Training at home is a great way to make exercise more convenient for you. After all, there’s no queue for the exercise equipment you want to use, no queue for the showers, no commute, and your home gym is open 24/7!
However, while home workouts are super convenient, you might find that as you get fitter, you find it hard to increase the intensity of your workouts.
At a regular gym, just adding weight to the bar or machine you are using will keep you progressing right up until you hit your max. But, unless you have a very well-equipped home gym, that’s just not possible when you work out at home.
Here are eight effective strategies for making your home workouts more intense.
1. More reps
This is the easiest way to make your workouts more intense. If you normally do 15 reps of squats, do 16 next time, and 17 the time after that. Keep on adding reps as you get stronger. This strategy has its limits, and you’ll need to use another option once your rep count starts hitting 30 reps or more. Otherwise, your workouts will become time consuming and boring.
2. Shorter rests
If you shorten your rest periods between sets, you start each new set slightly fatigued. Gradually lower the amount of rest between sets to increase your workout intensity.
Week 1 – 3 sets of 10, 60 seconds rest between sets
Week 2 – 3 sets of 10, 55 seconds rest between sets
Week 3 – 3 sets of 10, 50 seconds rest between sets
Week 4 – 3 sets of 10, 45 seconds rest between sets
3. Slower reps
Tempo is the speed at which you perform your exercises. For example, when doing squats, you could descend in two seconds, and then take two seconds to stand back up, giving you a tempo of 2:2. This means that a set of ten reps will take you 40 seconds – what is commonly referred to as time under tension, or TUT for short.
Doing your reps slower will increase the TUT, making your sets more demanding. If, for example, you lower yourself down in three seconds and then rise up in two, each rep will take you five seconds, and a set of ten will take 50 seconds. This is a significant increase in TUT, and will make the set more intense.
4. Cardio during rest periods
Most of the time you’ll spend your rest time passive, which means you don’t really do anything during that time. Not only does this waste your time, it also means you recover fully between sets. However, doing cardio between sets will prevent full recovery, making each subsequent set more intense.
For home training, one of the best ways to do this is to jump rope between sets or do some burpees. As well as making your workouts more intense, this method will also enhance fat burning and cardiovascular fitness.
5. Add a jump
Many exercises can be made much more intense by adding a jump. Jumping requires much faster and more powerful muscle contractions, and will create more fatigue than non-jumping exercises. Adding a jump also increases the impact of your chosen exercise, so only do this option if you have access to a shock-absorbing surface to train on, and you don’t have any joint pain.
Great examples include:
1- Squat jumps
2- Jumping lunges
3- Jumping step-ups
6. Add some resistance bands
You can use my booty bands or resistance bands to replicate almost any machine exercise, and use them to make your bodyweight exercises harder. Light, portable, and cheap, resistance bands are perfect for home use. Stand on a band and hold the other end in your hands to make squats more demanding, or attach your band to an overhead beam to do lat pulldowns, or stand in your band to make pullups a breeze.
You don’t need a lot of equipment for an effective home workout, but bands are really versatile and are a very worthwhile purchase. Remember, home workouts can be every bit as effective as working out in a gym, you just need to get a bit creative.