You Do Not Need A Gym! Discover How To Get Fit In Your Own Home!
The majority of people think that to become really fit you have to join a gym and push weights all your life. You may not like working out around other people because you feel self-conscious and pressured. You may just not have the money or time to afford going to the gym to spend hours trying to loose weight / gain muscle... Whatever your answer is, this hub will help you!
Before we begin, do not get me wrong the gym does have its' advantages over staying at home. The choice between working out at home or choosing the gym option all depends on your current lifestyle. I am just going to show you how effective workout out at home can be.
Will I Need Any Fancy Equipment?
You do not need anything to be able to workout, just yourself and the air around you. You do not even need clothes! The exercises which will be explained have been designed to not rely on equipment and big machines to give you effective results. However, with working out at home, you may find you will struggle with motivation. So before each workout make sure you are doing it because it is want you want to do, rather than feeling you have to do it.
As you become fitter and more become toned. You may want to invest in some smaller pieces of equipment, these are cheap alternatives in comparison to a gym membership, however if used correctly will reap the same rewards. Here are examples of what I have;
- Dumbbell Sets - For some exercisers, a little bit of resistance can build up a lot of stamina and strength. For example, the simple dumbbell curl. When performed without weight, it will take ages and ages to be able to feel the effects of the exercise. However, by adding weight to the movement you can condition the muscles to a heavier object. Hence reaping larger results.
- Press Up Grips - After press ups seem a little easy. I would say after you can do about 40-50 press ups non stop, then you may want to look at gets a set of press up grips. These are just handles, which you grip onto and do the press up off. This allows your body to go lower then before, targeting a large muscle group. Much more about this explained later. These only cost about £5 for basic ones, however if you do not want to spend any money, then two stacks of wood the same height will give you a similar effect, by will not allow you to grip anything.
- Stopwatch - Some exercises may need to be timed, a stopwatch is perfect for this. By timing exercises you can see whether you are improving over time and just how much you have improved by. There are alternatives to this, such as www.onlinestopwatch.com it is basically what the URL says it is. A free stopwatch, which runs off the Internet.
- Skipping Rope - A simple skipping rope will cost around £5 but will be the one thing above all else that has huge potential to burn calories at an extortionate rate! Just 5 minutes skipping is the average equivalent of a 25 minute run. Wow! If you want to skip but can not buy a skipping rope for whatever reason, just use a piece of rope and wrap it around your hands, this is hardcore skipping.
- Exercise Journal - Keep track is not only good to see how much you have changed, but also to stay motivated and continue to reap the results from the exercise. Without one you may not see how much you have improved and may lose the motivation to keep it up. These are very cheap, but if money is that much of an issue, just use the blood and sweat to mark sets up on the wall... Joking!
Other fitness equipment, which I do not own may also include;
- Wrist and Ankle Weights.
- Pull Up Bar.
- Abdomen Roller.
- Vibrating Plates.
- Barbell Set
The Key 'At Home' Exercises
So what exercise can you do? Here is a comprehensive list of exercises which stimulate muscle, burn fat and can be achieved no matter what your fitness level is. Remember that before preforming any of the exercises, remember to warm up correctly and stretch to reduce the affect of injury.
Most people are familiar with this one, it consists of placing your feet about double your shoulder width apart and then bending your knees. Now depending on your current level of flexibility and fitness will determine how much you can bend you knee. Find the point you can bend to and keep squatting to this point, over time the angle will improve. However, when the knees get to a 90 degree angle, to not go any lower. This is more likely to cause injury and impair results. This is a body weight exercise and can be performed whatever you current physical fitness. This exercise may seem easy and you can push out 40-60 repetitions quite easily, this is because the leg muscles are very large in comparison to the rest of the body, therefore take longer to fatigue, but take yourself to fatigue, and then on your next workout try and beat the number! If you can feel it the next day, it has worked!
What do you think of when someone says body weight exercise to you, 9 times out of 10 it will be the press up. This is a very good way of developing upper body strength, as well as pushing strength. It consists of going onto your hands and the balls of your feet, in a plank position then bending your arms until your chest is near the floor, then pushing back up again. There are loads of variations of the press up, from diamond press ups (forming a diamond under your chest with your thumbs and index fingers) to triceps press ups. (Bringing your hands in close to your body) Each will work different muscle tissue within the arms and pectorals. These exercises are designed to develop these muscle areas. Adding strength and endurance as you go. If you are struggling to do one press up, go onto your knees and do as many as you can, it will not be longer until you develop the strength to do a full one. If you are performing 40-60 repetitions without a problems, then I would advise purchasing some press up grips, this allows your body to go further then the floor level, hence targeting more muscle tissue, this press ups are much harder, you may find your repetition count will half when you switch over. Another tip would be to use a tempo when performing press ups, the perfect speed is, 3 seconds lowering, 3 seconds holding just off the ground, followed by an explosive press up to the original starting position. This will add strength far quicker then just racing through tonnes of press ups.
