Home training or gym?

Structured weight training with additional weights in a well-equipped fitness studio makes sense at any age - as long as it is targeted and individually coordinated. But what do you do if you travel a lot on business, cannot find a babysitter or only have 30 minutes? There is always a way to do a short workout from home, while travelling or in the office during your lunch break. In the long term, however, structured strength training should be carried out under the guidance of a competent coach. This is the only way to achieve sustained and constant progress.


Why the gym should always be the first choice:

In a good gym you will be advised by a competent coach. He or she should be able to recognise which training method is currently the right one for you, how the weights should be chosen and, above all, be able to instruct you on how to do the exercises correctly. With different assessments of mobility and muscular balance, weak points can be identified, which should be worked on first. Be it for health or aesthetic reasons.

A gym is also well equipped with sufficient equipment, for which one often rarely has financial and spatial means at home. At least one angle adjustable weight bench, dumbbells from 1-20 kg, a squatrack, a barbell, corresponding weight plates, a cable pull and a pull-up bar should be available in the studio.

Without this basis it is relatively difficult to make long-term progress. This is due to the fact that many body weight exercises do not generate enough intensity. However, this is necessary to create sufficient mechanical tension. Even women who want to look simply defined must build up muscles. The muscles make them look firmer and slimmer and do not look masculine at all. In fact, there are numerous exercises that require sufficient strength without machines and free weights and therefore offer a high intensity.

The problem is that these exercises can only be performed when a certain basic strength and technique is available - and this in turn is most efficiently built up with specific exercises and the equipment from a studio.


Many home workout programs are not sustainable and can cause problems

The ultimate 12-week program, in which you get your dream body in three months and only have to exercise briefly for 30 minutes at home three times a week, is already available from more than enough providers. Mostly the programs are sold as a complete package with nutrition plans.

The complete range of nutritional forms is available: From low carb to calorie counting to paleo, veganism, juice cures, shake diets and much more. Many of these systems actually achieve quick success with the buyers, but these do not last long. This is the case for the following reasons:

Full-body home workouts usually consist of a high number of repetitions and a fast pace, which results in a short-term loss of fat and sometimes muscle. The kilos on the scales do tumble, but in the long term, for a firm body - whether man or woman - muscles would have to be specifically built up. Since many people who buy such a training program for home use have never done any sports before, it doesn't really matter what they do, it will have an effect.

After the three months, however, your body will adapt to the stresses and strains that are intense for it at the beginning and progress will stagnate. This is of course not very motivating. But the more intensive exercises like pull-ups, dips or pistol squats are a step too high for you. The bridge from level 1 to level 2 is so much more difficult to build.

Especially after the first successes, it is important to decide individually which exercise progression and which form of nutrition is currently the right one for the person. No anonymous online training system can find this out for you. Moreover, the chance is greater when doing sports at home that you will lose motivation after the first high-flying and then do something else more quickly. If you have regular appointments with a coach in the studio, you show more discipline and stamina. Just one coaching appointment per month can make a big difference.


The execution of the exercises has a decisive influence on the success in training

Another point that often falls by the wayside during independent fitness training at home is the correct execution of exercises. There are actually almost every exercise in different variations: Deep squats, 90 degree squats, push-ups with a wide grip, with a tighter grip, fast and slower execution and the list can go on and on.

Each variant has its advantages and disadvantages and should be used consciously. There is no best solution for everyone. Here the question arises which one is currently the right one for you and this requires more than basic knowledge:

A good example are squats: Basically, the goal should always be to perform squats in the complete range of motion. This means squatting completely deep so that the back thigh and calf touch each other. The entire foot surface has stable contact with the floor, the upper body is upright and the back is straight. Nowadays this natural movement, which small children do all the time, is a great challenge for many people.

