Want to know how to make home workout plans and how to make home workouts effective?
Find out the essentials in this quick guide of what you need to make your very own home workout routine. You’ll also get new home workout ideas for at home workout routines. Make your at home workout plan the best it can be!
Before I became a personal trainer and fitness professional, I was just like you. I was trying to get fitter and healthier following the advice that was out there. Sometimes I would work with a coach and other times I would work with Google.
After many years, I became very fit going to the gym and running all the time. In the mirror I looked great but it came with a cost...
All of the heavy impact and incomplete training left me with a lot of muscle compensations and fatigued joints. My knees would click. I couldn't touch my toes because my hamstrings were so tight.
Because I didn't know any better I just kept pushing my body until I ended up with a serious injury that left me unable to walk for a month.
That was one month without doing ANYTHING physical. I can't tell you how soul crushing that was unless you've also experienced it before. Once I recovered, I made it my mission to actually learn how to train properly. I stopped running. I started doing yoga and long stretches. I researched the why of workouts not just the what. Eventually, that journey led me to getting certified as a PT and I've continued to learn since.
What you're about to read are key things that I wish I had known when I first started. These strategies will help you not only with your home workouts but with ANY workout. Read them carefully and apply them as soon as you can!
Before we get into how to make your own home workouts, let's chat about what makes a home workout good in the first place.
You can think of this as your quick cheat sheet to better results.
This is important to know because not only will it help you design your own home workouts to be the very best they can be, it will also help you to identify when other home workouts are truly safe and effective (whether those be workout routines, plans or workout videos made by others.)
Home workouts often involve little to no equipment so the effectiveness they give depends on a few things: combinations, rest and recovery time, progressions, isometric holds and multiple angle targeting.
Most important are exercise combinations. I know many people will just repeat some of the exercises they see in a class and throw them together randomly but this is like taking random words you hear in a foreign language and smashing them into a sentence. It doesn't work with language and it doesn't work with workouts. This might get you moving (even feeling the burn) but this is NOT the best use of your time and won't deliver the best results. A 60 minute workout made this way isn't even close to a 15 minute one that is planned carefully and scientifically.
The best combinations involve targeting the same muscle group in different ways OR targeting opposing and supporting muscles. For example, let's say you had a squat exercise, you could:
Next, let's move onto rest and recovery time, progressions and isometric holds. I'm grouping these together because the most basic way to tell if a workout is good is if it has these elements done properly.
Finally, let's chat about multiple angle targeting. This is KEY to your success in any workout or workout video. The body develops FASTER and BETTER if you can challenge it in different ways and different angles is a huge part of that. For example, when I'm designing an abs workout video, I'll be sure to hit the abs with at least two or more different angles (e.g. planks, crunches and twists.) The same goes for bum workouts (bridges, lateral movements and donkey kicks.)
When you include exercises that target the SAME area with two or more angles, you're multiplying your results. Similarly, when you do workout videos that include this - you'll get more out of your time vs. doing a workout that just does one angle the entire time (e.g. only crunches for abs or squats for bum.)
I'll begin with the basics of home workouts first.
You can do home workouts with much less time than you would spend in the gym. This is because you're not wasting time waiting for machines, walking to the next area, etc. That means that your transition time between exercises and types of movements can be much faster.
I generally recommend no more than 45 minutes for a good home workout unless you're using heavy weights at home.
The sweet spot for a good home workout is more like 30 minutes because in this time you can get your heart rate up, get deep into the movements and work hard without overtraining.
If you're doing longer than 30 minutes be sure that a good chunk of the home training session involves stretching in the beginning and end of the workout. You'll want at least 5 minutes on either end just for stretching.
Next, plan out how many home workouts you'll do per week. This will depend largely on your fitness goals:
Be sure to write down your plan and review it every three to four weeks to see if you need to make it more challenging! Repeating the same workout over and over again in the same way will not give you the results you want!
Beyond getting the time right for home workouts, you want to make sure what you're doing and the way you're doing it will give you the best results.
These are my top three ways to make home workouts more effective:
The blocking system is how most fitness instructors and personal trainers create a workout plan. It's helpful because it gives a framework to follow and lets you easily switch out exercises as you get stronger and fitter.
A blocking system involves picking a handful of exercises and putting them into "blocks." A good simple, home workout can have just two blocks of three to four exercises each.
