Home Gym| 3 Exercises and a Movement Game to Build Useful Muscle and Body Control

Motion

Fewer words, more videos.

From a usefulness perspective, video CRUSHES the written word.  

I could write 800 words about an exercise, or show you a :30 second video and deliver more clarity. 

I hope you view each video below and think, “Shit, that exercise looks fun/effective/challenging/engaging/different or applicable to my situation, I’ll try that next workout”.

Exposure to new ideas can change your attitude and enthusiasm about working out. 

Equipment needed for these exercises:

  •  Yoga blocks (hockey puck, shoe box, etc)
  •  Weight (kettlebell, dumbbell, etc)

I used yoga blocks for the upper body Yoga Block Game in the video below, you don’t have to.  

Use what you’ve got lying around the house (yoga blocks are extremely versatile, inexpensive and have a lot of uses).

Weight.  Any object of weight will work to load these exercises. Common household items can be substituted in place of dumbbell or kettlebell.  Use what you’ve got.  If the weight is challenges the movement pattern without compromising safety, go for it.  

In the meantime, look into getting yourself an adjustable kettlebell or dumbbell (adjustable fitness equipment are economical and space savers)

Quick Advice on Reps/Sets/Weight

Let’s address the two most common questions I get about most of my exercise videos:

“How many reps and sets do you recommend?

“What weight should I use?”

Good questions… but here’s the deal, only you know the answers to those questions.

I can suggest reps all day long.  

But if you’re cheating the exercise on rep 3 of a 10 rep set because your ego wants to practice the exercise variation from my video, but what you really need is a variation 2-3 steps back in difficulty… well…

Same goes for weight selection.  

Avoid the temptation to chase the “burn” during each work set and select a weight you can control every step of the way.

The Goldilock’s Rule for selecting weight:

Not too heavy, not too light… juuuuusssssstt right. 

Take a step back and take an honest assessment of your strength and fitness level, movement quality, and familiarity with the exercise(s).

Ego-Free Guidelines to Apply to any exercise:

  •  Start with lighter weight (move up in weight as needed)
  •  Quality reps only 
  •  Get to know fatigue and what it doesn’t to movement quality
  •  Move slow, move with control
  •  Patience
  •  Be in the moment, feel everything, remain mindful

Enough lead in.  

Here are a 4 (home gym approved) exercises and a movement game worth experimenting with in your next workout.

Split Stance Cross Body RDL

Have you ever had to lift an object from the floor without being able to get into a picture-perfect deadlift stance/position?

Me too.

Stagger your stance and shift weight onto the front leg.

Lower the weight (kettlebell, dumbbell, etc) along the outside of the front shin bone until it touches the floor outside of the foot.  

Pause briefly.  Stand back up.  

You should feel the bulk of the work from the front working leg hamstring up into the glute.

Slipping a little rotation into common movement patterns (hip hinge) is a good thing.  (So is rain to make whiskey).

Aim for 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps per side. 

Single-Leg Deadlift + Row

Coordination, balance, and timing are all put to the test with this exercise.

Grab the weight, hinge forward while balancing on one leg, row.

People get pleasure from bashing combinations like this because neither the deadlift or the row is “optimized”.

Interestingly, the same folks who poo-poo these exercises struggle to balance on one leg, sooooo….?

The purpose of this exercise is to be a movement challenge.  

Balance on one leg, maintain shape and control while rowing an object of weight.  

For perspective, this exercise variation isn’t my top pick to deadlift 500lbs from the floor.  There are better variations.

Also for perspective, performing a row with a challenge amount of weight while holding a single leg hip hinge is a difficult little maneuver.  

And how about the foot conditioning here?

Balancing on one leg is fantastic for strengthening the tiny little muscles underneath and surrounding the foot/ankle.  

If you can, remove your shoes while you workout.  Barefoot training is a really simple way to strengthen the feet.  

Hybrid/non-traditional movements like this one offer up something different for your body unpack and navigate, which IS the benefit in and of itself.

Aim for 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps per side. 

Yoga Block Game (Upper Body)

Objective: Push each yoga block out as far as possible.

I suggest going around the circle a few times because you’ll notice you’re able to push each block a few millimeters further on each attempt.

From my experience, when a normal linear set of an exercise transitions into a task or a challenge, people get competitive and the effort given increases.  

