How to actually make progress with your fitness when working out at home
Doing your workouts in your living room or back garden can feel less effective than going to the gym or a class.
First of all – you don’t have the same equipment. Without the big heave weights of the gym, any of the machines, or a spin bike, it can feel like you’re not really making any gains.
On top of that, it can also chip away at your motivation. Why would you push yourself when your sofa is right there? And there’s no personal trainer to tell you to do one more rep.
But working out at home can be just as effective – it’s even possible to make progress, get fitter, faster and stronger. But, you have to be smart with the way you workout.
So, we asked elite athletes from The London Lions – of the British Basketball League – to give their top tips for making actual progress when working out at home:
Keep a workout journal
Dirk Williams reveals how tracking your workouts is one of the best ways of seeing progress in your workouts:
‘Keeping track and making note of your workouts through a journal is one of the simplest and most effective ways to track your progress when working out and training at home, as it allows you to clearly understand where you are at and where you are aiming to get to.
‘Doing this will also make sure you are changing your workout each day and increasing your reps and weight.
‘A common mistake that you see quite often is when people do the exact same workouts each week with the same amount of weight. By doing this, your progress is going to plateau and you will find it difficult to make any progress.
‘By keeping track of your workouts, you simply know what you have done each week and are then able to move forward with your training each week.’
Maintain a consistent routine
Kevin Ware highlights the importance of maintaining a fitness schedule:
‘Working out at home can get repetitive and sometimes make us cut our reps short or switch up the exercises too often. That’s why keeping your rep count the same (or even increasing it, occasionally) will ensure you’re staying consistent with your workouts and working the same sets of muscles.
‘The more you switch it up and play around, the harder it will be for your body to progress. Rather, your body will constantly be trying to adjust to a new setting or movement.
‘If you have a specific goal, remain consistent, always targeting the muscles you want to strengthen or the area you want to improve.’
Warm-ups and warm-downs
Joe Ikhinmwin reiterates how important it is to remember these basic steps:
‘Just because you’re working at home, doesn’t mean you should skip your warm-up and cool-down.
‘These two parts of your workout are just as important as the main portion.
‘A warm-up prepares your body for movement, and the cool-down helps it release tension, soreness and enable a faster recovery. Make sure you dedicate enough time to each part of your body. Focus on the mind-to-muscle connection as you properly warm-up and stretch out.
‘Additionally, implement foam rolling into your warm down as it gives your muscles the best after-workout treatment and allows them to recover ahead of your next workout.
‘Staying consistent with your warm-up and cool-down will prevent unwanted injuries, strains, and other uncomfortable sensations. They’ll also help you tune into your muscles and get the best out of your workouts, so you can reach your fitness goals.’
Increase the weight and test yourself
DeAndre Liggins says it’s really important to push your limits wherever possible:
‘If you have a real set of weights at home, you can easily track your progress by increasing the weight from whatever you’re using at the moment.
‘Do this when the current weight starts to feel light and not as challenging as it once was.
‘For successful results and a lower injury risk, you’re better off performing a full range of motion reps with a lighter load than performing half sloppy reps with heavier loads.
‘Half reps are great and have their place, but make sure you nail down your form with the full range version first.
‘If you don’t have access to weights, then increase the reps and advance your sets in your routine.’
Allow time to rest and recover
Justin Robinson reminds us that rest is a vital part of any fitness regime:
‘You need to allow enough time to rest and recover, so you’re ready to train again at your next session.
‘Strength training causes tiny tears in muscle tissue. While these aren’t harmful, it’s the healing process that builds muscle. If you don’t give yourself enough time in between workouts, you won’t maximise your results.
‘You also won’t be giving your best at your next session, which means you’ll increase your risk for injury or burnout.
‘Adequate rest and recovery is just as important to progress your workouts, as the workouts are themselves.
‘Remember, the best results come from consistency, and the better you recover from your sessions, the more consistent you’ll be.’
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