I’ll admit it – when anyone told me they workout at home with minimal equipment, I did an internal eye roll thinking, “You can’t get a serious workout done and truly make changes to your physique that way.”
Once I was cleared to workout again after having my baby, I was determined to get back into the gym 5-6 days each week. Yes, Moms, I know you’re all laughing at that sentence.
Now I get it. It truly feels impossible to get to the gym on a regular basis with a newborn—or kids of any age for that matter, I’m sure! My gym is a six-minute walk from my front door, and I STILL can’t get there. So, I invested in some basic home equipment: PowerBlocks, a pull-up bar, medicine ball, BOSU ball, a small weighted sled for pulling/pushing across the lawn or down the street and a 6’ FitnessMat. Now, I have been killin’ it in the backyard!
I take back ALL of my internal eye rolls. You can absolutely get an intense workout done at home with basic equipment and make great strides with your physique. I still can’t give up heading to the gym once or twice each week for my date with the squat rack (maybe that will be my next splurge for the garage!), but my workouts at home have been awesome.
Here is a sample workout from this week’s arm workout:
Make sure to get your arms and shoulder joints warmed up properly. Your shoulders are a complex joint, and you need to make sure you have full mobility without any pain before lifting. I like to start my warm up by making big, round circles (front and back stroke style) with my arms for at least 20-30 circles forward and 20-30 circles backward on each arm. That will tell me if my shoulders are feeling good and mobile and will also help me find any stiff parts of the motion for me to be careful of.
From there, continue warming up for this workout with 2 sets of 15 light bicep curls and 2 sets of 10-12 light shoulder press. You can do this with light dumbbells or bands.
Note: You’ll notice that I do all of the lifting movements in this workout from a kneeling position. I try to do this as much as possible, but I’ve been really focusing on it since having my baby in December. It helps so much with building back up my core strength along with making sure my form is perfect. Kneeling takes away any sort of momentum you may be inclined to use (by swinging your upper body or using your legs) to help you lift more weight. I’m focused LESS on how heavy I’m lifting right now and just trying to build back up my muscle and strength from pregnancy.
This workout is done circuit-style, performing one set of each without any rest between the exercises. Once you’ve done one set of each of the four exercises, rest 60 seconds and begin again. Repeat this until you’ve done 4 sets of each exercise. You can use dumbbells or bands.
Try to use dumbbells or an elevated surface like I do in the video so that you can go below floor/ground level—it will help you activate more shoulders and will build strength. It’s hard! Make sure your shoulders are healthy and very warmed up before doing push-ups with this much range of motion.
You can hold a dumbbell in each hand and do these with a hammer grip (palms facing inward), palms facing down or even palms facing up. You’ll hit different angles depending on your grip. PowerBlocks take a bit of extra time to change the weight, so in order to keep my pace going, I chose to just use one of the PowerBlocks for these front raises. Again, holding each end of one dumbbell is just another angle and is a great way to perform front raises.
You can do these with a hammer grip (palms facing inward) or with palms facing up (or down for a fun change!) and you can even alternate arms. Remember to keep your elbows still (but not pressed into your sides) and your wrists straight.
To really work the full shoulder here, make sure your arms and elbows are directly out to the sides of your body. The further you bring your elbows forward, the more you neglect your rear and lateral delts. I also like to stop at the top just short of locking out my elbows so that I keep constant tension on the muscle.
Rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 4 rounds!