Nailing Your Home Workout Routine: The Definitive Guide

Home Workout - Cover Image

As the old saying goes, “Home is where the heart is”.

 

But what if that heart is unhealthy?

A recent report by the British Heart Foundation found that 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive, and that such inactivity increases the risk of heart disease, costing the NHS around £1.2bn each year.

And, we totally get it….

The last thing anyone wants to do after a long day at work is grab our gym bags and head for sixty minutes on the treadmill.

But what if there was another way? What if you could drastically improve your fitness with a home workout routine?  What if we told you that, with the knowledge and practical tools we provide later in this guide, you could begin to make huge positive impacts to your health from the comfort of your own living room?

Let’s propose another scenario…

You’re a keen traveller, or you have to travel frequently for your work, but you are struggling to stay fit because of your hectic schedule. A home workout program such as the one provided at the end of this guide will help you enjoy a healthy and adventurous lifestyle.

And as it turns out, all of this is not as hard as it may seem, as long as you are organised and have a plan. In fact, many of our Level 2 Gym Instructor Students and Level 3 Personal Training Students, started their fitness journeys devising their own home workout plans, such is their effectiveness.

We’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know in order to achieve results by planning your own home workout program.

In our last chapter, we also provide readers who are new to fitness with a free, professionally programmed home workout routine, meaning you can get started without having to think about planning your own at home workouts for beginners.

No more dreading the gym. No more worrying about heading out in the rain for a morning run. And no more letting down your fitness buddy for a class.

By the end of this guide you’ll be ready to take the matter into your own hands.

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Ditching the Gym: Unleashing your potential with a home workout routine

Chapter Two: How to Maximise Gains from Home Workout Routines by Focusing on Core Strength

Chapter Three: How Improving Your Functional Fitness is Going to Change Your Life

Chapter Four: How to Immediately Build Strength at Home with Body Weight Exercises

Chapter Five: DIY Fitness Equipment: Scaling up Your Workouts with Your Own Home Gym

Chapter Six: How to Program Your Own Killer Home Workout Routine

Chapter Seven: Shortcut for an Immediate Start: OriGym’s Professionally Planned Home Workout Routine

 

Chapter One: Ditching the Gym: Unleashing your potential with a home workout routine

 

For some people, gyms are great.

Check out any fitness forum online, or pop along to any CrossFit box, and you’ll find that for many, a gym is more than just a place to get fit: it’s a social space, an outlet for frustrations and somewhere to improve your wellbeing, to feel accepted. What’s more, there are so many guides and tips online as to how the make the best use out of gym equipment, eventually you’re bound to strike upon something that works for you.

However (and there’s usually a however), gyms aren’t right for everyone…

As any personal trainer worth their reputation will tell you, if you don’t feel comfortable doing exercise, then you’ll never stick with it in the long-term.

This, of course, applies to where you exercise more than anything else.

Long story short: if you don’t feel comfortable going to a gym to work out, or if you don’t have the time in your schedule, don’t try and force yourself to go to a gym!

As we’re about to discover, a well-planned home workout routine could be the key to your future success….

 

Who likes the gym, and who doesn’t…

 When it comes to regularly visiting the gym and participating in sporting activities, there is a pronounced gender split. Sport England cite that men are 5% more likely to engage in fitness activities when compared to women (63% to 58%).

Home Workout - Sport England Stat

 

 

Does this mean that women are generally lazier when compared to men?

Absolutely not, that would be silly. However, the point remains that there is a gender divide, and it is therefore worth looking into…

As a personal trainer, a common anxiety I hear, with both men and women when it comes to embarking on a new fitness journey, is the perceived toxic masculinity of fitness spaces.

And it’s true, the stereotypes of gym-goers can be intimidating, which is going to potentially deter those of us suffering from a lack of self-confidence.

We’ve all been there. Walking into a new room full of people more experienced than you is scary, whatever the context.

This kind of anxiety is backed up by recent research, which found that one of the main reasons people don’t exercise is their own self-concept.

Or, in other words, they believe they are not the kind of people who associate with fitness. But as we will soon find out, fitness is more about the process of becoming rather than what you want to become.

 

 

Why finding the right kind of exercise can change your life for the better!

