35 Home Workout Tips to Maximise Results | Fitness tips of the day

If home workouts are what you rest your fitness laurels on in the steady decline towards Christmas, then making sure you’re doing them right is incredibly important as well.

Between the various office Christmas parties, streams of belated (read: never ending) birthday celebrations and school friends get-togethers, the ratio of late nights to ‘oops, that’s another morning workout missed’ starts to really add up. But, this is where the real beauty of fitness comes into play.

So long as you’re working hard, pushing yourself, challenging yourself and not slacking off, just because ‘no-one’s watching’, you’re just as able to see results and improve as the person still shlepping to the gym each morning.

‘Working out in a gym, studio or with a trainer is a nice luxury to have, but don’t underestimate the power and the benefits a simple home workout can have,’ says Damien Coates, personal trainer and owner of The Lean Body Project. ‘Getting fit can be done with minimal equipment.’

Sounds too good to be true? Well, just like any fitness regime you’ll need to put in the graft if you want to feel the results – whether that’s building muscle or shredding fat.

Is it effective to workout at home?

As the old adage goes, ‘the best workout, is the one you do,’ and when it comes to working out at home, the rule still applies. In fact, exercising where you live may make your fitness routine more likely to stick.

‘Exercising at home makes your routine more sustainable – there’s no travel involved and your post-workout shower is ready there for you,’ adds Chloe Twist, personal trainer at OriGym Centre of Excellence.

How to make sure you’re working out at home right

Home workout tip 1: Create a workout space

‘Setting up a mini ‘gym’ in the corner of a room or in a designated space is a great way to make sure you get the most out of at home workouts,’ says David Wiener, personal trainer at fitness app Freeletics. ‘Firstly, you’ll have everything you need in one spot, so you’ll spend less time looking for things and more time working out. Secondly, this space will become synonymous with working out and going at it hard.

Most workouts can be done on a yoga mat so find a space (even next to a bed works) where you can roll one out. Next, stand in the middle and open your arms to your full wing span to make sure that you won’t knock anything over as you move about. Then place any exercise kit such as resistance bands in a basket next to your mat to keep everything Marie Kondo-friendly.

Young women doing a home workout


Home workout tip 2: Get moving

While stocking up on your very own weights not covered in strangers’ sweat might sound appealing, it shouldn’t be your only priority. ‘A common mistake is to buy equipment before you’ve established a routine and then not use it,’ notes Lyndsey Todd, personal trainer at The Training Room. ‘Remember, you need to get into the habit of exercising first.’ This will also help ensure you don’t use the excuse of ‘waiting for Amazon so I can workout’.

Home workout tip 3: Only buy key equipment

Once you are in the swing of things and ready to increase the resistance it’s time to invest in kit. However you don’t need everything that a gym does. ‘Most kettlebell exercises can be done with a heavy dumbbell and vice-versa,’ says WH digital editor Amy Lane. ‘I recommend having one heavy weight and a set of lighter weights.’

Lyndsey also suggests purchasing resistance bands because ‘they’re versatile and don’t take up too much room’.

Home workout tip 4: Eliminate distractions

That includes the dog and your mobile. ‘You can be easily distracted at home – be that family members, pets, the TV, someone at the door or the phone ringing – which could lead to skipping a workout or cutting it short,’ says David. ‘Take steps to remove or minimise these – like diverting the house phone to answer phone or putting a sign on the door to ask family members to answer the door if anyone calls round.’

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Home workout tip 5: Mute notifications

Daria Kantor, personal trainer and founder of fitness platform TruBe, says being in the right frame of mind is essential. ‘I always find it helpful to get myself in the right mindset for working out – especially when I’m home alone and probably feeling lazy,’ she says. ‘Tell yourself that for the next 25 minutes – or however long – you are focusing on nothing but yourself.’ Please excuse us while we turn our phone to Airplane mode.

Home workout tip 6: Make sure you’re warming up and cooling down

Studies show that priming your body for a workout boosts muscle strength and power – so don’t skip a warm-up just because you’re at home. ‘Remember to always do a warm-up before your session and a cool down, including stretches, at the end,’ says Lyndsey. They’re super important for helping your body to prepare for exercise and recover afterwards.’ Does passing out on sofa count for the latter?

Home workout tip 7: Use weight-based exercises

If you have a home rowing machine you might think you have your whole workout sorted. But not so fast. You’ll see better results by including strength training too. ‘This will help you get lean, if that’s your goal, by burning excess body fat and increasing your muscle mass,’ explains Chloe. ‘It will be more effective than completing long-duration cardio.’

No weights? ‘You can do bodyweight training such as push-ups, planks, squats, bicycle crunches, lunges and bridges for great gains too, as they double as cardio moves too,’ she adds.

Home workout tip 8: You only need 20 minutes

Don’t skip a home workout just because you don’t have an hour to sweat it out. ‘Get rid of the idea that a workout has to be long and sweaty,’ says Stephen Pasterino, personal trainer and founder of P.volve. ‘All you need is 20-45 minutes, some space to move around and your own bodyweight. It’s not about the length of the workout, but about what you put into it.’

