Posted by Paul Quinones on 3/27/2020 to Workouts
Most people think at home training isn't hard enough. It's possible to work your ass off at home, especially if you can turn it into a challenge. Think of it as an investment in future gains. You'll improve your mind-muscle connection, perfect your form and make every future program more effective. Here are some techniques to kick your own ass in quarantine.
1. Pre-Fatigue (Isometrics)
This is an old school technique in the weight room called isometrics, but works great with bodyweight exercises too. Find a position where you can feel the most tension in the target muscle and hold it.
- Bodyweight Squat and Lunge Variations: Hold the isometric in the mid-range position.
- Push-Up Variations: Hold the isometric in the mid-range or near the bottom position.
- Row Variations: Hold the peak contraction position when you pull the elbows back.
- ChairDips: Hold the isometric when the arms are bent at a 90 degree angle.
Start your set with the isometric hold. The hold should be anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds depending on how strong you are. On bodyweight squats, you could go up to 60 seconds, but most people should try a 10-30 second hold with maximum tension. Once you're done with your hold, do as many solid reps as you can. And here's the secret, try to feel the same tension as you did during the hold. If you can get more than your target reps, lengthen the hold, or slow down your reps.
Two other ways to use holds are intra-set and dynamic reps. Intra-set are similar, but you use 1 to 3 shorter holds within a set. Dynamic are 1 to 3 holds within each rep. Doing holds during the concentric (lifting) phase is harder than doing them during the eccentric (lowering) phase.
2. Darden 30-10-30
You start by doing a 30-second long eccentric (lowering) phase, then immediately do 10 normal reps. Still control the eccentric on the normal reps – two seconds down is a good target. After your tenth rep, finish with one final 30-second eccentric, after which you may try to stand up (or push/pull yourself up). Remember, any numbers work.
3. Negatives (Slow Eccentrics)
Lower down in 8-10 seconds per rep and go up normally. Do as many reps like that as you can.
4. Tempo Contrast
Alternating between slow and normal reps.
- First Rep: Slow (6 seconds down, 3 seconds up)
- Second Rep: Slow (6 seconds down, 3 seconds up)
- Third Rep: Fast (2 seconds down, 1 second up)
- Fourth Rep: Fast (2 seconds down, 1 second up)
Keep the reps under 12 to make sure your form stays tight, but other than that play with your variables.
5. Myo Reps
A fancy name for a multi rest-pause set.
- Once you reach failure or close to it, rest around 10 seconds and do three more reps.
- Rest 10 seconds and do three reps.
- Repeat until you either fail to get three reps in a mini-set or reach five mini-sets of three reps.
6. Adding Resistance
A personal favorite is the loaded backpack method, which can be used on squats, split squats, chin-ups, and even push-ups and dips. You can put it on your back or even hold it in front Zercher style, getting more core and arm work. You can also use any small object with some weight. It doesn't matter if you don't know the weight. We're looking for a temporary fix during home workout quarantine. Nothing more.
You can do curls, tricep pressdowns, lateral raises, front raises, shoulder presses, and straight-arm pulldowns with bands. You can also use them to make push-ups, squats, and split squats harder.
Mind Over Matter
It requires more discipline to train at home than to go to the gym. At home, you can do it any time. It's easy to think, "I'll do it a little later", but in reality most people get to the end of the day not having trained, and now they're too tired to get after it. The second thing is that for most of us, training at home isn't motivating, especially on the simpler exercises. We love lifting weights, seeing the loads increase, and the feeling of heavy resistance on our body. The atmosphere and having people around makes it a lot easier for most. Working out during quarantine or out of necessity is only temporary. Take it as a challenge to actually improve some aspects of your fitness. Remember, if you don't mind, then it doesn't really matter!