Gyms are slowly beginning to reopen, albeit with different class formats and limited numbers.
If you’re not eager to rush back to the studio just yet – whether it’s to avoid germs, save your pennies or simply because you’re liking exercising at home – we’ve got the low-down on ways to pump up your home workouts.
Pick the perfect playlist
Whether you’re bending and stretching or getting your sweat on, the music you choose will influence your workout more than you know. Many gyms put extra effort into the music they play in the studio, from operating a dedicated radio station to having a live DJ providing your class’s soundtrack.
If you’re lacking motivation in your cardio workouts, trainer and gym owner Thomas Armsby recommends opting for a house music playlist.
“You could start out with your typical hip hop or R&B songs before escalating into some house or trance music, which is sure to get you up and moving,” says Thomas. “Most house music has a build up section which allows you to stop and catch your breath, in preparation for the main drop. Use this part to change exercise or take a water break before the drop kicks in and the next round begins.”
Music with a higher tempo will encourage you to move a little faster, so Thomas recommends choosing songs that run between 160 and 180 beats per minute. Not sure which songs play at that tempo? You can simply count how many beats (clap to them if it helps!) occur in 15 seconds, then multiply that by four. Easy.
“Music has been shown to help increase endurance by up to 15%, whether it’s because you feel motivated by the lyrics or because a certain beat or instrument connects well with the putamen – the part of your brain that controls motor functions and rhythm,” says Thomas. “Choosing the right music will help you keep moving, burning additional calories you may not have otherwise.”
In general, the best music to listen to during your workout is the music that will match the beat of your movements – you wouldn’t choose a trance mix for your next yoga session.
“As endorphins are released, your body will want to move or sing along to the song,” says Thomas. “That’s why picking the perfect playlist makes you feel great during, and even up to 10 minutes after, the music has stopped playing.”
Get the gear
Setting up your mini home gym doesn’t have to be expensive, thanks to these space and cost-effective staples.
- Exercise bands are the perfect way to step-up your resistance workouts. You can wrap them around a beam, a fence or any other sturdy structure for arm and leg exercises, or incorporate them into your core workouts for a reformer Pilates-style session. YouTube is brimming with band-based exercises from the experts.
- Dumbbells aren’t just for bench presses – if you choose the right weight, they can add resistance for the majority of your workout. If you generally lift or use weights in your workouts, you’ll know which weight will complement most of your routine – for cardio-focused workouts, however, go lighter and use them as hand weights for star jumps, bicep curls and more.
- A bench is a must-have for cardio and strength workouts, and the best part is, it’s probably something you probably already have at home! Make sure whichever bench you opt for is sturdy, and if you’re planning on jumping onto it, not too high – your home probably doesn’t have the supervision and softer surfaces you’re used to at the gym.
- For a cardio burn for a small price, you can’t go past a skipping rope. You can pick them up at any sports store, as well as Kmart and even IKEA, and find a tonne of high-intensity workouts on YouTube.
- A yoga mat is the only real must-have item on this list – when you don’t have one, you really notice it. While a quality mat made from sturdy, sustainable materials won’t come cheap, it will last you years. But, if you’re pinching your pennies, you’ll be able to find one for around the $20 mark at somewhere like Kmart.
Or, opt for bodyweight
You don’t need to splash any cash to get a good home workout – just ask the king of the Facebook Live workouts, Sam Wood.
“Not only does regular exercise support your immune system and physical health, it releases endorphins, combats stress and promotes positive mental health,” says Sam. “Exercise is as much for the mind as it is for the body, so please keep moving in isolation – you only need to move for 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just a gentle walk with the dog.”
Sam encourages focusing on what you can do, and not what you can’t.
“If you are looking to break up your week, aim for three 30 minute HIIT sessions complimented with a walk, jog, yoga or bike ride on the other days,” says Sam.
Here’s his no equipment HIIT workout to get you started…
Do each exercise for 40 seconds with 20 seconds rest in between
1 minute rest after all 7 exercises, repeat 4 times.
- Alternating forward lunges
- Push-ups on knees (advanced option: from toes)
- Squats (advanced option: hold a weight or do jump squats)
- Bicycle crunches
- Plank (advanced option: add shoulder taps)
- Crunches (advanced option: legs elevated)