Have you set a resolution to get into the best shape of your life, but can't afford a gym membership, or you simply shy away from a room packed full of treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights? Don't worry—not going to a gym doesn't spell disaster. You can still achieve your goals from the comfort of your own home.
The nice thing about home workouts is that they're high on the convenience factor. Whether you have kids and don't want to hire a sitter, or your schedule is just too hectic and that drive time to and from the gym isn't possible, a home workout solves most dilemmas. Not to mention, it eliminates any excuse for not working out.
Go Big, Stay Home
People often believe that home workouts are only for those who are just starting out, but that's not true.
Here are three at-home workouts designed by IFFB figure pro Jessie Hilgenberg and fitness and bikini model Lais DeLeon. They're broken down by experience level, so whether you're green to weightlifting or consider yourself a seasoned vet, you can get great results—no matter how busy your life.
These workouts require no more than a resistance band, a set of dumbbells, and the occasional pull-up bar. Pressed for time? No problem. They can be done in 30 minutes or less. Just remember to stay accountable.
Because motivation can tend to wane when you're at home and could easily browse the Internet or channel surf, it's important to schedule your home workouts just as you would any other workout session. Make an appointment with yourself—preferably at the same time each day or week to get in the groove and maintain accountability. Once you surpass the three-week hump, you won't even consider skipping your sweat session.
Also remember to add variety to your workout by changing up your exercises or rep schemes. A limited array of equipment might mean you have fewer exercises to choose from, but it doesn't mean you have to do the same workout day in and day out.
Don't fall into the trap of monotony. Instead, focus on introducing bands, dumbbells, and body-training splits into your workout. Try an upper/lower-body plan for a few weeks, then feel free to change to a full-body plan to help shock the muscles and keep them responding. The more variety you can include as you progress, the better.
Be sure to perform a light warm-up before each workout and finish off with some stretching at the end. Don't skip this. What you do today to help increase your flexibly will help improve your performance for tomorrow's workout session!
1. Beginner At-Home Workout Program
During the initial stages of a beginner workout, focus on getting form down pat. Now is not the time to lift very heavy; it's the time to perfect your exercise execution.
"Keep the weight in your heels during the exercises for the leg and back," advises Hilgenberg. "This will help target your glutes and hamstrings during the leg exercises and keep your posture and form correct."
Jessie also recommends that you alternate between having your toes pointed out, in, and straight ahead during calf exercises. This will help to stress the calves from different angles, sparking greater progress.
When it comes to training your upper body, form is still essential. "During your biceps curl exercises, keep your upper arms directly by the sides of your torso without squeezing them inward," Jessie says. "This will keep your elbows stable during the exercise."
This program includes three workouts per week, so take at least one day of rest between sessions!
2. Intermediate At-Home Workout Program
Once you're ready to move to the intermediate level, it's time to elevate the intensity. This program, developed by Lais, has you hitting your body from all angles.
You'll use a band for resistance, adding an extra element of challenge. Bands do a great job at keeping constant tension on the muscle tissues throughout the movement, so this will really help build higher levels of strength.
This routine includes two workouts per week, so hit these sessions at least once each, and up to two times each per week. Your weekly routine could look something like this: lower body, upper body, rest, lower body, upper body, followed by two more rest days.
3. Advanced At-Home Workout Program
Once you're ready to move onto advanced workouts, it's time to up the volume. This protocol designed by Jessie has you doing four sets per exercise, allowing you to really stress your muscles to full capacity. You'll also introduce single-leg exercises, which recruit more total core muscle fibers.
"Go slow during the exercises and focus on balance, stability, and using perfect form on the single-leg moves," Hilgenberg advises.
Another quick tip Jessie has pertains to that one movement most women have trouble with: pull-ups. For this upper-body killer, she suggests keeping your elbows directly at the sides of your torso. "This will ensure you use more of your back and less of your arms," she explains.
Just like Hilgenberg's first routine, hit these workouts at least once each per week. If you really want to turn up the heat, complete each workout twice per week!
4. Efficient At-Home Cardio Workout
No matter your skill level, this AMRAP-style workout (which stands for "as many rounds as possible") will challenge you. Complete each of the following exercises and repeat, resting only when necessary. See how many rounds you can complete in 15 minutes. Don't let the lack of equipment fool you. "It's short but brutal," explains DeLeon. "Try it!"