Creating Simple Home Workouts To Make Your Friends Jealous Of Your Fitness Levels: Part I
Updated: Apr 4
How's that for a title? I mean who doesn't want to be able to do more pushups than their friends? Go faster uphill than they do on a hike or bike ride? Once you get strong enough, you might just be entitled to a level of bragging rights you didn't think was possible or one your friends ever wanted to hear.
Unless they start training with me too, then you're going to have to work a little harder to stay on the top step of the box. That's fancy racer talk for a podium.
A lot of my workouts take place at home (and when I'm able to, a park). By a lot, I mean its about a 60/40 split between the gym and what I like to call my "SANCTUARY OF HOME SWOLERY AWESOME" (which comes complete with eye rolls and sighs from both my wife and kids btw). Convenience being the biggest reason behind the 40 percent home training motif.
Part of my origin story is that I've always been a gym rat, and once we moved to Idaho, I renewed that plot line. Mostly because it’s a way to get me out of the house. The virtual/online trainer sometimes wears no shoes when it comes to actual human interactions, so it’s a nice option to have. Plus, when you are about as extreme an E as its gets for an ENFP score, you needs your people time.
Oh sure, its fun to talk to the cats, but sadly, our conversations are more non-verbal and our interactions are fairly transactional. For example, when I say "hey kitty, what's doing?"
They look at me and their non-verbal says "you've got exactly 3.3 seconds to live if you don't feed us RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT!! PREPARE TO MEET YOUR MAKER TRAINER MAN IF YOU DON'T HEED OUR WARNING!!" Their actual verbal comes out as "meow, meOW, mEOW, MEOW!!!"
They might be saying that, they might not be. They could be telling me I'm having a really good hair day. I don't really know, but, it does move the story along nicely.
At any rate, it would be pretty ironic if they took me out if you think about it. If they whacked the hand that feeds them, where would they get their nourishment of goopy num nums and crunchy yum yums as my kids call their food. The cat food, not theirs.
As warm and fuzzy as feline interactions are, they keep my ENFP tank on, well, on E. Hence, the gym membership.
Sometimes, Al Loses Focus...
So, where we we? Oh yeah, at home exercise advice. Lucky for you, I possess just such knowledge and I'm not shy about sharing it. Remember, extreme E on the ENFP scale? WE love to talk!
Here's the biggest key to a successful home exercise program. It is so simple you'll want to make yourself do burpees for not seeing it sooner.
Here you go: Basics. Work. Best.
Its a very simple concept, but the workouts are anything but easy. And yet people want to turn this into atom splitting rocket science. I like to call this the "CardiogaPlyoLatesKickBox-Xtreme-X Workout Effect." Or what is most commonly known as a complete waste of time doing 47 different exercises as fast as possible in one workout.
Here's how you make exercise at home effective. You simply STOP working out more and start developing a consistent movement habit by doing less. Doing that not only works better, it's a lot easier to stick to. Plus, it allows room for you to have human moments when real life comes up and you just can't exercise on a given day.
Cutting the clutter from your fitness habit will allow you to accomplish more in less time with a focused strategy of mastering monotony. It isn't sexy, but its pretty damn effective.
Here's a great way to do it. Schedule a day and time where you will dedicate 15-30 minutes to move, and then, well, move. If you want to go 45-60 minutes, have at it if you've got the time. Just don't do more because you've got more time. Quality over quantity being the idea.
Just write it down in a schedule book (yep, go old school), and you'll be even more apt to do it. The pen can truly be mightier than the sword in this respect.
It only takes three exercises to pull it off, and here they are:
But what about hinging and loaded carries? Two awesome exercises that would require more programming energy for your workouts. Plus, for people who don't have bells of the kettle/dumb variety or sandbags, you need to get more creative with your carries.
Hinges are incredibly effective, but I've found that people seem to pick up the squat motion a little faster. And if I can't be there in person (or virtually on the Zoomercise machine) to coach a movement, I tend to stay away from it until I'm confident it can be done correctly.
Trust me, when you know how to progress the three above mentioned exercises, you'll have 100's of possibilities with any piece of equipment you choose to use. The way you challenge yourself is by simply changing your base of support and the way your arms move to continue building strength with basic movements for a very long time.
Here are a few examples of basic exercise combinations to work a lot of muscle in a lot less time.
Squats (Goblet, Bodyweight, Single Leg, etc) + Pushups
Taking the squat from two legs to one is a great way to strengthen the lower body at home. Plus, when you combine two compound movements (multiple joints moving at once), you become incredibly efficient with what you do.
You'll also be getting up and down from the floor to do each movement, and that's always a good thing.
Exercise Band Step and Press or Pull + Alternating Lateral/Side Lunges
Very functional movement that will improve the way your core stabilizes movement for your arms and legs. You also get glute activation from your anchor leg as you push or pull.
The lateral lunges will give you movement away from the midline of your body helping you work on hip mobility. Given the amount of time most people sit all day, this is a good thing.
Suspension Strap Row + V-Outs + Bodyweight Curtsy Lunges
Keeping with the basics work best motif, a suspension strap pull + V-out + Curtsy lunge combo can round out this little three-exercise movement sesh (sorry, couldn't resist) nicely. Also keep in mind if you took this to a single arm pull, your obliques on the pull side and glutes on the opposite side will experience levels of "muscular activation" they won't be all that excited you introduced them to. If you wanted to make it more fun, you could hold a weight in the goblet position for the Curtsy lunges as well.
You can get quite these examples and more on my YouTube channel.
So, you're probably thinking "OK Capt Smart Guy, I've taken the time to read your muscular musings, how about you deliver the steak to go with the sizzle and teach me how all of this is put together so I can workout?"
Or maybe you're not thinking that. Maybe it rhymes more with "well that's five minutes of my life I'll never get back."
Either way, not being one to disappoint the fitness faithful who read my PE prose-ification (Communications major with a Journalism emphasis FTW!), I will convert so you will be a more informed exercise consumer by helping you with:
Putting your workouts in 4-week phases
Ways to program your training week
Creating sets and rep schemes per phase for consistently effective home workouts.
To get more information on how to simplify your hit sooner, click here to contact me for more information.