Fortunately for those of us looking to improve our fitness, the research we just quoted also stated that one of the main conditions for people starting to work out is the appropriateness of the exercise offered.

What does this mean for me?

Basically, regardless of who you are, there’s an exercise out there for you. Moreover, a home workout routine is adaptable enough for just about anyone to start seeing improvements.

Let’s look at that a little closer…

Say you’re working long, unsociable hours, or you’re a parent with several conflicting responsibilities at any one time, or you find yourself constantly on the move and camped in hotel rooms…

Perhaps you suffer from a condition like anxiety or depression which means venturing outside is a big enough hurdle without the consideration of exercise: with a home exercise routine, you can tailor your fitness to exactly what suits you in a manner that is both comfortable and that requires little preparation.

As we will soon discover, there are multiple options when it comes to highly effective exercises that can be completed in confined spaces.

Later in this guide, we’ll cover core strength, functional exercises, and body-weight exercises that can easily be completed indoors.

The main thing to take away here is that, even if you’re looking to target a very specific area of fitness rather than just a set of home exercises to lose weight – say you’re an amateur rugby player looking to improve your leg strength – then you can make some real gains at home, in between your time-strapped schedule.

But for the time being, let’s concentrate on why should consider a home workout routine if you’re looking to improve your fitness.

 

Keep in mind, we do not recommend this particular home workout.

The benefits of a home workout routine

 Put simply, our lives are ruled by time.

Most of us have set hours at work, some of us work through the night, or spend long hours travelling, and in the time we have spare, we might actually like to organise social plans with our friends and family…

The bottom line is that time to ourselves is often a precious commodity.

The home workouts we’ll cover later in this guide are time efficient. They last for 30 minutes tops, and are scalable for both beginners and fitness enthusiasts.

What’s more, you cut out all the travel time going to a gym.

All you have to do is grab your fitness gear in the morning or after work, head to a room with a bit of floor space, and start your program.

 

It’s really that easy!

 

 

OriGym Top Tip: If you’re struggling for motivation, a home workout routine can be the perfect way to kickstart your fitness journey. Be sure to prepare all the kit you need the night before and, if need be, hide your alarm clock in your running trainers to force you out of bed in the morning!

 

Now, before you rush off to show your family how many press-ups you can do on the kitchen floor, we’re going to walk you through some of the essential components of a successful home workout routine.

More specifically, we’re going to give you an overview of the importance of core strength and functional fitness to fitness programs designed for busy individuals.

 

 

Chapter Two:  How to Maximise Gains from Home Workout Routines by Focusing on Core Strength

So, we know the benefits, but how do you go about building muscle and getting lean at home? A key part to any home workout routine should focus on the core muscles.

Want to know why?

The core controls everything. Think of it this way: your core is air traffic control, and your extremities (arms and legs) are aeroplanes. There’s no way those planes are going to stay on track without the guidance of a control tower.

And that’s what your core does, it allows everything to function smoothly. The stronger your core, the more you’ll see your fitness levels rocket skywards.

But enough with the flying metaphors…

All you need to know is that improving your core will help you run further, lift heavier, and improve your posture, meaning you can wave goodbye to that sore back at the end of the working week.

 

What is the core?

 When many people think core, they think abdominals.

While this is true, there is also so much more to learn. Your core is, broadly speaking, comprised of a complex system of deeper, and outer layer muscles.

This is why working on your core is so important…

Basically, your core covers pretty much all the muscles apart from those in your arms and legs. Improving its strength is going to radically improve your strength. These muscles work in tandem to stabilise your spine, offering you a solid base from which you can improve your strength and stamina.

 

The ins and outs of the core: knowing your muscle layers

As we mentioned, your core is comprised of deeper, and outer layer muscles. Knowing at least some of these different muscles is going to help you at a later point, when it comes to programming your own home workout routine.

Being able to identify that a dumbbell row works your oblique muscles, means you can plan a fitness program that doesn’t overwork those muscles aside from that exercise.

This kind of knowledge is going to put you way ahead of 90% of people outside of the fitness industry.

Incidentally, it’s this kind of detail which will ensure you can make immediate improvements with your home workout routine, while also ensuring that you avoid injury.

