Working out at home is both cost-effective and convenient. With the wealth of free and paid workout programmes available online, there’s no need to spend out on an expensive gym membership or hire a personal trainer. With just a small investment you can set up your own home workout kit that you can use in the comfort of your own home and at your own time and pace.
Master the basics of bodyweight exercises
Probably the most daunting aspect of working out at home is finding a simple workout routine to follow. There are so many available online that you can easily feel confused about where to start. When you are first starting out a good rule of thumb is to find a simple full body routine, with basic movement patterns that you can perform 3 times a week with rest day in between. Initially you want to stick to the same routine following it consistently so you can build the habit of regular exercise and perfect your movement patterns.
If you are very new to exercise then bodyweight exercises are the best place to start as they allow you to learn basic movement patterns safely and build your confidence before moving on to add weight.
Bodyweight exercises for beginners
At first you’ll want to focus on fundamental movement patterns, like pushing, pulling, squatting and lunging, plus exercises to strengthen your core. For every article you read you’ll find someone telling you one exercise is better than another and before you know it you’re suffering from information overload and you’ve no idea where to start. Remember, at first just keep it simple. The idea is to get used to exercise and to make it a habit. There will be plenty of time to try out different exercise combinations once you’re in a proper routine. First focus on:
If you want to read up further then you’ll find a list of useful resources at the bottom of this feature.
Invest in some home gym equipment
Despite what a lot of brands will tell you, when you’re working out from home you really don’t need very much equipment in order to challenge your body. In fact, if you stick solely to bodyweight exercise progressions you can get a really good workout in and gain muscle with no equipment at all. However, working out with weights is an efficient way to progress in strength and to see changes in your physique so if you want to get started with weights you’ll need to invest in a few items to get started.
First things first you’ll need to invest in a good workout mat. Non-slip yoga mats are a great option, they roll up so they can be stored out of the way, they offer a good stable surface and prevent your hands from slipping if you are doing any floor-based exercises. When selecting a mat you want to avoid anything too thick or spongy as this may unbalance you when you are working with weights.
Adjustable dumbbells for home workouts
Once you’ve gained some confidence with bodyweight exercises you can try progressing your routine by adding some weights.
There are so many different types of weights available to purchase that the choices can often seem overwhelming. If you are just starting out then a simple set of adjustable dumbbells like these will allow you to find the appropriate weight for your current strength level, as well as allowing you to increase the weight and make progress as you get stronger. Argos stock lots of well-priced options, as do Amazon and eBay.
The key thing to remember is that if you want to get stronger you’ll need to continually challenge your muscles so that they grow this is known as Progressive Overload. There are a few ways to do this but when you are first starting out the simplest is to gradually increase the weights you are lifting. You need to select a weight that allows you to perform 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. As general rule of thumb if you can perform more than 12 repetitions then you need to select a heavier weight. If you struggle to get to 8 reps then your weight is too heavy and you need to select something lighter. It’s important to ignore anyone else’s idea of ‘heavy’ and focus on what feels challenging for you.
Top Tips for working out at home
- Start with simple bodyweight exercises
- Perform 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions
- Keep it simple and stay consistent
- Remember to always warm up or you risk injuring yourself
- Stick to same routine for the first month
- Workout 3 times a week but not on consecutive days
- Get enough sleep
- Read up on nutrition – if you aren’t eating properly then you aren’t going to be able to fuel your body effectively and if weight-loss is your goal then you diet is the first place you need tighten up.
- Remember progress takes time, take it slow and enjoy the process
The following sites provide lots of useful information for beginners: