The U.S. government recently announced guidelines for avoiding businesses where more than 10 people can congregate. Americans aren’t exactly on lockdown, but to prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials want us to stay home as much as possible. On the one hand, it’s a great time play catch-up with your Netflix watch list. But it’s also a good time to get dangerously out of shape. At this time, it’s more important than ever to be active.
In this article, we go over three types of workouts you can do at home. To build muscle, we suggest lifting weights or doing resistance exercises. To maintain your physique and lose fat, you have to combine cardio and resistance moves. And for losing weight, aerobic and anaerobic exercises will burn calories. These three types of workouts will also improve your stamina, which is important at a time when we’re stuck inside the house all day waiting for a pandemic to pass.
Before you start a new fitness regimen, it’s important to familiarize yourself with workout terminology. Because if you don’t know what heart zone means or that HIIT is an acronym for high intensity interval training, you’ll miss out on important fitness instructions and advice.
- Aerobic Exercise: Aerobic exercise means “with oxygen.” It refers to a specific type of cardiovascular activity and how it produces energy used to fuel the body. So while you’re walking or jogging on the treadmill or biking on a stationary bike for an extended period of time, the body uses oxygen for energy.
- Anaerobic Exercise: Anaerobic exercise refers to short bursts of activity, like weight lifting, jumping rope and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). While doing anaerobic exercises, the body breaks down glucose—not oxygen—to use as energy.
- HIIT: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is when you alternate between periods of intense exercise followed by a period of less intense movement. As a circuit, HIIT lasts from about 10 to 30 minutes. According to Healthline, “It is perhaps the most time-efficient way to exercise…[because] it can produce health benefits similar to twice as much moderate-intensity exercise.”
- Circuit Training: Circuit training is when you move from one exercise to another without taking a rest in between. At the end of a full circuit, you can rest for one to two minutes, but then repeat the full circuit two more times.
- Here’s a sample upper-body circuit you can do in your home gym. Do five each:
- Bench dips
- Medicine ball chest passes
- Bench lifts
- Incline press-ups
- Here’s a sample upper-body circuit you can do in your home gym. Do five each:
- Strength Training: Also known as resistance training, strength training is a type of workout you do to increase strength. It’s when you use your body weight or exercise equipment (like weights or a medicine ball) to create resistance. Once muscles start feeling fatigued, the tissue contracts and tears. When the muscle repairs itself, it gets stronger. Weight training improves muscle tone and increases strength, but it can also help increase bone density and reduce body fat, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Cross Training: Cross training is when you combine lots of different workout techniques. Combining weight training exercises and HIIT, for example, complements your training and can help you reach your goals faster. “At its core, it’s all about pairing workouts that will support each other,” says Women’s Health magazine. The popular CrossFit movement is a type of cross training.
- Compound Exercises: Compound exercises can be several types of workouts for increasing strength and endurance and for full-body toning. The goal is to engage two or more muscle groups at one time. It also refers to completing two separate exercises back to back, like bicep curls and lunges. According to Verywellfit.com, “Compound exercise allows you to get a full-body workout in less time, keeps your heart rate up offering cardiovascular benefits, and generally burns more calories.”
- DOMS: You know how you can workout on Wednesday and when you wake up Thursday morning you’re feeling achy? That’s delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. As you work out, you actually damage muscle fibers. Especially when you lift weights and do resistance moves. “The soreness and pain you feel from DOMS comes from the chemicals that set off pain receptors,” says Robert Hyldahl, PhD, an exercise physiologist at Brigham Young University.
- Warm Up: Fitness professionals suggest getting your heart rate and body temperature up before starting your workout. Doing hip rotations and arm circles is a warm-up that helps increase your range of motion and mobility.
- Heart Rate Zones: Heart rate is measured by beats per minute, or BPM. And resting heart rate refers to your BPM when you’re at rest. There is an optimal heart rate zone to hit to ensure that you’re exercising at the right intensity.
3 types of workouts to do at home and hit your health & fitness goals
Here are 3 types of workouts that fitness pros suggest for building strength, improving endurance, losing weight and toning muscles. And you can do all of these workouts at home.
