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How to maximize your home workouts

Stuck working out at home? Here are some tips to make your workouts more effective and help keep you motivated.


1. Focus on skill development. This is advice that I commonly tell my patients in order to maximize their downtime while recovering from an injury. If they're dealing with a shoulder injury, I might recommend they spend their recovery time working on a skill or movement that doesn't involve the shoulder - pistol squats for example. If they have an injured knee, this might be a good time for them to work on getting their first handstand pushup. The same is true if you're stuck at home for a few weeks during the coronavirus pandemic. Find a skill or movement that has been challenging for you, and commit to working on it during this time. When you get back to the gym in a few weeks, you'll have developed a new skill set that you can incorporate into your workouts. Some examples of movements you can work on that don't require much equipment include:

  • pistol squats

  • double unders

  • handstand push-ups

  • handstand walks


2. Include single leg exercises. Single leg exercises are too often overlooked and aren't frequently included in CrossFit, weightlifting, or powerlifting programming. And this is unfortunate because single leg movements are great for targeting the glutes, building lateral and rotational stability, and bringing awareness to any strength imbalances between legs. They are also a great at-home exercise because they are often challenging with little to no additional weight (which is great for those that don't have a bunch of weights at home). Some of my favorite single leg exercises include:

  • single leg squats to a bench

  • Bulgarian split squats

  • single leg Romanian deadlifts

  • step ups

  • lunges


3. Focus on rest and recovery. If you've been hitting the gym hard lately, this might be the perfect time to take a break and focus on some recovery. You won't suffer any huge performance gains by taking a couple weeks of rest, and you might even come back stronger because your body was able to recover. Now don't completely turn into a couch potato! You want to continue to stay active throughout the day, but maybe spend time playing with your kids, cleaning the house, foam rolling, stretching, or doing yoga instead of heading to the gym.


Here are a couple places you can go to get free yoga videos you can do at home:

  • Yoga with Adriene. I've had several people tell me they love her videos but I honestly haven't tried them yet. (But maybe I will the next couple of weeks!)

  • DoYogaWithMe. Lots of options on this website and you can search by instructor, difficulty, and length of class. It's been awhile since I've been on this website but I don't think you need to actually sign up to access the classes. Just search or click on what you want and it should start playing on your laptop/phone.


4. Pick a challenging work:rest ratio. If you're stuck at home without much workout equipment, it might feel like there's no way you can come up with a challenging workout. And while it's true that you won't be able to do a super heavy strength workout at home without weights, you can still definitely get a challenging workout with minimal to no equipment. One of the quickest ways to up the intensity of your workouts is to adjust your work-to-rest ratio. To make a workout harder, increase the amount of time that you're moving in relation to the amount of time that you spend resting.


A perfect example of this is Tabata training. If you're ever tried Tabata training, you know what I mean! Even a very simple exercise can become really challenging if you do it as a Tabata. So, what does that mean? Tabata training is a type of high intensity interval training that uses a specific work-to-rest ratio. A traditional Tabata program involves performing an exercise for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and you repeat this 8 times with the same exercise (4 minutes of work total).


Another way to set up a challenging workout using the work:rest ratio is 1 minute circuit training. Set up multiple exercises that you will perform circuit style. Perform the first exercise for 1 minute, then immediately transition to the next exercise. You will be continuously working with your only rest being the time it takes you to transition between exercises. This will keep your heart rate elevated and make the exercises more challenging than if you had rested between sets.


5. Do your PT exercises. As a physical therapist, you know I had to include this, right? Now is the perfect time to rehab that achy knee or tight shoulder that you've been ignoring. Rehab exercises typically involve minimal equipment and can easily be done at home which makes them perfect to include in your at-home workouts. Why not spend some time focused on rehabbing these achy or tight areas, and then be even stronger and painfree when you return to the gym.


Not sure how to rehab that achy knee or tight shoulder? Hit me up! Yep, this is absolutely a shameless plug. But this honestly is the perfect time to do your rehab and fix yourself up. Contact me if you'd like to learn about my in-person and virtual PT options.


I’m also offering personalized monthly workout programming that you can perform at home. The workouts will be tailored to your goals and the equipment you have available. If you’d like help designing your workout routine, shoot me a message for more info!

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