Later, in our list of immediate-start bodyweight exercises, we’ll also label which muscles each exercise focuses on, giving you all the information to plan your perfect home workout routine from start to finish.

So let’s (quite literally) dive a little deeper…

 

Deep Layer Muscles Home Workout - Deep Layer Muscles

 

The spine is stabilised when these muscles contract.

Think of it this way, the stronger these muscles, the stronger the armour and protection around your spine.

This is what fitness professionals call your trunk.

Having a strong trunk provides a foundation for the arms and legs, making the core the key to achieving an athletic build.

You’ll find some exercises, like v-ups, are only recommended for individuals with a strong spine…

And – yep, you guessed it – exercising your core is how you can safely execute exercises like v-ups at a later date.

 

 

Outer Layer Muscles

Home Workout - Deep Layer Muscles

 

 

 

If your middle layers could be more readily described as the armour for your spine, then your outer layer muscles form slings between joints.

Again, improving these muscle slings is going to drastically improve your strength and range of movement. They will allow you to move faster, with a more efficient transfer of power.

This has obvious applications for contact sport, as a stronger core will allow you to carry more momentum into contact to repel your opponents.

 

 

Why is core strength so important?

 To put it simply, focusing on your core during the early stages of your home workout routine is going to help improve both your form, and the amount of stamina you have during later exercises.

This means you get more out of your workouts, and that you can do them for longer.

Remember when we were talking about your body’s trunk?

This is not nearly as ridiculous as it sounds. Describing your core as the trunk simply refers to the core’s role in connecting the lower and upper body. Increasing the strength of this trunk improves stability, and your ability to resist opposing forces.

Rest assured, after a couple weeks of core exercises, you’ll be more towering oak, than you are bamboo shoot.

 

What can I do to improve core strength at home?

 We’re going to go into way more detail on this in our section on body weight exercises, however for the time being, here’s a list of easy exercises that have an immediate impact on your core stability:

  • Plank Variations
  • Squats
  • Abdominal Crunches
  • Russian Twists
  • Bridges
  • BOSU Ball Exercises
  • Stability ball / Balance Exercises

When we think of the best home workout routines, our thoughts should immediately turn to core muscle exercises.

Put simply, they will provide the foundation on which you can build other areas of your fitness.

 

 

Chapter Three:  How Improving Your Functional Fitness is Going to Change Your Life

 

Bit of a bold claim, right?

Wrong.

Understanding functional fitness, and therefore improving it using your home workout routine, will literally benefit every aspect of your day-to-day life.

Whether its carrying your shopping, or walking up a steep incline, the ethos of functional fitness is to use exercise methods that replicate our body’s natural movements.

Put simply, functional fitness is the fitness our bodies require to function.

 

“But I thought you said we should focus on core strength?”

 You’re right, I did.

And the reason for that is, many of the body weight exercises that are going to improve core strength are also going to improve your functional fitness.

Remember, the body is endlessly complex and interconnected: we’re merely giving you an overview of some of the precepts of designing the best fitness program to suit your body.

For a clearer picture on this relationship between core muscles and function fitness, let’s look at the American Council on Exercise’s definition of functional strength training:

 

“[Functional Strength Training is] performing work against resistance in such a manner that the improvements in strength directly enhance the performance of movements so that an individual’s activities of daily living are easier to perform.”

 

So, an exercise is considered functional if it directly affects or replicates the movements and strains of real-life activities.

While a body-weight squat may directly improve your core strength and core stability, it is also considered a functional exercise. This is because it is a compound exercise: or more simply, it uses a variety of muscles in your legs, rather than isolating one.

Here, we begin to see the main benefits of a home workout routine: where weights machines tend to isolate one muscle, body weight training – for example – in almost all cases, improves a system of muscles.

The body weight exercises we will suggest later in this guide are therefore, in almost every case, compound exercises that will have a direct impact on improving your functional strength.

 

 

Can we get technical for a second?

 You’ve come this far – you’ve learned about the core in depth, what functional fitness is, what compound exercises are –  so why stop now?

The truth of the matter is, the easiest way to understand what functional strength training is, is to learn exactly how it improves your fitness.

As we mentioned previously, functional strength exercises like squats are compound exercises rather than isolated exercises.

This means they target several muscle groups at once, rather than, say, a leg extension, which improves strength in a specific, yet unnatural manner.

