Structured strength training with additional weights in a well-equipped fitness studio makes sense at any age - as long as it is targeted and individually tailored. But what do you do if you travel a lot for work, can't find a babysitter or only have 30 minutes? There is always a way to get some quick exercise from home, while traveling or in the office during your lunch break. In the long term, however, structured strength training guided by a competent coach should take place. This is the only way to achieve sustainable and constant progress.

Why the gym should always be your first choice:

In a good studio you will be advised by a competent coach. This person should be able to recognize which training method is currently the right one for you, how the weights should be chosen and, above all, be able to instruct how to carry out the exercises correctly. With various assessments of mobility and muscular balance, weak points can be identified that should be worked on first. Be it for health or aesthetic reasons.

A gym is also well equipped with enough equipment, which you often rarely have the financial and spatial resources for at home. The studio should have at least one angle-adjustable weight bench, dumbbells weighing 1-20 kg, a squat rack, a barbell, associated weight plates, a cable pulley and a pull-up bar.

Without this foundation, it is relatively difficult to achieve long-term progress. This is because many bodyweight exercises cannot generate enough intensity. However, this is necessary to create sufficient mechanical tension. Even women who simply want to look defined need to build muscle. The muscles make her look tighter and slimmer and are by no means masculine. There are actually numerous exercises that require sufficient strength without machines and free weights and therefore offer high intensity.

The problem with this, however, is that these exercises can only be carried out once a certain basic strength and technique have been established - and this can be built up most efficiently with specific exercises and equipment from a studio.

Many home workout programs are not sustainable and can cause problems

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

There is a complete range of diets: from low carb to counting calories to Paleo, veganism, juice cleanses, shake diets and much more. Many of these systems actually achieve quick success with buyers, but these do not last long. This is the case for the following reasons:

The full-body home workouts usually consist of high numbers of repetitions and a fast pace, which results in a short-term loss of fat and sometimes also muscle loss. The kilos on the scales may fall off, but in the long term, in order to have a toned body - regardless of whether it is a man or a woman - muscles need to be built up specifically. Since many people who buy such a home training program have never done any physical activity before, it doesn't really matter what they do, it will have an effect.

After three months, however, your body will adapt to the initially intense stress and progress will stagnate. Of course, this is not particularly motivating. However, the exercises that are actually more intensive for her, such as pull-ups, dips or pistol squats, are a level too high for her. The bridge from Level 1 to Level 2 is so much harder to build.

Especially after the first successes, it is important to decide individually which exercise progressions and which diet is currently the right one for the person. No anonymous online training system can find this out for you. In addition, when you exercise at home, there is a greater chance that you will lose interest after the first high in motivation and then do something else more quickly. If you have regular appointments with a coach in the studio, you stay on the ball more. Even one coaching appointment a month can make a big difference.

The execution of the exercise has a decisive influence on the success of the training

Another point that often falls by the wayside when doing independent fitness training in your own four walls is the correct execution of the exercises. In fact, almost every exercise comes in different variations: deep squats, 90 degree squats, wide grip push-ups, narrow grip push-ups, fast and slower versions, and the list goes on.

Each variant has its advantages and disadvantages and should be used consciously. There is no best version for every person. The question here is which is currently the right one for you and this requires more than basic knowledge:

The squat can be cited as a good example: Basically, the goal should always be to perform squats with a full range of motion. This means that you squat completely low so that your back thigh and calf touch each other. The entire surface of the foot is in stable contact with the ground, the upper body is upright and the back is straight. Nowadays, this actually natural movement that small children do all the time is a big challenge for many people.

If the execution is not possible, you should work towards it with exercise progressions and not circumvent the problem with half squats. This is important for muscular balance, stability and balanced, holistic basic strength. 90 degree squats aren't entirely wrong in themselves, but they should be viewed as a more isolated exercise for the hip flexor muscles. For example, it makes sense for women who want to visually highlight their bottom muscles. But not if a base of deep squats has not been laid.

From the example mentioned, you can clearly see that many of the home workout programs available for purchase on social media channels are shown to be creative and at first glance make sense, but are not tailored to the individual customer. The many fancy butt exercises for women in particular often do not lead to success because they are often not replicated correctly and some other factors are not taken into account in the systems.