If the execution is not possible, you should work towards it with exercise progressions and not bypass the problem with half squats. This is important for muscular balance, stability and a balanced, holistic basic strength. 90 degree squats are not completely wrong in themselves, but they should be seen as a more isolated exercise for the hip flexor muscles. For example, it makes sense for women who want to visually emphasize their bottom muscles. However, it does not make sense if no base has been laid with deep squats.
From the above mentioned example, it can be clearly seen that many of the training programs available on the social media channels or home workout programs that can be purchased are creative and at first glance useful, but they are not tailored to the individual customer. Especially the many Fancy Po exercises for women often do not lead to success because they are often not imitated correctly and some other factors are not taken into account in the systems.


Sport at home with less intensive exercises is better than no sport at all

For some people, however, it is still too much of an effort to leave home for sports. For others, it is actually hardly possible to stay away from their activities for 2 hours at regular studio hours. For example, mothers of small children with full-time working men find it harder to take this time off. In order to get at least some meaningful exercise and maintain fitness, there are exercises that can actually be temporarily suitable for home use.

Here it must be emphasized once again that it is often not possible to achieve long-term, major success with this - especially visually. This is especially not the case if you do not make any special efforts in nutritional terms. For a more conscious body feeling, more mobility and less tension, however, the home workout can be useful. Also as an additional alternative to sports in a fitness studio, a workout in your own four walls can be a good balance.

Especially if you are travelling and don't have gym equipment at your fingetips, it is of course of great advantage to do sports anyway in order to keep up your routine and at least maintain your current level.


Which workouts are suitable your home? Which ones are best for travelling?

In most cases, whole body training plans make sense here. Since without a lot of sports equipment at home no very targeted hypertrophy or maximum strength training can take place anyway, one is usually more likely to be in strength training with a focus on conditioning, which actually has a greater fatloss and a smaller muscle building effect.

In addition, at this lower intensity (through less weight and weight increases), the individual muscle groups can be kept slightly higher. With maximum strength training and isolated exercises for aesthetic muscle building, the individual muscles need more regeneration.
If you work out more than three times a week, you should still complete two different training programs. One could use more chest, upper back, abdominal muscles and front thighs, the other would focus on the back thighs, buttocks, lower back and arms.
At home it would be optimal if you could still use lighter additional weights, as these are relatively affordable. For travelling this is of course not possible. Especially if you travel with hand-luggage only, you generally don't want to take much sports equipment with you. But there are solutions for this:

Basic equipment for home workouts and travel

For home workouts the following purchases could be useful:

  • Yoga- or exercise-mat
  • Loop tapes (the small, wide mini elastic tapes that can be stretched over the knees, for example)
  • Resistance tapes (the longer, thinner rubber tapes, also closed)
  • Dumbbells
  • Stepper
  • 5 kg Gewichtscheibe

For travelling the two different training tapes are sufficient, if you additionally use pure body weight exercises, you have already completed an efficient whole body workout.

Which sports exercises can be easily performed with the equipment at home?

With the sports equipment mentioned in the last section, or even with only a part of it, there is a relatively large variety; push-ups, plank, deep squats, various abdominal exercises lying on the back such as toe taps or sit ups can be performed on the mat.

If there is a certain strength and mobility base as described above, more isolated butt exercises can be done with the mini-tape. Depending on whether the exercises are stretched around the knee or the ankle, side walks, pulse squats, glute bridges, hip thrusts, Romanian deadlifts, kickbacks, sidebacks or abduction in a sitting position are suitable.

The Resistance tapes can be used for rowing, Romanian deadlifts, external rotations of the shoulder or tricep stretches. Dumbbells are suitable for arm exercises such as variations of curls, tricep stretches, shoulder presses, squats, lunges, Romanian deadlifts and much more. The Stepper is optimal for different step up forms, which can be well progressive, as well as for split squats with elevated foot. A stepper is also helpful for lighter variations of push-ups, because the hands are placed on the elevation instead of on the floor.