The way you set up your home workout routine and blocks depends on your fitness goals and schedule. Ideally you would divide blocks by focus. Your focus could be on a specific piece of equipment (e.g. resistance band), muscle group (e.g. abdominal muscles) or skill (e.g. balance.)
It's up to you how many times you repeat the exercises in each block. Usually twice will be more than enough.
The five movement patterns that are present in every good workout are lunging, squatting, pulling, pushing and twisting/rotation.
An example of a lunging movement is a squat. A pulling movement could be a row or pull-up. A pushing movement could be a throw or push-up. A twisting or rotational movement could be a wood chop or bicycle crunch. These are just a few examples but there are tons more!
Together, these five movement patterns (lunging, squatting, pushing, pulling and twisting) provide you with the functional training you need to perform your best in any physical activity or day-to-day movement. They also help to prevent injury because your body will move more carefully and skilfully.
Too often, people only focus on one or two of these movement patterns and miss out on the extra strength, flexibility and endurance benefits that come from doing workouts that involve all five.
Every good fitness professional will include these movement patterns in a workout plan.
Sometimes, we only use two or three in an individual workout but we will always include all five over the span of a week because this gets our clients safer and quicker results. Be sure to program in exercises that fit each of these movement patterns into your own home workout plans.
Weights are the natural progression in any workout plan; weights add an extra level of difficulty, challenge and resistance training that is fantastic to giving better results.
However, weights are not the only way to increase the intensity of your home workouts. You can also add intensity in these three ways:
ADD INSTABILITY TO HOME WORKOUT EXERCISES
Instability refers to removing a source of support in an exercise so that you have to work harder to balance. These balance challenges force your body to use more of the core. Instability also encourages greater coordination and more careful alignment.
A classic example of instability in exercises is doing a lunge with one foot on a chair, instead of keeping both feet on the floor. This added balance challenge makes it much harder for your body to perform the same movement. You'll find that the weightbearing feel on your legs is much more intense and that you use your abdominals more. Everything is basically working harder for you.
The benefit of adding instability to exercises vs. just weights is that you can progress exercises without necessarily adding more impact to the joints.
Instability also forces your body to balance better and distribute weight more efficiently so that ANY exercise you do becomes more effective.
ADD RANGE OF MOVEMENT/MOTION TO HOME WORKOUT EXERCISES
If you increase the elevation or distance you move in an exercise, you increase the intensity of your workout without equipment needed. For some movements you can even decrease the range and the exercise will be more challenging.
Play with range of motion in all of your home workouts so that you are continually testing the muscles and encouraging them to get stronger.
An example of increasing range of motion would be to go from a push-up on the knees to one on the toes. Another example would be to take a glute bridge from the floor to the chair with your feet on top, thereby adding elevation and intensity.
ADD ISOMETRIC HOLDS TO HOME WORKOUT EXERCISES
Isometric holds refer to the holding of a position for a period of time, usually 10 to 60 seconds. These holds are critical to improving the effectiveness of your home workouts because they challenge and increase muscular endurance (aka how long your muscles can stick through something before giving up.)
If you don't already incorporate isometric holds into your workouts you'll want to do so immediately because this will fast track results.
An example of an isometric hold could be holding a push-up low to the floor for 10 seconds after doing a few moving reps. It could also be holding a lunge low to the floor after doing a few moving lunges. Isometric holds are ideally added at the end of a set of exercises. They should be held for a period of time that is challenging for you. Be sure to change the holds as you get stronger!
As you saw from this mini guide on making home workouts more effective, you need to plan out your exercises if you want real results. It's also important to combine these exercises in the right way, progress them as you get stronger and keep changing them every few weeks or more.
If you feel stuck on how to begin with a home workout plan, get support or do extra research online. Yes, it requires time but doing so will give much better results!
Are you looking for new home workout ideas but easily bored or short on time?
Come check out the Rio Plan. With 100+ workout videos and new ones added every month (by your request) you will never get bored and will keep be challenging by every style you can imagine from Kickboxing to Barre to Pilates and Bums and Tums.
The beauty of the Rio Plan is that it also includes a training schedule EVERY week so you'll never have to wonder "what workout do I do today" or "how can I combine them to make them work."
Included in your Rio Plan:
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