With Gyms Closed, Strength Training at Home Promotes Fitness

exercise equipment not necessarily required for full-body, at-home workout

By Jonny Lupsha, Wondrium Staff Writer

Cardio and strength training can be done from home to stay fit and happy, Today reported. The combination of exercise regimes gives a total-body workout without the need for expensive equipment or a gym membership. No matter your routine, warm-ups are vital.

Woman stretching in her living room
Total-body workouts with minimal exercise equipment can easily be accomplished at home while access to gyms and other exercise facilities is limited. Photo By Rido / Shutterstock

Practicing safer-at-home measures doesn’t necessarily mean having to let our bodies fall out of shape. “Since many gyms are slow to open—and some of us may not feel comfortable in them for awhile longer—incorporating body-weight strength training into your routine at home is a great way to build muscle and lose weight, if that’s your goal,” an article on Today said.

“In addition to cardio, strength training boosts energy, improves mood, and of course, provides a total-body workout. Just 30 minutes five days a week is all you need to start seeing results.”

Regardless of how much or how little exercise equipment you choose to buy and use in your routine, every workout should start with a warm-up.

Loosening Up

Any exercise routine should begin slowly, by getting the heart rate up and preparing your muscles for what lies ahead. The first major purpose of warm-ups is to loosen up.

“We start nice and small, it’s very easy, and then we build up the movements as we go along,” international fitness expert Dean Hodgkin said. One warm-up routine starts by turning the head left and right, then slowly rocking it from one side to the other with the chin down. After that, he recommended working your way down your body.

The next step involves a shoulder roll, bringing the shoulders up and forward and “just working within a comfortable range of motion to get started,” he said. “What we’re trying to do here is to get the synovial fluid pumping into the joints. It reduces the friction and reduces the risk of injury.”

The shoulder roll is followed by making circles with the wrists, first in one direction and then the other. Next, Hodgkin said, gyrate your hips in a circle starting one way and then the opposite. Following this are demi-pliés, or mini-squats, in which you keep your shoulders straight and only squat a short way down before rising again. Finally, to help the feet get more limber, Hodgkin recommended rocking back and forth on them.

Getting Warmer

With your muscles limber, you’re one step closer to starting your routine. Hodgkin said to keep your feet moving by walking in place while you take the pace up a bit by doing some chest presses. Chest presses are an exercise of bringing your hands up in front of your shoulders and pushing them forward then back to your body repeatedly. After this, the arms can be used for bicep curls for several repetitions, then knee lifts.

What would he advise next in a warm-up?

“Then I’m going to add to that just a little bit of rotation through the lower spine,” he said. “You should feel like your heart rate is beginning to move up just a little bit, then take it back down to a march and get a little [leg] lift in front.”

Leg lifts may look like soft kicks, but Hodgkin said not to swing your leg so much as lift it up and forward. It will help the inner thigh muscles to change leg lifts out to the side instead of in front. After a light jog and more arm motions like upwards chest presses and breaststrokes, your warm-up should be just about complete. The heart rate is up, the blood is flowing and the synovial fluid is flowing through the joints.

Then it’s time for the real workout.

Edited by Angela Shoemaker, Wondrium Daily

International fitness expert Dean Hodgkin contributed to this article. A three-time World Karate Champion and a two-time European Karate Champion, Hodgkin earned a B.Sc. honors degree in Mathematics and Management Studies from the University of Portsmouth. He continued his education at Leicester College, where he was awarded the Certificate in Exercise and Health Studies by the Physical Education Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.