How to work out at home without gym equipment
The Australian economy might be at a standstill at the moment but I can tell you one industry that's absolutely booming, and that is anyone selling fitness equipment.
Gyms are closed around the country and if you've wandered into a sports store lately, you'll have found the shelves stripped bare, almost like a plague of health-conscious locusts has torn through it.
Anyone who missed out in stores is clearly turning to the classifieds sites because they are filled with people selling old, rusty weights they've dragged out from under the house for seriously eye-watering sums.
But there's actually no need to spend up big on dusty fitness gear that looks like it was built in the 1940s.
Some of that stuff will do far more harm than good, and the truth is, your home already has everything you need for a comprehensive, full-body workout, and you don't need to spend a cent.
You've probably heard me say before that I'm not a member of a gym but you might not know that I also don't have a garage full of expensive equipment.
All of my training is done at home or down at the beach (though more of the former these days, of course) and usually using my furniture, or the house itself, as my equipment.
Building functional fitness is all about working the six key primal movements: push, pull, hinge, squat, lunge and plank. And you don't need any special equipment to do it.
If you have a door jam you've got the perfect place for upright rows (pull). A kitchen chair is perfect for adding some difficultly to your standard push-up (push). Simply put your feet on the seat of the chair to make your push-ups more challenging.
A door, propped half-open with a folded towel on the ground, is a ready-made chin-up bar (pull), holding a backpack or sports bag filled with whatever you'd like adds weight to your squats and lunges (squat), and makes for the perfect deadlift (hinge), too. And simply laying a towel on the ground will make your core-strengthening planks comfortable.
Some of those exercises, especially the chin-ups, might be a touch challenging if you're first starting out, but you can work at your own pace and to your own fitness levels simply using what's around you at home.
To really get the most out of your new workout space, follow these easy hacks …
HACKING THE BEST HOME WORKOUT
Slow it down
You might be training without weights, but you still want to fatigue the muscle. And the very best way to do that is to slow each repetition right down, so you can really feel your muscles working.
Using a push-up as an example, rather than trying to knock out as many as you can in 30 seconds, try doing just one, lowering yourself for 10 seconds, holding at the bottom for another 10, then slowly rising for the final 10 seconds.
A great tip for training at home it aim for isometric contractions. It sounds complicated, but it really just means locking your muscles in the activated position, like you do with a plank.
For example, when you drop into a squat, rather than rise again, try and remain in the lower position for as long as you can. For the upper body, face a wall and step into a lunge position, then lean into the wall, place both hands on the surface and push as hard as you can for as long as you can.
Get ready to fail
If you're training to build muscle, you might think you need big, heavy weights. But studies have shown that, when you train to failure (that is you continue an exercise until you can't do any more), the weight, or lack of it, doesn't matter.
It sounds scary, I know, but it simply means that, rather than aiming to do 10 push-ups in 30 seconds, you should instead aim to keep doing them until you can't do any more. Then take a rest, and go again.
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Originally published as How to work out at home without gym equipment