More specially, functional strength improves the movement capacity of your load joints: your hips, shoulders, knees and ankles.

 

Now, there’s no reason to panic at the sight of terms like load joints and compound exercises, especially if you’re a beginner.

All you need to know is that, in general, your load joints affect your ability to lift, pull, move, and push objects. They are the parts of your body that you use everyday.

 And there is research to back up the claim that functional strength training has real, tangible benefits for those who do it regularly.

This study, for example, found that subjects from functional training groups significantly improved shoulder rotation flexibility and the flexibility of the anterior hip joints, as well as enjoying improvements to their balance and orientation.

 Still with us?

Again, if you’re finding this a bit too technical, don’t sweat it (save that for your workouts!).

 

As a shortcut to functional strength training success, try exercises that focus on:

  • Deep abdominals (Crunches, planks)
  • Hip abductors and rotators (Rotational lunges)
  • Scapular stabilisers (Push up variations)

 

home workout image

 

What are the benefits of improving functional strength?

 As we’ve covered, functional strength training intends to mimic the challenges faced by your body in everyday life.

When we train with functional strength in mind, we make everyday activities easier. Among other things, this allows us to actually see the results of our efforts.

Why do all of that exercise if you’re not going to appreciate the results, right?

Given functional fitness’s explosion in popularity in recent years, there is also a wealth of research as to whether compound exercises are better than traditional, weight-machine based programs.

A study by ACE found that most demographics, particularly older adults, can expect quick and significant benefits from functional fitness programs. In their research, they outlined some of the best exercises to try in order to see these improvements. They included:

  • Standing on one leg
  • Squat with arms forward
  • Wall push-ups
  • Rotational Lunge
  • Lateral squats

 

Notice something?

Got it in one…all of these functional exercises are body weight exercises that can easily be completed at home.

Many of the exercises were also outlined in our section on core strength, showing the benefits of planning your workouts around these two areas of fitness.

 While there are many reasons you should consider functional strength training in your home workout routine, perhaps the most important is that you will be able to see the results immediately.

As opposed to “unnatural”, isolated exercises that require gym memberships and weight machines, your functional exercises are going to make a real difference, and you can do them at home!

Now, don’t worry about remembering all of this information for the time being…

When we come to our overview of bodyweight exercises and planning your home workout routine later in this guide, we’ll clearly show you how laying a foundation of core exercises and functional strength can set you on the road to success.

 

 

Chapter Four:  How to Immediately Build Strength at Home with Body Weight Exercises

 We’ve covered the whys of exercising at home, now it’s time for the hows.

 When it comes to fitness, beginners tend to think they have two options: a session in the gym, or a run.

But this is simply not the case!

If you’re serious about getting in shape fast with a home workout routine, then there is one set of exercises that are going to help you more than any other…

Body weight Exercises.

 

 

What are body weight exercises?

 Thankfully, this is rare a case where the fitness term in question describes exactly what it is that it is referring to.

A body weight exercise is simply an exercise, stretch, or hold, that increases strength through the use of one’s own bodyweight.

At one end of the spectrum we have a simplified push-up, something suggested for individuals just beginning their fitness journey, while at the other we have pull-ups and chin-ups.

The beautiful thing about body weight exercises are that they are perfect for home workout routines. No equipment is needed. All you need to know is how to execute each exercise safely, and you’re good to go.

They are also amazingly scalable.

Let’s take the push up as an example. We can make it easier by reducing reps, or placing the knees down to provide additional support. Conversely, we can make it harder by altering hand position, elevating the legs, or removing an arm entirely (not literally, of course).

 

So, what does this mean for me?

It means that, regardless of how fit you already are, you can improve your strength using bodyweight exercises.

As we also discussed, many bodyweight exercises are considered natural, meaning they use more than one muscle group at a time (compound exercises) and improve your functional fitness.

In short, these are the kinds of exercises you should be using in your home workout routine in order to get fit, and see immediate results.

 

Which bodyweight exercises are the most effective? 

 When people are trying to sculpt abdominal muscles, or if they are aiming for the perfect pectoral muscles, the natural inclination is to head straight for the free weights.

However, you can achieve these results in just as quick a time using your own body weight in the comfort of your own home.

