Many people use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to ditch the gym and stay home, but staying active is crucial for maintaining strength and flexibility and helping you recover from a virus. Getting to the gym can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to find class times that work with your schedule and then battle traffic on the way there.
Working out at home can also be easier on your body — and wallet, too. You don’t need to buy expensive equipment, and you can get a good workout using bodyweight exercises alone. If you’re new to exercise, start with this beginner home HIIT workout, which combines upper-body and lower-body moves for a well-rounded routine that should take about 20 minutes.
If you’re interested in building muscle mass, you’ll want to include some longer-duration low-intensity sessions, along with high-intensity short sessions to maximize your results. “It’s important to train with a variety of movement patterns, which are the building blocks for increasing muscle mass,” says Snezane Williams, personal trainer and founder of Fit4Mum. Using different exercises and varying the amount of reps, sets and rest time will allow you to train your muscles differently, which is key for maximizing muscle growth.
You’ll also need to think about the number of reps and how much weight to use, depending on your fitness level and desired outcomes. Aim for a moderate-level rep range and aim to rest for 60 to 90 seconds between each set, or even less if you’re going for a higher-intensity workout. If you’re training with a heavier load, you may need to rest for up to two or five minutes between sets.
Another consideration when training at home is the ability to avoid distractions and get into the zone. Plan ahead by blocking out your time, and making sure you’re dressed and ready to go before you begin your workout, Juster suggests. Play energizing music, drink water and eat a preworkout snack to help you focus.
It’s also important to consider the equipment you’ll need. Some workouts require no equipment at all, while others call for more advanced or specific pieces of equipment (like barbells). You can create an effective routine with items you have around the house, such as a chair and some weights, or you can use your own bodyweight for most exercises. For example, you can do a great core and glute workout by lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and your arms extended to your sides. Then, pushing through your feet and bracing your core, raise your bottom off the ground, squeezing your glutes at the top of the move.
You can also add some variation to your workout by moving through a circuit. Try alternating between exercises like lunges and single-leg glute bridges, for example. Or, incorporate a couple of plyometric exercises and jumps, which can be more challenging than other types of strength-training exercises.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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