Need Progress in Home Workout Videos? Here are 3 simple methods.

30 May 2021
progress home workout

Collective groans from regular gym-goers in Singapore were heard when the circuit breaker announcement came out, calling for the temporary closure of all fitness centres to deal with the spread of COVID-19. No more weights, no more spin classes, no more cable machines – how are we going to maintain our gains? Commence panic buying of resistance bands, portable pull up bars and yoga mats for home workout sessions. For those of you who were unable to get your hands on these equipment, fret not! Our physiotherapist, Hui Lin shares 3 easy methods to progress home workouts to get that additional burn.

Adding more load

Time to be creative! There are actually many ways to increase load without needing to purchase dumbbells, especially for those going from beginner to intermediate levels. The easiest way to progress home workouts by adding more load is to go from double limb activities to single limb activities. 

Taking a simple bodyweight squat for instance, you can make it harder by making it into a split squat or for those even more advanced, a single leg squat or a pistol squat. Push ups can be taken to the next level with one sided bias push ups or single arm push ups. By taking away one limb, you are increasing the weight placed on the other limb. This forces it to work harder.

For those who still cannot get a kick from single limb activities, then it is time to load up. Take a look around your house and search for items that are easy for you to carry. Some possibilities include the mainstay of the Asian household – the ubiquitous rice bag, thick cushions and small stools. The rice bag is a good choice as it is not only available in a variety of weights, but also forces your muscles to work harder to control its shifting contents. 

You can hold the rice bag in your arms bridal carry style for a start, then progress to holding it out straight in front of you or even overhead for added difficulty when doing lower body training. For the upper body, you can simply use the rice bag like your normal weight plate and even put it on your upper back when doing push ups. A cushion is a good choice for abs routines to add a little bit of extra weight, as well as getting your muscles more engaged to help support the cushions. To get more ideas on how to make use of these items, you can always do a quick search on Youtube.

Adding instability

Remember the last time you ran on sand at the beach? How hard it was to push your foot off from the soft sand? Was it challenging to maintain your balance? What the sand does is to provide an unstable environment, which makes your stabilising muscles work harder to keep you steady. Although we cannot mimic the exact demands of sand at home, we can make use of this same principle to increase the difficulty of our home workouts. 

For those with yoga mats, you can fold it in half before standing on it to do exercises. For those without yoga mats, seat cushions or even simply rolling up a blanket or towel will do. You will find that you might find it hard to move without your toes gripping hard onto the soft surface and your ankles shaking like crazy. Try any of the single limb exercises mentioned before on this surface and the shaking will intensify. This might not feel like much but I can guarantee you that you will start aching in places that you have not ached before. 

Besides strengthening your stabilising muscles, training on soft surfaces also has additional benefits of improving your proprioception and balance, which are skills that we tend to neglect when working out.

Time under Tension

This is a phrase that has been thrown around for quite some time now. What exactly does it mean and how does it help to progress home workouts? 

It refers to how long the muscle is under strain during the exercise. The longer the strain, the harder the muscle is working. Since we have to drag out the exercise for a longer period of time, a lighter weight is more appropriate. This ensures that you can complete your set with good form, making it perfect for progress in home workouts. 

Using push ups as an example, 1 repetition will consist of the following

  • Lowering yourself down into the push up (3 secs)
  • Hold at the bottom (3 secs)
  • Push yourself back up (3 secs)

It is definitely normal to not complete your usual number of repetitions per set when performing time under tension. Your muscles are working much harder per repetition. The focus should always be on quality over quantity – do make sure that you are doing the exercise under good form.

So, there you have it, 3 methods that you can use to progress home workout videos to get that additional burn! Whichever method you decide to choose is entirely up to you depending on what items you have available at home. If you are still not feeling the burn after following each of these 3 methods, I suggest you combine all three to really push yourself to the limit and emerge from the circuit breaker fit and ready to tackle the next challenge!