Since the pandemic began, people are working out at home more than ever. Here are two tried and true ways to increase the difficulty of at-home workouts without having to buy more weights.
As beneficial as it can be to workout at home; it does come with some downsides. Particularly that of not having as heavy of weight at home than you would in the gym. Using lighter weights, however, doesn’t mean being stuck with easier workouts.
1. Increase Reps
By increasing the reps you perform in a set, you are asking your muscles to work for a longer amount of time, thereby making them work harder. This adjustment will not necessarily feel “harder” in the sense of the weight that you’re moving, but rather, you will get tired quicker and feel that the workout was “harder”.
You can increase your reps by either adding reps to each set that you perform (doing 15 reps instead of 10) OR by increasing the number of sets that you perform (doing 5 sets instead of 3). Either way you choose, the overall goal is to increase the total amount of reps you’re performing.
2. Slow Down the Tempo
In my opinion, the best way to increase the difficulty of your at-home workouts and to make up for a lack of heavy weight is to slow down the tempo of your reps. We tend to fly through our reps in general, and when we pair that with light weights it can seem like we aren’t being challenged. By slowing down the tempo of each rep, you are making the muscle move through the movement more slowly, and effectively making the muscle work harder for longer.
To slow down your tempo, you’ll want to increase the time of the eccentric portion of your lift – or the part of your lift where your muscle is lengthening or stretching (you’ll be able to feel the muscle stretch!) For example: in a biceps curl, the eccentric portion is when you are lowering the weight down. Shoot for taking 4 full seconds to do the eccentric portion of your life and really slow it down. I promise you’ll notice a difference!
Just because you’ve got lighter weights at home doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with an easy workout, or one that doesn’t challenge you. Use the two options above to increase the difficulty of your at-home workouts and make them more challenging without having to fork over the extra dough for heavier weights.