Home workout tip 9: Remember your form

‘Alone, in the comfort of your own home, it might be easy to let your form slip as there is no one watching you and no one to correct you,’ says David. ‘In the long run, this could lead to injury so make sure you focus on doing it correctly, and if you’re trying something new it might be a good idea to do it in front of the mirror to check.’ The Freeletics fitness app features videos to show you correct form – it’s always worth double-checking.

Home workout tip 10: Stream pro sessions

The traditional fitness DVD has been replaced by the YouTube workout. ‘These work amazingly and you can pause and benchmark at the point you reach failure,’ says Emma Kowalski, a personal trainer who runs the fitness classes at Xtreme Events. ‘They also come in various forms based on fitness levels.’

Take a look at our pick of the best 26 online sweat sessions. Hate the ads? Head to fitness platform P.Volve to start a 14-day free trial of their at-home workouts. There’s no excuses.

Home workout tip 11: Train in the morning

‘Opting for an early-morning workout can help you to stay motivated,’ suggests Chloe. ‘If you get out of bed between 6am and 7am and complete a 30-minute workout before you leave the house, you can then go about the rest of your day without worrying about exercising.’ She says clients who take this approach seem to do better than those who leave working out until the evening.

Young women doing a home workout


Home workout tip 12: Get an air purifier

Unlike in a gym with slick AC, your living room can easily feel rather stuffy in comparison – but ventilation is key to stop you over-heating. ‘Make sure you workout near an open window or in your garden,’ explains Chloe. ‘Otherwise, if you’re exercising in your garage or a designated room in your house and you’re worried about air quality, it’s worth investing in a dehumidifier or air purifier.’ Oh, and the bog-standard fan you reserve for late September heatwaves will come in handy too.

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Home workout tip 13: Put on your gym kit

Now, this is a handy trick. ‘If you’re not leaving the house, it might be tempting to hang around in your pyjamas which can make you feel lazy and mean it’s harder to get motivated,’ explains David. ‘Even if you have no plans to leave the house, put on your workout gear as soon as you wake up and you’ll be more likely to train and stick to your programme.’

Home workout tip 14: Play music

You’ll be surprised by the difference it makes. ‘Music works well at keeping you motivated and focused while at the gym, but if you forget to play it while at home then your mind can wander,’ says Emma Kowalski, a personal trainer who runs the fitness classes at Xtreme Events. So sort yourself a banging playlist.

Home workout tip 15: Switch it up

Home is where you spend a lot of your down time, which makes staying motivated even more of a challenge than making it through that boutique HIIT class with the encouraging words of a PT. ‘It can be easy to get stuck in a workout rut, sticking to exercises which you like doing, but which won’t necessarily challenge you or get the results you’re after,’ says David. ‘To keep your body guessing and ensure you’re progressing towards your health and fitness goals, make sure you try new moves, or make classic moves like the squat or a push up more challenging.’

Ed’s tip 💦 An option that’s growing in popularity is FIIT ( They’ve recently launched live leaderboards so you can train with friends while in different locations. Handy.

Home workout tip 16: Schedule sessions in your diary

Plan your weekly workouts. ‘The convenience of working out from home is a double-edged sword,’ notes David. ‘While on the one hand you can work out at your leisure, anytime and anywhere, on the other this freedom can easily lead you to unnecessarily miss sessions. To keep yourself committed and accountable, schedule your workouts in your diary or calendar at times you know you’ll stick to.’

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Home workout tip 17: Don’t skip exercises

There are lots of online workout plans – perhaps the most famous being Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide. ‘But whatever you do plan to do, you should follow it perfectly, rather than freestyling, as you will naturally choose exercises you prefer rather than ones that will get the best results,’ advises Emma. No sweat.

Home workout tip 18: Gradually increase intensity

At home, you’re solely in charge of how much you push your body – and without a pro on hand, you need to make sure you gradually up this in a safe manner. ‘Be cautious of progressing too quickly, as this can lead to waving the white flag too soon,’ warns Chloe. ‘Keep things gradual. If the routine is too difficult, too soon, then you won’t complete it. You’ll catch a kind of fitness “imposter syndrome”, where convince yourself that you’ll never reach your goals and quit before you know it.’

Lyndsey adds: ‘If you start to feel out of breath and can’t continue, then your workout may be too advanced and could cause potential injuries or severe muscle pain for the next few days (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness or DOMS).’ So pace yourself.

Home workout tip 19: Add a competitive edge

‘One of the hardest parts about getting in shape isn’t completing your workout but starting it in the first place,’ says David. ‘That‘s why it‘s important to develop a healthy sense of accountability, and this can even be done from home by being part of a fitness community who have similar goals, share in the experience and make it even more enjoyable.’ The Freeletics app, as well as Facebook groups like ‘Grace Fit Guide’ or ‘Kayla Itsines B.B.G Support Group’ are good places to look for like-minded people.

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Home workout tip 20: Give yourself a goal

This way, you can see tangible progress. ‘I find that giving myself something to aim for really helps with my motivation,’ says Daria. ‘For example, if you struggle performing a full press-up, give yourself the goal of being able to do five in three months’ time. Each week you can track your progress and notice how much stronger you’re becoming.’

