With gyms closed around the country, home workouts are more important than ever. Though you may have to adapt your workout routine and goals, there's no reason why you can't build muscle and maintain strength at home. Through a simple, equipment-free bodyweight workout, you can build strength, improve flexibility, increase muscle and burn fat. Bodyweight workouts don't require elaborate equipment, expensive gym membership or a top of the range personal trainer. With a very basic knowledge of callisthenics, you can begin to utilise bodyweight exercises to achieve your goals.
In this article, we are going to explain how to workout like a celebrity at home. We are going to discuss how to Build Muscle, Increase Strength, Get Lean and Lose Weight, through equipment-free home workouts. With a very basic knowledge of callisthenics, you'll be able to create and adapt your very own celebrity home workout.
Can you build muscle through just bodyweight exercise? The simple answer is yes. Though people often associate muscle-building with free-weights and machines at the gym, bodyweight exercise can be more effective and vastly more beneficial to overall health. So why is there a misconception about bodyweight exercise and muscle building? Well, when you workout you breakdown muscle tissue. Your body then replaces/rebuilds these muscle fibres even stronger, thus building muscle. Now, to damage the muscle tissue adequately, you need a certain amount of 'resistance'. When people think of resistance training, they often think of free-weights and machines at the gym. In reality, whether the resistance comes from a dumbbell, a kettlebell, a machine at the gym or your bodyweight is irrelevant.
Though celebrity workouts often use free weights or gym machines, your body weight will provide ample resistance to build muscle. Your brain won't know the difference; resistance is resistance.
When you begin bodyweight training, your body weight will provide enough resistance to build muscle. However, as your muscles adapt and grow, you'll need to find new ways to increase resistance to keep building muscle. The simplest way is to add weight to your exercises: A weighted backpack whilst you squat, a weight between your knees as you do pull-ups, a dumbbell on your back as you perform press-ups. However, if you don't have weights at home, you'll have to adapt your exercises slightly. Through distributing your weight differently, you can make exercises more difficult and create ample resistance to build muscle. If squats are too easy, start performing one-legged, Bulgarian Split Squats. If you can perform press-ups with ease, start experimenting with different asymmetric hand positions. If pull-ups are too easy, try different grips and holds. Experiment with 'eccentric exercises,' essentially performing your workout at half speed, slowing down the movement and focussing on control.
Strength training helps you maintain muscle, control body fat, improve bone health and reduce risk of injury. Bodyweight exercises are key to improving core strength, mobility, and flexibility. As compound movements, bodyweight exercises engage a range of muscles to perform the movement. Though a press-up may focus on chest and shoulders, your triceps, biceps, obliques, quads and glutes are all engaged. Through engaging all your muscles, you build functional strength, i.e. strength that you need in everyday life.
If you're new to strength training, bodyweight exercises are a great way to get started. Strength training using free weights can be a risky business, if you don't get your form and technique right, injuries are incredibly likely. Bodyweight strength training is more forgiving, through using simply your 'body weight,' you're spreading the strain across your entire body, thus preventing the risk of injury.
At this time of isolation, strength training is something to seriously consider. With outdoor cardio exercise limited and no access to free weights or gym machines, this is the ideal opportunity to focus on your core body strength. If you've been following a particular celebrity workout to build strength, there's every chance that you'll have required free weights and machines. If this is the case, swap these exercsises for their bodyweight equivalent.
Bodyweight exercises are the Holy Grail for people trying to get lean. The exercises combine cardio with strength training, burning calories whilst encouraging muscle development in a wide range of muscle groups. Furthermore, you can easily incorporate HIIT (high-intensity interval training) into your bodyweight routine. Try squats to standing jump, shoulder tap push-ups, or hostages.
Callisthenics build muscle whilst burning fat, requiring no fancy equipment, no impossible diet, and no supplements. The exercises can be performed anywhere, and the routines themselves don't require a huge time commitment. Because there's no equipment to be fiddling about with, the transition from one exercise into the next is quick. This means less time wasted adjusting weights, and also ensures you maintain a high heart rate throughout the entire workout.
Bodyweight exercises can be modified to suit everyone's fitness aims. If you're looking to shred excess body, you can perform the movements faster and add in HIIT exercises between sets, if you're focused on maintaining muscle, you can slow down the exercises and perform them eccentrically. The exercises have a major impact on your body's metabolism, constantly keeping the heart pumping whilst encouraging muscle development.
HIIT training is appealing if you want to lose weight, the exercises are time efficient and provide great results. However, HIIT training neglects mobility, functionality and flexibility, all of which are key to a healthy lifestyle. HIIT training preaches a 'one size fits all' philosophy and doesn't account for individual fitness needs. This can lead to injuries further down the line due to a blatant disregard for the basics.
