Why Start Training at Home?
Training at home is something that will require some self-discipline, due to all the distractions you will find in your house. In contrast, when you go to the gym the area is set up specifically for working out, and you will not find toys or other distractions there (like that pile of laundry.)
Therefore, it is much easier to stay focused on your workout in the gym or a dedicated area. If you are lucky enough to have your own special room in your house for working out, you will have a much easier time learning to train at home.
If you cannot get out to the gym or the local pool or weight room, you need to learn how to get your workout in your house. There are many important benefits of getting your training in the house.
- Improve brain function and overall mood– Doing any kind of exercise has been proven to improve your cognitive abilities and make you feel better. Whether you are training in your house or at a gym or weight room, engaging in rigorous exercise is good for your mental state.
- Raise energy levels- Training gives you more endurance and energy levels no matter where you do the training, your bedroom included!
- Lose body fat- Working out is one of the best ways to lose that flab! Whether you are lifting weights or swimming, moving your body, and getting in some strength training and cardio will shed pounds fast.
- Gain lean muscle mass- Training will give you more lean muscle. The repetitive motion of doing push-ups, or jogging, or whatever activity you choose to do will force your muscles to gain mass. This is one of the primary reasons most people get into training to begin with. Too put it another way, it just makes your body look better!
There are many more good reasons to exercise but those four are the most well-known and important.
Tips & Hints Before You Start Home Training
Make Your Space
Before you start getting serious about working out, make sure you have a dedicated and safe space to do your exercise in. It does not need to be anything too fancy, just clear an area where you have enough room to stretch out your full body and still have a few feet on all sides. Ideally, you would have a dedicated workout room, but if you do not you can still have an effective workout.
Plan Your Time
Plan your workout times! Life can get busy, and one of the first activities to get cut from your schedule is usually your home workout. To make sure you do not blow it off, write your workout time into your weekly and daily schedule. A minimum of 150 minutes of exercise is recommended per week. If you break this down to a daily schedule it is only about 21 minutes every day. This is not too difficult to fit into even a crammed schedule.
When you are just getting started with a home training regimen, do not push yourself too hard. Give yourself plenty of time to work up to the big heavy goals. Keep in mind that your body has its limits and it gets used to being inactive. Starting an intense workout routine right away can do you harm, so start off with easy stuff and gradually work your way up to the harder activities.
Set Smart Goals
Start with easy goals, for example, 20 push-ups, ½ mile running in place or on a treadmill, or doing 30 burpees, etc. Make sure you make clear goals and write them down! Goals that you do not write down are not goals you will be held accountable for.
If you set goals and write them down, and then achieve them, it will give you satisfaction and momentum to keep going forward. Working out at home can be difficult, so reaching your goals and getting some confidence is extremely important in the beginning!
Basic Equipment Needed for Strength Training in Your House
You can go as crazy as you want with equipment, there is a ton of it out there! However, when you are just starting out you want to keep the equipment to the essentials and keep the budget small.
Eventually, when you prove to yourself that you can keep doing this in a daily routine, it will be OK to spend some more money and invest more time. Here are the essentials you should consider getting for strength training in the beginning:
- A medicine ball- These are heavy balls that are great for your arms and core.
- Kettlebell- Kettlebells are great for grip strength and depending on the movements you do, they are used to strengthen the lower back and legs as well.
- Mat- This probably should have been first on the list. A good exercise mat is a great investment and will help you have a more comfortable workout.
- Dumbbell set- This can be expensive and is optional for beginners. A good dumbbell set will help you in all types of strength training and the variable weights are great for goal setting.
- Resistance bands- These are fairly cheap and will be useful in many of the exercises you will be learning to do at your house.
- Good shoes- Even though you are going to be in your house and not out on rocky trails or paths, good athletic shoes are important. A good pair of shoes will help support your back and your feet. Make sure you get lightweight shoes, preferably running sneakers. You can work out barefoot but having a good comfortable pair of lightweight shoes will be helpful. Of course, if you decide to head out for a walk you will be glad you got them.
- Heart rate monitor- This is not a necessity but having one handy is a good way to measure how much work your heart is doing. You can check your heart rate with your finger, but a good monitor makes this much easier, and it will keep you on track and help you from overdoing it.