And that’s why we’re here to help.

Below we’ve compiled a list of the best body weight exercises, along with the primary muscles they improve, which are guaranteed to produce immediate results. We also have accompanying images to give you a good idea of the best form, as suggested by professional personal trainers:

 

Plank  (Variations: Side plank, elevated feet)

Home Workout - Plank

Primary muscles used: Rectus Abdominus


 

Mountain Climber

Home Workout - Mountain Climber

 

Primary muscles used: Deltoids, Rectus Abdominus, Quadriceps

 


 

Abdominal Crunches (Variations: Reverse crunch)

 

Primary muscles used: Rectus Abdominus

 


 

 

V up

Home Workout - V Up

 

Primary muscles used: Rectus Abdominis

 


 

Push up (Variations: Hand position, “T” push-up, elevated legs)

Home Workout - Push Up

 

Primary muscles used: Pectoralis Major, Deltoids, Triceps Brachii

 


 

Squat (Variations: jump squat, wall squat)

Home Workout - Squat

 

Primary muscles used: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus

 


 

Forward lunge

Home Workout - Forward Lunge

 

Primary muscles used: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus

 


 

Gluteal Bridge

Home Workout - Gluteal Bridge 

 

Primary muscles used: Gluteus Maximus, Rectus Abdominus, Erector Spinae.

 

 


 

Pull-ups and chin-ups

Home Workout - Pull Up

 


 

Home Workout - Chin Up

Primary muscles used: Latissimus Dorsi, Biceps Brachii

 

 

A solid home workout routine predominantly made up of bodyweight exercises should probably include five to eight exercises, including examples of the exercises above and cardiovascular exercises like thirty star-jumps, or thirty seconds of running on the spot.

We’ll discuss reps in a little more detail later, but for the time being, keep in mind that you should be looking to work a variety of muscles, with an intensity that raises your heart rate.

 

Some guidelines for bodyweight training…

 If you’re reading this and thinking about combining some of the above exercises into your own bodyweight circuit (great idea, by the way!) then I have just a couple words of caution.

  • Make sure to warm up: You need to stretch and warm up before doing any strength training. This also applies to bodyweight training. Diving in immediately without preparation will result in injury, which will derail your fitness journey before it’s even had a chance to get started.
  • Vary the exercises: Aside from preserving your own sanity, be sure to vary your circuit on a regular basis to work different muscles. You want to practice the exercises enough to start seeing improvements, but not so much that you get bored and unmotivated. Within your circuits, make sure you vary which muscles you are working out. Going for a circuit comprised of sit-ups, V-Ups, Reverse crunches, and planks, is going to leave your abdominal muscles throbbing. Save yourself the pain!
  • Start slow, build up: Generally, combining four or five of these exercises, doing five to ten reps of each (or fifteen seconds for duration-based exercises), and then repeating the circuit three times with breaks in the middle, is a good workout. However, if you’re a beginner and are experiencing pain or fatigue after one circuit, don’t push through. Give yourself a break by limiting yourself to (at most) exercising every other day. This way, you’ll give your body enough time to fully recover.

 

With this in mind, you’re almost good to go on your home fitness routine!

Don’t rush off just yet though.

You’ve made it this far, and the next couple of chapters offer some practical advice with regard to scaling up your workouts, and how you can plan your own killer home workout routine which will guarantee results.

 

 

Chapter Five:  DIY Fitness Equipment: Scaling up Your Workouts with Your Own Home Gym

 

You now know how your home workout routine is going to help you get fit, and you know what body exercises you should be focusing on to get there.

But what about making improvements in the long-term?

An at-home workout plan without equipment is great, but what happens when push-ups and squats become too easy?

Remember when we talked about scalability? Or, incremental alterations to your home workout routine as your fitness improves.

In a gym setting, the introduction of free-weights and resistance bands can push your routine to the next level. You can, however, substitute much of what you’d find in a gym, for everyday objects found in the house.

Now before we go any further, I just want to assure you that you’re not going to have to break out the drills, hammers, and MDF to create your own Davinci-esque, fitness masterpiece….

The kind of DIY we’re talking here comprises of little more than finding certain items, and integrating them into your workout. The creativity therefore comes not from building equipment, but using objects found around your house to increase the difficulty of certain exercises.

