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No Gym, No Problem

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Getting fit without a gym may seem very difficult at first glance, but here are 5 tips that may make it less daunting. Keep reading to learn these 5 tips that may help you with getting fit at home.

One of the hardest parts about training either at home or on the road, is not knowing how to make exercises more challenging.


If we are lucky enough to have some tools like dumbbells, bars and plates, kettlebells, and or resistance bands, then simply adding more weight or resistance when an exercise feels easy is probably what many of you have done or will do. This is not a bad strategy at all, (assuming that you are technically sound in each lift you are increasing).


However, when equipment limitations don’t allow us to add weight what are we to do? Here are 5 options we can try!

  1. Adding eccentrics to your program

In the simplest and most common terms, the eccentric portion of an exercise is where the muscle is typically lengthening, and the joint angles of the prime movers are getting bigger. There has been some discussion about eccentric contractions not even being a thing, but that is a discussion WAY outside this post.


What is important for us, or more importantly for YOU, is that eccentrics are typically where the most muscle damage will occur, and they will increase the amount of time the muscle is being worked. Take a push up as an example. As we lower ourselves towards the floor in the push up, we begin to feel a stretching sensation in our chest muscles. This lowering portion is the eccentric portion and you may have also heard it referred to as the “negative portion” of the exercise. Believe me when I say these can instantly make an exercise way harder. A good way to incorporate this training method is by slowing down this portion of your exercises so that it takes you 3-5 seconds.


A word of caution, these also produce the most amount of soreness. So not every exercise needs to be an eccentric one. And think about how sore you are willing to be the next few days afterwards.


2. Decreasing rest times


If you are looking for more of an energy system challenge, then decreasing your rest times as you progress your program can be very helpful. Say you start with body weight lunges for 3 sets of 15 reps. In between each set, you are resting for 60 seconds. If you feel as if you are not getting enough of a challenge, consider dropping the rest period from 60 seconds to 30-45 seconds.


Decreasing rest times is one of my favorite ways to make an at home training program more challenging because you do not need to change anything about the exercises. Similar to the eccentrics, if you have very limited exercise equipment, and can only do 8 exercises, you can keep the exercises the same, and add these two elements in to add some progressive overload to your program.


3. Performed timed sets


If you are not seeing progress or you are bored with typical sets and rep programming, maybe it is time to switch it up. For example, you can do exercises for 3-5 sets of 10, 15, 30, 60 or more seconds, this will help increase your ability to do more work in a given period of time which is a good benefit for your cardiovascular system. To get an added challenge, push yourself by trying to get either the same amount of reps, or more reps within the chosen time from set to set.


Some key points to remember about determining how long to do things for. If you are doing anything explosive, like jumping, it will be best to keep it under 30 seconds. The reason is because we may not be able to maintain quality form doing 60 seconds straight of vertical jumps.


In addition, these activities tend to be more intense on our bodies, then non explosive exercises. That being said if you are doing something for 60 seconds or longer, be sure you are going at a pace, or using a resistance that you can maintain quality form the whole time.

Fatigue will often times lead to either failed reps or improper technique, which has the potential to lead to an injury.


4. Increasing sets


Increasing the weights you are using session by sessions, or week by week is likely the most common way people make exercises harder. However, if stuck at home or don’t have the gym with all the weights you can imagine, adding more sets will be your next best bet to add a challenge.

If you have been doing 3 sets of 8 resistance band rows, simply do 4-5 set the next time you train. Over time, this will increase the volume of work you are doing. Which, in my opinion, is one of the most important things to progress through your fitness journey.


5. Adding super sets, tri sets, or circuits


The last tip I will provide, is to add super sets, tri sets, or circuits to your routine.

For those of you that don’t know, super sets are two exercises performed back-to-back. A tri set is 3 exercises performed back-to-back. A circuit, in my eyes, is more than 3 exercises performed back-to-back. There are many ways to set up any one of these options. Rather than explain them, here are examples of each.


Super set

A1. Eccentric body weight squat (3 seconds down) A2. Pushups 12 reps


Tri set

B1. Resistance band row 8 reps B2. Side plank 30-45 seconds B3. Seated shoulder press


Circuit: 30 seconds of each exercise

C1. Reverse lunge C2. Resistance band shoulder raises C3. Single let glute bridge C4. Dead bugs


The 5 tips provided here should be very easy to implement into your home training routine. It should be stated that training at home does have some limitations. Training at home will likely make it harder to develop maximum results in certain areas. However, that all depends on your goals, and what you want to achieve while working out at home, on the road, or anywhere with out a gym.


No matter what your goals are, these 5 tips can be applied to anyone and anywhere, gym or no gym!

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