Beginner Home Training Exercises
- Push-ups- This exercise will use almost all the muscles in your body. It is a basic movement and not difficult to do, but it has so many benefits when done properly and consistently. When speaking of push-ups many people tout how it will strengthen your chest muscles and visibly give more mass to your biceps and pectorals. However, not many people talk about the stretching benefit they provide to your back muscles and biceps.
- Squats- Squats are used to strengthen the major lower body muscles. They will help firm your butt and thighs. This is a simple exercise where you start off standing and then bend your knees and go down so your butt is close to touching your heels. Repeat this motion. Each repetition of the move counts as one. This exercise is great strength training but also will provide some good cardio.
- Plank- This is also known as hovering and is a great strength exercise for a beginner. It will work your abs and core muscles. It looks like a pushup but instead of bending your elbows and bringing your chest to the ground, just hold the position with your back straight.
- Burpees- These are great cardio and strength exercises to do at home. Get on your exercise mat and stand up straight. Once you are standing straight bend your knees and go to the floor. Reach your hands out to the ground and push your legs out backward in a jumping motion. Bring your knees back and stand up quickly. Each repetition of this motion counts as one burpee.
- Squat to Overhead Raise- To start off, you will do this with no weights, but as you get more comfortable you can add some light dumbbells. Start off standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Make your hands into fists and place them at shoulder height with your elbows bent. Bend your knees so you are in a squatting position. Stand up straight and push your arms straight up in the air above your head. Each repetition counts as one rep.
Best Home Endurance Training Exercises
Endurance training is all about the combination of cardio and strength. As you build up your muscle tone and lung capacity, you make your body more able to handle exercise for a longer period. Many of the exercises already mentioned here when repeated regularly will build your endurance, but there are some specific ones that will do the job more efficiently.
- Running in place- Ideally, you would do this outside and not have to run in place in your living room, but if you must be physically in your house, just run-in place. Running is one of the best endurance training exercises because it is such a good cardio exercise and it also engages your legs, arms, core, and even your shoulders. If you can do no other exercise for endurance, simply taking some time to run around the block or just in a place in your house will make a world of difference for endurance.
- Dancing- Dancing is fun and sometimes it is written off as not a serious endurance exercise, but do not be fooled. Moving around to music is an excellent form of endurance training. Depending on the dance moves, dancing may engage as many muscles as push-ups or planking, and it is way more fun! This is one of the activities that you will enjoy the entire time. If you need a little help getting in the dancing mood, there are some new games on the modern gaming consoles that will get you moving and teach you some new moves!
- Biking- Riding your bike around the neighborhood or jumping on your recumbent will give you a great endurance workout because it is both cardio and strength all at once. Your legs are pushing down on the pedals while your lungs and heart are also getting a good workout. Whether you are outside moving on trails or in your house on a stationary bike, this exercise is an excellent and fun way to build your endurance.
Best Strength Training Workouts at Home
- Dumbbell Bench Press- Grab your dumbbells and get on your back. If you do not have a weight bench, you can do this on your mat. It is just like a normal bench press with barbell weights, but this version involves simple dumbbells. While on your back just lift the weights straight up over your chest until your arms are fully extended. This exercise will build your upper body strength and give you some cardio as well.
- Goblet Squat- While we are about dumbbells, this is a great exercise to build strength. This will work your calves, quads, abs, butt, and handgrip strength. To do one, stand up with your legs a little wider than your shoulders and hold one single dumbbell with both hands in the front of your chest. Bend your knees and move down into a squat, and then stand right back up. Each time you do this is considered one rep.
- Farmer’s Walk- Another great strength training exercise, this one involves 2 dumbbells, one in each hand. The farmer’s walk will work your calves, quads, hamstrings, upper back, triceps, and butt. To do the farmer’s walk put a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your side. Walk for about 10 feet and turn around going back to where you started. Do this as fast as possible. If you can master the farmer’s walk you will efficiently build lots of strength in your upper and lower body at the same time.
There is no one-sentence answer for how to train at home, there is too much involved. If you can create yourself a good safe place to exercise in and pick up the basic equipment, you can do this! Just make your plan, set your goals, and get started. Try to stay motivated and reward yourself for reaching your goals.