Updated: Jan 31
The current pandemic and ongoing national lockdowns have had a major effect on the fitness industry as a whole and the physical and mental wellbeing of the population have been severely affected.
The good news is that you can stay in awesome shape without the need to use a commercial gym. The bad news is that this situation has exacerbated the fitness gimmicks and charlatanry so rampant in this industry.
The purpose of me writing this blog is to give you some clarity and show you how to go about home training for real results. And to give you the discernment to avoid the faddy advice which has become quite prevalent.
As I mentioned before the fitness industry as a whole has been decimated by the ongoing pandemic and many personal training business's have been badly affected. One way that personal trainers have counteracted the situation is by adapting to offer 'online' coaching. If they were already selling training courses, to offer home based workouts.
This is a great idea as it is a way PT business owners have adapted to the severe restrictions and keeping their business's afloat. At the same time helping to show people how to stay strong and healthy without the use of a commercial gym.
The only issue here is that a lot of the home type training being promoted is quite faddy and not really going to have much effect long term. It does not take into account the fact that the body needs constant overload to make ongoing physical advancement. Sure they may be a good short term improvisation, but the truth is we can do a lot better with some very basic home equipment.
As I said before the great news here is that you can make fantastic progress without the need to use a commercial gym. The only thing is that you will need to invest in some home equipment.
This will depend a lot on your current situation and how much space you have at home. I will go through the ideal situation where you have large indoor space and the less ideal where you only have the limited space of your own living room. Either way you can do some very productive training whatever the situation.
So lets start with what to avoid; cheap gimmicky style equipment...
There are so many useless faddy and unscientific type training equipment on the market. If you are serious about your home training these things are a waste of time and money.
I am not going to list them here for you, but the easiest thing I can do is tell you what equipment you should be using and if I haven't mentioned anything, its best to avoid it.
So lets start with people who have very limited space at home.
1. Adjustable Dumbbells
In this situation I would highly recommend an adjustable dumbbell set. This is one of the single best pieces of equipment you can invest in.
You can train practically every part of the body using dumbbells and if you have the adjustable type, you can always increase the resistance as you get stronger so you can continually make progress. This equipment is also relatively cheap and has the benefit of being easy to store.
2. Chinning Bar
This is another piece of equipment that I highly recommend if you want to make awesome progress at home.
The pull up and the chin up are phenomenal upper body exercises that train practically all of the upper body muscles in particular the shoulders, back and biceps.
In fact with all the fancy back equipment in any commercial gym nothing comes close to the body weight chin up and pull up for back development. Sounds like a good idea to add this humble piece of training equipment to your arsenal. Another advantage is that is is small and easy to set up in any doorway.
3. Portable Pull Up Dip Station
The pull up and the dip are two of the best upper body exercises.
They rank among the best even above all the state of the art fancy gym equipment. As I said the chin up build the back, triceps and shoulders, and the dip builds the pecs, triceps and shoulders.
These two exercises alone will build you an awesome upper body. The only issue here is that a lot of dip, chin up stations are heavy and take up a lot of space. The good news is that you can now buy light weight, portable dip chin stations which can be dismantled easily and therefore stored in the most limited space.
So there you have it, I assure you this equipment is enough to build an awesome body and make consistent progress, all at home in your living room.
So now for those lucky enough to have larger space such as a garage, outbuilding or sheltered garden area. The equipment I have already mentioned are a must have in any situation, but if you have the extra space here is what you need to get.
1. Olympic Bar and Weights
The barbell is the most superior piece of training equipment that exists today.
Free weight barbell training is superior to any other type of training if you want to build strength and muscle mass naturally, along with calisthenics.
Sure machines are great and some would argue just as good, but everyone will agree that barbell training exclusively, has been the staple of building many great physiques. This is great news because if you have the space, you can easily buy a good quality barbell and weights set to use at home.
There are many barbells sets available from standard bars to Olympic. Both are good but out of the two I would highly recommend a good quality Olympic bar. If you have one of these, the quality of your training will be as good as using a barbell in an expensive commercial gym.
The next thing is the plates. Make sure you have sufficient weights to give you adequate resistance so that you can work your muscles fully. As you get stronger over time you will need to get some extra weights so that that you can add progressive resistance.
If you are thinking this is an expensive option, I would say this; how much do you value your health? This one investment will ensure you can build and maintain an awesome body for life! I think it is well worth it.
2. Weightlifting Bench
If you have the space I would highly recommend buying a bench especially for chest training and triceps training. It is possible to train the chest on the floor, but it is much easier to use a bench and you will get the added benefit of getting a full range of motion.
Buy a bench which has the option of tilting it at various degrees of incline as you will be able to target the upper chest.
3. Squat Rack or Barbell Stand
The last piece of resistance equipment I will recommend is a good squat rack.
The reason for this is that when you train legs with squats, if you don't have a rack you are going to have to lift the weight, clean it to your shoulder level, press it overhead then squat with it.
If you can do this, the chances are the weight is too light to work the legs sufficiently and it is also quite dangerous to do alone. The squat rack enables you to squat safely with sufficient weight. It also allows for good overhead pressing which is essential for shoulder development.
If you don't have enough space for a rack, the next best thing is a barbell stand. This serves the same purpose and takes up less space. They are free standing and adjustable and a great piece of kit to add to your arsenal.
4. Cardio Equipment
The last thing to mention here is cardio. The great news is that one of the best cardio you can do is running and you can do that practically anywhere.
The same goes for walking, another fantastic exercise not to be dismissed. Sure you don't get the intensity of running, but as far as weight management goes, as little as 30 minutes walking per day will burn a massive 700 additional calories per week!
If you are not keen on running outside there is a vast amount of cardio equipment you can buy, the only issue they are quite large and take up a lot of space. I personally run and walk and this serves me just fine.
So to conclude, I still contend that you can train at home to the same degree and quality as a good gymnasium. This is how I have maintained and made continuous progress with my physique during these lockdowns. You can too. The rest of the equation is using a proper routine and diet program which anyone can do at any time.
I hope you have found this helpful as it is my honest opinion about home training and what I use personally so I can vouch for it! Good luck with your training!