How To: Write a “Home Gym” Workout – Defiance Strength and Conditioning

by fitness journalist

With the birth of Baby Fielder lately my workouts have included less barbells and more Baby Bjorns, and BOB strollers. Everything in life has a season.  Sometimes that season is crushing PR’s, and sometimes that season is changing diapers, but there should be no reason to stop your fitness all together.

When life has you all tied up and you cannot find a minute to make it to the gym, follow this simple three step guide for programming an awesome and effective home workout.

Step One: Location, Equipment, Time-Frame

First, where will you be performing this workout? Your workout space will determine the types of movements you can do. Big open room? The possibilities are wide open and you can do pretty much any workout you can think of. A tighter area? This may require getting a bit more creative with your exercise selections…you don’t want to hit your feet on your dresser while doing a burpee, because it hurts (at least that’s what somebody told me).

After you have chosen your area, analyze your equipment. Do you have any dumbbells scattered around your house? A kettle-bell? A treadmill? You can do A LOT with a little, so a quick inventory of what you’ve got to work with is crucial. No equipment? Don’t fret. I promise you can get a good butt kicking with your own body-weight.

Now that you have your space and your equipment dialed in, decide on your time-frame. How long do you have? Is your kid happily watching an episode of Mickey Mouse Club-House… you have exactly 22 minutes. Is dinner baking in the oven? You have 40 minutes. Once you decide your time-frame, you are ready to program your workout.

My “Coach” in my home gym.

Step Two: Programming

Break down your workout into 4 parts (Warm-Up, Strength, Conditioning, Cool Down), taking into account your space, equipment and time frame.

The Warm-up. The goal here is to elevate your heart-rate and get your blood and joints moving. Your warm-up can be anything that accomplishes those three tasks. Set your clock for 5-10 minutes and go!

Here’s an example:

Slow High Knees :30
Slow Butt Kicks :30
Pistol Stretch :30
Heel Stretch :30
Soldier Kicks :30
Samson Stretch with twist 1:00
Fast High Knees :30
Fast Butt Kicks :30
Side Lunge 1:00
Scap Push-Up 1:00

The Strength. Just because you may not have a barbell at home, doesn’t mean you can’t do a strength component. Body-weight strength training is often overlooked because it isn’t quite as “sexy” as slamming barbells, but when done correctly it can be quite potent. If you have equipment, obviously you can use it independently here or in addition to your body-weight work. For your strength, you can pick just one movement to focus on (example: push-ups), or pick a few movements to cycle through. Below are two examples of an at home “Strength Day.” The Strength should take between 10-20 Minutes.

Example 1: 20 Minute EMOM Push-Ups. Every minute on the minute do 5-10 Push-ups.

Example 2: 4 Rounds: 10 Split Squats, 10 Sit-ups, 10 Plank to Push-up

The Conditioning. After considering your time frame and equipment constraints, conditioning is where you can have some fun and use some creativity. First decide what type of workout you would like to do. Would you like to work for a set amount of time, example: 15 Min AMRAP? Would you like to do a set amount of work, example: 5 rounds, or 21-15-9 Reps? Would you like to rotate through stations, example 5 rounds of: 30 work, :30 rest? Or would you rather do some “other” type of workout? Once you have chosen the type of workout, plug in your movements and the rep scheme (rep scheme means how many reps of each movement you will perform). When selecting your movements try and program your workout so your Strength movements compliment your Conditioning, and not crush it (i.e. you wouldn’t program more push-ups if your strength had 100 push-ups in it.) When I program my own home workouts I always like to make sure I have a “cardio” component involved. This will ensure that I get my heart-rate up (ex:  burpees, jump rope, etc). Here is an example of an at home “Conditioning” workout:

20 Minute AMRAP: 15 Sit-ups, 20 Mountain Climbers (L+R=2), 10 Jump Squats

The Cool Down: This is where you pretend you are actually going to stretch. This should take 5-10 minutes.

Example: 2:00 Couch Stretch Right, 2:00 Couch Stretch Left, 1:00 Scorpion Left, 1:00 Scorpion Right

Now that you have your full workout programmed you are ready for the final, most important step: Step Three.

Step Three: Workout! Get your equipment, set your timer and get to it!

So, the next time you are in a bind and can’t make it to the gym follow the three step guide above and get to work. It may not be perfect, but it’s good enough for today. Lifelong fitness is all about consistent physical activity, not “perfect” workouts.

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