The entire front side of your body is going to be burning like a bonfire on this one.

Arms, chest, core, etc.  All of it… on 🔥 

Aim for 2-3 attempts, either during the warm-up or workout.

Hollow Body Rock + Single Leg Squat

Hollow Body Rocks and Single Leg Squats (aka pistol squats) are two fantastic exercises on their own.  

Here are links to each exercise:

Single leg squats are my go-to squat pattern.  I get a phenomenal training effect without needing a lot of equipment (for added weight) and there are bunch of progressive variations to further challenge mobility (ex:  dragon squats).

Single leg squats transition well into everyday tasks.  So much is done on one leg, it’s beneficial to train for it in the gym.

Hollow Body exercise variations link the upper and lower body together and might look easy from afar, but they‘re actually quite difficult.  

As an introduction to Hollow Body work, try holding a Static Hollow Body position for 30 seconds x 4-5 rounds (1:1 work to rest periods).

Good luck.  👍🏼  

Fusing Hollow Body Rocks and Single Leg Squats creates a whole new movement challenge.

The goal here is to make two exercises look like one exercise by creating smooth transitions.

Aim for 5 sets of 6 reps per leg. 

Isolated Exercises into Movement Combinations

If you’ve checked out my YouTube or Instagram pages, you’ll notice how often I fuse 2, 3 or maybe 4 exercise together to create movement sequences and hybrid movements.  

You can take simplest of exercises and morph them into a difficult movement combinations.

Always start by learning a movement pattern in isolation.  

Give your body a chance to understand the exercise.  

Your body will gradually make gains in strength, control and work capacity.

From there, explore fusing several exercises together, creating combinations, etc.

Down the road, play around with speeding up the tempo, change angles, twist/turn, change levels, use different training surfaces, add weight, etc.

Exercises like this is can provide a simple introduction to movement training and create a renewed interest in gym work.  

Which exercises are you going to try out today?  

Any of them?  All of them?  

Give them a try and leave me a comment down below.  

 

T’is all for today.

Kyle 

Jump Rope, Kettlebell and Bodyweight Workouts

fat loss, Motion, Workouts

A jump rope, kettlebell, the weight of your body, a small space and roughly is all a person needs to create workouts.   

How heavy of a kettlebell?  

Good question.  

I suggest a moderately weighted kettlebell for each of these workouts.  

How heavy is a “moderately” weighted kettlebell?  

Good question.

”Moderate” will mean something different depending on each person’s current fitness level and familiarity with kettlebells in general.

Select a kettlebell weight based on your overhead press, which is often the weakest lift for many people.  

Choose a kettlebell that gives you hell to press overhead for roughly 8-10 repetitions.

A generalized recommendation for weight selection is:

Males:  44lb (20kg) or 53lb (24kg)

Females:  26lb (12kg) or 35lb (16kg)

No kettlebell? Substitute a dumbbell or a sandbag instead of a kettlebell.  

If you don’t have access to a jump rope, you can:

  •  “Air rope” (pretend you are turning a jump rope)
  •  Bounce side-to-side like a boxer  
  •  Perform jumping jacks 

If you’ve got no equipment and the only option is bodyweight, check out some of these bodyweight-based workouts, here, here and here.  

Warm-Up

Before you start in on these workouts, please, warm-up with some mobility and light bodyweight drills

Here’s a 14 exercise total body warm-up:

 

Workout Structure:

  •  Target 18-20 minutes of continuous work, or roughly 8-10 rounds
  •  Take rest as needed, keep it brief.
  •  Add or subtract reps as needed.
  •  Get creative with different jump rope drills.

 

#1 Jump Rope + Clean-Squat-Press

30 second Jump Rope

6 Right/Left Single Arm Clean-Squat-Press 

 

#2 Jump Rope + Lunge + Row + Rocks

60 second Jump Rope 

6 Right/Left Reverse Lunges

8 Bent Over Rows

8 Hollow Body Rocks

 

#3  Jump Rope + Ground Game + Swings

30 second Jump Rope 

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 yard Forward/Backward Crawl

10 yard Sideways (lateral) Crawl

10 yard Crab Walk

10 Kettlebell Swings

30 second Jump Rope

 

#4 Jump Rope + Ground Game Part II

60 second Jump Rope 

6 Scorpions

8 Cossack Squats

 

#5  Jump Rope + Kettlebell (as many rounds as possible)

30 second Jump Rope 

10 Kettlebell Swings

5 Dive Bombers

10 Goblet Squats

 

These are simple, approachable workouts.  

