Home Training With No Equipment – Everything You Need to Know
I think in the past 12 months we have all found ourselves sat down, googling this at one stage or another. Desperately searching for something that will tie ourselves over and make up for our loss of our beloved gyms. I think before all this, you would laugh at the thought or just point blank refuse to believe that the idea that training at home, with no equipment, is actually do-able and can yield plentiful results. All you need is a bit of motivation and willingness to try something new. Throughout this blog I’ll give all I know about home training and what I have learned this past year, how I approached it and also my personal experiences with it and what little tips and tricks I use to create the most of a less than ideal situation and how to get the most bang for your buck with little tools at your disposal.
- Set A Training Time
I know training at home can actually be difficult as most may find it hard to disconnect and truly get into the mentality of working out. For most, we associate home with relaxation and switching off. That is why setting a time in which you intend to workout is hugely important. Usually when gyms are open we would have a set routine, a set time of the day in which we would go train. We need to replicate this mentality as best we can. Once we have this time chosen, we know that this hour is set in place and it’s time to work. Something I used to like to do was try to switch off any TV/radio devices in the room and get some music on. Having an atmosphere is crucial to remain switched on during the workout. Also having a
pre-training routine can help, have your pre-workout meal maybe 60 minutes before you train. You then know it’s time to go. Creating a routine and good daily habits will play a huge role in staying on track while training at home.
- What Workout Split Should You Follow?
When you are working with limited to no equipment at all, I personally think it’s best to stay away from training individual body parts on one day. Of course there’s plenty to do for our lower body when we have no equipment, but when we really break it down and try to target muscles in our upper body such as our back and our shoulders that is when we really begin to run into difficulty. For legs, we have plenty of exercises to work with. We can squat, glute bridge, lunge, split squat and much much more. While there is still plenty we can do for our upper body, I still believe there is not enough there to justify having its own day, never mind a day for a specific muscle group. Just to reiterate I am speaking here in a scenario when no equipment at all is at our disposal. If I was to set up a home training plan with no equipment, a full body split 4-5 times a week would be my go-to. If you were running a full body split like this it would be optimal to have two different days and rotate them twice throughout the week. So, it could look something like this. Monday/Full body 1 – Tuesday/Full body 2 – Wednesday/Rest – Thursday/Full body 1 – Friday/Full body 2 – and then two days off on the weekend or you could just rest once and repeat the week. Of course, you could make some tweaks to this and have 3 full body days and maybe a HIIT day towards the end of the week as a cardio day. Cardio is something I will touch on later.
No matter how optimal your training plan is, you have to find one you enjoy. Trying to adhere to a plan that you do not enjoy will just be an uphill battle from start to finish. Find something you enjoy and stick with. Also don’t be afraid to try new things. The internet is filled with endless online classes and free training programs.
- How To Create More of A Challenge
Since we do not have load/weight to push ourselves and to progress our exercise movements we have to look elsewhere to find these challenges. After a while, body weight air squats simply aren’t going to yield that challenge and stress on the muscle that we are chasing. There are plenty of tips and tricks we can use to increase the difficulty of these exercises.
Tempo – This refers to the speed at which we complete a rep. In reality this is something that should always be nailed, whether that be in the gym or training at home. I can admit myself that I sometimes get carried away when training in the gym and might slack on this a bit. I think a bulletproof tempo that’ll lead to much more muscular damage and create more of a challenge within the movement would be 3-4 seconds on the way down (eccentric) a slight pause, then 1 second on the way up (concentric). Making this a habit will lead to more optimal training and better results down the line.
Intensifiers – These are tools used to increase the intensity within a set. They are perfect for home training when no equipment is available. I’ll explain a few of them today that I try to incorporate into my own training as much as I can.
- Rest Pause Set – Is broken into three sections in which you aim to reach 20 reps total. Like we mentioned above, tempo is highly important and is crucial in these sets as your goal is to reach failure. First you want to aim to to fail around 12 reps, then stop. Take 10-15 deep breaths, go again. Aiming for 4-5 more reps here. Rest again, 10-15 deep breaths. Lastly go again, aiming for 3-4 reps here. When you’re reaching the intended rep range it is crucial to be failing here and not actually just stopping. That’s why tempo plays a big role here as it’ll create more of a challenge. I think a rest pause fits in perfectly after your first 2-3 sets on a movement. I wouldn’t incorporate a rest pause into every exercise as it causes a lot of fatigue but it can really work well on 2-3 of your movements for the session.
- Super Set – This is when you complete one exercise and go straight into another. This is something I’ve found myself using a lot over the past year when training at home. Two exercises which are a killer and I’d highly suggest you try are walking lunges straight into a wall sit. I’d do walking lunges for 90 seconds and then go straight into a wall sit until failure. Pick a time for your walking lunges which will challenge you and give it a go!
- Reduced Rest Periods – While this isn’t something I’d normally prescribe in a gym setting, I think it can be useful when equipment isn’t available. Simply reduce your rest periods in between sets to keep intensity high and it keeps the exercises a bit more challenging.
- Cardio – HIIT or Steady State?
I’d honestly suggest picking whichever one works best for you and you enjoy the most. Although HIIT can feel like you’re doing more, they are both just as beneficial as each other. I personally prefer steady state. This is due to my training being mainly resistance based and if I had HIIT days in between it would just impact my performance and recovery. So again, find what’s best for you and what you enjoy! A good routine to get into is 10k steps a day.
This may sound like a lot but it’s actually not too bad. One big walk or two small walks in the morning and evening will get you there. Even if you have HIIT workouts in your routine, I would still suggest 10k steps daily, or 6-7k at least on your days you do HIIT and 10k every other day. Cardio is not just for someone looking to achieve weight loss, it’s also hugely important for our cardiovascular health (heart & lungs).
What Did We Learn?
Set your training time out. Once you have this hour of the day you can devote to working out very little can get in your way. This will help you create a good routine, similar to one you might have when gyms are open. Find an optimal training plan that fits your goals but also one that you enjoy. Adherence is driven by motivation but also by enjoyment. No matter how perfect a plan may be, if you’re not having fun, chances are you won’t stick with it. After a while, remember to make the exercises more difficult. Use some of what I listed above to increase your training difficulty – tempo and intensifiers. Lastly then is cardio, 10k steps a day or 7-8k on the days you do HIIT. HIIT is not necessary, so again only do what you enjoy.