In response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, stay-at-home orders have been issued by governmental officials almost as swiftly as many “nonessential” businesses, like gyms, have been forced to close up shop indefinitely. The closure of fitness and health facilities has left many individuals unable to participate in their usual workout routine. Not only is this disappointing for those who enjoy their workouts, but a lack of physical activity can take a major toll on one’s mood and immune system. Fortunately, just because you may be practicing self-quarantine doesn’t mean it’s impossible to maintain your physical progress and endurance.
At-home exercises can be highly effective, and in this article, we explain how you can maximize these workouts to keep yourself in great condition, whether you’re housebound or not.
About At-Home Workouts
Contrary to what some bodybuilders at the gym may tell you, dumbbells and exercise equipment are not essential components of an effective upper body workout. If you have dumbbells, barbells, or exercise machines on hand, certainly feel free to use them, but know that they aren’t a requirement to achieve and maintain results in your fitness level.
To train for strength and overall fitness in an at-home setting, you’ll want to design a circuit or routine of three to five exercises for a specific range of repetitions. The number of repetitions you complete will vary depending on physical ability and fitness goals, but a good rule of thumb is as follows:
- 8-10 reps: strength training
- 10-15 reps: muscle growth
- 15-20 reps: endurance
All of these rep ranges can support weight loss efforts, so long as they are balanced with proper nutrition, sleep, and health habits.
The exercises you choose should ideally incorporate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. These types of exercises are called compound movements, and they’re more effective for building muscle, losing fat, and developing symmetrical anabolic growth than are single-muscle or “isolation” exercises. Since compound movements recruit more muscles at the same time, your body consumes more oxygen and burns through more glucose (the food-derived energy stored in muscle fibers). In essence, compound movements burn more calories in less time, providing you with a great workout that still leaves room for the other activities you enjoy.
Below, we’ll discuss what different workouts may look like depending on the muscle groups you’re trying to target.
Training Upper Body At Home
Maintaining functionality and fitness in your upper body is just as important as doing your squats and eating your vegetables. The upper body is generally viewed as the area of the body including the shoulders, back, chest, arms, and core. The trapezius muscle, located above and between the shoulder blades on your back, may also be specifically mentioned and included.
The best at-home exercises for upper body training include push-ups, pull-ups, planks, overhead presses, handstands, tricep dips, and lateral arm raises. If you’re designing a workout to target the upper body, select three to five of these exercises and, depending on your fitness level, complete two to four sets of each exercise for the number of repetitions that aligns with your goal (strength, muscle growth, or endurance).
Training Lower Body At Home
Your lower body consists of the legs, gluteal muscles, lower abdominals, and lower back (lumbar vertebrae). Within the legs, there are a number of major muscle groups including the quadriceps and hamstrings, but overall, the gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, medius, and minimum) are the largest and most powerful trio of muscles in the entire body.
The best at-home exercises for the lower body include squats, wide-stance squats, lunges (reverse or regular), calf raises, donkey kicks, wall-sits, and leg raises. Your lower-body workouts, just like upper body, should incorporate several compound movements that are repeated for two to four sets and a desired range of repetitions.
What About Cardio?
If your current stay-at-home conditions permit it, try to take daily walks or runs to elevate your heart rate and get some fresh air. If you’re concerned about exposing yourself or others to an infection, you can still find ways to train cardiovascular endurance at home. Jog up and down the stairs, speed up the pace of bodyweight exercises, or spend a few hours doing some intensive yardwork. With a bit of creativity, it is both easy and entertaining to find ways to stay fit while staying at home.
If you’re seeking a fast and efficient high-intensity workout that you can complete safely outside of your home, please contact QuickHIT International today. Our doors are still open to the public; all we ask is that you adhere to social distancing guidelines!