Problems of Working Out at Home – 4 Common Problems & How to Fix Them

With all the gyms in Singapore being closed during this circuit breaker period, there is an influx of resources available online for home workouts. Local boutique studios are now sharing workout plans on social media, making it simple for anyone to perform the workout at the convenience of their own timing and in the comfort of their own homes. But what happens when you run into problems while working out at home?

Apart from having additional time on hand as well as not being able to go out – getting active at home is the new norm. A quick glance at social media pages and you may see individuals who never used to exercise working out every other day. Whether you are a seasoned gym junkie or a newbie getting into a fitness regime for the first time, there are some problems that you may run into while working out from home. 

In this article, we cover 4 common problems that people may run into while working out at home during the circuit breaker period as well as how to solve these problems.

problems working out home

Problems of Working out At Home

Problem 1 – How much is too much?

Overdoing the level of activity is one of the common problems of working out at home. The increased level of physical activity could be due to various reasons. It could be a way to keep yourself occupied due to the sheer amount of extra time one has on hand at home now or due to the various workout challenges floating around social media recently. However, it is important to note that doing too many exercises could be harmful to your body.

If you used to lead a sedentary life and hardly exercised before the circuit breaker but are now exercising every other day, it could lead to injuries. Your muscles are at a high risk of being overworked especially if your chosen form of exercise is something that you are not used to. For instance, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercises are a very different form of cardio as compared to walking or jogging. 

Recommendations by our physiotherapists

If HIIT is your preferred choice of workouts, it is recommended to perform a maximum frequency of 3 times a week with at least 1 day of rest in between as HIIT tends to be taxing on the neuromuscular system. If you prefer strengthening routines, a frequency of 2 to 3 times a week on alternate days is recommended for total body routines.

Muscle soreness is expected for 2-3 days post workout. If you want to stay active through the week, try switching up your exercises and go for an easy run or perform some light impact yoga/pilates routines instead. Light cardio can help to reduce the muscle soreness so you can still continue with those activities while waiting for the soreness to reduce. 

Overdoing exercise routines will actually cause more harm than good as the accumulated fatigue will decrease the effectiveness of the workout. If you are too tired, you are also more prone to injuring yourself which defeats the purpose of exercising to keep yourself fit and healthy.

Problem 2 – How do I Work Out with Existing Injuries?

Existing injuries are a problem while working out at home as it can make it difficult to perform common exercises. Wrist injuries, Knee Pain and Low back pain can make it tough to complete an entire workout routine. This might cause certain muscle groups to be left out. Working out at a studio with an instructor allows the instructor to identify injured individuals. This allows them to help modify the exercise and avoid triggering the injury. However, with gyms closed during this period, injured individuals do not have that option. Home workout videos are also unable to identify exercise modifications for every single exercise.

In the table below, we cover modifications for common exercises for wrist injuries, knee injuries and low back injuries.

Exercise Modifications recommended by our physiotherapists

ExerciseWrist PainKnee PainLow Back Pain
Push up/plankBefore performing the exercise, warm up the wrists by stretching or rolling them.
If you have dumbbells available, hold on to them instead of placing your palms on the floor to relieve pressure off the wrist
If not, add extra cushioning below your palms by rolling up a towel/T-shirt/yoga mat.
If you are doing a push up on your knees, add extra cushioning by rolling up a towel/yoga mat to take pressure off your knees.To avoid straining the lower back, make sure the lower back is not arched. Tighten your core and think of pulling your lower abs to your head
Perform push up on knees instead
Leg liftsMinimise the gap between your lower back and the mat by thinking of flattening lower back onto the floor.
Only lower your legs to an angle right before your lower back starts to arch.
Easiest: Try performing leg lifts in a table top position instead (feet off the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees)
Moderate: leg lifts with hands below buttocks to help with supporting the lower back
SquatWall squats: try sliding down into a squat with your back supported by the wall. This helps to relieve the pressure off your knees.
Squat with a chair behind you: tap your bum onto the chair
If you have a loop resistance band, you can put it around your thighs and do a squat with it to engage more of your bum and take the pressure off your knees.
Wall squats to help keep a neutral spine when doing a squat
BurpeesBefore performing the exercise, warm up the wrists by stretching or rolling them.
Add extra cushioning for your wrists by rolling up a towel/T-shirt/yoga mat – make sure it is something non-slip!
Perform slow burpees instead: skip the jumping in and out, instead walk your hands out into a high plank position and walk them back to your toes.
Mountain climbersBefore performing the exercise, warm up the wrists by stretching or rolling them.
Add extra cushioning for your wrists by rolling up a towel/T-shirt/yoga mat – make sure it is something non-slip!
Start slow, only bend knee as much as you can without pain
Can start by tapping foot on ground as you bring your knee forward instead of quickly switching between knees.
Always think of keeping your bum down.
Make sure lower back is not arching – think of pulling your lower abs to your head

Problem 3 – What If these Exercises are too Tough?

If the workouts are too difficult to keep up with, you may need to try a easier routine. Walking or jogging 2 – 3 times a week does not necessarily mean that you are able to follow home workouts. Not all exercises are equal as the skills required are vastly different.

If you are new to the exercises, always start off with the beginner friendly workouts which provides easier variations. Attempt the progressive variations when you feel comfortable enough to perform it without compensation.

If beginner variations are not available, remove high impact movements like jumping from the exercise. Change them to low impact or slower movements. Keep in mind that the quality of the reps is more important than the quantity of the reps. Perform each exercise at your own pace and focus on the technique instead.

Problem 4 – How do I Perform these Exercises?

Certain types of exercises can be challenging for newbies. You may face problems like not being sure how to perform the exercises or how to engage your muscles. Without a professional to correct your form and technique, how can you tell if you are performing these exercises correctly?

We’ve demonstrated the right way to perform common upper & lower body exercises as well as common core & cardio exercises. We explain how to perform the exercises step by step with a video demo and cover common mistakes and things to look out for.

It is important to ensure you do not feel a strain/ache at areas that are not targeted during the exercise. If you feel a strain in your lower back while performing a plank, it is a sign that your form is incorrect. A plank is a core strengthening exercise that can result in lower back strain if not performed correctly. To get a better idea of how to correctly perform the exercise, watch video tutorials on how to perform them and try it out in front of the mirror as a warm up.

Get Fit & Stay Injury Free while Working Out At Home

We hope that these tips have been helpful in combating common problems faced while working out at home. Run across any other problems while working out at home and need advice from our team of physiotherapists? Get in touch with us via our social media channels here and here!