In-Home Training: Keys to Success
You are panic-stricken. Not only is the world going to end, but you are also about to lose all of your gains! Every ounce of sweat and work you put into the weight room is about to go right down the drain. The thought of all that strength just disappearing, it’s sad, it’s scary, but does it need to be a reality? We are creative beings, there MUST be an alternative to this situation!
It is fairly clear. We are all going to be stuck at home training for a while. Everyone is concerned that we will be back to smashing Richard Simmons workouts in the living room, sweating all over the place while we cook our Hamburger Helper.
Richard provided some good moving and shaking while he was in his hey-day, but it wasn’t optimal for growing lean muscle mass or maintaining strength. Sure it did a good job elevating the heart rate but let’s dive into some serious at-home training. What are the keys behind making gains while we are home on quarantine?
1. Separate Space
One of the most overlooked issues regarding in-home training is the actual space utilized for training. Homes are areas of comfort, relaxation, and socialization. I have personally built my gym by buying old home gyms. Consistently, people will buy equipment in hopes to train 5-6 days a week, save cash from the gym and just smash weights in their basement.
What happens? The proximity syndrome takes over! Every single person that sold me their weights would say, “I was just too comfortable. I couldn’t train at home.”
That means that selecting the right space is CRUCIAL for overall success during quarantine and in-home training. Find a spot in your home that is FAR away from your realm of comfort! Ideally, your training area should not be next to your couch and TV.
My home is 880 square feet. We have four children, three bedrooms and one bathroom and a tiny kitchen. Our house is small. Why am I telling you this? We have a basement where we rarely go as a family. All of my workout space is in the dungeon that is our basement.
Not only is it away from my means of comfort, but it’s also a difficult place for my children to access and I can spend some alone time, getting swole and blaring music!
2. Establish All Equipment
It’s time to get creative. I can hear it now. “Dane, I don’t have any weights. How can I actually train?”
During 2007 and 2008, I trained under Olympic champion, Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk. Dr. B’s first memory as a child was watching a Soviet tank drive over a hole where he and his family were hiding. He survived the Ukrainian famine because of one thing. Creativity. He regularly spoke about his father and how his dad was extremely creative during those times.
Click here to read about Dr. Anatoly Bondarchuk!
Dr. B took that creativity into his own strength training. He taught me multiple keys to training. Establish what equipment you have, then think about more ways to use “normal” everyday appliances as exercise equipment! After the equipment list is established, take ALL equipment into the exercise space and lay everything out.
A quick list of equipment will help devise a unique and creative program. A quick start: your body, any dumbbells, barbell, kettlebells, milk jugs with water, detergent containers, cinder blocks, bands, chairs, a towel, anything you can use for resistance!
3. Reps and Reps and Reps
At-home training can be surprisingly difficult. It is very important to remember that bodyweight exercises can be difficult and with new equipment (water jugs, chairs, cinder blocks) that you have never trained with before, these pieces can provide an unforeseen difficulty!
Studies have also shown that doing loads that are 40-60% intensity can still lead to significant strength adaptation! That means a few things. At-home training can be done with a fair amount of volume (i.e. reps) and with explosive movements. Recognize that at-home training is going to be about getting a serious amount of work done in a shorter time frame with movements you typically would not execute.
This means training is going to be more fast tempo, enjoyable and very challenging while at the same time it will be quite different from the norm. This is the best way to force a strong adaptation from the body!
4. Have a Timer and a Speaker
One of the best things I learned with at-home training is to use my phone as a speaker while also using it as my timer. We all still have our smartphones, we all still have electricity. When you are down in your sacred workout space and you have your equipment laid out, it’s time to establish the environment with MINIMAL distractions.
No text messages, no snap chat, no social media. (Ok, maybe one set you can video for your Facebook and Instagram post).
Make every single set have a MAXIMUM of 60 seconds rest. Cue up your favorite workout playlist and get to work! With all your equipment laid out and your playlist rolling and your timer ready to make you sweat, the distractions should be absolutely minimal and in a matter of 35-40 minutes, you will be GASSED from an awesome workout. Now is the time to improve your weaknesses. Need improved mobility? Maybe your push-ups aren’t the best? Endurance sucks? Well, guess what, you are in your dungeon basement, smashing shit with your 8th-grade emo playlist blasting. It’s you vs. The World. Let’s GOOOOO!
5. Steady State Learning
One forgotten aspect to home training is how enjoyable it can be to simply go outside and go for a walk or engage with low, steady state cardio. I call it Steady State Learning. Social distancing is key for our society to conquer the Corona virus. That doesn’t mean we can’t go for walks and spend time outdoors!
Why steady state learning?
I LOVE putting on my favorite Audiobooks or even free lectures (visit Khan Academy) and going out for an easy walk or even 30 minutes of constant movement in the backyard. Make the work hard enough to get your heart rate elevated but easy enough to move constantly over a 30-40 minutes. This will help you focus and engage with mental fitness as well! Extra calories will be burned and you brain will be stimulated into some incredible progressive thought!
In-Home resistance training doesn’t need to be boring or even difficult to set up. Get creative and focus on the big picture goal. To stay healthy, you simply need to MOVE and get your heart rate elevated! Find that unique solitary space in your home, away from distractions where you can get yourself in the zone. Bring all potential means of resistance equipment into your area, set up your timer and play list and start SMASHING those high rep sets. Follow that up with a long steady state learning period and you have yourself an incredible day of fitness!
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of elite athletes building comprehensive programs for strength and sports performance. Several times a year he leads a seminar for coaches, trainers, and athletes.
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