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Simple strategies to make your home workouts more effective!

I wanted to provide you with some techniques that can help increase the intensity of your at home workouts.

From mid-March until my gym opened up, I was relegated to doing all of my training at home. And with very minimal equipment at my house (only dumbbells up to 50s), I had to use various techniques to make the weight “feel heavier” to stimulate muscle growth. If you’re in a similar situation – or just not quite ready to hit the gym - here are a few “at home” techniques that could help better your workout. Give them a try, and please let me know what you think! 

1. Do Negative-Focused Work

The negative, or eccentric, portion of an exercise is the part where the muscle stretches under control. Slowing down the negative portion leads to increased muscle fiber stimulation. Additionally, you are always stronger on the eccentric part than the concentric, or positive, part of an exercise, so slowing down the eccentric movement enables you to build more strength and control without letting gravity pull you down. Emphasizing the negative builds time under tension, which is important for muscle growth.

In performing an exercise, make the eccentric portion last for 3-5 seconds; for instance, on push-ups, take 5 seconds to lower your torso to the bottom of the movement, and then come up.

2. Take Shorter Rests Between Sets

Simply reduce your regular rest intervals. Instead of resting for 90 seconds, drop it to a minute.

3. Increase Your Reps

Doing more repetitions with the same amount of weight is a prime example of progressive overload. So, if you're used to working in the 6-10-rep range, up your reps to 10-15 while sticking with the same weight. Adapting to the new rep range should lead to new muscle growth.

4. Use High-Intensity Techniques

Bodybuilding staples such as pre-exhaust, forced reps, drop-sets, and rest-pauses got their reputations for a reason. They are proven techniques that will increase blood flow into the muscle and enable you to do more work in a given time.

5. Do Pulses And Pauses

Adding pulses or pauses during an exercise increases the time under tension and forces your body to work harder in a disadvantageous position. For instance, do a pause or a double pulse at the bottom of a squat or add a pause at the bottom of a push-up.

6. Perform 1-1/2 Reps

In performing 1-1/2 reps, you add a partial range of motion to a full range of motion to complete a single rep. For instance, on dumbbell sumo deadlifts, bring the dumbbell all the way down, extend your hips and bring the dumbbell up to above your knees, come all the way down again, then fully extend at your hips as you come back up to the starting position.

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