Since the outbreak of the pandemic and with the widespread closure of gyms across the country, weight training at home has seen a surge in popularity. However, with your home comforts surrounding you, it can feel a lot different than lifting at the gym. With that said, we explore some of the main do’s and don’ts of weight training at home so you can get the most out of your setup and sessions.
Weight training at home – The Do’s and Don'ts
Do invest in versatile equipment
If you’re thinking of acquiring your first few pieces, or looking to make a few additions to your existing set up, think about the versatility of the equipment when you purchase. You needn’t buy an entire gym to have a decent setup which can offer a wide variety – look first towards the equipment that can have multiple uses for multiple muscle groups (for example: a bench & barbell, a set of dumbbells, a couple of kettlebells).
Once you’ve got a core setup, you can always look to purchase more targeted, functional equipment for specific muscle groups.
Don’t go without a plan
To make your training as effective as possible, it’s always good to have a plan clearly set out before you set out for your workout. This is especially the case for when it comes to your weight training at home. Not only will it make you accountable to actually workout, but you’ll be much more likely to do a productive session as a result of it.
Do make sure you’re geared up appropriately
It’s great to bring the gym to your home, but that doesn’t mean you should be completely changing up the gear you wear. It may be tempting to just throw anything on and crack on with a session, but that might not be the best idea. Gear up appropriately - beyond the obvious reasons why, it can also serve as a way for you to get in the right frame of mind for your session. Plus, you don’t want to be kicking yourself if you pick up an injury based on not wearing your usual gear.
Don’t skip your warmup
You wouldn’t skip your warmup when you’re at the gym, so you shouldn’t at home. It can be easily done – you bring out the weights, or head into your gym and just get cracking with the heavy weights straight away – but this is a quick road to injury. Take the time to warm up – some light cardiovascular work, some dynamic stretches and some very light lifting movements will serve you well, and shouldn’t take any longer than 5-10 minutes.
Don’t always stick to the same routine
It can be so easy to get comfortable completing the same routine week in week out – especially if your home gym equipment is limited – but that’s not going to be effective in the long run as your muscles will begin to adapt to the movements & weight; not to mention that it will get pretty boring before too long! There are many ways you can bring variety into your workouts – change the exercises, the number of sets & reps, the weight or the intensity.
Even if you only have a set of dumbbells or a bench & bar, you can find a huge range of exercises that will keep you entertained and your body on its toes!
Do make sure to maintain proper form
When you’re working out at home, you’re naturally in a much more relaxed environment than the gym, and this could spill over onto your form. Don’t let your form slip! If you don’t have someone you can lift with to also keep an eye on your form, then it’s worthwhile having your setup in front of a mirror, so you can at least monitor it yourself somewhat.
It’s really no different to when if you’re doing your weight training at a gym, however with your home gym in such close proximity, it can be really tempting to work out every day, or even multiple times of day. Whilst in the short-run this may seem very productive and you’ll likely see great progression; in the long-term this will likely lead to burnout and injury.
It can sometimes be difficult to have the discipline to take a rest day as it may feel like a waste of a day; particularly if your muscles don’t feel fatigued. However, there are ways to make your rest days meaningful and won’t leave you with the feeling of being unproductive. Try stretching, foam rolling and using a massage gun on your rest days; these are great ways to aid recovery between sessions above and beyond being idle.
A lot of the fundamentals are going to be the same as when you’re lifting in the gym, but you’ll need to be extra mindful when working out from home – a greater concentration on form, greater emphasis on having a plan that you keep to and making sure you’re training your full body with a good variety of exercises. Good luck with your training!