If you’re training at home, each of these should fit your space.  

Stay active, stay healthy.   

 

Home Workouts! Bodyweight Flow to Challenge Balance, Mobility and Endurance

Motion

Bodyweight training can (and probably should) be the foundation of any home workout.

No matter where you go, what equipment is or isn’t available, bodyweight based exercise is a card that can be ALWAYS be played.

There many ways to design and organize a bodyweight workout.  

Varying the tempo, joint range of motion, training on one leg, changing levels, balancing, transitions between exercises are all ways to keep bodyweight training fresh and effective.

Today’s workout is non-traditional, imagine that. 

If Yoga, locomotion, and calisthenics got together, partied and made a baby, this flow would be the result.

Flow training is like a more dynamic form of Yoga.  

I find myself sharing a lot of slow-tempo movements and flow sequences on YouTube and Instagram.  

Subconsciously, it might be a knee-jerk reaction to counterbalance all of the high-intensity training videos out there.  

Removing momentum from movements can reveal strengths and weaknesses with regard to what positions and motions you own versus what you don’t.  

Here’s the bodyweight flow:

This flow is designed to be mirrored on the right and left side and can be performed as a warm-up or as the workout itself.  Changing legs on the single-leg squat will keep you alternating sides. 

If you choose to use it as a workout, set a timer and keep working for the duration non-stop.  

Aim for 20 minutes.  If you get 20 minutes, go to 25 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.  

You’ll be exhausted (in a positive way) moving like this for long periods, and it might be an eye-opening shift away from high-intensity training.  

Muscles will fatigue and heart rate will elevate, even though you’re moving slow and steady.  

This flow is low-impact on the joints but does require a decent amount of joint mobility. 

Focus on momentum free movement.  

Especially with the modified hip CARs (controlled articular rotations).  Do your best to ONLY articulate the hip joint without changing posture to do so.  Obviously, in the video, I’m moving elsewhere but the goal is to keep the movement at the hip.

CARs are incredible for joint health, especially the hips which are supposed super mobile, but oftentimes aren’t.

Most people lack mobility at key joints like the hip, which forces other joints to try and pick up the slack, but so commonly ends up creating greater issues (aches, pains, injury).  

MyDailyMobility.com is a really good follow along resource to keep up with daily mobility work.  The guys upload new workouts all the time.  Last time I checked they had 5 months’ worth of workouts for customers.

Similar to resistance training (muscle) and cardio (endurance), mobility must be practiced consistently for maintenance and improvement.

Use it or lose it.

[You can see me lose balance returning to the single-leg stance.  I could have reshot the video and uploaded a perfect rep, but I decided to keep the original because this flow will test your balance.]

After the single-leg deadlift (Warrior 3 to the Yoga peeps) descending to the floor gracefully is the next order of business.  While this flow is controlled, learning how to fall is a skill people could really benefit from, especially older folks.  

Lowering down to the floor stress your pushing muscles and core.  You’re basically hitting the brakes on the way down, and stepping on the gas to stand back up.  

Lastly, expect the final move to make you cramp at the hips.  It’s aggressive.  Squat down, lift the hovering leg as high as possible and REACH.  

Find the floor, transition through the middle and get deep into the Cossack squat.  

Flow completed.  

Stand up and start over.  

Movement sequences like this are perfect for a home workout.  

No equipment is needed, it’s just bodyweight, balance, expressing strength and mobility while flowing into and out of various body positions.  

🤔 Want to make this flow harder?  Add a weight vest,slow down the tempo ever more or speed up the tempo and move quicker.  

👉 Make sure to check out more M(EAUX)TION fitness content on Instagram and YouTube.  

Home Gym Workouts! 10 Minute Circuit Training

home gym

Today’s home gym workout is all about simplicity. 

Keeping it simple, is keeping it effective. 

Turkish Get-Ups, crawling, traveling squats and lunges, push-ups, rolling are all included in the 10 minute mini-circuits of the session.  

Get ready to dirty your shirt.  

