Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
AMONG my clients, motivation to workout is becoming more and more difficult to come by. Thankfully, the days getting longer and the weather getting better is making it easier to exercise outdoors. But for those people having trouble finding the motivation to do some strength training but who also find it hard mentally not to do some strength training what are some options? How simple (not easy) can you make home workouts and still have them be effective? Let’s talk about it!
Create a checklist
Forget about fancy programs and routines and try to let go of how much you miss the gym (it sucks but doing nothing because you can’t workout in a gym only hurts you). Create a checklist. A list of exercises you’re going to get done over the next seven days. Some exercises could even be on the list twice (in fact that would probably be a good idea) but start out with everything just once. Now get them done and tick them off anyway you can. You don’t need an hour to do some push ups. Take 10 minutes in the morning, get them done and tick them off. If you have energy in the evening of the same day do some lunges. 10 minutes. Done.
If motivation is lacking then we want our workouts to be as short as possible and create as much value as possible from that short timeframe. For that reason big movements that challenge multiple muscle groups are going to be the best bang for our buck.
For lower body consider starting with squats then reverse lunges then rear foot elevated split squats as the previous one runs out of challenge. Once you’ve consistently shown you can get these done consider adding stiff leg deadlifts or b-stance stiff leg deadlifts and moving onto single leg deadlifts in time. (You can Google any of these for instructions, I checked).
For the upper body: push ups and inverted rows are a great foundation. Bent over rows and shoulder press if you have weight (a sandbag will work). Pull ups, self assisted pull ups (see exrx.net for the version I mean) if you have a bar you can hang from and even a lat pull down if you have resistance bands.
Just do 30 reps
Once you have your checklist just do 30 of each exercise broken up as needed (like do as many as you can in the first round, don’t just break it up into three tens… challenge yourself). If 30 reps takes you three or more rounds then next time try to get a couple more reps in the first and second round until you don’t need the third round anymore. If 30 reps takes you two or even only one round then make the exercise harder next time (the goal is to pass the two set test and then make it harder and try again the next day in a progressive cycle). If you have more load, add a bit. If there’s a harder variation of the exercise, do that instead. If there’s no other way to make things harder, then add 10 reps to your total for that exercise (but apply the same rules to your next workout as above just using the bigger number).
Could you do more? Sure, absolutely! But we’re talking about workouts for people lacking motivation, remember. This method is quick and simple (it really is, I swear. Message me on Instagram or Facebook if it doesn’t make sense @AdamWrightPT) and more importantly it has built in progression, something sorely lacking from many home workouts you’ll find on social media. Jumping around the living room to get red faced and sweaty does not an effective workout make. Don’t get me wrong, they can be fun, but do make sure you’re also doing something such that you can look at your notes for the last month (oh yeah, take notes!) and show me you’re getting stronger.