Exercising at home with less intense exercises is better than no exercise at all

For some people, it takes too much effort to leave the house to exercise. For others it is actually hardly possible to stay away from their activities for 2 hours during regular studio times. For example, mothers of smaller children with men who work full-time find it more difficult to take this time off. In order to at least exercise sensibly and maintain your fitness, there are exercises that can actually be temporarily suitable for doing at home.

It should be emphasized again that you often cannot achieve long-term, great success with this - especially visually. This is especially not the case if you don't put any special effort into your diet. However, home workouts can be useful for a more conscious body awareness, more mobility and less tension. Training in your own four walls can also be a good alternative to exercising in the gym.

Especially if you are traveling and don't have any gym equipment available, it is of course a great advantage to still do some exercise in order to maintain the routine and at least maintain your current level.

Which workouts are suitable for at home? Which ones when traveling?

In most cases, full-body training plans make sense here. Since very targeted hypertrophy or maximum strength training cannot take place at home without a lot of sports equipment, you usually end up doing strength training with a focus on conditioning, which actually has a greater fat loss and rather smaller muscle building effect.

In addition, at this lower intensity (through fewer weights and weight increases) the strength of the individual muscle groups can be kept slightly higher. During maximum strength training and isolated exercises for aesthetic muscle building, the individual muscles need more regeneration.

However, if you train more than three times a week, you should still complete two different training programs. One might focus more on the chest, upper back, abs and front thighs, while the other would focus on the hamstrings, butt, lower back and arms.

At home it would be ideal if you could still use lighter additional weights, as these are relatively affordable. Of course this is not possible for travel. Especially if you only travel with hand luggage, you generally don't want to take a lot of sports equipment with you. However, there are also solutions for this:

Basic equipment for home workouts and travel

The following purchases might make sense for your home:

  • Yoga or exercise mat
  • Loop bands (the small, wide mini rubber bands that you can stretch over your knees, for example)
  • Resistance bands (the longer, thinner rubber bands, also closed)
  • Dumbbells
  • A stepper
  • 5kg weight plate

The two different training bands are sufficient for traveling. If you also use pure body weight exercises, you have already completed an efficient full-body workout.

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

With the sports equipment mentioned in the last section, or even just some of it, the variety of variants is relatively large; Push-ups, planks, deep squats, various abdominal exercises lying on your back such as jackknives or sit-ups can be performed on the mat.

As already described above in the article, if you have a certain strength and mobility base, you can do more isolated butt exercises with the mini band. Depending on either the knee or the ankle, side walks, pulse squats, glute bridges, hip thrusts, Romanian deadlifts, kickbacks, sidebacks or seated abduction are suitable.

The resistance bands can be used for rowing, Romanian deadlifts, external shoulder rotations or triceps extensions. Dumbbells are suitable for arm exercises such as variations of curls, tricep extensions, shoulder presses, squats, lunges, Romanian deadlifts and much more. The stepper is ideal for various step up forms that can be easily progressed, as well as for split squats with an elevated foot. A stepper is also helpful for easier versions of push-ups, as the hands are placed on the elevation instead of on the floor.

The execution of the exercise is of considerable importance

As mentioned earlier in the text, correct exercise execution is crucial. It is best to first learn home workout exercises with a competent coach and then carry them out independently at home. If you have training experience and have a good body feeling for good muscle control, you can work with video and image material for exercises that are not too complex.

In the next blog post, a suitable workout will be presented and the exercises mentioned above will be explained in more detail.

Coming soon…

Ines Schulz
Ines Maria Schulz, born on December 1st, 1992 in Basel, Switzerland, also completed her Master of Education in biology and WAH there, laying the foundation for the understanding of physiology and anatomy as well as nutrition. She is also a trained primary school sports teacher. For two years she has been a coach at MTM Personal Training, the most successful personal training studio in Berlin. There she supports customers every day who want to exploit their maximum potential in terms of mental and physical health and performance. In cooperation with doctors like Dr. Dominik Nischwitz and a laboratory for intestinal health as well as the constant exchange within the team, she can provide her customers with optimal advice about training, nutrition, micronutrients and lifestyle. She has already written a breakfast book and a large part of a lifestyle booklet for MTM. She also writes the weekly newsletter, which publishes nutritional tips and recipes she has created. Ines has completed seminars and certificates with a variety of successful coaches and specialists and is constantly expanding her skills. The young trainer has been writing blog articles for Supz Nutrition since January 2019.

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