When my gym closed last March, I wondered how I’d continue to train and stay healthy. Even with gyms reopened now, lines are often long and many people are still not comfortable going. So how can we stay in shape at home, preferably with little or no equipment? These are the best resources I’ve found:
- Athlean-X. Terrific YouTube channel created by Jeff Cavaliere, a physical therapist and trainer to professional athletes. It’s one of the marvels of today that you can have the same trainer as NFL players and other elite athletes, all for nothing and without leaving your house.
His Athlean Xero program in particular has countless exercises that use no equipment whatsoever. But just because they’re bodyweight exercises doesn’t make them easy! I particularly like the sidelying bicep curl and the Bulgarian split squat.
- Body by Science. The author is a doctor with deep knowledge of how strength training works. I used his principles even while I was still going to the gym, but I find them just as applicable now that I’m doing mostly bodyweight training.
This program has you move slowly to maximize time under load and lift to failure so that the muscles will be overloaded and grow. Moving slowly can also make a small weight feel like a big one if your equipment is limited. The program also emphasizes the importance of training each muscle group only once a week, since the muscles take significant time to repair and grow. A burn or cut doesn’t heal in a couple of days, and neither do the microscopic tears in the muscle caused by strength training.
These resources have helped me gain a significant amount of mass and strength in the last 10 months. In fact, I’m progressing at a faster rate than I did with a gym membership. I also find that moving slowly and using primarily bodyweight means I don’t injure myself, which was a problem in the past.
No more excuses! Let’s get to it!