Stay home

No, really.  My expertise is bodyweight fitness, and I’m here to show you how to succeed in home strength training. It might be the best workout you have ever had.

Machines and barbells are great, there is no doubt about that, but there are many ways to build strength and muscle.  Your home offers a lot that the gym can’t: a more relaxed environment, less ‘gym-timidation’, no waiting for the equipment you need, cleanliness (well, that’s up to you) and, best of all, it’s free!

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I can honestly tell you that I am in the best shape of my life.  I’ve had great success in traditional gyms, but nothing compares to the strength I’ve gained from bodyweight and home training.  Follow my principles below and I can guarantee your home training will be just as effective, if not more, than any gym out there.

Confused Muscles

Let’s start with a little fact that we all seem to forget: your muscles don’t know whether a weight you’re lifting is a dumbbell, a barbell, a bucket or your own body.  They only know is that it’s a type of resistance.  Resistance, therefore, is the key to strength training, no matter where or how you do it.  Maximize the resistance and you’ll maximize your strength gains.

What’s that?  You don’t want to run around the house lifting your refrigerator and couches?  Well you’re in luck, because there is another way (my favourite way, I might add)…

Leverage

Leverage allows you to use your own body in ways that maximize resistance.  Let’s use push-ups as an example.  Start with an inclined push-up against a wall. Pretty easy, huh?  Now we’ll move to the ground – a little harder?  Keep your feet where they are, your body still straight, and move your hands backwards towards your feet, just a little bit.  How many can you do now?  See how far you can move your hands back.  Can you even do a push-up now?

This is the principle of leverage that allows us to maximize resistance with zero added weight.

Form focused

There is a direct correlation between proper form and strength benefits.  We want to put as much stress on the muscle group we are working as possible.  With machines, however, form is almost taken out of the equation.  That’s good and bad.  It’s hard to make a mistake when you are guided through the exercise, but what happens when you get rid of the machine?  Stabilizer muscles that have never been activated before have to take over the roles of the machine. Bones and ligaments are stressed in ways that they haven’t been before.  Form breaks down.  And strength is compromised.

Get rid of it all.  Start at home.  Start with the basics.  Focus on form.

Your joints will thank you as they build with the basics like push-ups, pull-ups and squats.  Stabilizer muscles will feed the larger muscle groups and your overall strength will go through the roof.

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Full body

Put simply, your body can do three main things: push, pull and get up.  The gym has zillions of creative ways to do each of those, but why not just do what your body is designed to do?  It’s called the Principle of Specific Adaption.  If you want to get good at basketball, you’re not going to practice baseball all day, are you?  That same goes for strength training.  Bicep curls are great for biceps, but they are only half of a pulling motion.  If you want to get stronger at pulling, focus on one of my favourite exercises – the pull-up.

I can’t tell you enough how great bodyweight exercises are.  Another reason is the degree of compound movement.  Going back to the humble push-up, for example, muscles involved include your pectorals (of course), triceps, forearms, abdominals, shoulders, hip flexors, glutes and quads.  Its closest compound movement gym relative – the bench press – still comes up a bit short, missing real involvement of the forearms and abs (to some degree), hip flexors, glutes and quads.

Now you try

Remember, strength is our goal.

-Try a routine like my ‘Home Workout Exclusive’ {link to workout on my profile page}, which features entirely bodyweight exercises. That’s about as compound as you can get!

-Progress through different degrees of leverage to maximize the resistance and strength benefits – feel free to get creative!

-Focus on form to build tough joints and powerful stabilizers.

-And, I say again, stay home… YOU ARE YOUR OWN GYM!

My last and final tip – train at home with a partner!  Know someone who would be interested?  Share this article with them!

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