A great challenge facing those who’ve made effort and taken the time to set up a home gym is making sure that their equipment for home training can fulfill the need for constant progress.
The training principle of progressive overload says that the people who train have to increase at least one variable every 1-3 weeks to keep seeing progress. Because of the nature of home gyms there might be a limited selection of weights which means that you either have to buy more or find ways to do more with what you have.
If your weights don’t meet your needs and you don’t see any progress any more in your home gym, follow these four tips:
1. COMBINE OR THINK UNILATERALLY
While the basic bodybuilding moves should be the foundation of your home training, there’s also so much more you can try with your weights. Complex compound movements is a mixture of two or more exercises: a lunge with a bicep curl; a dumbbell squat and an overhead press; a push-up with a torso twist; a pull-up with a knee raise;a clean and press. These are just a couple of the many exercise combinations that will make sure you vary your training enough to keep seeing progress with the weights you have at your disposal.
What you can also try is to think unilaterally – and perform one-sided exercises. Pistol squats, Bulgarian split squats, Romanian deadlifts, one-arm pull-ups, one-arm push-ups, single-arm dumbbell presses, and single-leg calf raises are all good ways to make traditional exercises more difficult. Such workouts will also incorporate more stabilizer muscles and promote greater core stabilization. Therefore, they are perfect exercises to mkae sure progression in a workout, which means continued gains!
2. BOOST THE INTENSITY
There are two main ways to boost your workload during a session – increase the volume or increase the weight. If you reach the peak of your abilities in the 8-12 rep range with the weights you have in your home gym it’s time to boost the volume. Strip a couple of plates and add a few extra reps to each set – work in the 15-20 rep range some time. You can also remain in the ‘bodybuilding’ rep range, just add more sets.
3. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
There are several machine-based movements that can be adjusted to the home gym setting. For instance, standing calf raises can be done inside the rack (for safety) with the loaded bar on your shoulders while standing on the edge of a step or box. Likewise, for seated calf raises you only need dumbbells or a weight plate on your knees and a chair. What you need is just some ingenuity and creativity.
Whether you’re doing a home-based workout with added weight or simply with your body weight, plyometrics exercises – explosive movements – are an excellent way to take your classic exercises for growing muscle to the next level to keep seeing progress. When you reach the ceiling in terms of the weight you can add to your back squat, for instance, shed a few weigh plates and begin performing weighted jump squats. Transform normal split squats or lunges into jump lunges. You can also include a couple of new exercises like box jumps or clap push-ups as appropriate alternatives to traditional moves.