How to Start Working Out at Home: The Ultimate Guide
September 23, 2022
Do you want to play sports, but the idea of going to the gym demotivates you every time? Do you prefer to exercise at home, away from prying eyes? Do you dream of having a gym in your house, but it’s not big enough for that?
You will then be happy to know that bringing the sport to your home is indeed possible! For this, there is no need to transform an entire room into a gym.
You can, for example, bring some equipment that you can easily store in a closet once your sports session is over. And if you have a little more room at home, you can also get some real machines such as those found in gyms.
In this guide, we list the must-have home gym accessories as well as the best gym machines to buy. We also give you several sports ideas to do without equipment. That way you will be able to start working out at home like a master!
Benefits of Working Out at Home
Working out at home has several benefits, including:
Convenience: You can work out whenever you want, without having to worry about gym hours or travel time.
Cost-effective: You don’t have to pay for a gym membership or expensive equipment, which can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Privacy: You can work out in the comfort of your own home, without having to worry about other people watching you.
Customization: You can customize your workouts to your needs and preferences, without having to follow a pre-determined program.
What you should do before working out at home?
Before you start exercising at home, here are 5 tips to make sure you perform your workout in the best possible conditions:
Before any sports session, whether practiced indoors, outdoors, or at home, it is imperative to warm up. The warm-up will heat up your body and thus make your muscles more flexible. This allows you to achieve better performance during your session, but also and above all to avoid injuries.
Stretch your muscles, squat, walk, hop,… Many options exist to prepare your body for the effort. Allow at least 10 minutes for warming up and make sure you don’t forget any part of your body.
It is essential to drink water during your sports session, but also before and after. Indeed, the sport dehydrates us, and it is, therefore, important to provide water to our bodies. This has a beneficial effect on our body but also fights against the appearance of possible injuries and health problems.
A lack of water can notably lead to cramps, a drop in performance, fatigue, or even tendonitis.
So remember to always have a bottle of water handy, and don’t wait to be thirsty to drink!
These few minutes of stretching will also be a great moment of relaxation after exercise. It will certainly make you appreciate the session you have just had all the more.
Make sure you know the material well
If you’ve never set foot in a gym before starting your home workout, it might be worth considering a few sessions with a personal trainer or other gym-goer.
Indeed, having the right equipment is one thing, but knowing how to use it is another! A coach can explain how to use each machine and each accessory, but can also tell you what movements not to do.
This is important because many inexperienced people misuse some sports equipment. However, not only does this not give the expected results, but it could also do worse than good!
If you don’t want to go to the gym, consider hiring an at-home trainer for a few sessions… or asking your sports friends to help you.
Find the right exercises
Are you ready for your workout, but you don’t know what to do? Do not panic, there are many resources to help you!
Start by going to YouTube. You’ll see, it’s a gold mine when it comes to sports advice! You will find many videos offering you an almost infinite number of sports exercises to do at home.
These videos are generally centered on a part of the body or an objective: to strengthen the arms, to have a flat stomach, to have firm legs,… You will also find videos offering warm-up and stretching programs.
In short, the hardest part will surely be selecting the program to follow!
Another option: you can also train with apps. Free or paid, there are many. Many of them will allow you to record your sports sessions and track your progress.
These are usually cardio machines. They improve our endurance and burn calories. Although these devices do not offer strength exercises as such, they also help to strengthen our muscles.
However, they represent a certain budget and a certain size. It is therefore strongly advised to make the purchase only when it has been carefully considered. Do you really need it in relation to the sports goals you have set for yourself? Are you really going to use this device? Won’t it collect dust in a corner, or even serve as a coat rack?
The exercise bike is one of the most classic and popular devices in the home. It must be said that it has a large number of advantages: its price is lower than other devices, it takes up little space and you can even read a book or watch television while pedaling!
However, note that the exercise bike only works in the lower part of your body. The top is unused except for your abs which are lightly used.
The exercise bike, therefore, works the glutes, thighs, and calves. On the one hand, it helps burn calories to lose weight and slim our lower body. On the other hand, it is also a very good way to strengthen these parts of the body. Finally, as a cardio exercise, it also helps improve our endurance.
One of the great advantages of the exercise bike is that it is very easy to use. You therefore normally do not risk taking a bad position!
Note, however, that if you have knee problems, it is generally recommended that you do not use this device.
Finally, if you opt for this option, be careful to choose a bike with a comfortable saddle!
2. Elliptical trainer
Although it is called a “bicycle”, the elliptical trainer is not a bicycle: it has neither saddle nor pedals! This device, which asks you to stand for the duration of the exercise, has the undeniable advantage of being very complete.
Indeed, while the exercise bike works the lower body only, the elliptical trainer adds the arms, chest, and back. All parts of the body are therefore used during the exercise.
The elliptical trainer strengthens the body, especially in the thighs and buttocks, and burns fat.
However, it is very bulky and not easily moved. So make sure you have enough space in your home!