As a side note for anyone reading this section at the beginning of their fitness journey, don’t feel like you should skip it because you’re not yet at this level of progression. Our adapted dumbbells, for example, can be used in some of the first circuits you attempt, and keep in mind that it’s also a great idea to change up your routine.

So, without further ado, let’s get stuck into some DIY fitness equipment:

 

home workout image 2

 

Five of our favourite DIY fitness hacks 

 

  • Backpack filled with books (Improvised dumbbells):

One of my favourite hacks for DIY equipment is to fill a sturdy backpack with books. This is great for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, it is endlessly scalable: if the bag is too heavy, take some books out; too light, add some more. You may also find that you build more muscle in your core using this DIY hack, as opposed to dumbbells.

This is because the weight is unstable, forcing you to engage your core to balance the movement. You can therefore transform fairly mundane isolated exercises, into a challenging set of compound exercises.

 

  • Dining room chairs (Improvised dip station)

 Dining room chairs are often more weighty than other pieces of furniture, making them a perfect improvised dip station. All that is needed is a bit of room and, depending on the exercise, one or two chairs.

Again, as with the dip station in the gym, exercises using this equipment are brilliantly scalable. This means both beginners and enthusiasts will be able to integrate it into their home workout routine.

 

  • Towel

 I know what you’re thinking…

“A towel? Surely I should be using that in the shower after my workout.”

Well, think of the towel as a rudimentary resistance band. While the lack of elasticity restricts you in the exercises you can do, a thick towel can provide some fantastic resistance for shoulder exercises.

 

  • Basketball (Medicine ball substitute)

 I’ve gone for a basketball here as they are more sturdy than a football, and a better shape than a rugby ball.

They also have an excellent outer-layer of grip, as opposed to a football or volleyball which have a smooth exterior.

As we will see in the next section, that grip is going to be particularly helpful for core exercises where a lot of balance is required.

 

  • Paper plates (Slider substitute)

Sliders are great for your core, and to modify exercises like mountain climbers and push ups. While you can buy sliders for ten or fifteen pounds a set, you can also make a great substitute using paper plates.

The paper should run smoothly on hard floors and carpets, meaning you’ll gain access to a wide range of exercises often used by personal trainers to drastically improve core strength.

 

So, now that you’ve assembled all of these items in your living room, you’re probably wondering what to do…

Come on, did you really think we’d leave you to work it out for yourself?

 

 

Some quick and effective exercises using your DIY fitness equipment

 

  • Dumbbell rows:

 Let me tell you a secret…

Dumbbell rows are a fantastic way to improve your back and obliques. They’re also super easy, anyone can do them…including you!

To start, grab your dumbbell with one hand, and lean forward on a sofa or sturdy chair with your alternate knee (right hand, left knee), placing your other foot on the floor for support. Then, with one hand, lift your improvised dumbbell quickly so that it is parallel with your chest. Keep your core stable, and squeeze your shoulders to produce power.

And repeat.

 

  • Triceps dips

 The key to a successful triceps dip with your improvised dip station is to ensure that the chair you are using is heavy, and sturdy.

Now, it’s simply a case of supporting your weight with your hands on the chair, stretching your legs out ahead of you, and lowering yourself towards the floor. To increase the difficulty, place a chair opposite you so that you can raise your legs.

To make it easier, place one foot on the floor so that weight is more evenly distributed.

 

  • Towel-resistance band stretch above head

 This may be more of a warm-up than an exercise in itself. And yeah, you may look a little silly…

But here’s the thing, you’re in your own house. You can look as ridiculous as you want!

This workout will help your shoulders, and simply requires raising a towel with both arms above your head, and pulling as hard as you can in opposite directions.

 

  • Mountain climbers with a basket ball

 Mountain climbers are one of my favourite workouts.

Why?

Because they’re a killer cardio workout, as well as a method of improving your core strength. And they’re a compound exercise, so you’re improving your functional strength too.

They’re the whole package.

All you have to do to get started is get into a push up position with your hands on a basketball. This forces your core muscles to stabilise your body. From there, simply bring your right knee towards your chest, and then push back while bringing your left knee upwards. And repeat.

