Working out at home can often be a challenge due to the lack of equipment and knowledge, but follow these simple rules from Yasmin Saadi, Personal Trainer and Director at The Fitting Rooms, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve.
Whether your main fitness goal is to look more toned, get stronger or feel fitter, the first pointer is to focus on the big-bang-for-your-buck ‘compound’ exercises, which use multiple muscles across multiple joints since these are the most effective exercises to increase strength, build lean muscle and burn fat. Think squats, lunges, pull-ups, etc.
Using supersets of exercises, where you pair two exercises together and perform them back to back with pre-determined rest periods in between, is a really effective way to increase the workload on the body, helping to burn more fat. To get the best results, pair an upper body exercise with a lower body exercise and use short rest periods of 30 – 60 seconds between each so that your heart rate is kept elevated for the duration of the workout. The short rest periods cause an increase in lactic acid production resulting in a rise in the release of Growth Hormone which is what tells your body to burn stored fat and build muscle. Choose 3 pairs of exercises and make sure you use controlled movements throughout so that you can feel the muscles stretch and contract. A good example would be to do 12 squats, rest for 45 seconds, do 12 pull-ups, rest for 45 seconds and repeat until you’ve done 3 sets of each, then move on to your second pair of exercises.
Ensure good form when doing any exercise and be mindful of the speed you perform the movement with: results come from controlling the muscles under tension, not from moving your body with momentum. A good rule of thumb is to take 3 – 4 seconds on the eccentric part of the movement (where the main muscles working are being stretched) and 1 second on the concentric part (where the main muscles are contracting), e.g.: when squatting, take 3 seconds to lower your body towards the ground (as the quads and glutes are lengthening), and return upright in 1 second. If in doubt with your technique be sure to seek the advice of an expert personal trainer; if London Bridge is convenient for you check out The Fitting Rooms Gym!
Do not stick to the same rep ranges for too long. Instead work in training phases of around 4 weeks to ensure that the body has enough time to adapt to the new regime, but not too long that you begin to plateau. A good starting point would be to perform 3 sets of 15 reps per exercise, since 15 reps is a good range for fat burning and achieving a toned look. Stick to this rep range for around 4 weeks and then drop down to 10 reps per exercise.
Keep your workouts balanced so that you work all opposing muscles (think: chest & back, hamstrings & quads). The biggest hurdle with training at home is that there isn’t always the equipment at hand to work your back muscles and overuse of press-ups and other exercises that work your chest and shoulders will lead to imbalances across the body. Over time these imbalances can result in injury. To work your back you will need to purchase some home training equipment with which you can perform a rowing movement. A pull-up bar, suspension training kit or a pair of dumbbells would all work well.
Don’t forget to stretch! Use the first 10 minutes of your workout to slowly increase your heart rate with some active stretching and mobility. Focus on stretching the hip flexors, hamstrings, lower back and chest – these are all the usual culprits for injury. It’s worth investing in a foam roller, which you can get for £10 – £20 online and there are plenty of YouTube videos out there with mobility drills to follow.
Work the glutes! A great physique starts with a good pair of glutes and generally most glute exercises incorporate the other leg muscles leading to a fantastically sculpted lower body. The best exercise for achieving buns of steel are the squat, lunge and split squat, so be sure to incorporate these into your workouts.
Below is a sample home workout with notes on which muscles you are focusing on for each. Do each superset 3 times at 15 reps with 30 seconds rest between each exercise.
Super Set 1
Squats – Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves & Core
Press ups – Triceps, Chest & Shoulders
Super Set 2
Lunges – Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves & Core
Body Row (using suspension kit or resistance bands) – Back & Biceps
Super Set 3
Split Squats – Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves & Core
Pull Ups (using low use legs to assist with movement) – Back, Biceps & Core
Super Set 4
Lateral Raises (use water bottles if you don’t have dumbbells) – Shoulders
Plank (6o seconds) – Core
10 X 5 Burpees with 20 seconds rest between each set of 5.
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Yasmin Saadi is a Personal Trainer and Director at The Fitting Rooms. She has an unrivalled passion for health and fitness that shines through in both her training sessions and her fitness articles, which have built a large online following. With years of training experience behind her, Yasmin has worked with clients from beginner to national sports-level, producing results in body composition and strength which speak for themselves.