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So, you want to be strong? Welcome to the club! A big concern for ditching the gym and working out at home is whether the workouts at home are going to be just as effective as being at the gym.
My answer: they can be even better!
You can have amazing workouts at home, feeling the burn, the soreness, and all the glory all from the “comfort” of your garage or living room.
For now, I’ll just talk about strength training workouts from home. They’re surprisingly simple to put together and I’ll nudge you in the right direction. I’ll also talk about great exercises to do if you have weights and if you don’t. So, let’s talk about the key parts to work on: legs, arms, core.
Friends don’t let friends skip leg day. There’s a reason for that besides the fact you’ll be waddling around like a duck after leg day. And that reason is: the legs propel you. Feel confident with strong legs!
If you have weights, here are great leg exercises:
- Weighted Squats: If you can’t do anything else for the legs. DO THIS! Squats strengthen the hamstring, quads, and glutes to stabilize your frame while walking/running and everything in between.
- Dumbbell Lunges: No cheating! Go all the way down.
- Weighted Box Step-ups: Especially after squats…it’ll break you off!
- Dumbbell Squats: Do this if you don’t have a squat rack and weights.
- Kettle Bell Swings
- Goblet Squats with a Kettle Bell or Dumbbell
- Sumo Squats with Kettle Bell
- Deadlift: WHOA! Doesn’t that work your back? Well yeah if you want to break it. Good form will work your hamstrings.
- Power Cleans: This is for advanced lifters, but it’s a great one. I still struggle with it.
If you don’t have weights:
- Air Squats: Focus on your form. No knees over ankles and go parallel to the floor.
- Jump Squats: GET SMOKED!
- Jump Lunges: Yep…smoker right here.
- Bear crawls
- Lateral Jumps Side to Side
- Standing Long Jump
- Box Jumps or Step Ups
Any combo of these will BREAK. YOU. OFF! For weighted keep your weight low and reps high if you’re inexperienced, and if you don’t have a spotter. Start off with 3 sets of 10 reps with 2 minutes rest in between for squats, dead lifts, and cleans. For the rest of those exercises, no more than 30 seconds rest in between each set; and plan to do 3-5 sets of around 12-15 reps. Take your time with those reps! Each one is super important. Modify your rest times as you see fit. I try to keep it at 30 seconds to keep my heart rate up.
Arms…everyone’s favorite. I know I like the feeling I get from a good arm workout. I’ll also include some back stuff into here (almost a cardinal sin in the workout world…). I hope you’ll forgive me:
If you have weights:
- Bench Press: The classing chest building exercise! There’s a reason why this is a core exercise. It builds your chest and triceps in a smooth motion.
- Dumbbell Bench Press, flys, curls, skull crushers: Dumbbells…you have them in your hands. Get creative, but not too crazy…Don’t practice your throwing technique with a 20lb dumbbell…
- Weighted Pushup: Put a barbell weight on your back. Make it harder by keeping a metronome beat.
- Weighted Dip: If you have a dip bar.
- Military Press: Usually seated. But it’ll help with your back and biceps. You can use a barbell and weights or dumbbells.
- Farmer’s Carries with Dumbbells: Hold two dumbbells and walk…Make sure they’re heavy enough.
- Push Press: Usually standing. Can be done with a barbell and weights or dumbbells.
- Medicine Ball Slams/Throws: Those will smoke the daylights out of you…if you do it right…and long enough.
If you don’t have weights:
- Pushups: I learned about the Texas Pushup Challenge this past year. Start in the standing position, go down to the pushup position and do one pushup, stand up then go down and do two pushups…Do that until you reach 10 pushups. Then, record your time. Go all the way down, all the way up on your pushups. Do I really have to say no cheating? I’m usually sitting at 70 seconds for this.
- Dips: Do these from a chair.
- Barbell Rows: Find a low bar, get under it laying on the ground and pull yourself to the bar.
For the bench press, do the same 3 sets 10 reps. Then add in some other exercises. Use the Tiabatta routine if you don’t have weights. I explained Tiabattas in my last post here. Again, do those 3-5 sets at 10 reps a piece. Some of these are timed (Texas Pushup Challenge, farmer’s carry) so choose a length of time that’ll be good for you. I usually do one minute.
For non-weighted exercises, choose a number and hit that many reps. It doesn’t matter how many sets you do to reach it…just get there. Or you can go for time. Tiabattas are your friend here too.
Remember, keep this within your fitness level. Slowly increase your weight and reps, and executing good form is more important than one more rep.
Core-The Belly Achers
I’ll tell you upfront that I don’t have washboard abs like Thor…oh wait…never mind…neither does he. Instead, I’ll just give you some ideas that’ll inspire you.
- Supine Bicycles: I hate these…with a fiery passion…but they burn so good.
- Flutter kicks: Scissor kicks are good too.
- Russian Twists: Or cherry pickers…use a medicine ball if you want more of a challenge.
- Plank: There’s the high plank (pushup position), low plank on your elbows, then side plank. Make it harder by lifting the upper leg on the side plank.
- Sit-ups: If you’re old school like that…hey the Army still does it.
- Pull-up hangs: Hang from a pull-up bar and see how far you can lift your legs. Or lift your knees to your chest. You can do reps with that one.
Those are just a few. I mostly do these for time and they work out well. I’ll use a medicine ball with these to make them more challenging sometimes.
Creating That Good Workout
All this means nothing if you don’t go and do it. I suggest choosing a day of legs, arms, and core and rotating those throughout the week. That gives you two days of each with one rest day. Pick four or so exercises to do, choose your sets and reps and see what works. You can always tweak it mid or post workout.
Or, if you want a full body workout choose six exercises between all three of these categories. Do them for time or sets/reps and you’ll be feeling good.
Let me know how your workout goes!