If you’re unfamiliar with any of the exercises mentioned above, please head over to my YouTube channel and perform a search using those terms.  

Always, always, always learn movement mechanics of new exercises while fresh and in an isolated fashion.  

Learning an exercise in isolation means you’re repping out that exercise with the basic work-then-rest approach.  Perform specific reps for a number of sets, rest, then attack the exercise again. 

Fatigue can be managed with this approach, allowing movement precision to become the prime focus. 

No one is above learning movements in isolation.  

The exercise’s degree of difficulty might change from person to person depending on fitness level (beginners versus elite movers), but the approach is the same.  

Learn new movements in isolation, code the movement into your system, do what you want from there. 

Workout Structure

The full workout consists of 3 x 10-minute sections, each with a different movement emphasis.

You can execute all 10-minute sections, or perform 1 or 2 depending on your space, equipment and time.  

Movement Emphasis

    • Workset #1: Turkish Get-Ups
    • Workset #2: Traveling Squats and Lizard Crawl
    • Workset #3: High Plank Step-Squat-Reach-Roll Flow

The goal is to perform the work non-stop 10 minutes with minimal rest.

Of course, movement quality is king, so if rest is needed take it to preserve the quality of each repetition.  

10 minutes is the target exertion time.  If you need to reduce the working time for each section, please do so.  Start with a duration you can tolerate, any amount of time is better than doing nothing.  👊 

After completing a 10-minute section, grab a drink, towel off the sweat and get ready for the next section.  Don’t waste time. 

Equipment List:

OMG!!! I need equipment?!?!

Not all workouts require equipment, but this one does, sorry… 

    •  * Kettlebell, dumbbell, sandbag, etc (weight for Turkish Get-Ups)
    •  Bodyweight
    •  12-15 feet of straight-away space

🤷‍♂️ If you don’t have any weights, find any object of reasonable shape and weight laying around the house that can add weight to the Turkish Get-Ups.  

Get creative, it can be anything.  A loaded backpack, children who are durable, a pet with a calm demeanor.  

At the end of this post, I’ve included equipment shopping options.

 

Set #1: Turkish Get-Ups

No secret sauce here.  

Turkish Get Ups are one of the best exercises on the planet. 

Stand up and lay back down for 10 minutes, alternating sides each rep. 

Turkish Get-Ups are a total body exercise and 10 minutes of continuous Turkish Get Ups is total body cardio conditioning.

Ideally, you’d have access to several different weights to switch it up.  Start by using a lighter weight, bumping up the load every 3 minutes or so.  End this 10-minute section with the heaviest load you have.

If you only have one weight, just use that.  You’ll get a good enough training effect.

I prefer to use kettlebells for Turkish Get-Ups, but I’ve used many other gym tools with success.  Dumbbells or sandbags can be used to add load to the Turkish Get Ups.

 

Set #2: Traveling Squats + Lizard Crawl

I love integrating isolated exercises into circuits.

Once you own a movement pattern, the options for using that movement pattern become limitless.

In the video, I’m traveling back and forth across a 15-foot distance.  

From right to left, I use a descending modified dragon squat, uncrossing the legs and standing up with a Cossack squat to shimmy across the room.  

After reaching the wall, I return to the start position with the king of locomotion patterns, the lizard crawl.  

Turn around, switch sides, repeat.

Dragon Squat.  The dragon squat is going to be a bit too aggressive of an exercise for a lot of people.  

Here are exercises to substitute:

👉  Walking Lunge (forward or backward)

👉  Lateral Lunge

Lizard Crawl.  If you’ve never tried a full lizard crawl, a work capacity circuit isn’t the time or place to dabble.  The lizard crawl is an aggressive pattern best learned fresh. 

I suggest regressing the crawling pattern to one of the following:

👉  Forward/Backward Crawl

👉  Lateral Crawl

👉  Bear Walk

 

Set #3: High Plank Step-Squat-Reach-Roll Flow

This simple ground-based flow includes a few common exercises (push-ups, sit-ups) along with uncommon ground-based flow movements (crab reach, rolling).

For some, this might be the first introduction into integrated movement conditioning.

Moving your body naturally through space.  

This isn’t your basic “jogging in place, knees to elbows, shadow boxing fitness” circuit.  

It’s bodyweight and movement, which will likely be humbling for a lot of people, including those who spend a lot of time resistance training in the gym.  

