Last year at the end of February I began my first Covid-related home-gym program.

Fast forward just a month and 90% of my time was spent re-working programs to accommodate a WIDE range of home equipment options: from beautifully equipped garage gyms with leg presses and reverse hyperextensions to “less than ideal” set-ups like a band, push up bars, and three non-matching dumbbells.

It wasn’t easy and some of the earlier work-around programs I came up with weren’t great, mainly because I had no time to test drive them.

However, there was a larger issue at play, one I’m glad I figured out relatively quickly.

Clients were scrambling for training options (and equipment) but what they were really doing was reacting to unprecedented stress and a loss of control. They might’ve wanted a training program but what they NEEDED was to take a deep breath and relax.

But over time we all settled in and my home-gym programming got decidedly better.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Home gym workouts are easy to blow off — cause you’re at home. Drive to the gym and odds are you’ll workout. But if your “commute” is just heading to the basement, it’s VERY easy to just put it off or get distracted.
  • Clutter distracts. A “gym” where the bench doubles as a laundry station and requires fishing through a collection of participation trophies to get at the dumbbells doesn’t exactly scream hard work.
  • Hit it in the AM, especially if you work from home. I just told a client who works & trains out of home that as soon as he enters work mode (sitting down at his computer) the odds of him hitting pause to go train quickly diminish. Get after it before life gets you first.
  • Train at a brisk pace. The more you sit around, the more likely you’ll lose any motivation.
  • Stick to effective workarounds. You can do a LOT of good work with just dumbbells and a bench but some workarounds just aren’t worth the effort. Let’s just say if your McGyver moves feel a bit off then just stick to what you know works.
  • Do more of less. I would rather a client do the same 5-6 effective exercises every other day than 3-4 training days full of circus moves and dorky nonsense. The idea is to get in a workout, not reinvent the wheel.

The gym industry will continue to evolve and home gym workouts is only going to get bigger. But I see hybrid models being the next big thing — half your workouts at home, the other half at the gym (like leg days).

If fact most of the programs I’ve written lately are built this way. So far so good.

Onward and upward.

Coach Bryan