Most of us enjoy working from home for a variety of reasons — be it the availability of equipment, the privacy or the freedom to do whatever you want — but one drawback is that it can be hard to ramp up the intensity when you find yourself alone with the weight rack. Here are four experts’ take on how to increase the intensity of your home workouts.
Allan Campos – Fitness Expert
There are many methods you can do to help increase intensity. Basically, anything to shock your muscles. It’s at those moments you feel weak since you haven’t adapted yet. The moment you don’t feel fatigued, your body has built up strength and endurance which is good. Now time to once again change things up, to get to another level and so on. This is why people who follow same routine for months end or even year ends don’t get the same results as quickly as their first ever becoming active.
The littlest changes of activity can make a big difference. For example, rest less between sets, do giant sets with multiple exercises back to back before rest, drop sets to failure, pause sets where you hold the weight at max contractions for few seconds to eliminate momentum, or even active rest between resistance weight with the skipping, bike, or abdominal exercises instead of doing nothing.
The key is consistency along with muscle mind connectivity no matter which method or methods you integrate into your daily routines.
Natalie Bean – Nutrition Expert
I really had to adapt my home training when COVID hit! It was definitely an adjustment for me as I’m always up at 6 and off to the gym early. The main thing that helped keep my focus was planning my week of workouts. Every day was a different body part and a different kind of cardio and I made sure that I planned a week in advance so I was ready to go and pumped up. Morning is key as if it gets too late in the day it’s easy to become distracted. Absolutely no excuses – you work hard you play hard!
HIIT training is an incredible training method to use especially if time is an issue. At its core, it consists of harder workouts in shorter periods! It’s also very important to have variety in your workouts because if you’re bored, it’ll be easy not to do it. Focus on the end game and focus on your goals. It’s a process and every day you’re that much closer!
In my opinion, the most important thing of all is keeping your diet on track as 90% of your results is your diet – you are what you eat! If you want to be motivated to work out at home and see results, eat clean, as you can’t outrun a bad diet. Remember to take progress pictures every few weeks or monthly that will keep you motivated especially when you’re in lockdown and need something to focus on. We have all had to adapt to the new normal. Your body doesn’t know the difference between working out at home or working out in a gym so stay focused and hustle daily!
Alex Nurse – Strength and Athletic Performance coach
Alex makes the point of “using a specific tempo for your repetitions”. Tempo in weight training refers to the speed with which you lift the weight (the concentric phase of movement) and how quickly you lower the weight (the eccentric phase of movement). Setting a specific tempo allows you to manipulate the amount of tension your muscles and tendons are under during a given set.
Sean James Argo – Certified trainer and owner of Renaissance Fitness Personal Training
In the age of COVID-19, at home workouts are preferred, and in some cases still required as many gyms remain closed to the public. Fortunately, it’s still possible to get good strength and cardio training from your home. Here are my main ways:
- Longer durations – this applies mostly to cardio workouts. However, it’s more suitable to LIST (Low Intensity Sustained Training) than HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). When doing LIST workouts, the object is to increase endurance rather scorching fat. The longer sustained exertion conditions and expands the heart muscle by increasing stoke volume, which is the amount of blood pumped out through the left ventricle per min. HIIT works similarly but is used mostly as a calorie burner. LIST training can be done with something as simple as jumping jacks or a run outside.
- Slower movements – Strength training is all about time-under-tension (TUT). The slower you go, the longer the lactic acid builds inside the muscles from gradual oxygen deprivation. This is the famous “burn” feeling. Put simply, the more (reasonable) strain the muscles undergo the more the micro tears occur in the muscle. Over time, the body adapts and the muscle growth/endurance will develop.
- Isometric movements – This is hand-in-hand with the slower movements. This is simply placing the muscles into a hold position for a certain duration of time. A good way to achieve this is to hold at the bottom of a pushup, hovering just above the ground, for 30 to 60 seconds, then releasing by pushing back to the top. ISO workouts have the duel benefits of not only increasing muscle endurance and muscular growth, but also conditioning the mind to withstand uncomfortable positions, thus creating new neutral pathways through greater mind-body awareness.