If you can’t get to the gym, then it can be tricky to keep up with your strength training regime. Cardio workouts are relatively easy to do at home – there’s no end of HIIT, Circuits, Yoga and other group fitness classes you can do in your living room, but home strength training is slightly different.
A set of weights can be expensive and they take up a fair amount of room, so not everyone will be able to keep a set at home. So what do you do if this is the case? Well, for those of you wanting to build or maintain your current level of muscle mass, check out these top tips.
And before you get started, don’t forget to warm up properly!
Use your Body for your Home Strength Training
If you haven’t got any weights at home, then why not use that fairly heavy weight you carry around everywhere with you – your own body. There are loads of home strength training body weight exercises you can do to help you build or maintain your muscle mass while you’re struggling to get to the gym.
Increase Your Reps
Usually, when you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll aim for between one and five reps of 80-90% of your 1RM (rep maximum) weight. Now, as this may not be possible while you’re strength training at home, you might need to change things up a bit. Instead of aiming for one to five of 80-90%, go for eight to 12 of 60-80%.
This could be doing anything you want. If it’s leg day, do loads of squats. Chest day? Smash some press-ups and so on and so forth. Just increase the number of reps you’re doing. If you need to make them more difficult, we’ll come to that in a moment. It’s not just about smashing the reps though. Don’t forget that maintaining good form is absolutely vital to make sure you don’t hurt yourself and to make sure you get the most out of each workout.
Body Weight too Easy? Time to get Creative
If you’re finding body weight exercises too easy, then adapt them to make it more difficult. Do wide-hand, diamond, single-handed, elevated or jack-knife press-ups, for instance. If you need to add some extra weight to proceedings, then take a look around you. Fill some shopping bags with tinned food or bottles of water and hold them while you’re squatting. Alternatively, you could also try single-leg squats, or adding an explosive element, like jumping in the air.
Is it arm day? Unsure how to do those bicep curls without a set of dumbbells to hand? Worry not. Be creative. What have you got in the house that’s heavy? As we mentioned earlier, tinned foods and bottled water in bags works well. Tinned food usually has a weight printed on it, while water is really easy to remember. One litre = one kilogram. Tricep dips on your sofa are great for working the back of those upper arms and you don’t need to leave the living room! The key is to think laterally, take a look around you and see what you can use.
Change Your Strength Training Protocol
The traditional split body workout (chest day, arm day, leg day etc.) is more difficult when you don’t have weights. Instead, why not try splitting your home strength training regime into just your upper and lower body? Alternatively, consider upper body/ lower body or a push/pull/legs routine.
Stretch it out
When you’re so focused on hitting the weights, stretching and yoga classes might be the last thing on your mind. These can actually have a big impact on performance, however. Increasing your range of movement enables your best lifting range. This then starts to challenge the full muscle.
It can help reduce postural problems where muscles are over-developed compare to others, too. This can have an impact on movement and your ability to perform other exercises efficiently. So why not try a video Yoga, Pilates or Bodybalance class? No-one is watching or judging you in your own house. You never know, you might love it!
Remember, while we’re at home without any weights, you’re just looking to maintain. It won’t be long before you can get back to the gym and start bulking up again! It’s also really important not to sacrifice form for difficulty. Before you progress an exercise to a greater difficulty. Make sure you’ve got the form absolutely nailed.