The Sit Up / Crunch
If someone was to ask you how you could add strength to the abdomen region, I guarantee that your instantaneous response would be the sit up or crunch. The standard sit up involves laying on your back, with your feet comfortably bent at the knees and feet flat on the floor. Then by contracting your abdominal muscles, raise your upper body so you are sitting upright, then lowering yourself back down. This is the basic sit up. You may want to add weight to your feet to add stability so you do not find your feet lifting off the ground when performing this move. This should be completed at a tempo of 3 seconds raising, 1 second holding at the top, and then 3 seconds back down. This will give you get time under tension for the abdomen to be able to develop. My personal abdominal routine, consists of many variation of sit ups including, counter twisting with dumbbells, roman chair sit ups, oblique crunches, straight leg side to side, bicycle crunches... The point is, there are hundreds of variations to work the abdominal, however if you are new to exercising, stick to the basics until you build strength in that region. A great technique that I would advise using would be the abdominal plank. This exercise target the core muscles round the body. It is performed by laying face down on the floor, then bring yourself up so you are balancing on your forearms and feet, straighten your body as much as you can and hold this position for as long as ou can. My current best at the plank is, 3 minutes 40 seconds, which was the length of the song I was listening to before collapsing. So you can see it is quick to tire you out.
Skipping is one of the most effective exercising to loosing weight there is. It builds up a sweat very quickly, I feel a sweat building after about 3-4 minutes of fast paced skipping. If you can not skip then wait until you lose a little bit of weight, if wait is not the problem but co-ordination is, then practice it everyday, you will get it eventually. This is one exercise you do not want to miss out on. If you develop your skipping to such a level where you can not build a sweat anymore, then add some small ankle weights to make your muscles work more. However, this is rare and I only know of one person who does this, my 6th degree instructor...
Find a ledge, either on the edge of a sofa or chair or even bed, place your feet out infront of you and grip onto the ledge from behind you back, now lower your body down so your arms are bending at the elbow. Again, do not exceed that golden 90 degree angle. This exercise has an ideal speed of 3 seconds down, 1 seconds hold, and 2 seconds up. You will feel the back of your arms burning up after completing this exercise, then you know it is working. If you are struggling to even do one triceps dip, bend your knees and bring your feet closer towards you. This will take the pressure off the arms a little bit, allowing you to still build endurance.
Other at home exercises you could try include;
- Arm Curling - Either using dumbbells or a barbell. Focusing primarily on the bicep, depending on which variation you are performing.
- Isometrics - Holding a contracted position for as long as possible, a popular one within martial arts is the horse stance, to develop strong legs. Other include, plank, holding a handstand and the L-Sit.
- Calve Raises - All this exercise consists of is raising your body up onto your tip toes and then slowly lowering yourself back onto the heels of your feet. Very intense for the calve muscles especially if weight in the form of dumbbells is added.
Remember that to loose weight efficiently you need to develop muscles as well, this is because the more muscles you have the more energy your body needs to function, therefore the more fat you use as energy.
Also, you could perform these exercises as hard as you want, but if your diet is inadequate and you are eating all the wrong foods, then you will never see the results. Remember to eat a healthy balance diet, you may want to consider increasing your protein intake for this exercises to improve recovery and repair.
What Sort of Sets Should I Be Looking At?
How many you do in a set, is completely dependant on how fit you currently are. Just remember to follow this tips;
- Use Correct Form - The amount of extra press ups I have commanded of people because they are using incorrect form is incredible. Do not bounce press ups, do not swing the arms when performing sit ups and do not bend the back on them squats. By using incorrect form you will not get as much as you could out of that exercise.
- Remember To Rest - Never work the same muscle group two days in a row, allow your body time to heal and repair itself, this will allow it to become more endured and stronger.
- Push For Improvement - Always try beating the number of repetitions you performing during the last workout, initially it may be easy to raise the number as you are beginning to develop strength, but the fitter you get the harder it will be to improve, so constantly try for more!
As a guideline, here is a little workout I personally perform, every other day, no matter what exercise I have done that day already, obviously I perform focused muscle workouts and a vast amount of cardiovascular exercise as well, but this is the foundation and all my other training is on top of these basics;
Repetitions Per Set
Number of Sets