You’ve been sweating it out at home for the past few months. Maybe you’ve been smashing your way through bodyweight workouts with Centr Unleashed and seeing big results! However you’ve been getting it done, your exercise mat never goes back into its cupboard anymore, because the next home workout is always just around the corner.
With gyms slowly starting to open their doors around the world, you’re probably thinking about whether or not you will go back. If you’ve arrived at the conclusion that home workouts are your thing for the foreseeable future, we’ve got tips to help you take your training to the next level.
Like most things in life, your fitness will only improve if you continue to challenge yourself. Progressive overload is a rule in strength training that tells us if we want to see continual improvement, we need to incrementally increase the challenge our muscles face – no new challenge means no new gains. So if you want to avoid the dreaded fitness plateau, here’s what you need to do.
1. Change up your range of motion
Whether you’re working with weights or doing bodyweight training, increasing your range of motion (ROM) is one of the easiest ways to make your home workout program more challenging.
ROM is the extent to which you can move, and be in control of, your muscles and joints. By increasing the ROM during your workouts, you’re asking more of your muscles – taking your squats, lunges or push-ups a bit deeper will more fully activate your muscles and help take your strength gains up a level.
When it comes to weighted exercises, your muscles are used to facing resistance throughout your normal ROM in an exercise. But if you take that movement a bit further, you’re placing stress on the muscle in a new position. For instance, by switching traditional dumbbell curls for incline dumbbell curls – performing the exercise sitting with your back at an incline – you’ll better target the long head of the bicep muscle, which maximizes the peak.
Do like Dan and get deeper into those squats to really fire up your muscles.
2. How’s your form?
A tight, efficient technique is one of the most effective ways to get more out of a workout. If an exercise is feeling easy, there’s a good chance your technique may be a bit off. During a bodyweight workout, focus on keeping an engaged core, keep a neutral spine when you’re doing push-ups, planks, bear crawls, and so on, and your knees over your toes during any squat variation.
If you have weights at home, your technique is even more important. Using your body’s momentum to lift weights instead of controlling movements can lead to injury, so remember this rule: never sacrifice form to lift heavier weight. Focus on form first, and the strength gains will come.
3. Unilateral exercises, anyone?
You’ve nailed jump squats, pulse squats, and glute bridges – but have you nailed them on one leg? Unilateral exercises require you to use one limb instead of two, doubling the burn!
Unilateral training can even out natural strength imbalances you’ve developed by favoring your stronger side, isolating muscles that need more work, which in turn will reduce your risk of injury. You’ll also notice an improvement in your core strength thanks to the extra challenge of balancing on one leg!
4. Modify your moves
One of the best things about working out at home is that there’s no one there to see you look like a crazy person as you move through your wackiest modified moves.
If you’re finally smashing through regular push-ups, maybe it’s time to modify for a greater challenge – try diamond push-ups to work your triceps, incline push-ups to shift your focus to your lower chest and triceps, or decline push-ups to work your upper chest and shoulders.
Keep pushing yourself – if something feels weird and awkward today, just think back to the first time you tried a sit thru.
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