Tips for best home workout results
It's time to cover a few principles that will get you the the best possible workout at home by our guest writer, Matt Schubin – Founder of Calisthenics Revolution. So let's get to it!
STAY AT HOME
Nothing compares to the strength I’ve gained from bodyweight and home training
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!
I can honestly tell you that I am in the best shape of my life. Nothing compares to the strength I’ve gained from bodyweight and home training.
Resistance is the key to strength training, no matter where or how you do it
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 favorite way, if I might add)...
MAXIMIZE YOUR GAINS WITHOUT ADDING WEIGHT
Leverage allows you to use your own body in ways that maximize resistance. Let’s use pushups as an example. Start with an inclined pushup 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.
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Get rid of it all. Start at home. Start with the basics. Focus on form
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. Machine resistance actually puts added stress on the bones and ligaments. True functional form breaks down. And overall strength is compromised.
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.
I can’t tell you enough how great bodyweight exercises are
Your body can do 3 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 favorite exercises: the pullup.
I can’t tell you enough how great bodyweight exercises are. Another reason is the degree of compound movement. Going back to the humble pushup, 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.
Remember: strength is your goal
Try a Madbarz routine like NO EQUIPMENT, which features entirely bodyweight exercises – that’s about as compound as you can get!
About Matt and Calisthenics Revolution
Matt is a National Federation of Professional Trainers’ (NFPT) Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and contributing expert for several health and fitness organizations. Matt's expertise includes odyweight (calisthenics) exercise, functional fitness and diet/nutrition advice. He is the founder of Calisthenics Revolution, a Washington D.C. area-based community that has been in business holding bodyweight workouts, events and clinics since 2014. Their programs are based on group and personal training sessions in a welcoming environment. For more info check out their Web page or Facebook page.