MY TARGET AUDIENCE
Is not so much the experienced bodybuilder or power lifter. Nor those who want to install squat racks or bench press equipment in their garages.
More specifically, I am addressing:
- Those who may be relative newcomers to workouts
- The ones who may want to get back in shape after a long layoff
- Those who have limited space for equipment
- The ones who want to ease gradually into a routine
- Those who want to be careful with expenditures for fitness
- Those who want to avoid confusion about how to start and what to do
- The ones who have been active, but now are somewhat quarantined and cannot go to gyms
- The ones who simply need motivation
NO EQUIPMENT IS REALLY NEEDED INITIALLY
This is not to say that equipment is unimportant, only that it is quite possible to begin a routine by using only your bodyweight as resistance. Here are some initial steps:
- Check with your physician about this if you have been inactive for a while
- At this point, a living room floor is sufficient space
- Set aside about 45 minutes 3 days per week
Here is a beginning program:
- Warm up with jumping jacks, walking in place with high knees or jumping rope for about 10 minutes
- Support yourself by your forearms as you lie face down. Perform a plank for 30 seconds. Be sure to hold your body in a straight position. See illustration below:
- Stay in a very similar position and do 10 push-ups. If you prefer, begin with your knees on the floor to make this easier
- Do lunges, 10 reps per each leg. See below:
- Try V-ups. These can be challenging at first. Raise your legs and shoulders simultaneously for 20 reps. See below, but be content with partial raises if you feel the need.
- In the beginning, do one set of these 4 movements, plus the warm-up. Then go outside for a 20 – 30 minute walk. As you progress, do 2 sets of each movement, then walk outside.
This simple routine works your upper body, legs and core. The walk provides the cardio. When moving to 2 sets per each exercise, try to finish the total program (with outdoor walk) in 45 minutes.
If you never do anything more than this, you are doing quite well. Stay focused and build good fitness habits. My preference is to finish my workout before breakfast every morning.
Please realize that resistance training is just as important as cardio, if not more so. Do both.
Moving forward, you may be facing boredom as you continue with the same routine.
Here are some suggestions for equipment that is reasonably priced and highly effective. These items may be easily removed from your work space when you are done:
RESISTANCE CORDS (OR BANDS)
These items may be used for low impact training or for very challenging movements. Rafael Nadal, the great tennis pro and fitness exemplar, prefers resistance cords over barbells or dumbbells, as shown in this post.
Resistance cords may be stabilized by attaching them by door anchors or by standing on the midpoint. You may then pull them, push them, curl them or otherwise perform any movement for any desired effect.
There are options for intensity to fit any level of strength. They are easy to use and to understand. They come in small packages, complete with door anchor and means to add greater challenges – whether by hooks for adding more cords or by several individual cords from which to choose.
The man in the image below is pulling the cords to his sides for back development.
Here are a couple of resistance cord packages, at very reasonable prices. These are complete sets, with exercise guides and door anchors.
With resistance cords, you may add many more movements to your program and specialize more closely with body parts that may be lagging.
These need little explanation. You pick them up and move them.
I personally use them for biceps curls.
The woman below has developed an interesting compound movement. She squats with the dumbbells at her shoulders and then presses both arms upward as she completes her squat.
Here are a couple of dumbbell possibilities:
Please note- when clicking on these links, you can easily scroll around for other options.
These are small but challenging pieces of equipment that I have used for several years. You may push them together or pull them apart. They are unique in that they are often used as isometric vehicles.
You may also start an isotonic movement and finish with an isometric hold. Isotonic exercises involve a range of motion as something is pushed or pulled, while isometrics use no joint movement at all.
I am currently using a lot of Bullworker isometric holds to protect an injured rotator cuff. Without Bullworker, I could not accomplish this.
The Bullworker Steel Bow is shown below – very small, but the springs that are inserted into the tube provide significant resistance. In the chest compression exercise, you push the red handles together for a thorough chest workout, actually the best chest developer that I have ever tried.
Bullworker devices are a bit higher in price that the foregoing options, but the quality of the product is exceptional and quite noticeable.
Check out the Bullworker website here.
TREADMILLS AND OTHER CARDIO OPTIONS
I have used a treadmill at home for many years. This allows me to adjust my speed when I like, which is after every minute.
It is also nice to be able to get a good cardio workout indoors during inclimate weather. My practice has been to alternate cardio days with bodybuilding or resistance training days.
Nordic Track is my brand of choice. Dick’s Sporting Goods is my supplier of choice and has been for several decades. Click on the link below. This will take you to their site. On the left side, see “Fitness Deals”. Hover there and then click on “Cardio Equipment Deals” for complete information on cardio choices.
While in this site, feel free to explore any other fitness or sporting goods products that may interest you. Their service and product quality are top-notch.
CHECK YOUR PROGRESS AND STAY MOTIVATED
The Fit Track Dara Scale is quite incredible. You may, of course, keep up with your weight loss or gain.
But you will also be able to keep up with these body metrics:
- Body mass index
- Percentage of body water
- Bone mass
- Protein rate
- Body fat percentage
- Muscle rate
- Weight control
- Basal metabolic rate
- Visceral fat index
- Weight without fat
- Protein mass
- Subcutaneous fat
- Standard weight
- Fat mass
- Muscle mass
Electrodes on the scale send an imperceptible electrical current through your body and return accurate information on your body composition.
Here is the link to Fit Track, with further information.
My goal has been to present very basic information on starting a home workout routine. Then, I wanted to give options for adding sophistication for variety as needed.
There is no reason to try everything at the outset. But workouts can become tedious and motivation can dwindle.
My personal experience tells me that new routines and new movements added to existing routines can keep me inspired.
I also find that playing music as I work out is quite important. Working out before breakfast in the morning works well for me, but may not be advisable for others.
Please leave me any questions or comments in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be well and stay safe!