Home workout tip 21: Do compound exercises

These types of moves recruit several muscle groups at once, so you’ll get stronger and burn more calories than if you were doing isolation exercises.

These barbell exercises require no more than a mat’s space to do.

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Home workout tip 22: Workout with someone else

According to scientists, nabbing yourself an exercise buddy will help you train harder. ‘Inviting someone else to workout will inevitably make you more motivated,’ says Daria. ‘Make your workout a routine with a friend, that way you can catch-up and get fit at the same time.’ You could always take it in turns of who hosts and also include a healthy dinner after.

Home workout tip 23: Do HIIT

Raising your heart rate will bring you the most home benefits. ‘A high-intensity workout, for 20 to 30 minutes, is a great way to target the whole body and burn off plenty of calories at the same time,’ says Damien. Indeed, research has found short bursts of intense exercise are better for fat loss.

Home workout tip 24: Get familiar

To save on stoppage time in between exercise sets try this. ‘Take 5 minutes before your workout to familiarise yourself with your plan before you get going,’ says Daria. ‘If you don’t, you’ll end up losing momentum and your heart rate will slow down too quickly,’

Young women doing a home workout


Home workout tip 25: Buy a mat

Because not all of us have plush carpet. ‘An exercise mat is a must, especially if you’re doing core exercises on the floor,’ says Lyndsey. ‘It’s important that you concentrate on building a strong core, as this will help you with exercise technique.’

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Women's Health Double Sided Yoga Mat

Women’s Health Double Sided Yoga Mat

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Home workout tip 26: Stay hydrated

Just because you’re not in a gym, doesn’t mean sipping on H2O has lost its value. ‘Have a water bottle with you, especially when the winter heating goes on,’ adds Lyndsey. Done deal.

Home workout tip 27: Keep abs simple

Sometimes less is more – particularly with a toned stomach. ‘Sit ups, leg raises and planks are three of the best ways to target those core muscles,’ says Damien. For some more ideas, take a look at these seven moves.

preview for 15 Exercises For Abs From PT Alice Liveing

Home workout tip 28: Cover all muscle groups

It can be all very well sticking to #legday but don’t neglect the rest of your body. ‘Do a variety of exercises that cover all muscle groups,’ says Lyndsey. ‘Don’t just repeat that favourite bum or arm workout. This will help with your posture too.’

Home workout tip 29: Be realistic

Patience is a virtue when it comes to toned limbs or fat loss. ‘Often clients will want to see results after their third or fourth session,’ reveals Daria. ‘Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. If you want to see a real difference, you need to be strict and dedicated to your routine. It takes time to change, both physically and mentally.’

Home workout tip 30: Spread it out

Doing one long workout doesn’t balance out 5 days of little movement. ‘Set a plan of action for training days, time and duration of your home workout sessions,’ says Lyndsey. ‘Make sure the plan is realistic – for example, three times a week for half-an-hour sessions. Consistency is key, so make sure it’s sustainable.’

preview for Kayla Itsines Abs and Arms No Equipment Workout

Home workout tip 31: Keep a fitness journal to track progress

So, you’re scheduling your workouts into your diary – that’s great. But, are you also celebrating your weekly goals once they are smashed?

Enter: the fitness journal.

Keeping a log of the workouts you’ve done, whether it’s just a dash on a wall calendar or full play-by-play breakdown of how you felt and moved, can be a motivational record of achievement to look back on.

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Home workout tip 32: Challenge yourself

Just because you’re at home and no-one’s technically watching, that’s still not a reason to slack off.

In fact, pushing yourself in the moments when you’d really like to give up is where you can make huge mental and fitness gains. Try to make sure you’re not going too easy on yourself or taking more breaks than perhaps are technically needed. Challenge yourself! You can handle it!

Home workout tip 33: Factor in recovery sessions

When your home doubles as your gym it can be harder to factor in low-impact recovery sessions and not feel like you’re somehow skiving.

But recovery is just as important as going HAM during your sessions and scheduling in one to two per week is fundamental to seeing progress – not to mention giving your hardworking body a bit of break.

preview for Release Tight Hips and Hamstrings with Jess Skye

Home workout tip 34: Have a healthy meal prepped for post-workout fuel

If you’ve adhered to step 11 and have scheduled in your workout for the morning time, then having a pre-prepared healthy breakfast waiting for you afterwards may be the key to making your mornings 100% productive.

Make up a batch of overnight oats the night before, having frozen fruit all ready to blend into a smoothie or protein powder already in your shaker ready to go – all great options to really get most enjoyment out of your home workout.

Home workout tip 35: Lay out your kit the night before, right down to equipment

The same as when you have to leave for an early flight, class or meeting, having your gear packed the night before really does make all the difference. The same goes for working out. Having your kit ready the night before, even down to laying out the mat and preparing the weights, sets you up for success – and makes it harder to ignore and snooze – the next morning.

The work of minutes and could be the change that keeps you smashing your goals instead of snoozing your alarm….

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Looking for inspo? Try this Kelsey Wells at home dumbbell workout:

preview for 20 Minute at Home Dumbbell Workout with Kelsey Wells

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