No, this isn’t a P90x commercial. I truly respect Tony Horton, but his methods are just a piece of the pie when it comes to the Ultimate Home Workout program. If you’ve tried those type of programs, awesome! This guide will give you the additional pieces you need to have a complete game plan for your home workout plan.
Do you need tons of equipment to transform your body?
Let’s cut the BS. If you want to be crazy strong, build a bodybuilder’s type of physique, or compete in crossfit…yep you guessed it, you’re going to have to train specifically for those goals. A basic home gym set up might not cut it for reaching elite levels in specific sports. You might have to either stock up your home gym or join a facility that carries the necessary equipment to help you reach those goals.
But, I’m guessing if you were shooting for those very specific type of goals you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. Nope, I bet you just want to look good naked. Maybe see some abs or have ripped arms. And that, my friend, doesn’t require tons of equipment. In fact, in a lot of cases you don’t need any equipment to build an athletic, lean and healthy body. Which, in my experience, is what most of you reading this truly want. You want to take your clothes off and feel really sexy. Cool. You’re in the right place.
How to Set Up Your Home Workout Area
When I was going through my own 80 lb fat loss transformation, I used to wake up early and jump rope in my house for 30 minutes before work. It worked really well, except for one thing. I lived above people in an apartment complex and they didn’t appreciate me jumping around at 5am. Needless to say my home workouts took a hit pretty quick.
You might not need much equipment to start, but you will need some reliable space to train. Clearing out an area in your house where you’ll be able to move comfortably and train without disturbing anyone is a major key. The last thing you want is to feel limited by your training space if you’re working out home. You’re working out at home for convenience after all!
Don’t stress about having a perfect “Garage Gym” or “Basement Bro Barbell Club” – just find a spot and make it yours. If you want spice it up – you can lay some rubber mats or rubber flooring to a hard surface more “workout friendly”. Once again, if you workout on carpet – cool. As long as you’re committed to a spot in the house – that’s what really matters.
Personally, my home workouts happen in my garage. I’ve laid down some rubber flooring to cushion the area and prevent bloodying my elbows and knees each time I train. Plus, I can blast music and not wake anyone up or piss anyone off. I tend to opt for Hip-Hop and the occasional EDM – so working out in the living room isn’t an option. The garage is also a great place to store my basic equipment – which we will cover next.
What Equipment Should You Buy for Your Home Gym?
We’re going to breakdown a specific home workout routine later in this guide which doesn’t require any equipment. However, eventually you might want to invest in some tools to help make your workouts more challenging and exciting.
If we’re playing “Stranded on a Home Workout Island” and you can only bring one piece of equipment – I’d be torn between exercise bands, a jump rope or a moderately heavy pair of dumbbells. You really can’t go wrong with any one of these 3 options as your first addition to your home workout area.
Exercise bands are great for numerous reasons. First, they are super easy to take with you wherever you go. Plus, they are incredibly easy to store in the house. They can be utilized with other pieces of equipment too or they can be tied to furniture to give you more exercise options. On top of all that they are super cheap. A nice set of bands can be found for less than $50 on Amazon or at your local sporting goods store.
A jump rope is another cheap and effective tool to have in your house. You can travel with it pretty much anywhere and it’s a tremendous form of cardio. Jump rope workouts are amazing for endurance and building mind to muscle connection. Once again, you can grab a quality jump rope for under $30. Our TRUE8 Challengehas optional cardio done with a jump-rope – which tends to burn a lot more calories than your average “walking-on-the-treadmill” workout.
Quality dumbbells can be pricey. You’re gonna pay a pretty penny to get your hands on heavy dumbbells. Moderately heavy ‘bells (20-50 lbs) can run $20-$50 per dumbbell. Now, if you plan on using them a few times each week then they can be a worthwhile investment. Just remember – you won’t be traveling anywhere with moderately heavy dumbbells – unless you want to pay a massive bag fee just for your weights. Dumbbells are a valuable addition to home gym if you have the extra cash. Personally I have a 25 lb, 50 lb and 75 lb set to accommodate different strength levels for different movements. For all 3 I spent about $250 but I’ve used them hundreds of time so the investment has paid off big-time.
Additional Pieces of Equipment to Consider (if you have the extra cash)
Just so you don’t get triggered and think I’m contradicting myself, you don’t NEED any of these pieces of equipment. In fact, these are far from necessary, but if you have the extra cash to spend feel free to add them to your home workout set up.
An Ab Wheel is a very cheap, yet effective tool for core and abs training. It’s not a beginner level exercise so don’t invest in one until you’ve built up the core strength to handle it.
This past year I’ve started incorporating kettlebells into my routine on a regular basis and they’ve become a big part of my training. I invested in a few for my home gym and it’s been great to have them available for my home workouts. That being said, they are not cheap. I wouldn’t invest in them unless you’re truly going to use them on a regular basis. No need for expensive decorations.
