The Home Gym: Full Body Strength & Cardio Fun

When it comes to working out the thing that matters is – You Do It. Here’s a workout you can do at home, at the gym, or in the park.

Workout Basics and Warm Up

To plan your workouts think about doing something focused 3-6 times a week and taking 1-3 days of what’s called active rest (clean house, walk the golf course, go for a hike, take the dog for a long walk, do squats throughout the day – link it to every time you go to the bathroom for example.

This movement is important for recovery and allows your body to do something active for fun, wellness, blood flow to the sore spots from your focused workout, etc. This keeps the body oriented toward energy flow and movement.

Making sure to get a weekend workout in is a great way to make sure your active rest days are not consecutive. Consecutive days off can make it harder to return to your focused workouts on Monday.

Make sure to warm up. Spend 5-10minutes doing easy movement, stretching, and allow the muscles you are going to work to “wake up”. Work to include all the big joints and major muscle groups. It’s a great time to get your music right, your shoes tightened or loosened, or make sure you hair is out of your way. By fixing these things now, you are more likely to stay focused on the work portion.

When you complete the round, give yourself a pat on the back, a fist pump, something that celebrates your accomplishment. This is a big deal for helping habits stick, and helps you be realistic about all the hard work you are doing.

If you are unclear about a movement, look it up (Check out my YouTube Tutorials Here). There are lots of resources online that allow you to make sure you have good form. Always work up to adding weight or making a movement less stable. Good form comes first.

Warm Up Moves – 10 of each

  • Forward Arm Circles
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Elbows up and back with core rotation – like the self defense move
  • Backward Arms Circles
  • Air Squats with diagonal frontal arm raise
  • Super Slow Center Wood Chops

Cardio set 1 – 1 minute all out

  • Treadmill – 70-80% THR (not sure how to find your target heart rate? Read Here)

Full body Set 1 – 1 min each movement

  • Diagonal Lunge Back – Alternate legs
  • Side Lunge – Alternate sides
  • Diagonal Lunge Front – Alternate legs
  • Lat Pull Downs with Rubber Tubing – (need some tubing? Try KBands)
  • Butt Drops with push up in between – Think push up, flip to supine, drop butt, flip back prone and push up, lots of rotation with this one, keep your core tight and form good.

Free Athlete and Fitness Training

Cardio Set 2 – 1 min all out

  • Bike (spinner if you have access) – 75-85% THR

Full Body Set 2 – 2 sets / 10 reps each movement. Move all the way through set before repeating.

  • Med Ball Squat with Contra lateral over the shoulder lift
  • Single Leg Lunge with right leg kick through
  • Frog Jumps
  • Single Leg Lunge with left leg kick through

Cardio set 3 – 1 min all out

Cross Trainer – 70-80% THR

Core Set – 3 sets / 10 repetitions. Do full set then rest & repeat

  • Plank Set:
    • Alternating Knee Outside Elbow
    • Alternating Knee to Center
  • Alternating Table Top Lifts with side plank rotation
  • Plank Single Toe Rolls

Finish Strong

YOU DID IT!! Now that you have finished the “work” portion, it is time for flexibility training. Spend some time stretching all the muscles you worked – in this workout, it’s full body so give all your major muscles a good stretch. Then grab a good post workout snack. Together these get your muscles ready for tomorrow’s movement and make sure you are ready to meet your goals.

Words of Caution …

Please make sure to follow your body. Do not push through pain. Discomfort/Challenge are different than pain. We want to challenge ourselves we do not want to hurt ourselves. Find the level that is right for you and move at that level. Make sure to choose weight and stances that support your body style – if you have to use the wall to do your push ups do that, if you need a chair or a bench use those. Make sure you are doing what you need to do for your body type and current personal level of fitness.

As always have a fun living in your body today!

Planning Home Workouts

Have you begun to move your workouts indoors?  I know this has been the theme lately, but it is important you plan for seasons if you are going to be sucmcessful this year.

Many clients are able to workout at home, but are unsure of where to start. They buy some hand weights, maybe a video, and if they are really brave go for the infomercial special, which is often later used as a clothes rack. How can you avoid adding to your dust collection?  In a word – planning.

It is much easier for most to create an effective strength training routine at home. It can be done on a limited budget, and can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Here are the things to consider when purchasing strength training equipment for home. First, what is your goal? Are you trying to build mass or lose weight? Are you trying to maintain? Is this equipment just for emergency use on those days where getting to the gym is not possible, or is this going to be your only source of strength training? These answers will direct your purchases. If you are looking for emergency use equipment, you can get by with little or no equipment depending on your program. This is where a professional can be very handy. A good personal trainer will help you design your program around your environment and make sure you are able to meet your goals. What a great Christmas present idea, one or two sessions can keep you focused. If you have equipment handy you will have no reason to miss a workout, however if you are using your home equipment just for emergency days you’ll want to make sure you have a good plan of action on non-emergency ones because you may not have enough to be effective over a long period of time.

