In light of what’s happening in our world, state-wide lockdown orders have forced nonessential businesses (such as gyms and workout studios) to close – leaving millions of people left to figure out how they’re going to stay in shape. With a global pandemic comes added stress and uncertainty, but fortunately, working out at home has never been easier!
People are banding together and sharing resources – fitness experts, local gyms, apps, and Youtubers are doing everything in their power to give us workout routines to stay active (and entertained). While self-isolating might sound like an excuse to sleep in every day and vedge on the potato chips in your pantry, working out from home is the perfect way to keep your mind fresh and your body strong. We want to walk you through the best at-home workout – and how to optimize it – to keep you in top shape.
First and foremost, working out from home is a choice, and we’re not saying it’s an easy one. Unlike the gym or a workout class, you might not have anyone to keep you accountable, to spot you, or push you to your limits. Now more than ever, you have to decide if you’re going to power through and grind from home.
Yet, with some furniture rearranging and a couple of hand weights (or sacks of flour – get creative), at-home workouts are 100% doable.
We feel that instructor-led videos are the closest thing to hitting a workout class at the gym. Although it’s a virtual class, there is still that human-human connection that stems from a workout video. The best at-home workout videos are typically 20-45 minutes of packed-in exercises, making it easy for you to jump right in and get it over quickly.
Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) claims that following a fitness instructor or trainer increases motivation and efficiency. An instructor is able to challenge you harder and push you beyond your comfort zone without hurting yourself. You can still get that motivation and fuel through your TV screen. Efficiency wise, don’t be the person that stumbles around your apartment trying to come up with exercises on your own. If you’re not into planning your workouts, let someone else do it for you. This should maximize your time spent hitting it hard, rather than doing multiple sets of bicep curls and not knowing what to tackle next.
While these workout videos usually require a subscription or membership, several providers are offering their workouts for free right now. So, take advantage of them. Keep in mind there’s no one-video-fits-all approach; we’re talking about a wide range of live and prerecorded videos. If you like Bootcamp-style classes or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), there’s definitely a video or an app for you. Take a look at what some specific companies are doing:
If you go to Youtube and search “HIIT workout”, you’re bound to find thousands upon thousands of HIIT workouts you can follow right from your living room, small apartment, or backyard. Instead of binge-watching that new Netflix series, search Youtube for the best at-home workout videos to pass the time.
Once you’ve found the workout that works for you, you may want to consider adding a couple of pieces of basic equipment into your regimen – scratch that, you should add equipment. We’re not talking about a full-on gym complete with machines – just a few small items.
While there are plenty of bodyweight exercises you can follow, we know some of you heavy-hitters are struggling without your official gym and its equipment right now. And if getting creative with paint cans and sacks of flour isn’t your thing, here’s some basic equipment you can purchase without breaking the bank:
While you can absolutely get the most of your workout through bodyweight exercises, the best at-home workouts for weight loss will require some additional weights. You know this. In order to maintain your bulking progress, you’ll need a set of heavy weights. Eight compiled studies showed the difference in using heavy vs light weights. Is there a real difference if you push to near failure with either type of weight? Yes. The studies showed that heavy weights lead to more strength gains – which also leads to better hypertrophy. Case closed.
If anything, grab a set that falls somewhere in-between your regular lifting weight and something lighter so that you can adapt to different workouts at home. You can purchase a set of basic dumbbells for a reasonable price, or again, get creative with what you have at home. You can make anything work!
If you’re stuck indoors, jumping rope is a solid boost of cardio. Even just 10 minutes of jumping rope is similar to 30 minutes of jogging – plus, we all need a break from boring jogs anyway, right?
If you’re up to date on popular workouts and toys, you’re well aware Peloton is one of the latest workout crazes. While the bike itself is a major investment, Peloton is offering a free, 90-day trial for their workout app. We’re talking 90 days of easy-to-follow videos ranging from yoga and meditation to strength training, cardio, and Bootcamp classes – none of which require a Peloton bike or treadmill. So, there’s really no excuse to not hop on this free trial. All you need is yourself, free space, and in some cases, a mat or set of weights.
Keep in mind a yoga or workout mat is not essential, but performing high-impact exercises on the hard floor (depending on your living situation) can put unwanted strain on your body. If anything, lay down a towel, or try to find a grassy area outside if you can.
Adding a medicine ball to your routine will amp up your workout. Whether you hold it while you’re working your arms or abs, that added weight is sure to push you the extra mile. You can start out with as low as a four-pound medicine ball. But if you exercise regularly, we recommend the 12- or 16-pound (or higher) medicine ball as you can use it in a number of different at-home workouts. We also love how medicine balls are made out of a textured rubber, making it easier to hold – especially when you’re getting your sweat on!
Resistance bands are perhaps the easiest to store in a small space. Like dumbbells or other free weights, resistance bands provide that external resistance (obviously) that your muscles have to fight against. You can utilize a band to strengthen and tone any part of your body.
If you don’t need an instructor and prefer self-guided workouts, we have a couple circuits to get you started right here, right in your own “home gym”:
Set the clock for 15 minutes. You’ll have a minute to complete each move. You’ll take whatever time remains in each minute to rest (hint: really push yourself so you get that extra time to rest). Push yourself, but don’t compromise technique for speed.
1st Minute: 15 burpees
2nd Minute: 15 jump squats
3rd Minute: 10 lying superman holds
Repeat 5 times.
And that’s it. Easy enough? We promise you’ll be sweating by round 5.
Complete 3 rounds of this circuit:
While those circuits are just a couple of suggestions, you can easily create your own workout plan following a simple formula. Follow the 2:1 ratio of work to rest periods. Let’s say you complete 40 seconds of heavy lifting, and alternate with 20 seconds of medium-level exertion (or a rest period). When completing a full-body circuit, you should alternate between anaerobic and aerobic movements. This formula will push you to hit your goals, all in a timely manner. Work hard, work fast – is there anything better? The best at-home workout starts with a plan.
If you’re tired of doing the same workout routine every day, check out this workout guide for more inspiration and the best at-home workouts for weight loss.
Finding the motivation to power through at-home workouts can be a challenge – physically and mentally. But ultimately, you have to decide. You’re in charge of your body, so put it to work. Make it fun, too. Grab your partner or friend and see how you can push each other from home. Get competitive – who can lift more? Who has what it takes to stay motivated? Who’s getting the shredded summer body?
We want to remind you that we’re in your corner, rooting for you all the way. Send us a message or comment below on how you’re completing the best at-home workout routines.