The best way to increase strength, build muscle mass and improve muscle tone is by doing strength-training exercises. Like we described earlier in this article, you have to stress muscles by lifting weights or doing resistance exercises with your body weight. To do this at home, you can buy a home gym that has multiple workstations for working out different muscle groups. But if you don’t have the space for a large piece of home gym equipment, you can still achieve great results with inexpensive resistance bands or a budget weight rack.
To increase strength and improve muscle tone using resistance from your own body weight, do several circuits of pull-ups, push-ups, squats and bicep curls each day.
Budget exercise equipment
Here are some pieces of equipment you can use at home to build muscle and increase strength.
- Resistance bands: Resistance bands are elastic bands used for strength training and toning. They work by putting tension on and fatiguing your muscles, which then leads to increased strength. A kit of three to five bands barely take up any space, they’re easy to stash in a drawer and they’re portable too. Also, they’re so inexpensive, you can keep a set in the car so you can do some muscle-sculpting exercises whenever you’re away from home.
- Free weights: Lifting weights is one of the most effective ways to quickly build muscle and increase strength. According to the Mayo Clinic, “You can see significant improvement in your strength with just two or three 20- or 30-minute weight training sessions a week.”
- Dumbbells: Dumbbells are compact handheld free weights. You can lift dumbbells one arm at a time, or increase the challenge by lifting one dumbbell in each hand. Traditional dumbbells are not adjustable, but there are newer dumbbells that let you adjust the weight with a turn of a dial.
- Barbells: Barbells consist of a bar with weight plates attached to both ends. Unlike dumbbells, you lift barbells with both hands. The plates are stackable and removable, making it easy to adjust the weight up or down.
You do endurance exercises to improve and increase stamina. If you enjoy jogging or aspire to run a marathon, this is exactly the type of workout you should do. The only equipment you need is a treadmill.
Brisk walking, jogging, biking and dancing are different types of endurance exercises. And it doesn’t cost you a penny to run laps around the neighborhood. But if you want to be more comfortable and reduce your chances of getting injured, you might want to consider investing in a good pair of athletic shoes and sports clothing that wick sweat (it helps you stay cooler). Also, by wearing a budget fitness tracker or a smartwatch with a fitness monitor, you can be sure you’re getting your heart rate up to a respectable zone. Fitness tracking apps connected to a smartwatch or wearable tracker makes it so much easier to monitor your progress and and increase your pace or the amount of time you’re working out so that you’re getting the most out of your fitness regimens.
A weight loss fitness routine has three main components: cardio exercise, strength training and diet. Do aerobic and anaerobic cardio workouts to drop pounds. Strength training will help you shed fat and build and tone muscle at the same time. And by eating healthier and cutting down on fat and calories, you can drop excess pounds.
Doing cardio workouts at home means spending at least 30 to 60 minutes per day, five days per week, walking briskly, jogging or running. You can also do other activities that increase your heart rate, like dancing, swimming, biking and playing tennis.
About three days per week, you should get in an anaerobic workout, like HIIT. A good beginner workout to do at home is 2 minutes of a high-intensity interval training (e.g. running in place or jumping rope) followed by 5 minutes of a lower-intensity recovery interval, such as walking laps around the room at a slower pace. And then repeat the full circuit twice.
A fitness tracker or smartwatch can help you achieve your goals because they count your steps, monitor vital signs, and help you hit your optimal heart rate zone. Your fitness information is then displayed on a personalized dashboard so you can watch your progress, set and achieve goals.
According to Healthline.com, supplementing your cardio workout with 11 minutes of strength-based exercises three times per week can increase your metabolic rate enough to burn an additional 125 calories per day when you’re not even exercising. Try doing three reps of 12 to 15 arm-lifts with free weights. Just be sure the amount you’re lifting is heavy enough to fatigue your muscles.
You don’t have to spend a lot on athletic footwear. But buying the wrong shoes can lead to a sprain, or another type of sidelining injury. Here are some suggestions for finding the perfect workout sneaks.
The American Heart Association says the best time to measure your feet for new shoes is at the end of the day. And it’s important to get fitted whenever you’re buying new sneakers since all athletic shoes fit differently and feet tend to change size over time. They don’t necessarily get longer or shorter, but rather, feet can get wider and arches can shift with age. Finally, once the tread is worn on your workout shoes, it’s time to replace them, roughly every six months if you workout regularly.