The exercise execution is of considerable importance

As mentioned earlier in the text, correct exercise execution is crucial. It is also best to learn home workout exercises first with a competent coach and only then to perform them independently at home. If training experience is available and there is a good body feeling for a good muscle control, it is possible to work with video and picture material for exercises that are not too complex.

In the next blog post a suitable workout is presented and the above mentioned exercises are explained in detail.

Coming soon…      

Ines Schulz
Ines Maria Schulz, geboren am 01.12.1992 in Basel, Schweiz hat auch dort den Master Of Education in Biologie und WAH abgeschlossen, womit sie den Grundstein für das Verständnis von Physiologie und Anatomie sowie Ernährungslehre gesetzt hat. Zudem ist sie ausgebildete Sportlehrerin für die Grundschule. Seit zwei Jahren ist sie Coach bei MTM Personal Training, dem erfolgreichsten Personal Training Studio in Berlin. Dort unterstützt sie täglich Kunden, die ihr maximales Potential bezüglich mentaler und physischer Gesundheit und ihrer Leistungsfähigkeit ausschöpfen möchten. In Kooperation mit Ärzten wie Dr. Dominik Nischwitz und einem Labor für Darmgesundheit sowie dem ständigen Austausch im Team kann sie ihre Kunden optimal über Training, Ernährung, Mikronährstoffe und Lifestyle beraten. Für MTM hat sie bereits ein Frühstücksbuch und einen grossen Teil eines Lifestyle Booklets verfasst. Zudem schreibt sie wöchentlich den Newsletter, in dem Ernährungstipps und von ihr kreierte Rezepte veröffentlicht werden. Ines hat bei verschiedensten erfolgreichen Coaches und Fachpersonen Seminare und Zertifikate absolviert und erweitert stetig ihre Kompetenz. Für Supz Nutrition ist die junge Trainerin seit Januar 2019 mit dem Verfassen von Blogartikeln aktiv.

Häufig gestellte Fragen

What is the best way to train your back at home?
Depending on the level, the upper back can be trained with pull-ups or eccentric pull-ups, rowing variations with resistance bands, dumbbell rowing or the Trap 3 Raise. The forearm support (Plank) and exercise variations of it are suitable for stabilizing the back and trunk area. Romanian deadlifts with dumbbells are suitable for training the lower back, buttocks and rear thighs. The Superman exercise, in which you lie on your stomach and stretch your arms and legs upwards as far as possible, is also suitable and easy to perform.
How can I best train my endurance at home?
With classic endurance equipment such as a treadmill, a bicycle or, best of all, the air bike. The cheaper and more optimal solution would be to simply go running outside, running in the air also strengthens the immune system. ATTENTION! DANGER OF CONFUSION: ENDURANCE is the ability to maintain a certain intensity evenly over a long period of time without tiring. It is usually confused with CONDITION, which is about being able to run an intensity over and over again without tiring. Every athlete needs to be fit, because a footballer, for example, does not run 90 minutes at the same pace, but sprints over and over again...
How often should I exercise at home and how often at the gym?
This depends on your personal goal and the amount of training equipment available at home. For constant progress, it makes sense in the long run to train each unit in a studio so that there is enough variation. Ideally, one should be instructed by a competent coach and write individual training programs. If it is only about keeping the body in motion, then you can also train at home.
How can I best train my breast at home?
With push-up variations, where you support yourself with different widths or on an elevation, use different numbers of repetitions and vary with the number of breaks. If you have dumbbells or barbells available, bench press, shoulder press or flying are suitable. You should always keep in mind that other muscles, such as the triceps and shoulders, are also active.
Does training at home bring any benefit at all and if so, how effective is it?
That depends on your personal goal and on the training equipment you have at home. For constant progress, it makes sense in the long run to train each unit in a studio so that there is enough variation possibilities. Ideally, one should be instructed by a competent coach and write individual training programs. If it is only about keeping the body in motion, then you can also train at home.

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