You’ll feel the difference between natural movement and linear exercise while training like this.  

During this work set, focus on smoothing out the transitions between each exercise.  Make the entire sequence look like it’s fused together into a single unit.  

I’ve got a semi-truck load of flow videos on YouTube.  

 

 🛒 Need Equipment?

5 years ago, I wouldn’t have referred anyone to Amazon for fitness equipment.

Today, Amazon is one of the best options to buy fitness equipment.  Prime Shipping is hard to beat for shipping heavy gym equipment directed to your home fast.  

👉 Kettlebells

👉 Kettle Gryp (converts a dumbbell to a kettlebell)

👉 Powerblock Adjustable Dumbbell (cost and space effective dumbbell)

Give each of these mini-workouts a try, leave a comment, ask questions, keep grinding folks!

Benefits of the Crab Reach Exercise

Motion

The Crab Reach is a great bodyweight exercise with a whole bunch of options of use before, during and after a workout.  

For a simple bodyweight move, this exercise offers a lot of benefits. 

Benefits of the Crab Reach

  • Posterior chain activation and hip extension
  • Active Thoracic Mobility
  • Anterior body stretch (hip flexors, quads, torso)
  • Shoulder stability/endurance emphasis in loaded shoulder
  • Trunk rotation
  • Right and Left Side 
  • Low-impact

Combat Sitting 

The Crab Reach is a great exercise to battle/off-set the negative effect of long duration sitting. 

It’s not “the cure”, the only tool or the “best” tool, but it’s a good one to implement on a regular basis.   

Reversing aches and pains caused by primarily long duration sitting requires dedication, discipline, and volume.  There is no quick fix.  

A quick hip flexor stretch, thoracic mobilization, and glute bridge are not going to cancel out 8+ hours of sitting in the same turtle-like, wound up position.  

Body restoration takes time, effort, consistency and volume.  Lots of repetitions, likely lots of time and an aggressive mindset.  Assuming you’re doing everything right, expect improvements over time.

Most people slump like a turtle while sitting.  Sitting like a slouchy turtle for 8-10 hours per day, 5 days per week isn’t good for our bodies.

We become the positions we use most.  

Fill in Gaps with Movement Training

Strength and conditioning built from traditional resistance training can benefit greatly from practicing multi-planar movements like the crab reach.   

Deadlifts are great.  Chin-ups are great.  Rows, push-ups and rotational core training are all great.

These are fundamental movements to build a strong body.  

But there are movement gaps leftover from each of these exercises.  

Once you’re on the floor crawling, transitioning between locomotion exercises, you find out pretty quick there’s a difference between squatting up and down with lots of weight on the bar and moving gracefully through space.  

It’s humbling. 

Exploring bodyweight oriented movement is a key piece of the fitness puzzle that will improve your movement IQ and create a well-functioning body.  

What’s a well-functioning body?

Strong (proportionate to what a person needs to thrive in daily life), mobile, confident in many different postures/positions/patterns, conditioned, free of aches and pains. 

Ground-based conditioning is a great way to backfill any gaps resistance training is not designed to address.  

Free-flowing, multi-planar fitness. 

Practicing postures and movement patterns less common to daily life. 

Improving strength, mobility and stability in uncommon movements make everyday exercises feel easy. 

Rotation

Looking at the average person’s exercise favorites, it’s usually a shortlist made up of linear resistance training and a sprinkling of cardio. 

Break out of the linear matrix. 

Every repetition of Crab Reach moves the body through a multi-planar, active range of motion.  

Through the range of motion, the body will extend and rotate.  

The twist is visible from the hip flexor, moving diagonally through the mid-section to the loaded shoulder.  

How to Use Crab Reach in Workouts

Ground-based bodyweight movement is extremely versatile.   

Keeping it simple, here are a few different options to integrate the crab reach into daily fitness:

  •  In the warm-up
  •  Filler exercise during a lifting session
  •  As part of a flow sequence

Crab Reach can be practiced in isolation or as a combination. 

I recommend practicing new movements in isolation to increase focus on technique. 

Practicing an exercise in isolation is better to understand the mechanics and demands is best. 

Isolating the exercise will give you the opportunity to focus on the mechanics of the movement and spatial awareness.

