I’m a lover of strength training. I enjoy working out and lifting weights. But I know how hard it is for a lot of people to get to the gym consistently.
At home workouts are a way for anyone to get the fitness in they need, and here at Laurens Fitness I make a big point of ensuring that ANYONE can get in the shape they deserve.
Fitness isn’t exclusive and there is always a way for you to train, but is it as effective as getting in the gym?
There is no question that building muscle is advantageous to nearly any fitness goal, at least those that we cover in Laurens Fitness.
Getting strong is the best medicine for any goal.
- When you want to drop the fat you need to be building muscle. Not only will it help you burn calories during the workout, more muscle means a higher metabolism and a greater calorie burning capacity at rest. It is simply the most effective way to lose fat.
- When you want to get toned you need to build muscle. You can get as skinny as you want but if there isn’t anything underneath that layer of skin you are going to look like a sack of bones.
- If you suffer from a pain condition, there is a fair chance I am going to prescribe strength training and get you strong in the areas you aren’t. It helps.
Weights Versus Body Weight Exercises: What Is More Effective?
If you want to get strong, you need to do move heavy things with low repetitions.
This places a lot of tension on the muscles and causes adaptation and growth. It’s non negotiable when you want to succeed.
This is no doubt a little easier when you are performing exercises with weights. Loading up a bar to do squats is a lot more simple than finding ways to challenge yourself with your body weight.
Easier, but not impossible.
Body weight exercises are very effective for building muscle. Plus they won’t smash up your joints as much as heavy weights do. You use a normal and natural range of motion and will be very athletic.
The problem with working out at home is that it is usually associated with high repetition work and muscle endurance. This kind of training has it’s place (you will see some workouts with high rep conditioning work in No Equipment No Excuses), but it’s not something I will be preaching to you very often and is not the fastest way to achieve your goals.
My goal is to provide you with ways to workout with zero equipment. Not a dumbbell, a Swiss ball.. nada. This makes it even more difficult, but still not impossible. If you have some gymnastics rings you are good to go. Finding ways to put your body under extreme tension is easy. However, I want everyone to be able to train even if they only have 15 minutes, and I sure as heck don’t have any gymnastics rings swinging around my house.
On that note, if you haven’t already make sure you grab your free starter pack and sign up to the blog. You’ll get three free workouts and a ton more information to help you move towards your goals.
The Real Issue
Most people start body weight training, so the basic exercises and find that it’s simply too easy. Basic pushups and squats are never going to be enough for a regular gym goer.
What is the real issue here? They don’t know how to progress their exercises appropriately.
The Solution: Progression
If you are a complete beginner then you are in luck. No matter what you do at the very beginning you will be putting enough tension on your muscle to get the changes and growth you need. Simple exercises to do at home will be enough for you and you can perform them at low repetitions. Don’t go away yet though, I’m going to teach you how to keep on making your workouts effective as you get better and improve.
If you find an exercise too easy, you need to make it harder. Progression applies in the gym, but people find it much easier to understand. As you get better in the bench press you up the weight you are pushing right? The same principle needs to be applied to the push up to get an effective adaptation, you need to up the resistance.
In general you want to stay between 4-12 repetitions, higher than that and you are not getting enough load and tension on the muscle. That means that by the 4th or 12th repetition you are really at your max. You can achieve this with body weight exercises, it just takes a little creativity.
If you can easily squeeze out 15 repetition of a normal pushup, it’s time to take it to the next level for optimal strength development. You can put your feet up on the couch or table to increase the decline and therefore the resistance you are pushing. Still too easy? Ditch one arm and go solo, the ultimate test of upper body strength and a very good way to impress your mates.. the one arm pushup.
This video has 32 variations, you don’t need so many but you get the picture!
For the lower body as a beginner you would start with the simple squat. You can change things like the timing of your squat (moving slowly), right through to adding an isometric component. Moving forward you would work on the split leg squat, a one leg variation of the ultimate lower body exercise.
My Ideal Situation
In my opinion lifting weights always has a place in body composition and strength gains. I still lift, but I supplement with a heck of a lot of body weight exercise that really challenge me. If you have access to both, then that is how you should train.
Here at Laurens Fitness however, I recognize that a ton of people don’t have that opportunity and there need to be a way to reach your goals without leaving your house. You can do it and you can progress without lifting a weight. For a lot of people it will actually be more effective than weight lifting as you are pretty much forced to progress.
If you can’t get to a gym, you have no excuses, you can still reach your goals and build muscle and strength. You just need to progress.
No matter what exercise you are doing, there is almost always a way to increase the tension and move forward. This is critical to build muscle and strength, which is absolutely necessary for nearly every fitness goal you are trying to achieve.
If you are working out at home and want to take the next step and ensure you progress without having to think, check out my at home workout guide No Equipment No Excuses. I’ll take you from beginner right through to advanced and will always have you progressing and working hard.