As gyms remain closed during lockdown, not having a huge variety of equipment for your workouts at home can be a big problem for some people. As a result, it can raise concerns about getting into or staying in shape, which can affect self-confidence and overall mood. But how can you prevent this by making your workouts effective, without an abundance of equipment at your disposal?
When you have limited or no equipment at home, you have to be able to find ways of working with what you have. Whether this means working with your own bodyweight or finding a stand that is strong enough to use for your resistance bands, it is imperative that you gather whatever equipment you have, research the best exercises for it and then form a plan. You will be surprised with how much you can do and what you can achieve with limited equipment.
Over time, it is a good idea to invest in some new equipment so that your workouts do not become stagnant, your workouts are fun and interesting, and so that you keep progressing. I would always recommend purchasing some adjustable dumbbells and resistance bands because each exercise requires a certain weight, based on your current strength. Being able to change the weight will allow you to perform the exercises much more efficiently, which is key to progression.
Have a Plan/Structure
Once you have all your equipment gathered up and in one place, it is very important to plan what your workout is going to look like, based on what you have. This is a key point in the gym but even more so during home workouts, where you will have to improvise more. Write down a plan which includes how often you are going to train, what muscle groups you are going to train during certain sessions, how many exercises you plan to do (5-8 is usually recommended) during the session, and how many reps and sets are included.
All of this is going to be crucial to providing clarity and structure to your workouts, which will also determine the rate of your progression. Once you perform your first few workouts with this plan, it will soon become ingrained into your memory and you will have to refer back to your notes less and less as time goes on. However, make sure that you occasionally mix up your exercises to add variety and different challenges to your body.
Given the lack of equipment at your disposal, it is imperative that you replicate the intensity of your usual gym sessions as much as you can. This goes further than just doing some useful exercises with your equipment. This includes your exercise tempo (speed at which you perform a repetition) and if you feel that the weight or resistance is too light for you, try to slow your repetitions down so that you get as much time under tension on the muscle as possible, which is very important for muscle development and maintenance.
Also, make sure your technique is correct when performing the exercise. This links in with intensity because if you are using shortcuts and are not making the movement hard for yourself, less muscle breakdown will occur, you will not get the most from your workouts and therefore your progression will be negatively affected.
Finally, look at shorter rest periods during your workouts. Again, if the weight or resistance is too light and you can’t increase it, you are going to have to find ways to keep the workout intense. Limiting your rest period time is a great way to keep your body working and provide more tension in a shorter time period, leading to greater muscle breakdown and therefore more progression. It is also useful if you are on a tight schedule with working from home or if you are a key worker as it makes the workouts shorter but still very achievable.
Stay safe during lockdown and adopt these strategies to ensure that your workouts are stimulating your progress.
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