Warming Up with the Crab Reach

Movement flow exercises are perfect for pre-workout warm-ups. 

These movements are generally dynamic, full range of motion exercises that require movement into and out unique body positions, angles and tempo.  

Crab reach can serve as a valuable movement prep before exercises like deadlifts or kettlebell swings.

Crab Reach as Part of the Workout


Positioning the Crab Reach as part of a Tri-Set is a great way to isolate and practice the exercise while staying active/productive during a strength training session. 

Here’s an example a simple Tri-Set:

Exercise A) Front Squats

Exercise B) Chin-Ups

Exercise C)  Crab Reach

Crab Reach acts as a non-competing exercise with the front squats and chin-ups. 

Flow Training

Crab Reach can be used to create a simple bodyweight flow.

Start with two exercises separated by a switch to keep it simple.  Here’s an example:

The video above is an example of a simple movement sequence.

For an added challenge, increase the number of exercises in the sequence to 4, 5, 6 and beyond. 

Adding more exercises to create longer flows is great for the mind-body connection. 

The ultimate goal of movement training is improvisation, which is essentially moving without a plan.

Improvisational movement is an idea I plucked from Ido Portal’s movement hierarchy, which looks like this:

Isolation —> Integration —>  Improvisation

Read more about Ido Portal Method here.

Reps/Sets/Time 

In the beginning, keep the reps low.  

6-8 reps per side is a good place to start.

Focus on a slow and controlled tempo through the fullest range of motion you can make happen.

After you are feeling good about the mechanics, increase the volume. 

Don’t be shy about bumping up the reps to 15-20 reps per side.  Setting a timer can be a nice option.  

Not interested in counting reps?  

Set a timer and go.  Alternating right and lefts for 2-5 minute timed sets can free’s you up from having to count reps. 

Summary…

  • Bodyweight ground-based movements are effective for building strength, mobility, endurance, and movement IQ
  • Crab Reach is a versatile exercise that can be performed anywhere and anytime.  
  • Benefits of the Crab Reach include posterior chain activation, anterior body lengthening, thoracic mobility, body awareness in space.
  • The Crab Reach is great to include in warm-ups, during the workout or as flow training.  
  • The Crab Reach is an effective exercise to help mitigate aches/pains from sitting, restore function.

Want to Go Deeper? Check This Out…  

Vahva Fitness has created a fully streamable bodyweight-based movement program called Movement20XX.

The movement curriculum in Movement20XX is progressive, challenging, and scalable for beginners, intermediates and all the way up to people seeking movement mastery.   

Movement training is easily scaled to suit each person’s skill level.

Movement20XX is one of a small number of hand-picked online fitness programs I support. 

 

Build a Home Gym? Yes, You Should.

home gym, Motion

Before you read this, please know I am a HUGE advocate for moving workouts into the home setting.  

Cutting the cord on a big box gym membership is a little like cutting the cord on cable television.  I’ve done both so I’ve got some experience here.  Change is hard.  Sounds dumb but when I cut cable television for good, I had a few weeks of not knowing what the hell to do with myself at night.  

It was purely conditioning and habit driving these feelings.  

But eventually, I adapted and transitioned my time to more productive activities.  Of course economical streaming subscriptions also helped fill the void (Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, etc). 

Anyways, there’s some initial hesitation, weighing, back and forth, and although it sounds kind of funny… anxiety involved with cancelling a gym membership (or cable television).

“What will I do without my gym membership?”

Step one is to ask yourself if you’re actually using your gym membership.  If you are, how many days a week are you going?  Are you getting results from that money and time investment?  

These are simple questions.  Are you going to the gym enough to make the cost of keeping the membership worth while?

A lot of people go to the gym with intentions of losing weight, building strength, getting healthy, yet have very little if anything to show for it.  

No offense to these folks, but there’s a lot of people that fall into this category.  Gyms love them because not achieving results (aka:  spinning tires in the mud) is great for ensuring a steady revenue stream.  The anxiety is too high to cancel the membership.  So, you pay every month.  

If you do go to the gym and you enjoy it, KEEP YOUR MEMBERSHIP.

The goal of this article isn’t to project a rigid stance on big box gyms and paint them as being a bad place.  

