The quarantine put quite a damper on a lot of people’s fitness goals when gyms worldwide were forced to shut their doors. As a result, many people turned their gym workouts into home workouts (or no workouts at all in some cases). Many mobile apps, digital videos (or dvd’s for old schoolers like me), YouTube channels, etc. promoting at home workouts with minimal to no equipment have flourished, which is great! At home workouts are great way to continue a fitness program when gyms aren’t available whether it be for quarantine (like right now for example), travel, or monetary reasons. But you need to be smart about it.
- If you can afford to do so, hire a personal trainer to train with you virtually to ensure that you are performing the exercises with correct form and that you’re doing a program that’s designed specifically for you, not the masses.
- If a trainer is not something that’s in your budget right now, that’s okay. The fitness apps and other assorted options out there are for the most part, absolutely fine options. I recommend researching the fitness professional designing and/or teaching these programs to make sure that you are getting a workout that’s actually created by a professional and not someone who just looks good or maybe likes fitness a whole lot.
- Make sure your workouts include your entire body. Right now, we’re all basically in the same boat. Some of us may have been lucky enough to already have a full or quasi-full home gym prepared and others may have seen the writing on the wall fairly early when the virus struck and quickly snatched up as much workout equipment they could get their hands on. The rest of us (myself included) have to make do with what we have or with what we can find leftover from the initial rush. Unfortunately, many of the bodyweight programs circulating out there focus on pushups as the predominant form of upper body training. Pushups are fantastic, but you need to balance that out with some kind of pulling exercises in order to maintain good posture. Too much emphasis on pushing exercises can lead to internal rotation of the shoulder and a hunched posture. A good general rule of thumb is that for every pushing exercise you do, do two pulling ones. Understandably, we don’t all have access to a pullup bar, cable machine, or even dumbbells, but time under tension exercises utilizing a towel or a t-shirt, supermans, and inverted rows using your kitchen/dining table are all effective alternatives. “Heavier” items around the house can also be substituted for dumbbells – sauce jars, water bottles/jugs, liquor bottles/jugs, laundry detergent, canned goods, etc.
These are some of my favorite items that I’ve picked up over the years to utilize when I’m working out at home. I chose these to share in particular because of pricing and ease of transport/storage (just to be clear, I’m not sponsored by any of these brands – I just really like the products):
Core Sliders – I like these because the dual sides allow for them to be used on hard floors and carpeting, which is great because most products similar to these can only be used on hard floors. Obviously, not everyone has hard flooring available or enough hard floor space to workout on. These can take basic upper body exercises (ex. pushups), lower body exercises (ex. lunges), and core exercises (ex. mountain climbers) and up the ante without having to add extra weight. Super helpful, especially when dumbbells seem to be hard to come by these days.
Exercise Bands – Exercise bands are great for upping the ante on a lot upper body and lower body exercises as well, but they’re also good for assisting our bodies into recruiting more muscle engagement. Particularly on movements like squats, bridges, and deadlifts/RDL’s. Some of us may not even be aware that we collapse inward (valgus) on a squat or maybe we don’t engage our outer glutes (glute medius) effectively. The bands help to not only expose these weaknesses, but can help correct them. I like this particular band because the fabric doesn’t roll or lose its resistance as quickly as the cheaper plastic ones do.
Resistance Bands – For those of us who do not have the space and/or the resources to invest in a dumbbell set or full cable machine, resistance bands are a affordable and space-conscious way to get a slew of pulling exercises (among other exercises) into your program.
TRX – If you can afford the price tag, a TRX is a great investment. You can get a very effective full body workout with a TRX and it’s extremely portable, which means when this shit show eventually calms down and you’re back to traveling, this bad boy can fit into a carry on suitcase. It also comes with a door anchor, which means you don’t have to worry about mounting it to a safe spot on your ceiling (you can if you want to though). All you need is a door. We all have a door. If $200 is a bit steep, these olympic rings are a great alternative for less than $50. You will have to hang them on something in order to use them though. Mine are on my pullup bar, but I’ve hung them on the fence in the backyard, the bleachers at a school track, and a set of monkey bars at a local park. So, they’re still pretty versatile.