Home Workouts for Busy People – General Exercise Guidelines
With all workouts, you should be certain that you’re capable of exercising and if you’re in any doubt at all go to see your physician and get cleared. If you find during a workout that you’re struggling unduly take extra rest or even call it quits for the day, fitness is about consistency, not destroying yourself on a particular day and then not being able to exercise again for days.
Most of our workouts will hit all of the main movement patterns, namely a squat, a hinge, a horizontal and a vertical pull and a horizontal and vertical push. We think this is important from a health perspective. We won’t pretend that we discovered this combination, a great many respected trainers advocate this mix of patterns.
For home workouts for busy people we want workouts to achieve the optimal mix of muscle building or toning (whichever you prefer) and cardiovascular conditioning. For that reason we generally but not always advocate working in a circuit style. While some workouts utilize straight sets or perhaps supersets of 2 or 3 exercises at most, we’ve yet to see compelling research that a full circuit cannot often offer as much benefit in terms of muscle development and it certainly offers far superior cardio improvement. Just to be clear on this point, if you get to the stage where you wish to work on maximal strength then specificity will be needed and a circuit won’t meet that requirement but the vast majority of us are not chasing maximal strength at the expense of all else, we are looking for a time-efficient way to optimize as many dimensions of fitness as possible.
The pacing of many of our workouts follow the EMOM (every minute on the minute) protocol. Essentially you will set a timer and at the top of every minute you will begin the next exercise. You perform the target number of reps and then rest until the top of the next minute. You can either use the second hand on your watch or there are a number of apps available for smartphones which allow you to easily build a timed routine, one smartphone app we have found to be good is called Seconds.
Unless you’re doing a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout, always work at a pace and intensity that you feel is no more than an ‘8’ on a scale of 1 to 10. As your fitness improves, this ‘8’ will naturally improve. This rule of ‘8’ can be applied to exertion in terms of the strain on the muscle and in terms of cardiovascular effort. If you find that you can’t hit the target number of reps without exceeding the threshold then stop when you hit the ‘8’. If you don’t feel sufficiently recovered by the top of the next minute then simply take another minute to recover. As long as you work consistently twice or more a week, you will naturally improve. Don’t rush things. Again, it’s a cliché but fitness and health are a marathon not a sprint. Injure yourself and you’ll be worse off rather than better. Done properly, within a very short period of time, home workouts for busy people can yield amazing results.
For background atmosphere, music can help some people, if you’re one of these feel free to build a playlist of songs that will last the entire workout including warmup and cool down.
Remember on exercises the standard breathing is to breath out as you complete the positive part of the rep (e.g. pushing off the floor on a push up) and then inhale on the negative (the lowering to the floor on a push up).