Let's find out the best tips on how to improve your home workouts and make them more challenging, dynamic, and enjoyable.
In my case, a 3rd lockdown has begun, gyms are closed again and I can start with home workouts again. For a person like me who loves heavy training, it is hard. However, I have found different areas that I want to work on and improve. Such as flexibility, mobility, or balance.
Obviously, the best thing you can do is to invest and buy some equipment but remember, you don't need to spend a fortune and buy everything that will come to your mind. One of the most multifunctional equipment is the kettlebell, resistance bands of different types, pair of dumbells that you use the most, or TRX if you can have it in your room.
However, you can always make changes towards your progress, no matter what equipment you have. This is called progressive overload when you gradually increase the weight, frequency, number of repetitions, or overall training volume in your training routine. Specifically, this method is used in strength training but the same method can be applied to a type of exercise to challenge your body and allows your musculoskeletal system to get stronger.
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Why do we apply progressive overload?
I believe that answer is pretty clear when doing the same workouts over and over or using the same resistance, do the same movements, etc., can lead to your body plateauing. Any exercise, movement, the resistance that was once challenging is now easy to do and does not provide any progress anymore. Of course, when the plateau is noticed, it is a good sign that you've made some gains in your fitness journey but also, it is a sign to move forward, change your routine, and progress again.
When you are in the gym obviously, you have more options on how to play around with your workout. In the case of a home workout, you gotta be working on your technique, a number of reps, sets, exercises, or workouts per week, with your intensity, time, and modifications of exercise. In the end, it is still plenty of options to make your workout on fire.
A study from 2011 found that progressive overload which means gradually increasing the weight and number of repetitions of exercises is effective for increasing strength and muscle growth in both men and women.
5 Ways To Apply Progressive Overload
In order to increase the volume of your training, you may add more reps or sets to your workout to keep your muscle longer under the stress. Another great tip is to add supersets, circuits, or another training session to increase your weekly training volume.
Increased intensity helps increase your heart rate, cardiovascular conditioning, and muscular endurance faster. The best way to do it is to minimize the resting time between reps and sets or try 'AMRAP' workouts. Another effective way is plyometrics exercises, which add explosive power and some great and dynamic exercises to your workout.
3️⃣ Tempo / TUT
To make your workout more challenging slow down your exercise and increase the time your muscles are under tension (TUT). This will help you focus on engaging the right muscle groups and create a positive training effect leading to higher demands on your muscle tissue. Try different tempos, pulses, pauses, and static holds.
4️⃣ Unilateral Exercises
Unilateral exercises are a great tool for developing balanced strength, stability and increasing TUT. Add different variations of exercises like side plank, lunges, squats, overhear presses, single-arm rows, etc. to develop stabilizers and small muscle groups. They don't require much equipment or load and still are challenging.
5️⃣ Challenge Yourself
If you sometimes feel insecure in the gym, home is a great place to practice new things and push yourself into progress. It is so many methods out there and even with minimum equipment, it is still so many options. Add some balancing, mobility, flexibility, plyometric, or stretching workouts into your routine, and can't get bored.
To improve and maximize your home workouts you can apply methods of progressive overload to challenge yourself towards new goals. These methods are great options to level up your workout even with a minimum, or no equipment. Be creative and open to push yourself into new fitness challenges and enjoy the great feeling afterward.
Klika B. (2017). Exercise easy for big gains. acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6316/exercise-easy-for-big-gains/
Peterson MD, et al. (2010). Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exercise. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215195/
Schoenfeld BJ, et al. (2016). Effects of resistance training frequency on measures of muscle hypertrophy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8
Vargo K. (2016). 10 tips for powering through plateaus. acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5851/10-tips-for-powering-through-plateaus/