With College Campuses and Weight-Rooms closing all over the country and people are forced to stay home, I felt it would help provide a few exercise techniques to help maintain strength while you are stuck at home.
If you have an in-home weight room, this article is not for you. This article is for those who do not have the luxury of a weight-room at home and need to be more creative to maintain strength. I feel this article is necessary because getting fit at home without weights or light Resistance is relatively easy. There are countless core stability exercises you can do at home. Getting strong or even maintaining max strength is much more difficult. I have provided a few techniques that I have found useful while being stuck at home.
How to Load
For more effective muscle engagement, it is important to have the Resistance farther from the midpoint of your body because less Resistance is going to be needed to get a strength stimulus. For example, you may need 80-100 lb. dumbbells to get an effective dumbbell bench workout, but you may only need 20-40 lb. dumbbells to get an effective pec fly workout. Getting the weight farther from your midline will allow you to do more work with less weight.
- Good morning instead of a deadlift
- Pec Flies instead of Bench Press
- Reverse Flies instead of Bent Rows
- Lat Raise instead of Overhead Press
Creative forms of Resistance (Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures)
- Young Children or Significant other (My go-to Resistance)
- Paint Cans
- 5 Gallon Bucket Filled with water or Dirt
- Backpack filled with any items you can find
- Logs or Rocks
When weights are at a premium, one of the first things to do is go unilateral on your training. This is going to force each limb to lift twice as much as it would have in a bilateral variation.
Single-Leg Deadlift (With weight held on your back)
Single-Leg Good morning
Assisted One-Arm Push-Up
Plyometrics are essential for power development, but they are also a great way to load the body when you do not have as much Resistance as you usually might. Your body has to decelerate 2-5x your body weight when performing plyometrics. Thus, you can get more muscle fibers involved. Here are a few simple examples.
Squat Jump (Land at 90 degrees)
Vertical Jump Land on One
Plyo Bulgarian Split Squat
Slowing down your exercises’ tempo is another crucial component to add intensity when you don’t have weights. Holding for 4-6 seconds at the bottom of the motion will add a lot to your workout. Any of the exercises listed in this article performed at a slower tempo (with the plyometrics’s exclusion) will add intensity and help get a better stimulus from the exercise.
Manual Resistance is a great way to maintain strength, assuming you are with someone that can resist you. Manual Resistance is where an individual physically pushes or pulls on your body to mimic the Resistance a weight would provide. It is difficult to perform manual Resistance in functional movement patterns. Still, assuming you understand how to isolate muscles, you can get a challenging workout for all your major muscle groups (and your partner will get a workout too). See the video below for a better idea of what manual Resistance is.
You may have noticed that I did not put any pulling exercise examples above. Pulling exercises are challenging to do without a pull-up bar or a suspension trainer. I highly recommend finding beams or door frames or tree limbs to try to get pull-ups or chin-ups in. If you don’t have that as an option, manual Resistance will be your friend, but I have also provided a few other options if you don’t have someone to resist you.
- Manual Resistance Arm Extension
- Manual Resistance Row
- Reverse Flies with Paint Cans at a 4-4-1-1 Tempo
- Rope Rows with a rope tied on a tree
- Sled Pulls (Sort of) Getting desperate on this one.
I have spent many a Christmas break visiting family with nowhere to work out, and I have had to get creative with staying in shape. I hope that these concepts and exercises may be helpful if you do not have traditional weights.