My goal is to shed light on the effectiveness of working out at home and let you know it’s more than doable, it’s becoming the new standard.  Lots of people aren’t aware of this.  #themoreyouknow

A lot of folks use gyms as a social hang out just as people get memberships at the local country club to hang out with their buddies.  

Well built gyms often offer amenities to families (pools, child care, classes, etc).  So for these folks, spending the money might be well worth it.  

Mom and Dad can get some exercise in while the kids play in the pool with licensed gym staff.  

But…

… cancelling your gym membership will free up funds, time and hopefully bring some excitement back to your workouts.  

The biggest benefit (in my opinion) of moving workouts to a home gym set up is the freeing up of TIME.  

When I was younger I had a much harder time understanding the value of my time on this earth.  My perception was that I had all the time in the world.  Wrong.  

Fast forward several birthdays later, I feel much differently.  I have a desire to own as much of my time as possible.  Life’s too short.

Google “Memento Mori Chart” and fill one of those out if you really want the realities on the shortness of life.  

Balancing family, career and finding time for recreation can eat up most of the time in a day.  

Working out at a membership based brick and mortar gym certainly has it’s advantages, but it also has limitations which often go overlooked.

 

#1  Paying for something you don’t use.

A gym membership going unused or not being used on a regular basis is a waste of money.  

#2  Time.  

How much is your time worth?  

Time is our most precious commodity, and we can never get time back.  Drive time to and from, changing clothes time, waiting for equipment time, workout time, shower time, etc.  Big box gyms are a TIME SUCK. 

#3  Safe equipment.  

Most gyms still refuse to offer fitness equipment considered to be “taboo” or “dangerous” because it’s a liability for injury.  

So, the average big box gym is littered with fixed range of motion (aka:  artificial and unnatural range of motion cardio and resistance machines)

There’s a reason most people despise exercise…  because spending hours on these machines is uneventful and completely against human nature.  We were force fed the concept of exercising on fixed machines back in the 1960’s and 1970’s and somehow the concept survived to 2018.  

Those feelings of boredom while “ellipticalling” are real… and more importantly they are NOT WRONG.  Your body craves robust movement, exploration, change of direction, challenge.  

It took 8+ years for most gyms to offer kettlebells to clients for fear of throwing them through mirrors, dropping them on toes, or blowing out backs from poor technique.  All reasonable concerns.

To be blunt, if your gym isn’t offering and promoting alternative modalities of building fitness such as kettlebells, you’re missing out.

#4  Personal training is expensive

God bless personal trainers and their ongoing commitment to educating the public on the benefits of exercise.  

But personal training is expensive.

Personal training is expensive regardless if you’re training 1-on-1, semi private or in a group setting.  At $5, $10 or in some areas $70-$80 per session you could pivot and transition those dollars into one of many online training programs (probably starting with bodyweight based training like yoga or calisthenics) and gradually purchase some home equipment.

Start with a simple pair of dumbbells or kettlebells, maybe a suspension trainer.  These are three of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment on the market.  

Yes, I know barbell training is amazing.  But even in the year 2018, barbells freak a lot of people out.  I don’t know if their is data on this, but it’s anecdotal fact for me in conversations with people.  

So, do your homework on dumbbells, kettlebells or a suspension trainer.  

For the cost of one month of gym membership, you can buy one or possibly two pieces of equipment.  A kettlebell is a one-time purchase.  That kettlebell will outlast your life. 

The gym membership model succeeds and relies on signing up customers who don’t set foot in the door.  

I didn’t make this up.  

Listen, if I owned a gym I wouldn’t want all of my members to workout daily and tear up my expensive equipment.  

It would be a hassle and lost dollars for me to constantly fix broken down cardio machines, reface beat up barbells and weight plates, patch holes in benches, etc.  

No, no… if I owned a gym, give me your money and stay at home.  

Here are some great articles regarding gym memberships:

A snippet from the last NPR article:

“Joining a gym is an interesting form of what behavioral economists call pre-commitment,” says Kevin Volpp, director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Wharton School. Volpp says we actually like the idea of being locked into a gym contract … at first, anyway. “They’re picturing the ‘new me’ who’s actually going to go to the gym three times a week and become a physical fitness machine.” We convince ourselves that since we have committed to putting down money for a year, we will make ourselves go to the gym. And then, of course, we don’t.

Working out at home is not for everyone. 

