Convenience can be critical for busy people who are still trying to reach their fitness goals. Home workouts are becoming more and more popular for those who want to get stronger and leaner but who don’t have the time to make it to the gym on a consistent basis.
Because of that, many will turn to workouts that may not be enough to simulate the tried-and-true gym – you can’t beat a commercial gym for available machines, weight availability or variety. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer from boring, ineffective workouts – as long as you’re not thinking 3 sets of 10 push-ups and some sit-ups before bedtime are going to cut it, you can get the job done at home.
With time at a premium, these workouts are designed to simulate a cardio effect and challenge your muscular endurance and explosiveness. Maintain as fast of a pace as possible while still maintaining proper form, and keep all rest periods to no longer than 60 seconds.
You can repeat any of these workouts 3-5 times a week, with one day of rest at most between workouts. Mix and match – you can repeat one 3-5 times, or try them all. It is best if you have access to dumbbells, a pull-up bar and an exercise ball. Stairs will also be useful.
For best results, track your progress and challenge yourself to meet higher rep numbers for timed sets or sets to failure.
5 Giant Sets (move from one exercise to the next for a set, with no rest in between. After the giant set is over, rest 60 seconds)
-15 plyometric push-ups, 15 squat jumps, reverse-grip chin-ups to failure, 20 seconds wall sit, 30 crunches, 30 seconds of planks.
-3 sets of 20, dumbbell push-ups/row combo – with your palms facing each other, grasp dumbbells and use them as your anchors while performing a push-up. After the push-up, perform a one-armed row with each arm. That is one rep.
-3 supersets: 20 squats/15 forward lunges per leg. Perform the squats first, then do the alternating lunges. That’s one superset.
-3 supersets: Plank for 45 seconds/Side plank, 15 seconds per side/15 crunches
Perform two 7-minute interval circuits, in the order listed. Alternate between 30 seconds of nonstop action and 30 seconds of rest. Perform as many reps as possible in the 30-second period, where applicable. It is highly recommended that you use a stopwatch or train with a partner to keep your times honest.
Circuit 1: Jumping jacks/Wall sits/Squats/Push-ups/Crunches/Overhead Dumbbell Press/Planks
Circuit 2: High-knee sprint in place/Wall sits/Step-Ups (2 steps at a time)/Pull-Ups/Crunches/Squats/Side Planks (:15 per side)
Options to make exercises more challenging, if necessary:
-On lunges, hold dumbbells at your sides or overhead, palms facing each other
-On squats, hold dumbbells or kettlebells at shoulder-level, in front-squat position
-On side planks, use your off-hand to hold a dumbbell or kettlebell perpendicular to the floor
-On crunches, hold a kettlebell behind your head
-If you’re serious about moving to a full-time home workout schedule, consider investing in a suspension training system, like TRX (shown). You use your body weight as the resistance and can create much more intense workouts.