Are you looking to do the majority of strength training at home? This can be a wonderful way to incorporate fitness into your life. It is a great way to role model healthy living for your children, and make fitness a family priority. Although, my children do not get to use my weights, they do workout with me using the same movements and many they create as they hop from step to step, mimic me, and learn about their own bodies. They are excited and interested in movement and habits formed early have a better chance of hanging on. Remember, the biggest factor in childhood obesity is parents. Help your children fight obesity – its never too late to start.

If you decide to strength train at home consider your current level of strength. How much can you easily lift now? Again, your goals are going to be important because they will dictate the progression of exercise, which will dictate how many weights you’ll need and how heavy they should be. What kind of space will you be able to dedicate to your workouts? Do you have room for a bench or ball? Do you have storage for different sized dumbbells? Will you dig equipment out of a closet or from under a bed to actually complete a workout? This is the big question! Will you do the workout? Once you know the answer to these questions you can begin to create space and build your equipment choices for your complete home strength workout.

As you begin to contemplate your goals for health look closely at your choices. There are many options for your fitness. You just have to be willing to move!

Good Home Exercises

Good home exercises are easy to do if you have appropriate equipment and space – which is surprising little (for ideas on home gym equipment and space requirements see the blog entry for Good home gym equipment ideas).Good home exercises begin with your current fitness level, your fitness goals, the equipment you have, and the space you’ll be using. Check out my Youtube Channel for more ideas on home workout exercises. 

Equipment needs will be determined by:

Ability to overload your current fitness level

Storage

Space need

Cost

Possible home exercises will be determined by the equipment you’ve got. Here are some ideas to get you started on your home workout.

Use your body weight – push ups, pull ups, and squats effectively target the large muscle groups and may be challenging enough on their own. See the blog posts on how to do each of them for directions and good lower body exercises.

The following exercises are great home exercises and can be adapted to equipment (including soup cans and filled gallon jugs, stairs in your home, furniture/benches, etc) you’ve got on hand:

Chest:
Chest press
Chest Fly

Back:
Back Row – narrow & wide
Lat Pulldown – using rubber tubing
Lat Overhead Pull – using Dumbbells or other external weight

Shoulders:
Lateral / Frontal Raises
Overhead Press – narrow, wide, and reverse grip

Biceps:
Hammer Curl
Front Curl
Reverse Grip Curls
Curls in any form!

Triceps:
Overhead triceps press
French Press (also known as skull crushers)
Triceps extensions
Triceps pressdown using rubber tubing
Dips

Abs:
Crunches of any variety
Reverse crunch
Bicycle

Lower Back:
Supermans
Torso Lift
Lower Body Lift

Don’t forget to stretch when you are through – flexibility training keeps you strong throughout the entire movement range of each muscle and joint!

Good Equipment for A Home Gym

Are you one of those people who just can’t seem to get to the gym – ever? You have great intentions and are ready to commit but for multiple reasons you just don’t seem to have the time to get down the road to the gym. If you are motivated a home workout can be just as effective and may be more rewarding than a visit to the health club.

Good Equipment for Your Home Gym

Setting up a home gym requires a little planning and can be very affordable. First you’ll want to evaluate your current fitness level and your fitness goals and then make sure to have equipment on hand to help you progress from where you are to where you want to go. Equipment to consider:

Dumbbells / hand weights – sizes will depend on your current level and goals. Typically sold price/pound so keep that in mind when deciding how much you really need

Rubber tubbing – most brands yellow is easiest & blue or black hardest. Check brands for resistance weight of their color matrix to be sure. Heavy lifters – you can purchase braided tubing for increased resistance – you’ll be surprised at the amount of difficulty it creates.

A bench – is using a home decoration/functional bench make sure it is stable enough to be safe and offer you full range of motion during your exercises.

Step – stairs in your home work just fine if you’ll use them

Medicine balls and/or kettle bells – easier to hold for some exercises than dumbbells but not a necessity to have both DB and medicine balls/kettle bells. BOSU or other stability challenging device – air steps, discs, dots, foam rollers, etc

Good home exercises are as plentiful as those in the gym free weight area provided you are creative when purchasing your equipment and finding space. You’ll want to make sure you have enough space to complete the exercises through full range of motion without destroying your home – it actually takes very little space if you can be creative with your movements – but stay safe. Consider home much furniture you’ll realistically move around daily. Many drop their home workouts because it is too much work in the space they have designated and remember – the best workout is one you will do!