The “Quarantine Craze” has us all regretting not taking the time to invest in a decent home gym, but that doesn’t have to be your excuse to not get your workouts in!
In fact you can make serious progress and take advantage of this added free time. I’m not saying you can expect to break strength PR’s or do your full routine you are used to, but you sure can make the most of what you have available. It all comes down to perception and determination. So instead of flooding the internet with more home workouts for you to do, let’s look at some of the BIGGEST mistakes you are doing while training at home during this quarantine.
You stick to the same routine
This one is by far the most common mistake I see. You get a workout and then decide to do it the very next day and the next and the next. Soon, the 2-mile run, 100 Push-Ups, 100 Sit-Ups, and 100 Squats will either get boring or have you dreading to start because of the lack of variety and results. This isn’t a bad routine, you just want to change things up.
You are not using your surroundings and adding new elements to your exercises
Instead of the 2-mile run, go for a 6-mile bike ride or better yet bring back the roller blade fashion and hit the pavement for a few non-impact miles.
Instead of 100 Push-Ups, try 50 with a pause at the bottom.
Most of you have light weights for your workouts—setting PR’s is very unlikely, so you have to be creative with how you use them! Try using:
- 1.5 reps
- Negative Reps
- Pause Reps
- Iso Hold Reps @ all portions of the movement
- Constant Tension Reps
When it comes to surroundings, think about what you have! No inverted row bar? Take a broomstick overtop two chairs! No box? Try using stairs! Nothing to elevate your feet? Try the edge of a couch.
This goes the same for equipment. A bag of sand costs $5 at Lowe’s and you can do an intense workout! Water jugs work great for dumbbells, and towels can be used under your feet on the kitchen floor for some kick butt elastic work.
But thinking outside the box can also get you into trouble…
Doing bodyweight exercises you are not ready for
I see it all the time. You are watching one of your HIIT DVDs, following along with the trainer doing everything from Shaun-t’s craziest moves to bizarre dance-like moves you see on Dancing “With the Stars.” The only issue is that you are nowhere near their ability level and end up getting injured or doing reps that look worse than your 90-year-old grandmother attempting it.
Many of you would be shocked how beneficial the basics can be. I highly suggest mastering the basics before you advance an exercise. Don’t cheat yourself. If you cannot perform 30 correct Push-Ups from your toes using proper form, then you have no business knocking out switching explosive Push-Ups for 45 seconds of straight work or even Burpees with full Push-Ups.
The best and worst exercise—the Burpee
I am not going to come right out and say I hate Burpees, but I am not a fan of them for the vast majority of the clientele we serve.
Why? The risk vs. reward.
The Burpee involves forcefully throwing your entire body weight to the floor in hopes of having reciprocal strength to push yourself back up and jump. Problem is many people who cannot even do 10 Push-Ups are knocking out intervals of 40-plus seconds that starts turning into a bizarre looking exercise you would see on Animal Planet.
Let’s be honest, they are a great way to get the heart rate up, but so are nearly a thousand other things. If you truly want to stay injury-free, I wouldn’t suggest adding Burpees to every home workout you do. If you do, stick to them in portions where you are not already pre-fatigued so you have the strength to not throw your body onto the floor without doing a proper Push-Up.
While I am on the topic, I might as well add in a few others that are not worth your time doing
- Bench Dips (weight bearing on internally rotated shoulders is NOT a smart idea)
- Sprinting at FULL speed. ( Never suggest this, stick to 80-90% efforts in short bursts )
- Clapping Push-Ups ( no need, why risk injuring yourself )
- Kipping Pull-Ups ( just stick to a full range-of-motion Pull-Up, folks )
- Excessive jumping drills lasting longer than 45 seconds ( counterproductive and higher injury risk )
Sticking to rep counts for bodyweight or lighter weight exercises
This one is pretty simple. For Susan, those 4×12 Prisoner Squats might be tough because she is new to exercise and never went to a gym before. For Stan, who is a gym user 3-4 days a week and has a history of weight training, those 4×12 will not be producing the same benefit. Not all sets/rep schemes are created equal. Using rep counts for bodyweight moves may not be best. A way to make it work would be to add density with time constraints because that rep count over time could be a difference to your fatigue levels.
Too many cardio moves
So many at-home workout routines are prioritized around HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and cardio craziness. Now, I am not saying that is bad, but too much of it and you can wreck your cortisol levels and end up worse than you started on your fat-loss journey. The key is treating your cardio as a side dish and the strength work as the main course.
If you are sticking to your nutrition guidelines, excessive cardio is not necessary or needed. Remember, muscle is what is more metabolically active, so adding more to your frame is always a good idea!
If you want a couple workouts each week to focus around HIIT that is perfectly fine, but I wouldn’t be doing them daily.
Missing the key body part
We all are so focused on training and getting workouts in at home, but one of the most forgotten muscles also is the most important! Posture takes a huge hit for many of us while working our normal jobs, so making sure you spend time on your back will do wonders for keeping you healthy and maintaining solid upper-body strength.
However, many avoid adding them to their home workouts because they do not have the “main” pieces of equipment used for training it.
This doesn’t mean you avoid it, though. There are plenty of ways you can hit the back! Try using the broomstick over two chairs setup as I mentioned earlier. Also try adding Renegade Rows, or one of my favorites are Gorilla Rows, shown below. They not only fire up your upper back, but also hit your core for an added bonus!
No weights? No problem! Try prone “Y-T’s” and add a mini band if you have one available!
I’ve even used tables for Inverted Rows!
Bands can be a great tool for Face Pulls or even a Band Pull-Apart! And lastly, if all else, use some towels for static holds!
Just because you don’t have your seated row or t-bar machine, don’t make it an excuse to miss out on an entire muscle group.
Your environment or your excuses.
Be honest with yourself: Working out in your living room with your family on the couches beside you watching their favorite episode of “The Office” is not going to go over well. It is too easy to be distracted, and one set or round will serve as plenty for you, when in reality it’s not!
On top of that, finding excuses to avoid working out will only be your biggest downfall when training at home. There is always something that can be done around the house. The same applies for me and my daily duties owning a business. I can find something to get in the way of my exercise everyday, BUT I choose not to and realize that my health and goals are important to me.
The same should apply to you. Don’t let the load of laundry or dirty bathroom be a reason to miss your workout. If you are a neat freak, then prioritize and have a schedule of when you do house chores and schedule them around your workouts.
If I chose to let work/life get in the way of my workouts, I would be lucky if my son Noah and my job let me train ever! You are in control of your life. No one else. So if you want to make your at-home workouts more effective, stop making excuses to why you can’t get them done.
Follow these tips and rest assured, your sessions will become a lot more productive!
If you want more tips, workouts, and awesome strategies for fat loss and nutrition, make sure you check out my free facebook group here. Follow me @mjo_oaf for great workout ideas to get you through the quarantine!
Stay home, and stay safe!
Photo Credit: Nastco/iStock