If you’re into your fitness, you’re probably like me and stress out about how you’re going to keep making progress when you’re busy and not able to leave the house.
Whether you’re chasing your kids or taking care of business around the house, you’ve got to be equipped with the right tools – or better yet – the best hacks to get you that maximum results with the least amount of time and resources.
I wish there was a way I could have all of my favorite pieces of exercise equipment readily available to me in the comfort of my own home, but most often you just have to make do with what you have available to you. And let’s be honest, most home gyms suck.
I personally like barbells, dumbbells, and some plate-loaded equipment, which is obviously not practical for a home gym. But the cool thing is, with the hacks I’m about to share, you can still hit your favorite muscle groups without the fancy equipment.
If you’re serious about making gains and progress, then you’ll want to incorporate these exercise hacks to make the most of the limited time and equipment you may have.
Here are some of my favorite exercise hacks when stuck at home with limited equipment:
- Deep Body weight squats – Squats are fundamentally one of the best exercises you can perform. They engage more than just the legs, they help activate the stabilizers of the core and spine, the mobilize the hips and knees (which can prevent injuries and common pain), and they expend a ton of energy for being relatively simple. And contrary to popular belief it is ok to go lower than 90 degrees (assuming you go slowly and move your hips and knees at the same time and same speed to maintain proper bone rhythm). So sit as low as you can on each rep. Try doing 10 sets of 20 reps with 30 seconds rest between sets. And if you need more load, instead of holding weights just put one foot in front of you (with heel on the ground and toe up) and a chair behind you (as a safety net) and perform single leg squats instead.
- Static Handstand Against the Wall – Isometric holds are one of the best things you can do for strength. And the handstand is easily one of my favorites because it helps build upper body strength and shoulder stability (which is useful to prevent injuries and improve movement). My recommendation is to start with 5-10 second holds and do it against a wall to provide support. If you need to regress it further, just lay on your stomach on the edge of the bed and have your lower body supported by the bed as you have your hands on the ground. Try to do 3-5 sets of with 30 seconds rest between sets.
- Blood Flow Restriction Training – BFR training is a methodology that is backed by over 200 studies and 25 years of research which involves wearing straps around the upper arms or upper legs, using super light weight (or just body weight), and doing high reps and sets. The effects are incredible. The research has found that it accomplishes similar results to training with heavy weight – without the same stress on your body or brain. The way to perform this is to wear elastic bands around the upper arms or upper legs and tighten them to a perceived tightness of a 5-7 (on a scale of 1-10, 10 being tightest). And then perform an exercise like inclined push ups (push ups with your hands elevated on your bed, couch, or desk) for 30 reps, rest 15 seconds, do 15 push ups, rest 15 seconds, do 15 push ups, rest 15 seconds, and do 15 more push ups.
- Bulgarian Split Squats – Like squats, these have enormous total body benefits. To do this exercise, set up like you’re going to do a lunge, except put one foot up on a chair or couch behind you so your rear knee can get deeper. Try doing sets of 20 reps each leg with 30 seconds of rest between sets, and 3-5 sets total. You can also bolt-on the BFR Bands to this routine by wearing them on your upper thighs while doing the split squats. It will amplify the effects by “tricking” your brain into thinking you’ve been lifting heavy and activating fast-twitch muscle fibers (the ones that have the great propensity for muscle tone, and are usually only activated during sprinting or heavy lifts).
Give these simple hacks a try and I’m certain you’ll be surprised by the progress you’ll make.