You could argue that this piece belongs in the “must-haves” but in all honesty you could walk to your local playground and knock out tons of pull-ups while the local soccer moms or babysitters get weirded out by your playground usage. Pull-up bars are pretty cheap and simple to install, but make sure you get a professional to help if you’re unsure of the installation standards.
This is another tool that’s becoming very popular because of how diverse they are and how easy they are to travel with. My reasoning for including them in the “extras” section is due to their high price point and the fact that you can get a ton done without them. Most big gyms are now carrying TRX bands because of their growing usage amongst gym goers and their diverse options. If you have the extra money – I’d strongly recommend a pair.
How to Set Up a Home Workout Routine
The first order of business is assessing where you are now. If you’re coming off a long layoff from working out – it’s important to map out a plan that will gradually build up your ability to handle more challenging workouts. If you jump into advanced programs after a long break from training, you’ll be in for a rude awakening when it comes to soreness, recovery and potentially an injury.
If you’re going from working out consistently in the gym to now being 100% at home – that’s a different story. You’ll be able to handle a bigger workload and your main concerns will be ensuring your program is built to help you hit your goals and that your schedule meets the demands of your lifestyle.
I suggest you map out a schedule that you know you’ll stick to consistently. It may be tempting to shoot for an aggressive schedule at first, but long-term that may lead to burnout. Just because you’re working out in the convenience of your own home doesn’t mean you should train every day. Rest and recovery is important not just physically, but mentally as well.
Our TRUE8 Challenge is designed around 3-4 effective workouts at home or in the gym each week. Sure, it may be tempting to train 5, 6 or even 7 days a week to speed up results, but long-term if you can’t stick with that much training or you get worn out – then you could wind up back where you started very quickly. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay active each day. Being active doesn’t always mean you have to train. It could just mean walking more or standing more – depending on your unique lifestyle.
A Home Workout Schedule
Just for argument’s sake – let’s say you have 4 days to train for 30- 45 minutes. And then on other days you have 20-30 minutes max. We’ll use a standard Monday-Sunday calendar set up.
Full Body – Bodyweight Training Feet Elevated Push-ups 3 sets of 6-10 reps Bodyweight Dips 3 sets of 6-10 reps Lunges 3 sets of 10 each leg Wall Squats 3 sets of 5 – 30 second holds Planks 3 sets of 20 seconds
Cardio 30 minutes of Interval Training Pick a form of cardio like walking/jogging/jump rope and vary the intensity levels for 30 minutes, but keep moving for 30 minutes.
Full Body Workout -Warm Up for 10 minutes -Wall Squats 3 sets of 5 reps of 30 second holds -Jump Squats 3 sets of 10 reps 4 Rounds of: -Push ups for 30 seconds -Planks for 30 seconds Rest 1 minute 4 Rounds of: -Jump Squats for 30 seconds -Squat bottom position hold for 30 seconds
Active Recovery Head out for a brisk 30-45 minute walk. Stay active, but also take time to recover.
Full Body Workout Pull-ups 3 sets of 6-12 reps Feet on Chair Pike Push-ups 3 sets of 6-10 reps Squat Jumps 3 sets 8 reps Reverse Crunches 3 sets of 12 reps Burpees – Max reps in 5 minutes
Death by Push-ups Start a timer and do 1 push up in the first minute. Minute 2 do 2 push-ups. Minute 3 do 3 push-ups. Minute 4 – 4 push-ups. Go all the way to 30 minutes if possible. Now, if you have extra time – go back down for 15 minutes. So do 15, 14, 13, 12, etc.
Active Recovery Enjoy some walking, biking or maybe a hike if its nice outside. Stay active, but don’t overdo it.
How to Make Progress At Home
If you stay consistent with your workouts at some point you’re going to need to make them more challenging. That’s the beauty of being consistent – eventually you have to establish new workouts and continue to push yourself. Fun huh? LOL
You might be thinking “How do I progress without equipment?” – and that’s a fair question. The simple answer is to manipulate factors such as angles, time under tension, doing unilateral movements (one arm or one leg at a time), increasing the difficulty of basic movements such as push-ups or squats, and super-setting or even tri-setting movements to increase the density of your workload.
These terms might seem confusing or like I’m writing in a foreign language – and I don’t blame you for feeling that way. The good news is that my team and I can help you with all this stuff. Our TRUE8 Program has both gym and home workouts that can be scaled for beginners to advanced gym lifters. The program is designed to help make all this information easy to understand and simple for you to apply to your routine. If you want to learn more – visit the TRUE8 page here.
The Final Word on Home Workouts
Working out at home has been an incredible asset in my workout arsenal. You can definitely get amazing results by working out at home – especially if you follow the advice outlined in this article.
If you give home workouts a real change – you’ll be shocked at how much you can change your body.
If this article was helpful – I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on social media. Feel free to share this article if it helped you get clarity on home workouts and setting up your home gym.