Being stuck at home is proving to be really hard for most of us.
What makes it even more mentally taxing is the fact that no one can pinpoint a date at which all this pandemic insanity will end and we can slowly return to our normal way of living.
I know I started that super cheerful but let’s not let that feeling of hopelessness creep in under our skin and nest in us.
Let’s do our best and force sanity upon us.
Well, this is a fitness/health blog so I guess you won’t be surprised when I tell you that the best way to keep sane now is exercising!
There’s nothing like the energy and endorphin boost after a good workout!
Despite that, it takes a certain amount of creativity to keep home workouts interesting, especially when you have limited equipment and space available.
Here are 5 ways in which you can spice up home workouts and make them a little more challenging & fun:
1. Invest in some affordable equipment
Hey, I’m not saying to equip a full-blown home gym but there are SO many affordable options out there.
If so far you’ve only been relying on bodyweight workouts, you’ll find that something as simple as a resistance band can be a complete game-changer for your training.
And in any case, there’s hardly a better time to invest in some home equipment than now.
Top 5 affordable and multipurpose home fitness equipment:
Dumbbells – There are practically no limitations to what exercise you can do with dumbbells (or even just one of them).
You can make any bodyweight exercise more effective by adding extra resistance through the dumbbells.
To be as practical as possible, get adjustable dumbbells that you can adjust anywhere between 5-15kg.
Resistance band – Cheap, easily transportable, and versatile. Maybe not as practical as dumbbells but a great option none the less.
There are TONS of exercises that you can do with a simple resistance band – both isolation and compound ones.
Dip station – We got ours a few months ago and we’re pretty happy that we did.
It adds so much diversity to our workouts nowadays when we’re being stuck at home.
Just a few exercises you can do on the dip station: dips, pull-ups, rows, deficit push-ups. l-sits, elevated push-ups, chins, and more.
Keep your eyes open – a new article coming up on the topic! 🙂
Kettlebell – I know there’s the argument that kettlebells aren’t as versatile as a set of dumbbells and yeah, there’s some truth to that.
I mean, you still get just ONE kettlebell but honestly, you can still do SO much with a kettlebell.
Personally, I’ve grown to enjoy using them even more than dumbbells but ideally, you should get 2 – one lighter and one on the heavy side.
Sandbag – Yet another weight form.
You can use a sandbag to substitute a barbell in most exercises.
Here are just a few examples: back & front squats, lunges, step-ups, hip thrusts, push press, overhead squat, and…. the options are there.
2. Increase time under tension
Tempo training has been around for quite some time but never gained such wide popularity.
Things are slowly changing though and more and more people are including it in their training programs.
What’s tempo training?
Basically, it means moving at a specific pace in both the eccentric and concentric parts of the exercises and/or adding a pause at the bottom/top position.
Let’s say you’re doing squats and you want to adhere to the following instruction: back squat 3 3 3 0.
Tempo numbers always go by the same order:
In this case – back squat 3 3 3 0 means that you go down in 3 seconds, stay 3 seconds at the bottom, take another 3 sec to come up and have no pause at the top.
You can apply this to almost any exercise to achieve greater muscle activation, better form, and overcoming some weak points you might have.
It’s one of the easiest, yet most effective to maximize the results of your training.
Tempo training is great for people who miss the “big weights” at the gym and wonder how to get similar stimuli with the weights available at home.
Note: It doesn’t need to be 3 seconds. You choose – just slow down the movement, increase the tension time, and focus on quality reps.
3. Try different workout schemes
If you haven’t tried EMOMS yet – you better set up your timer now.
The concept is pretty simple and straightforward – EMOM’s can have different durations, usually ranging anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. For every scheduled minute of it, you perform the same given set of exercises until the workout is over. If, for example, you finish with the execution of the movements by the 30th second, you then have the remaining 30 seconds to rest. At the beginning of the new minute, you repeat the same exercises, and so on, until the workout is over. You should always strive to have at least 15 to 10 seconds rest until the start of the following minute.20 EMOM workouts to test your strength and conditioning
I promise you, nothing gives you quite the burn that an EMOM workout does.
It’s not hard to make at-home training interesting when you constantly vary between workout types.
4. Set different challenges in front of you
In the context of working out, a challenge might be either performance-focused or physic transformation-focused.
I’d always go with the performance goals!
For example, make a challenge for yourself that in one month you’ll be able to do 10 push-ups without a break.
Or beat your score from the AMRAP you did last week.
Or get to do single leg squats without holding to something.
You get the idea!
Get in a competition with yourself! As Monika (“Friends”) says – “In your face last year me!”
5. Give partner workout a chance!
If you’re not under lockdown alone, urge your partner to do some partner workouts together. That’s always a great motivation boost.
Added bonus: General mood improvement and a feeling of closeness.
For the ones stuck at home by themselves, there’s always the internet. Instead of video calling your friends just to chat arrange a virtual workout date.
I’ve done it – it’s fun!
I hope any of these tips were helpful! Let me know in the comments how your home training is going!