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Strength Training at Home
With the pandemic, many people have turned to their living rooms as a new way of of strength training at home. Strength training, also called weight training or resistance training, is a critical aspect of any fitness routine. It helps build muscle endurance and an overall stronger feeling. When working out this way, you are essentially pushing or pulling your body away from some type of resistance. These types of resistance include:
To get started with strength training at home, we recommend focusing on the first three types of resistance workouts (body weight, free weights, and resistance bands). These are much more likely to fit in a makeshift home gym and can achieve most, if not all, of your strength and fitness goals without breaking the bank (and quite possibly your floorboards).
The Benefits of Working Out at Home
A home-based exercise routine can be a super easy and convenient way of fitting in a regular workout without having to hit the gym, especially if you’ve found it difficult to fit a workout in your busy schedule. 1. Saves time – No traveling to the gym or waiting to use gym equipment. 2. Relatively low cost – Especially if you are focusing on body weight or resistance band training; no gym fees! 3. Workout anytime – Especially for those of you working from home… working out during lunch is a great way to break up your day.
Building a balanced workout plan
How often should you incorporate strength training into your workout? It all depends on (1) your fitness background, (2) the amount of time you have available, and (3) your personal fitness objectives.
For those looking for a balanced workout regimen, it is probably best to target strength training 3 times per week. This will enable you to target separate muscle groups, while still maintaining enough time for muscle recovery on your days off. Strength training should also be mixed with cardio training throughout the week to maintain balance in your fitness. For example, a typical week might look like the following:
Benefits of Weight and Resistance Training
Research has shown that strength training can benefit your health and fitness in many different ways. According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training may help:
Build lean muscle
Reduce body fat by burning calories more efficiently
Boost flexibility and range of motion, which helps prevent injuries
Improve balance, posture, and stability
Improve mood and overall energy levels
What Equipment Do You Need For Resistance Training at Home?
Yourself! (Bodyweight Workouts)
One of the best ways to start out with resistance training is by using bodyweight workouts such as pushups, ab crunches, or air squats. With each of these bodyweight exercises, use smooth, steady, and controlled movements.
Here are a few to get you started…
There are a variety of different pushups you can do to work various muscle groups, but standard pushups work the chest muscles, as well as the shoulder muscles, triceps, and abdominals. Other pushups you may consider doing include wide-arm, incline, and the formidable diamond pushups.
A basic lunge works the muscles in your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Lunge variations include walking lunges, jumping lunges, lunges with a torso twist, and side lunges.
A strong lower body powers your stride and wards off injury. Incorporating resistance moves like squats into your strength-training routine is an essential and straightforward way to round out your training at home.
Planks make for an excellent exercise for improving your core strength and stability. This exercise can also strengthen the muscles in your back, chest, and shoulders. Start by holding the position for 30 seconds and then over time work your way up to holding it for 3-5 minutes!
Free Weights – Dumbbells
Grab yourself a set of dumbbells in order to work out a few more muscles not easily achieved through bodyweight movements. For a free overview of the distinct types of free weight workouts, check out this video that details a few of the most popular ones for building strength and endurance.
The specific weights needed for workouts at home vary based on your fitness goals, but typically increments from 5 pounds to 30 pounds will do the trick.
Best Value: BalanceFrom Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set
Training with dumbbells allows you to select resistance training exercises based on their similarity to actual movements that occur during sports. This dumbbell set comes with 3 pairs of hex-shaped, neoprene coated dumbbells in 3-pound, 5-pound and 8-pound sizes. To top things off, a weight stand is included as well!
VIRB’s Top Pick: Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Medium Dumbbells
This adjustable system lets you rapidly switch from one exercise to the next by combining 15 sets of weights into one through a unique dial turning system. It eliminates the need for multiple dumbbells cluttering your workout space, which is essential for your home gym.
Free Weights – Kettlebell
One major advantage that kettlebells have over dumbbells is that you do not need a wide range of weight increments to create a workout with them. A fan favorite for building total-body strength, particularly a good 6-pack, is to incorporate kettlebell swings into your strength routine.
This kettlebell weight includes 6 drop cast iron plates. These plates can be easily removed or added to alter the total weight of the kettlebell, ranging from 10 to 40 pounds. These plates allow you to tailor your workout to your own specific needs.
VIRB’s Top Pick: Kettlebell Set 3-Piece HDPE 5lb, 10lb, 15lb Weights
The wide grip of this kettlebell set makes it a must-have for simple exercises as well as during your warmup. The shape of the wide handle makes it comfortable so any person regardless of gender or age.
Resistance bands are a great workout tool because they are affordable, mobile, and versatile. In addition, research shows that engaging in elastic band resistance training improves balance, gait function, and flexibility.
Best Value: Resistance Exercise Bands Set with Handles
This set of 5 colors exercise bands are 41 inches in length and come in yellow (10 lbs), blue (20 lbs), green (30 lbs), black (40 lbs), and red (50 lbs). Resistance bands provide you with multiple ways to train your body and it comes with cushioned handles, ankle straps, and a door anchor.
Lower Body: Resistance Bands for Legs and Butt
This resistance band set is divided into 3 diverse levels of resistance: light, medium, and heavy. Whether you are a beginner or a fitness enthusiast, these glute bands will complement your workout needs perfectly.
Upper Body: Pull Up Assistance Bands
This set comes with 5 different resistance strengths. They are great for teaching you to do pull-ups on your own or if you just want to get more repetitions in. These are particularly useful if you are recovering from an injury and need to slowly strengthen torn ligaments or muscles.
ViRB’s Top Pick: Body Boss 2.0 – Full Portable Home Gym
The BodyBoss 2.0 was designed to simulate all the bulky equipment and machines you see at the gym and combine them into one revolutionary workout concept – the BodyBoss 2.0, a portable gym. The fold-up platform allows you to increase or decrease the exercise difficulty based on shortening or lengthening the bands. Also, you can make your exercises even harder by adding more than 1 band to either side of the platform.
Use of a mat provides some extra padding between your body and the ground, which is especially useful to those whose wrists, knees, or even hips are sensitive to hard surfaces and heavy loads.
This durable, yet extremely lightweight exercise yoga mat gives you just the right amount of cushioning your joints need during any yoga or fitness routine. This one also comes of dozens of cool designs!
Where Within Your Home Should You Workout?
At a bare minimum, your home gym location should have enough room to lay down a yoga mat. However, to get the most out of your strength workouts, it is preferable to have enough room to jump around and store your set of free weights and resistance bands without them getting in the way.
For those living in a house, if you have a spare bedroom, empty office, or vacant garage that’s begging to be used, then you have hit the home gym jackpot. For those apartment dwellers, try dedicating a corner of your living space or your bedroom for your strength workouts.
Mirrors can be a helpful tool for feedback on your form during exercises. They can also help to open up a space, making it appear larger than it actually is, which may help you feel less cramped in a smaller home gym. This full-length mirror for standing, hanging, or leaning against a wall works well for most strength training at home workouts.
Ready to Start Strength Training at Home
One last thing to consider is where you are going to store all of this resistance training equipment. If you want to pack a ton of equipment in a small space, storage is key. For minimalist workout routines, pick up a storage container on Amazon that can slide under your bed to hold your yoga mat and resistance bands. You can also turn an empty wall into a storage location for your dumbbell and kettle ball racks.
In conclusion, strength workouts can easily be incorporated into your working out at home routine. Bodyweight, resistance bands, and free weights are all good options; the most important thing is to take action!