If you're serious about losing weight, you should incorporate HIIT training into your routine over time. Through firstly improving basic mobility, functionality and flexibility through bodyweight exercises, you can perform HIIT training with good form and reduce risk of injury. Furthermore, through building and maintaining muscle through bodyweight training, you'll increase your body's metabolism. This is essential for losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Callisthenics compliment fat loss perfectly, these compound exercises engage all muscles, boosting testosterone and growth hormone levels whilst contributing towards a calories deficit. This daily calorie deficit is essential for your weight loss goals. Furthermore, bodyweight exercises improve mobility and functionality, meaning your cardio and HIIT training will be more effective with a lesser chance of injury.
As previously mentioned, bodyweight exercises are compound exercises, meaning they engage large numbers of muscle groups. Despite this, different exercises do focus on different body parts. You should be able to perform 3 sets of 8-12 reps before adapting the exercise to make it more difficult.
Calf Raises- Calf raises focus predominantly on your calf muscles. To make this exercise more difficult, try weighted calf raises or one-legged calf raises.
Narrow Squats- The leg position is narrower meaning more emphasis on the quads. Add weight or try Bulgarian split squats to make this exercise more challenging.
Sumo Squats- With the legs wider than the standard squat, the sumo squat works the glutes. Add weight or try Bulgarian split squats to make this exercise more challenging.
Cannonball Squats- Heels together but feet and knees facing out. This places more emphasis on the inner quads.
Hip thrusters- Hip thrusters engage the posterior chain, especially the glutes. Try adding weight or single-leg hip thrusters for more of a challenge.
Glute Bridge- Similar to the hip thruster, engaging glutes, thighs, hips, core and hamstrings. Add weight or try the single-leg glute bridge to challenge yourself.
Bulgarian Split Squat- Engages both glutes and upper leg muscles. As a single-leg exercise, your core is engaged for stability.
Crunches- Focus' on the upper abs. Once mastered move onto long-arm crunches and then knee crunches to target the upper abs even more
Scissors- Focus' on the lower abs. Move onto leg raises and crunch kicks when the exercise isn't challenging enough.
Sitting Twists- This exercise emphasizes the obliques. Toe taps and side planks will provide more of a challenge.
Wipers- Engages your core abdominal muscles. When mastered, move onto plank roles and climber taps.
Standard Press-up- A compound exercise that works both upper body and core. Try eccentric movements or add weight for more of a challenge.
Raised Press-up- With your legs raised, there'll be more emphasis on your chest and shoulders. If it's not challenging enough, slow the movement down.
Incline Press-up- Targets the lower chest and back. When mastered, experiment with different angles of incline.
Pseudo Press-up- The most advanced variation of press-up. This advanced strength exercise requires tremendous upper body strength.
Wide Grip Pull-up- Engages lats, arms and upper body. Focus on form, ensuring movement is slow and the full range of motion is achieved.
Close Grip Pull-ups- Places more of an emphasis on the arms, taking slight focus away from the lats.
Chin-Up- Changing your grip from overhand (hands facing away) to underhand (hands facing towards you) places more emphasis on the biceps.
Hyperextension- This exercise focus' on your lower back, whilst also engaging the posterior chain. Hyperextension will help your squat and deadlift technique hugely.
Pike Press-ups- This exercise engages both the anterior and medial deltoids. It's a stepping stone exercise to the handstand press-up.
Chest Dips- Though this exercise is often associated with chest building, it also engages the shoulders. Chest dips activate numerous stabilising muscles.
Typewriter Pull-ups- This advanced pull-up variation targets the shoulders, triceps, biceps and upper chest. It is more advanced than the standard pull-up.
Australian Pull-ups- This exercise engages your arms, shoulders, abs and grip. It is a great exercise for people wanting to improve their posture.
Diamond Press-ups- Diamond press-ups predominantly engage the triceps. This exercise is key to improving balance and stability.
Tricep Dips- Tricep dips are a compound exercise, engaging both elbow and shoulder joints for stability. This exercise helps tone and strengthen the upper arm.
Hammer Grip Pull-ups- This pull-up variation engages the biceps, particularly the brachialis.
Shoulder Taps- This compound exercise strengthens the core, glutes, wrists and arms. To make it more challenging, try the push-up shoulder tap.
There's no doubt about it, the coronavirus pandemic has scuppered many peoples fitness goals. With outdoor exercise capped, gyms closed and food limited, some fitness goals are simply not achievable at this time. However, the coronavirus pandemic does offer a unique opportunity for people to experiment with different workouts, adapt their routines, and change their goals. Though the logistics may be challenging, gymming at this time is more essential than ever. Staying mentally and physically strong, whilst providing a sense normality and routine in these otherwise surreal times is vastly important.