With much of the world in quarantine, home workouts have never been more popular. As a result, my inbox has been flooded with questions from people who are confused about what to do at home. With that in mind, let me use this time to remind you that the work itself does not need to be complicated. Almost anything will work if you are willing to work. It really is that simple.
Staying fit should not be confused with rocket science. Instead, focus the bulk of your time and energy towards tried-and-true exercises such as pushups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, rollouts, etc. Sprinkle in some creativity on occasion to avoid staleness, and you’ll be set for life. Exercise does not need to be more complicated than that.
Furthermore, don’t be fooled to believe that you will outgrow the basics. The fundamentals have no expiration date. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen world class athletes challenged with so-called basic exercises. As I’ve said before, how you do what you do matters more than what you do. There are always ways to make simple exercises more difficult.
I’ve performed pushups for over 30 years. Some might say it’s time for me to move on. I don’t see it that way though. I have always enjoyed pushups and I continue to benefit from the exercise. Therefore, I see no reason to abandon the movement. Instead, I simply modify them on occasion to suit my needs. A few examples can be seen below.
Another example can be seen with rollouts. As you’ll see, there are countless ways to modify the exercise, so I’m never bored and always challenged.
Beyond Pushups and Rollouts
To no surprise, pushups and rollouts are two of my favorite exercises. With that said, they aren’t the only movements that can be easily modified to make more (or less) challenging. If you wish to increase the difficulty of a bodyweight movement, here are a few (of many) options.
- Work with higher reps and/or additional sets
- Limit rest between sets
- Add a weighted vest
- Vary the angle of the exercise (ex. feet elevated pushups)
- Vary the speed/tempo of the exercise
- Add an isometric component to the exercise (ex. here)
- Group multiple exercises into continuous circuits (ex. here)
- Work with one side at a time (ex. one leg squats, one arm pushups, etc.)
If your gym has been closed by COVID-19 and you’re forced to train at home with minimal equipment, there’s no need to worry. There’s still plenty of ways to challenge yourself with little or nothing. Hard work can be applied to almost anything. And with a little creativity, you’ll never run out of ideas or challenges.
Thus, I urge you to maintain control of what can be controlled. No one knows what the future will bring, but we can all work hard to remain healthy and strong. Don’t let the chaos around you distract you from prioritizing your own well-being. It must remain a priority. Your body and mind will thank you.
Stay safe and stay strong.
“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” – Martin Henry Fischer