Be sure to be explosive in your movements to make the most of your workout.

 

  • Slide-out

A slide-out is similar to a mountain climber, but also kind of the opposite.

Again, get in the push-up position.  This time, however, place your hands on the paper plates.

Instead of alternating movements with your feet, as with a mountain climber, a slide-out requires you to alternate backwards and forwards movements with your hands.

Remember to maintain form by squeezing your glutes and keeping your core stable, in order maximise the benefits to your abdominal muscles during this exercise.

 

 

Chapter Six:  How to Program Your Own Killer Home Workout Routine

You have all the tools, you’re ready…now go build a house!

Not that easy, is it? If it was, why would anyone hire a personal trainer?

In truth, this is actually one of the most important stages of the whole process.

A poorly planned home workout routine can seriously inhibit your fitness goals.  Worse, it may actually result in injury, if you are overloading certain muscles and neglecting others.

In this next section, we’ll take you through some of the top considerations made by personal trainers when programming fitness plans for their clients.

 

 

Trade secrets: The Principles of Designing an Exercise Program

 Now listen up, because we’re about to tell you something only a select few know…

The five training principles used by personal trainers to design fitness programs. Training principles are effectively the pillars on which all personal training programs are designed. It only makes sense then, that your home workout routine also abides by these same principles.Home Workout - Five Training Principles

 

 

Make sense?

Of course it doesn’t…

I’m imagining there’s a fair bit of head scratching right now, which is only natural. Remember, this information is what personal trainers spend years of experience perfecting in order to design the best programs for their clients.

What we’re about to go through with you, step by step, is how these principles are going to help you develop your home workout routine.

 

 

Specificity

 Put simply, specificity refers to the targets and goals of an individual.

If you want to improve your running, you’re going to want to plan a routine that includes more running and cardio.

In terms of what we have been focusing on, improving strength and functional fitness, you want a program full of compound and body weight exercises.

 

Progressive overload

 Again, we’ve kind of covered this when we discussed scalability.

The bottom line… to see constant improvements, you must make your workouts progressively harder.

This is a major obstacle many beginners face with body weight exercises or home workout routines…but it needn’t be.

For example, if you’re focusing on core strength, make your planks harder by increasing the duration of the exercise, the number of circuits you want to complete in any one workout, or by making the exercise harder by balancing on one arm.

 

Reversibility

 This one’s easy.

If you stop exercising, your fitness is going to drop. It’s fine to miss the occasional workout, but going a fortnight without doing anything is going to have detrimental effects.

The beauty of a home workout routine is that it can be slotted into the busiest of schedules, meaning you never have to make more than 30-40 minutes spare time for your workouts.

Remember, the key to improving your fitness is planning ahead. Make a routine, and stick to it.

 

 Recovery

 Another common mistake beginners make: going all in.

Diving into your new fitness regime is great, but in order for your body to recover and adapt you need to leave periods of rest in between each workout.

As a general rule, if you’re a beginner you should be working out 2-3 times a week. Someone of intermediate fitness should aim for 3-4 times a week, and a fitness enthusiast can do anything up to 5-6 times a week, providing they program sensibly.

 

home workout image 3

 

Individuality

 Perhaps the most important factor when deigning your own program, is to know your strengths and consider your limitations.
The reason there is no one-size-fits-all solution for exercise, is that everyone is different.

You need to consider your, age, gender, and history of injury when compiling your plan.

For example, jump squats and burpees may not be feasible for an individual with a history of knee pain, but can be easily replaced with exercises that are lower in impact, like mountain climbers.

 

To sum up:

  • Use the information provided earlier in this guide regarding core strength and functional fitness to know which areas to target in order to get the desired results from your home workout routine.
  • Make sure to maintain a regular routine so that your fitness levels don’t regress.
  • Once a circuit becomes easy or comfortable, scale up the intensity of your workout, using the variations we have previously discussed, or by adding DIY equipment to your regime.

 

 

How do I continue to improve my fitness, after my early gains?

 This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of training on your own.

You’ve put the effort in, you have a home workout routine planned and executed…but your improvements have plateaued.

What are you doing wrong?

Well, not much actually. You just need to summon the enthusiasm with which you started exercising, in order to introduce some new variables to your workout regime.