Beware of models that are too low-end, and do your research well before buying: consult the sites for comparing the best elliptical trainers and take the time to read customer reviews.
3. Rowing machine
Like the elliptical trainer, the rowing machine works all parts of the body. It is done in a seated position, but that does not mean that the exercise is easier!
Indeed, it works a large number of muscles intensely. Very effective, it is also used by many professional athletes.
However, it is not as easy to use as the stationary bike and the elliptical trainer. It is therefore important to understand how to use it and what posture to adopt. By taking the wrong position when using it, you run the risk of suffering knee or back injuries.
Given its technicality and its intense side, it is, therefore, to be preferred for those who already have some experience at the sporting level.
We no longer present this classic device!
Much appreciated at the gym, it is more rarely found in our homes. Not only does it take up space, but it also represents a certain budget. Adding to this the fact that it offers the possibility of practicing a sport that can be done for free outside, we understand why it lacks appeal.
However, treadmills have several advantages. First of all, in addition to running, it also allows you to walk at the speed you want. In addition, the most sophisticated models allow you to change the inclination of the mat, to simulate climbing a slope.
Finally, it offers the possibility of practicing walking and running even during the winter months or when the weather does not give us any desire to go outside. Compared to the practice of sports outdoors, it also allows us to control our speed, and it offers a certain cushioning that does not harm our joints.
It mainly helps to strengthen the thighs and the buttocks, but it must be used regularly to achieve convincing results. Finally, note that it is to be avoided for people who have knee problems.
Add these accessories for big results
If you don’t have the space at home, don’t panic: there are many accessories that you can store in a cupboard between two sessions.
The range of accessories is wide and varied. While some help you build muscle, others are more for improving your endurance. Here is a selection of 8 often essential accessories:
A floor mat
It is often a classic when it comes to doing fitness exercises at home. It allows you to do abs, stretching, and other exercises on the floor without having to suffer from the hardness of your parquet floor or the coldness of your tiles.
If you have room at home, you can buy a very thick mat, as you find in gyms. Otherwise, you will find many mats that can easily be rolled up after exercise.
However, prefer a carpet that is as thick as possible, because a carpet that is too thin will not be effective enough to forget the ground that is just below.
A gym ball
Also called a swiss ball, fit ball, or gym ball, it is a big inflatable ball with almost endless possibilities.
It is mainly used for muscle building in the abs, buttocks, and thighs. It generally allows you to do exercises very gently. You can start by not fully inflating your ball, and increase the difficulty of the exercises by inflating it a little more each time.
It exists in different sizes, to choose according to your own size:
The diameter of 55 cm is reserved for people under 1m70;
The 65cm diameter is designed for people between 1.70m and 1.85m tall;
The diameter of 75 cm is to be reserved for the tallest among us, who are over 1m85.
Dumbbells are a staple in the home gym if you want to tone your body or do muscle building.
If you want to refine your body, prefer light dumbbells, up to 3 kg. These should be used in long series requiring many repetitions.
If, on the other hand, you want to increase your muscle volume, you will have to take heavier dumbbells. The weight of these will be determined by your level: the more you evolve, the heavier your dumbbells will be. These should be used in shorter runs.
Their first use is to use them to build muscle in the upper body. However, they can also be used as weights during other exercises, such as squats.
A multifunctional bench
Benches usually come hand in hand with dumbbells, when these are used for strength training. Indeed, several exercises will require you to be performed lying on a bench. But the benches will also serve you in many exercises without dumbbells.
It is surely the bulkiest accessory and it will often be difficult to hide it in a wardrobe. However, if you are short on space in your home, there are foldable benches. You just need to check their stability!
No, we’re not talking about hair ties! In this case, rubber bands, or “resistance bands,” are a much bigger accessory. Their principle is simple: they serve as resistance when you make a movement, which forces you to put more force into them. So it’s a great way to build muscle.
Rubber bands are a very good alternative to dumbbells, and they have the advantage of being much less bulky and much lighter. If you are used to traveling, they could quickly become your favorite travel companion.
There are several models of rubber bands, with different resistance intensities to adapt to all levels.
Be sure to buy good quality ones. You wouldn’t want them cracking in the middle of exercise!
The TRX is two non-elastic straps to hang anywhere, as long as the grip is solid. Equipped with handles, the straps allow you to perform more than a hundred exercises using the weight of your body. You will find exercises for all parts of the body. And as easy as some of them may seem, they are not at all!
The TRX offers an intensive sports session that will strongly work the muscles of your body. Ideal for muscle building!
The jump rope has no place only in playgrounds! Indeed, it allows a very complete training: in addition to strengthening our legs, it strengthens our arms, shoulders, and our abs. Jumping rope is also widely used by professional boxers.
Don’t want to invest in sports equipment? No problem, there are many exercises that can be done without equipment.
In the case of floor exercises, however, we recommend a floor mat… But the choice is yours!
