. The set you have at home might not give you the diversity that you with a full-blown gym, but you can still perform these exercises and get a good pump going.
- Kettlebells are even more versatile than dumbbells for some movements, and provide a full-body burner no matter what move you execute.
- Resistance bands are awesome tools as well. Not only are they versatile, but they’re relatively inexpensive as well. Wrap them around your legs and arms to increase the resistance of nearly any bodyweight workout.
- Pull-up bars are relatively simple but do wonders in allowing versatility for your bodyweight workouts. You can buy bars that hook directly onto your door frame and remove for easy storage.
If you have the means to invest in heavier, more serious equipment, you can closely replicate a gym situation just by looking for machines with multifunctional uses.
- Cable machines are an excellent tool to utilize in your strength training. Look for models where you can slide the cables up and down, as well as side-to-side, to cover both upper- and lower-body exercises and from different angles.
- If you want to buy a weight rack, consider ones that you can adjust for different workouts. For example, it would probably serve you better to buy a rack that can double as both a squat and a bench press rack, rather than one of the other.
Even if you don’t have a ton of equipment at home, you can get creative with things you find in your home.
- Have big water jugs laying around? Fill them up with water (to your desired weight) and use them as makeshift weights for heavier leg exercises
- Similarly, fill up some water bottles or cans with water (or heavier materials like rocks) for portable dumbbells
- Get the family involved – have someone sit on your back to increase the difficulty of your pushups. If you have little kids, they might be the perfect weight for doing front squats or picking them up for dead weights (just make sure no one gets hurt in the process!). Be careful and get creative!
Exploring Bodyweight Strength Training
It might not seem like it at first glance, but you can still perform a ton of strength training exercises using nothing but your own bodyweight.
Some examples of bodyweight strength training exercises that you can do at home include:
- Bodyweight squats
The trick with these is to make them harder by either adding elevation (doing elevated pushups with your feet up against a wall), doing them on one leg or arm (single-leg squats of single-arm pushups) or adding a plyo movement (jump lunges, etc…).
Also, try doing bodyweight strength training exercises back-to-back to maximize the burn and incorporate some conditioning.
Switch Up Your Reps.
If you can’t increase the weights that you’re working with, an easy way to up the ante during your workout routine is to play around with your reps. You can increase the number of reps you do per set, cut out the rest periods that you might have when you’re working with heavier weights, and challenge yourself to complete longer periods of movement – for example, turn you strength session into a mild HIIT workout, with minimal rest between sets.
You can also superset, or switch between different strength training activities with no rest in between, challenging different muscle groups and getting a more effective whole-body burn.
Write Up A Training Schedule For Yourself.
If you’re working out at home, you’ll probably benefit from setting up a training schedule.
You’re not being held accountable by your gym fees or attending scheduled classes, so set up a schedule that outlines the workouts you’d like to do every day to consistently increase your strength. If you strength trained at a gym, you might have focused on different muscle groups on different days, ie. only working out your leg muscles on Monday, chest on Tuesday, etc. You can do the same thing with at-home strength training workouts if the equipment and exercises you have planned challenge you enough.
If you feel like you need a more high-intensity routine that your equipment doesn’t allow, consider doing more “whole-body” workout days, so you can burn more calories and increase the effectiveness of your workout.
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Don’t forget to schedule in rest days as well – your home workouts can get intense, so give your body time to recover, just like you would in the gym.
Strength training at home might be a different beast than strength training at the gym, but you can still make gains without the equipment. Again, add a dash a creativity, and before you know it – BOOM. You’re stronger.