These variables are going to help you go from feeling pretty happy about your fitness, to seeing tangible weekly improvements to your strength and muscle tone.

Pretty exciting, right?

To help remember which variables you need to change in your home workout routine on a regular basis, remember the acronym: F.I.T.T

 

Frequency

Intensity

Time

Type

 

This probably sounds more complicated than it is.

Put simply, if you’re a beginner and are finding that your two-exercises-a-week plan is no longer enough, up it to three or four (frequency).

If you find a 15 seconds of mountain climbers to easy, up the intensity by adding a weight to your back, or moving your knees with higher velocity (intensity).

If you’re finding that your heart rate isn’t increasing as much as it once was, decrease rest time between sets, and even the amount of time it takes to complete a rep (time).

If you want to specifically get better at swimming…do more swimming and exercises focusing on your shoulders and core (type).

 

What practical measures can I put in place in order to program the best workout for me?

  • First, you want to develop a circuit. Preferably something you can aim to complete three times with rests in the middle. You also want it to be something that will challenge you, comprising of five to eight varied exercises.
  • Log your workouts: In order to see a progression, remember to log how you found each workout. This will allow you to identify exercises you need to improve, and those which you are strong at and can therefore make more difficult. This mimics the notes made by professional personal trainers with regard to their client’s progress.
  • Plan your weekly workouts with a calendar: As well as logging your progression, a calendar will allow you to plan on a weekly basis what exercises you are going to be doing. This is crucial in terms of adding variables to your workouts, and not allowing your home workout routine to stagnate. We suggest doing this on the Sunday, before you begin the working week, and sticking to your weekly routine as best as possible.

 

To help you make an immediate start with your home fitness training, why not sign up to OriGym’s monthly newsletter below, and in return receive a free training calendar.

 

 

 

Chapter Seven: Shortcut for an Immediate Start: OriGym’s Professionally Planned Home Workout Routine

We understand that while this may all be very exciting (and it is!), for beginners the prospect of starting your fitness journey and having to plan your own routine can be a little daunting.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

You needn’t let the logistics side of things get in the way of your fitness.

With that in mind, we had one of our personal trainers, Dan Simons from DS3 fitness, show us one of his favourite all-body workouts, that has been adapted so it can be completed at home.

The routine is geared towards using bodyweight exercises and DIY equipment to improve your functional fitness, as we believe this is something that can benefit everyone in day-to-day life.

However, using the information we provided in the last section, remember to adapt and change the routines below to suit your specific needs, and to scale them up when they become too easy.

Individuality is important, and at the end of the day we don’t want you pushing yourself too far if this plan doesn’t suit your specific needs.

So, here’s what our personal trainer recommended home workout routine looks like:

Home Workout - Final Stat

 

The standard model for this circuit is 30-40 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. You then move onto the next exercise, until you have completed all of the exercises outlined above.

That is one round.

Feeling ambitious? Aim for three rounds. Roughly this should add up to a 30 minute workout at home.

More of a beginner? Perhaps concentrate on completing one round, to the best of your ability, maintaining good form.

You may have also noticed that the routine two includes a lying chest press. Here, of course, you do not have to use traditional gym equipment. If you have a barbell or a kettlebell at home, fantastic. Go right ahead and use those pieces of equipment.

If not, there’s no need to spend money, or skip the exercise entirely. Here’s where a bit of DIY creativity can come into play.

If you’re chest pressing a weight, you want to make sure you can get a firm grip on whatever object you choose, and that the weight is not so much that you will tire after ten or fifteen seconds.

 

For beginners, we recommend:

  • Sturdy Backpack of books, or bulky weighted objects.
  • Box of weighted objects.
  • Dining room chair.
  • Two individual gallon cartons of milk (one in each hand).

 

Conclusion

 And that’s that!

You made it to the end, and now you’re ready to program your own home workout routine, and get started with your fitness journey.

So, it’s over to you.

Don’t forget, we want to know what you think! How did you find the guide? Was there something we missed? Have you seen a real improvement in your fitness using the information outlined above?

Be sure to comment below, or visit the OriGym blog to see more great content.

 

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Gyms aren’t for everyone. If you don’t feel comfortable doing exercise, then you’ll never stick with it. A home workout might be a better choice.

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