Here is a selection of 7 exercises that you can perform with your body as the only material, or with what you find at home:
This is one of the most classic exercises, so it comes unsurprisingly at the top of our list. There are a huge number of variations, and you can do them just about anywhere.
Here are some examples :
While seated, bend your legs so that your knees are at chest height while keeping your feet on the floor. Lay your upper body on the floor and put your hands behind your head. Raise your chest so that your right elbow touches your left knee. Lie down again, then repeat so that your left elbow touches your right knee. Repeat several times.
Lying down, lift your legs straight up, feet together. Lower them towards the ground keeping them taut, and try to go as close to the ground as possible. Stay in the position for a few seconds before raising your legs and repeating.
Lying with your legs raised vertically and your feet together, raise your upper body slightly to try to touch your feet. Repeat several times.
2. The Mountain Climber
This is another exercise that works the abs. This is done in the same position as the push-ups.
Once in position, with your hands extended, bring your right knee towards your chest, then straighten your leg again and put your foot back on the floor. Be careful not to move your pelvis during the whole movement.
Do the same with the other leg, and perform several repetitions. In addition to working the abs, this exercise is also very good for the hips and legs.
While you’re in this position, why not take the opportunity to do some push-ups? They mainly work the pectorals, triceps, and shoulders. Try to go as low as possible with your body and make sure to keep your spine straight.
4. The plank
Always the body towards the ground, and lean on your elbows. Be careful not to place your butt too high or too low. The idea is to keep a straight line with your body, like a plank. Stay in the position for as long as possible.
There are several variations of the plank, but this one is the most classic. It is a sheathing exercise that works many muscles of the body. The proof that you don’t always have to move to play sports!
Squats are a very good exercise to strengthen the buttocks, but also the thighs. In addition, they also solicit the abdominal belt.
The exercise is simple: in a standing position, you have to lower yourself as if you were going to sit on a chair, and then go back up. To help you back up, you will need to squeeze your buttocks. Repeat several times, being careful not to arch your back.
There are several variations of the squat, and the spacing of the feet changes from one variation to another. For more difficulty, you can also perform the exercise with weights.
Lunges are another highly recommended exercise if you want to strengthen your buttocks, but also refine your thighs. They work the same body parts as squats, but differently.
To do this, in a standing position, place your right foot forward and put it on the ground while lowering yourself, so as to form a right angle with your right leg. Stand up and do the same with the other leg. Repeat several times.
As with most exercises, lunges come in several variations.
For this, you will need a chair. To avoid injury during the exercise, make sure that it does not slip!
With your back to the chair, put your hands on the edge of the chair (be careful, not on the backrest!). Put your butt at the height of the chair, as if you were sitting on it. Then lower your butt to the floor and lift it up. Repeat several times.
This exercise works the buttocks and thighs, but also the arms.
Tips to exercise when you don’t have time
There is no such thing as not having time to exercise. Indeed, even if you don’t have time to sit down for even 10 minutes for a sports session, you can include it in your daily life. All it takes is a little creativity!
Here are several exercises that you can do without stopping your daily tasks. So you no longer have any excuses not to get into the sport!
Climb the stairs two by two
Climbing the stairs is already a sport in itself and if you want to move more in your daily life, choosing the stairs rather than the elevator is always a good idea. But if you want to complicate the exercise, mount them two by two. Another option, to vary things a bit: climb the stairs on tiptoe.
Guaranteed effect on your thighs and buttocks!
Sitting, put your legs horizontally
In the office or anywhere when you have to sit still, you can take the opportunity to slim down your thighs and work your buttocks. Place your back against the back of your chair and keep it straight. Then straighten your legs and raise them for several seconds. Release and repeat several times.
Contract your abs
When you are seated, you can also simply contract your abs as much as possible. Hold the position until you feel a burning sensation, then release. Repeat the exercise several times.
Put your arms on the table
Still in a seated position, put your forearms on your desk and press down hard, as if you wanted to push them into the table. Hold for a few seconds before releasing, then repeat. Repeat several times. This will firm up your arms.
Stand on your tiptoes
Try to stand up as often as possible. Whether it’s when you get a call or when you’re traveling on the subway, resist the temptation to sit down. Standing up can only do you good, especially when you spend most of the day sitting at your desk.
When you are standing, stand on your tiptoes and contract your buttocks. Stay in this position for several seconds and repeat several times. As you can imagine, this will firm up your legs and buttocks.
Wear your bag differently
Whether you have a handbag or a shopping bag, don’t carry it over your shoulder or at arm’s length. Instead, bend your arm 90° while holding your bag with your palm facing up. Stay in this position for as long as possible, then repeat with the other arm. This is a very good exercise to strengthen your arms.
Working out at home is a convenient and cost-effective way to get in shape and improve your overall health. With the right mindset and equipment, you can start working out at home and achieve your fitness goals.
By following the tips in this ultimate guide and incorporating the best exercises into your routine, you can build a successful home workout routine that helps you achieve your fitness goals.