You don't have to be locked into a gym membership to get a great workout in. At-home workouts can be just as beneficial and even more convenient. Working out within your own walls does have ups and downs, especially if you don't have a home gym or dedicated space.
But, not to worry—we're here to help. This guide provides the ultimate toolbox to work out at home, regardless of what your situation looks like. We're going to show you how to exercise with limited time, space, and equipment.
Benefits of At-Home Workouts
The first benefit of home workouts is the most obvious one—you can do them at home. That means you can train in a setting that you're comfortable in. Plus, you can work out whenever it works for your schedule since you're not restricted by the business hours of the local health club.
You also have control of how you train: If you don't have access to equipment, you can perform bodyweight exercises. Or, you can buy and add whatever equipment you see fit based on your budget and needs. You can also make the workout as easy or challenging as you need it to be.
Another benefit is that you can listen to whatever music you enjoy or work out in meditative silence. You control the environment, and you can watch or listen to whatever you need to get your motivation up.
The weather can't even stop you from doing at-home workouts. You can train in your home if it's snowing, raining, or if it's very hot outside. Adjust the heat or air conditioner and work out at whatever temperature you like.
Most people who work out at home, though, like that it's cost-efficient. You're not investing in a gym or personal trainer. Exercising in your own house or apartment is free, except for whatever equipment you invest in.
Why You Should Try an At-Home Workout
There are many people who don't bother doing at-home workouts because they believe it's not challenging enough, or there is no realistic way of doing an intense workout without a lot of equipment and a gym. But thanks to methods such as intervals and circuits, you can get a great workout sans equipment.
Home workouts also offer you the opportunity to get creative without the fear of embarrassment. If there is a new position or exercise you want to try, but are afraid to do so around others, you can try it at home, then commit to improving on that movement or exercise one workout at a time.
You can also learn more about your body and how it works. For example, you can work out early in the morning before work one day and focus on an evening session the next day. Which session was better for you? Based on how you feel during your workouts, you can build your own schedule for working out at home.
What You Need
People that want to try working out at home should know some key things to focus on to work out effectively. The only absolute requirement is the one thing you have 24 hours a day, seven days a week—your own body. You can move your body outside or inside within any room of your home. As for how to move that body and what you need to do so effectively, these factors can help you make the most out of the opportunity to improve.
Time is one asset that once you lose it, you never get it back. That's why you need to make the most out of whatever time you do have. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to exercise for two hours or even one hour to have a great at-home workout.
Some workouts can take as little as 15 minutes, while others may need around 30. If you work eight hours a day and sleep eight hours a night, that gives you eight hours left. Set aside 30 minutes on your schedule, and book that time for your home workout as you would any other meeting or appointment. If you push yourself during that time, you will see and feel results when you're finished.
You don't need to clear out an entire room in order to work out at home. It's great if you can, but all you really need is enough space to move without bumping into an object or the wall. The best way to determine if you have the minimal space to exercise inside is as follows:
- Stand in the center of the space and spread your arms out as far as you can. Take one step to the left to see if you touch the wall.
- Step back to the center, then take a step to the right. Come back to the center, then turn so you can do the same to the other two walls.
- After you check the other two walls, return to the center and raise your arms up as high as you can.
- If you don't touch any wall or the ceiling during this process, you have enough space to do a bodyweight workout without any concern. If you have the equipment to work out with, then you should make sure the space you commit to will be able to support the equipment you want to use.
Aside from the body itself and space, having equipment can certainly make home workouts more impactful by upping the challenge. Having a squat rack, a bench, and barbells with plates would be optimal, but that's simply not realistic for everyone. If you're looking for a checklist of basic items to add to your personal workout space, consider any or all of these.
- Adjustable dumbbells: Fixed dumbbells only offer one weight for you to work with. Adjustable versions can provide multiple weights within one pair of dumbbells so you can keep using them as you get stronger while saving space. These could be selectorized dumbbells or plate-loaded versions.
- Resistance bands: There are two types of resistance bands. One version has handles so you can work with them like you would a barbell or set of dumbbells. The other looks like a giant rubber band. Both types of bands can help you have a great workout. If you can only choose one, choose the version with handles because they are more versatile.
- Door gym/pull-up handles: These allow you to perform pull-ups or hanging exercises, which may be more difficult to do otherwise. While they aren't essential to a successful workout, you have more options added to your arsenal, plus they make these exercises safer.
- Furniture: You can use simple items in your home as a part of your home workout. A pair of chairs can double as dip bars or help you elevate your feet to make floor exercises such as push-ups more challenging.
Keep in mind that if you don't have access to equipment, gallon-sized jugs of water can double as eight-pound dumbbells. You can also hook your feet under your couch or a table for ab exercises such as crunches. Get creative and explore other options based on whatever you have access to in your home.
Need recommendations for the best equipment available online? Check out the following ACTIVE Reviews Team roundups:
How to Eliminate Distractions and Increase Focus
One issue that some people face with exercising at home is that they can be easily distracted. A show is about to come on, your favorite snack is right in the kitchen, or your phone may have several texts waiting for you.
The best way to increase your focus is to isolate yourself from distractions. Don't take the phone in the room with you, turn the TV off, and block off time on your calendar for exercise much as you would for an appointment or work call.
Before you start a workout, study the program you have or created so you're familiar with the exercises. Take a few moments to visualize how it will go in your mind before you execute it with your body.
We hope these tips on how to perform at-home workouts help you in your fitness journey. Whether you're limited on time or equipment, working out at home offers a convenient, affordable way to get your sweat on.