Over the past two weeks, we’ve discussed great movement patterns for both starting and finishing your “stay-at-home” day. But what about those of you who have championed the at-home workout, but either aren’t seeing results or aren’t seeing the kind of results you were when training regularly with us at RallySport?
While there are a ton of paid streaming boutique fitness classes right now online, the truth is that it’s pretty easy to build an incredible workout from a few classic lifts – lunges, squats, presses, and deadlifts! These multi-joint movements are replete with benefits such as increased joint stability, decreased risk of injury, muscle growth, and swift body recomposition – in addition to being incredibly time efficient.
“But Kate, I already know this.”
I can literally hear you saying this aloud from my living room across Boulder right now. You likely, in this moment, fall into one of two buckets:
A) I know these movements are the basis of supermodel bodies, bulletproof joints, and longevity of muscular health, overall wellness, and unbeatable posture. I just don’t know how to structure a workout.
B) I’m doing these things already, have a workout that I know is great and well-balanced, and I’m super frustrated that I’m not seeing results.
For those of you in bucket a), hold tight. I know we’re doing A LOT of waiting right now, but I’m coming for you in next week’s newsletter. It’s super important to first talk about those basic fundamentals (and common mistakes) that may be the reason behind some of the frustration from bucket b).
Mistake #1: Skipping the warmup
It really takes a few minutes to prep your body for a workout (see last week’s newsletter). If you’re not warm, chances are you’re not hitting a complete range of motion in movement without some form of compensation or risk of injury.
And if you’ve got plyos or explosive movements in your routine? You are going to see major improvements with some simple workout prep.
The Short Answer Fix: Perform some light movements to specifically activate the muscles you’re about to work in addition to gently raising your heart rate.
Mistake #2: Never lifting to the point of fatigue or varying your workout
If you’re used to performing three sets of 12 reps for each and every exercise but continue to see little to no results, there’s a good chance that you’re not creating enough “good stress” to force adaptation.
(P.S. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with training for maintenance, and I’m a huge fan – especially during specific times of the year when we are most active.)
The Short Answer Fix: There is a misconception that varying resistance with an exercise is going to either ‘make you bigger’ or ‘be less effective,’ which are both largely inaccurate. Working to the point of fatigue by mixing set/rep counts or resistance with great form is the primary goal of strength training and will help yield those progressive results you’re likely looking for.
Mistake #3: You’re not using full range of motion
There may be several reasons for this: An old injury? Lack of mobility or compensation? Resistance too high? The truth is that as we age, we should expect challenges and limitations to appear based upon whatever “life” has thrown our way.
A joint’s given range of motion is dependent on A LOT of things, but it’s typically guided from a workout perspective by comfort. My general advice is that for at-home training, there is a difference between a movement “being challenging” and “feeling painful.” Pay attention to this.
I often use props (stools or benches) to help work into the “it’s challenging range” and would encourage you to use a mirror to assist with posture and body position.
The Short Answer Fix: More than anything, just remember that form is everything—and range of motion is a big part of that. If it doesn’t “look good” in the mirror or feels uncomfortable, either drop your weight or use a prop to help assist you with great movement.
Mistake #4: Using incorrect form
Even a slight deficiency in form, such as allowing your knees to track incorrectly, generates the wrong forces in the wrong spots – thus risking injury and likely targeting incorrect muscles (i.e. overworking supporting muscles).
The Short Answer Fix: Before executing any new movement and even as a revisit for some old ones, send a video to your trainer at Rally (my clients do this ALL THE TIME and I actively ask them to do so!) or watch a YouTube tutorial. Double-checking your form with a little due-diligence is your best bet to avoid injury and boost results.