If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at home in the near future (we’re right there with you!), then you’ll need more than cardio to keep you strong (and sane). Cardio workouts are great for burning calories and boosting endorphins, but doing them alone isn’t enough to help you truly get toned. To look and feel your best, you’ll need to add some strength training into your home workout routine. And what better way to spend your time while social distancing?
But what if you’ve never done a push-up in your life? No worries! Our “strength training at home” routine will help you change your workout habits and build some muscle before you know it.
Doing strength training exercises like squats and push-ups will strengthen bones, build muscle, and burn more calories by increasing your metabolism. And that’s in addition to making you look fit and healthy! Here’s how to get started.
Strength Training Exercises for Beginners
Strength training essentially means using weights and resistance exercises to build muscle. If you're doing strength training at home and you don't have weights, then don't fret - you can perform all of the below exercises using just your body weight. Our strength training routine focuses on four types of moves for a full-body workout: squats, lunges, push-ups and planks.
Squats and lunges are great for targeting and strengthening the lower half of your body. Squats are especially effective because they work your knees, legs, hips, core, and butt all at once. Another reason squats are awesome? You can easily and quickly do them anywhere at home – even in your living room while watching Netflix!
To get into a squat position, place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width with your weight in your heels, and gently dip into sitting position. Make sure you have your knees pointing slightly out to the sides to take pressure off of them. To guide your squats, perform them near a chair and tap your bottom to the chair with each squat (without actually sitting down).
Lunges are also great for strengthening your glutes, as well as your thighs and hamstrings. You can do them in place, forwards or backwards, or try walking lunges to get some steps in (which is much harder these days at home!). Get started on your lunges by bringing your right foot about 3 feet in front of your left foot and then slowly lowering your back knee as close to the floor as possible, while bringing your front knee to a 90-degree angle. To protect your knees, make sure your front knee is not sticking out in front of your right foot. Lift your back leg back up and down and repeat, about 10-15 times, before switching legs.
Once you’ve finished working out your lower body, it’s time to target your upper body and core. The push-up is a timeless maneuver, and it’s one that anybody can do with some modifications. If you’re just beginning you can start on your knees with your feet up in the air. Try starting with 10 push-ups and build up from there.
The final movement is the forearm plank, which will help tighten and strengthen your core. To get into a forearm plank, get down on the floor on your forearms, shoulder-width apart, and lift your knees and your core so it’s level with your body. Keep your back and hips aligned and hold steady for as long as you can (ideally at least 30 seconds). If you’d like to target your obliques, you can twist your hips side to side.
Strength Training at Home Routine
What’s an ideal strength training routine for newbies at home? A simple regimen might involve 10 squats, 10 lunges (on each side), 10 push-ups, and hold a plank for 30 seconds. You can repeat the sequence a couple of times per session. Grab a gallon of milk, or something else heavy, if you want to increase the intensity of your squats and lunges.
You can do this! It’s a basic at home workout that anyone can do, even those who’ve never bothered with anything other than cardio before. Adjust the number of reps based on your starting fitness level and how fatigued your muscles feel.
If you happen to have weights at home, then don't be afraid to use them. Start very small (1- or 3-pound dumbbells are fine) and gradually build up weights over time.
A Few Final Tips
Before starting this strength training routine, remember to warm up with some stretches and basic cardio, like jump rope or jumping jacks. Stretch again or hold some yoga poses when the workout ends to combat soreness and relax the muscles.
To stay fresh and odor free (you may be at home alone but your nose still works!), remember to swipe on your favorite aluminum-free deodorant before your workout. And as always, have the proper attire – loose, moisture-wicking clothing is much better than anything tight or constricting.
You may be surprised how effective and fun this type of home workout can become once you embrace it. Now’s the time to give strength training a shot!
Running low on your favorite aluminum-free deodorant? Then it's time to stock up!
Written by Scott Shetler