If you really want to make progress towards your goal and you don’t have access to seemingly unlimited weight or resistance, then you have to turn your attention to other methods of progression while working out at home.
Adding load (going up in weight) is obviously the easiest and most commonly used, and for good reason as it is highly effective. However, there are plenty of other great ways to increase resistance without adding load. They all typically depend on being more powerful, increasing volume (how much you do), or increasing tension in the muscles.
- Get explosive. This is training for power. Technically defined as producing maximal force as quickly as possible. Not being in the gym can slowly lead to loss of strength and aerobic capacity, but it quickly leads to loss of power, unless you train it. Good news is, power is one of the simplest things to train without equipment.Great examples of power are sprinting, jumping, and throwing.
- Add reps. You can add repetitions to your sets to increase volume. You can do this with any of the movements you’re performing. Your body will recognize these extra reps as increased stress and will create a response very similar to what it would have done with higher weights.Here’s an example of adding reps: Try going from 3 sets of 10, to 3 sets of 12, to 3 sets of 15 on days you do the same movement/workout. Or you can use other fun rep schemes to add reps like 21-15-9, 25-20-15-10, 10->1, 12->1, etc.
- Add sets. You can add in extra sets of the same exercises to increase total volume. Much like adding reps, adding sets can increase the overall volume, which is a great way to increase demand on the body and continue making progress. Try adding an extra set of each movement per week.Example: 3 sets of 8 -> 4 sets of 8 the following workout.
- Decrease rest time. This way you can do more in less time. This is a simple way to add some good volume into the same workout time frame and also layer in a conditioning variable (think cardio/recovery).Example: Instead of resting for 1 minute between sets, rest 45-50 seconds instead.
- Use eccentrics. Eccentrics add tension to the movement. Eccentric movement is defined as the portion of the movement where the muscle actively lengthens. For simplicity, this is typically when you’re in the lowering (towards gravity) portion of the movement. Using eccentric movement is a great way to progress your home workouts as it allows you to master your own bodyweight and build more tension in the muscles. One of the main stimulus to muscle growth and development is time under tension. Eccentrics manipulate the time variable really well.
- Add isometrics. Isometrics are where you perform a hold or a pause, typically in a more challenging portion of the movement (think wall sit, or paused pushup). These are a great way, again, of adding tension with the added benefit of getting stronger in that specific position of that movement.
Using these simple ways to intensify your workouts, you’ll have no problem making progress while working out at home.
Our coaches use any and all of these methods when programming for our virtual clients, whether it be virtual 1-on-1, virtual group training, or online programming. A good coach knows how to meet you where you are and help you get where you want to go no matter what equipment you have access to! Check out our virtual training services page for more information.