PROS AND CONS
My domain name – www.myworkoutathome.com – and my headline for this post – WORKOUT AT HOME – might reasonably be taken to suggest a preference for home workouts over gym workouts.
Not really. I am not promoting one over the other. Any workout is productive. I have worked out in gyms, Nautilus centers, YMCAs and university weight rooms, as well as in garages or dens at home. The only ineffective workout is the one that is not done.
There are pros and cons for home workouts, as follows:
- Time may be saved – no travel necessary
- No waiting for machines to be available
- No need to dress “to impress”
- A quieter environment
- No membership fees
- No way to feed from the energy of others
- No socializing
- Equipment must be bought
I am primarily working out at home now, though I have a free YMCA membership. I can finish a thorough resistance / cardio workout in less than an hour. I can play music that I choose and work at the pace that I like. While I am not promoting “home over gym”, it is certainly true that I am addressing those who are seeking information and inspiration for home workouts.
NO EQUIPMENT ?
Bodyweight is an excellent form of resistance. I have several devices for abdominal exercise, but my favorite core workout is shown below. This is a 6 minute sequence of 6 different sets. Each set is done for 50 seconds and then 10 seconds are taken to rest before the next set. This is intense! I use a timer from my cell phone. This is strictly a bodyweight program. Nothing to buy.
I get the best “burn” from set # 3, the Butterfly Crunch. If I ever need to shorten the 6 minutes to save energy for the rest of my program, I at least do 2 sets of the Butterfly Crunch.
Push – ups are great for the chest, triceps and shoulders. The core muscles are also somewhat worked. This is a well known and highly effective upper body movement. See below:
Planks are isometric forms of resistance whereby your entire core is worked as you remain in a fixed position with your forearms and toes touching the surface. The length of time to hold a plank has been somewhat controversial. It is crucial to maintain correct form as shown below, no matter how long.
My research shows that holding for one minute is generally recommended, with the option of doing more sets after a brief rest. I do a version where I tap my knees to the surface during the one minute. This adds more engagement of the abdominal muscles and thus more intensity.
So…..no equipment is really needed to do any of the movements shown above. Add some squats and calf raises for the legs and the workout is essentially complete, except for biceps.
Try this simple bodyweight workout:
- The 6 minute abdominal program shown above (which includes a plank set)
- 2 sets of push – ups (10 – 12 or build to that number)
- 1 set of squats (feet shoulder width apart, bend knees to comfort level, repeat) – do 10-12
- 1 set of calf raises (preferably with balls of your feet on some 2-3″ platform or board) – do 20
- Take a brisk 30 minute walk
It goes without saying that equipment is necessary to provide variety and a greater level of resistance to a home workout.
There are options for large and heavy home equipment – racks, barbell sets, benches, various machines and much more. These would be appropriate for large workout space, perhaps empty sections of a large garage.
My suggestions have always been for smaller and more portable equipment – items that may be kept in a small room or be placed in a closet after use. There is one exception. I use a treadmill daily.
I have recently been using resistance cords for upper body movements. This gives me a low impact / high rep means to thoroughly work my chest, back and triceps. I prefer less impact currently because of a rotator cuff issue. There are door anchors that can be used to stabilize the cords so that each of two handles may be pulled toward my sides as I stand facing the door. This is for back development.
For chest development, I face away from the door and pull the handles to the front of my upper body. For triceps, I again face the door and straighten my arms at the elbows against the resistance. This is called the triceps “kickback”.
I use dumbbells for curls, one arm at a time, slowly lowering the dumbbell after raising it to my shoulder. The slow lowering is important for the negative part of the movement, considered at least as important as the raising of the dumbbells ( or positive part).
Bullworker products fit quite well within a small workout space. They also provide challenging resistance in many (at least a hundred) different exercises. I use the Steel Bow and Bow Classic. Both are portable, both can provide minimal levels of spring – loaded weight and both are capable of giving me resistance tougher than I can handle for even one rep. They also offer the option of isometric strength building, exclusively or in conjunction with traditional isotonic exercises.
Bullworker provides illustrated manuals for description of the movements and suggested workout programs. Another nicety is the Facebook Bullworker group. This is a global array of Bullworker users who give each other support by questions and answers, as well as by motivation.
I have only barely touched upon specific exercises in this article. Please check my previous posts for detailed and illustrated information on workout programs with resistance cords, dumbbells or “Bullworkers”. They will be easy to locate.
Workouts at home now seem simpler and less time – consuming than gym workouts, at least for me. I know that every day I will have completed a workout of some kind, usually both weight training and cardio. It has become as routine as brushing my teeth or eating breakfast. Consistency in exercising is the primary value that I achieve by doing this at home.
The above links are to equipment that I have used and found to be effective and of good quality.
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