“Home Exercise Program.” Has a new meaning in 2020

With gyms and parks closed at the moment, we have had to complete our need to exercise within our homes. Your home may not have a bench press, squat rack, dumbbells, cable machines, preferred nautilus machine and even gym classes. Luckily there are a variety of exercises that you can complete within your home without the need of the gym. There are also variables that you can change within your exercise program in order to keep up with your goals.

Your body, Your best...tool to exercise

Some of us may have the good fortune of having those old dumbbells we’ve been using as a door stopper, but some of us may have nothing at all. No worries, we can pull out your brain’s book of working out and go to the earlier chapters that include exercises using you own body weight, such as, pushups, air squats, lunges, burpees, bridges, romanian dead lifts, heel raises and lunges (just to name a few). These body weight exercises can even be altered in ways to get close to that ‘pump’ like you did at the gym. A couple of examples include, completing push-ups to failure. Failure is when you sense that your technique on a per repetition basis is not where it was at the beginning of the set. Eccentric loading is another variation that you can include by slowing down the loading phase of an exercise movement, requiring three, even five seconds to complete before you finish the second half of the rep. Even working one side at a time or unilaterally can help in addressing those muscle imbalance issues that may have been present before. Remember to always put the exercises with complex movements first at the beginning of the exercise routine. What does this mean? If you are going to move multiple joints at a time, you will be working out multiple muscle groups at a time, thus requiring more energy from your body. At the same time, you want your isolation exercises that focus on one joint movement towards at the end of your workout. These exercises can be your arm workouts, or heel raises. These are just some variations that you can make your whole-body exercises challenging and feel new.

Variables, more than meets the eye

Even before we were relegated to our homes, using our guest rooms as makeshift gyms and day beds as gym benches we were already altering our exercise routine to continue to challenge us. How did we do it? We were changing our sets and reps. Want to work on endurance for a particular muscle group? Increase the reps to 12-15 reps. Want to work on muscle growth and secondarily strength? Alter the reps to 6-12 per set. To avoid overdoing your training, try not to exceed 30-36 sets per workout. Typically, 20-25 sets should be enough. Remember, you can easily over train your muscles even in your home. If you are lucky enough to have weights at home then congratulations you have an extra variable that you can use to alter your exercises. And if you don’t? No problem, you can put water into gallon jugs, use resistance bands, purchased on the internet or even fill reusable grocery bags with food. Just make sure those bags are sanitized!

Advice number three: Revenge of the variables

Just when you thought we were done discussing variables, it would have been negligent to not point out the benefits of altering these two often forgotten about variables: tempo, and rest periods. As long as proper technique continues with a focus on working on major muscle groups, you can increase the tempo of some of your exercises. These include air squats, especially if you add a jumping component to them. You can also slow it down as previously mentioned with eccentric loading. If you are looking to build up a sweat and work on cardiovascular endurance you can decrease your rest periods between a range of 15-30 seconds. If you are working on strength you can rest between 30-60 seconds. Tracking rest periods can aid in increasing your focus.

Time to kill? Run it into the ground!

With proper footwear and proper clothing, you too can get away from the confines of your home and enjoy the warming weather, by going out for a run. However, it is still highly recommended that you do not run in groups, maintain six feet of distance from other people and please do not go out if you feel sick. If you are new to running or want to have a new goal to meet you can use websites like https://www.halhigdon.com/ for free and receive experienced running advice as well as training templates to use and build around your current regimen.

My father has it, My sister has it, You have that power too!

The gym is not the only place you can get a good workout! Long before gyms and overpriced machines that only work one muscle group and movement, we had to use what was readily available as well as our creativity in order to reach our fitness goals. Stay safe and please remember to discuss with your doctor when beginning any new training program.

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