“Wait, I thought you just told me that…”

I did.

Before you cancel your gym membership, it’s important to understand your habits and personality.  

Cancelling a gym membership with intentions of working out at home, but never actually getting the home workout habit to stick is not good.  It’s a step in the wrong direction.

If you were exercising twice a week at a gym, but now exercising ZERO times per week after making the transition, this is not a good scenario.

While taking workouts into the home setting is loaded with advantages, a lot of people may find it difficult to stick to a workout regimen at home.

I’ve found that inability to make the home workout habit stick are pretty similar to the reasons a lot of people shouldn’t have a home-based career.  

The comfortable environment of the home setting can kill off motivation for physical exertion and breed complacency.  

The temptation to do anything but be productive and get work done is too great.

Before cancelling a gym membership, test the waters by bringing 1 or 2 workouts into the home.  Keep it simple.  Work some bodyweight sessions, play around with the space you’ve got and get acclimated.   

No equipment means no workout!

Survey says:  Wrong.  

A common perception is that quality exercise cannot happen without the presence of fancy fitness machines.  

Heavenly Father… what are you supposed to do without any fitness equipment?!

I can see how a person would have this opinion, I really can. But the reality is you DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.  

If you have these feelings, you’ve got to explore your options.   

Here are some ideas for you… 

Yoga, Animal Flow, KinStretch, gymnastics and calisthenics and resistance training are all INCREDIBLE forms of movement that can provide far more benefit for your body (looks, feel and performance) than any machine ever will.  

Listen, exercise machines have their place, but moving your body in a natural environment should be a primary goal.  Your body and the ground.  Start there.

What about walking?  

Walking, time and time again has proven to be potent form of daily activity.  Start with 10 minutes per day, every single day.  See what happens.  

The Economics of Building a Home Gym

Before buying home gym equipment there are two important points to consider:

  1. Quality gym equipment often isn’t cheap at time of purchase.  The upfront cost of purchasing the equipment will likely exceed what you were paying per month at your gym.  However, shift your attention to the long-term value instead of the short-term.  Most quality gym equipment should last you lifetime versus paying for monthly gym memberships.
  2. What’s the cost of not exercising across the long-term?  This question can be hard to wrap one’s head around, but seriously, in 10, 20, 30 years, what will be the cost you pay for not taking care of yourself physically when you had the chance.  

A badass home gym could be built by shifting spending habits for 6-8 months.  

Many people won’t buy gym equipment for the home because they don’t know how to use it.  In 1996, this was a valid concern, but not in 2017.  This little thing called the internet has created massive opportunities to learn basic technique of physical conditioning, all the way to movement mastery.  

Fitness is now digital.  The information is distributed through video, audio and the written word, there is education that appeals to all forms of learning.  A lot of it is given away for free.

Everything a person could want to know about fitness is on the internet.  

If you’re one of those anti-internet people… please stop.  Yes, the internet has some crap floating around but so does society.  

Take ownership, research, experiment, explore, refine, get curious, learn.  

I want this article to open your eyes to a different perspective on working out, where you do it, how you do it and a alternative view to transitioning your health regimen back to home base.  

Even if you don’t make the switch, it’s important to have the information.

Please let me comments or questions.

Check out some of these other topics of I’ve explored on the blog…  

All center around workout programs, workouts, exercises or equipment fully compatible with the home gym setting.

 

For now… cheers to you and building a home gym.

 

Kyle 

 

3 Jump Rope and Kettlebell Workouts To Try

Workouts

Depending on your training level, pairing kettlebell drills like swings and jumping rope can provide an incredible training stimulus.

All three of the workouts below will require a kettlebell and a jump rope.

The effectiveness of the workouts will depend on you, your effort, training familiarity with the exercises, kettlebells and jump rope.  Jumping rope can be a limiting factor for a lot of people, but with practice, you’ll quickly improve.

Step #1: Choose a kettlebell weight that is challenging to swing for 15 repetitions (we’ll be swinging it for 10 repetitions in the workouts).

Step #2: Select a jump rope that turns effortlessly and has a length appropriate to your height.  Generally speaking, when you place one foot on the rope you should be able to pull the handles to your armpit region.

Selecting only two pieces of equipment minimizes decision fatigue.  Less can be more.

Baseline workout:

10 Kettlebell Swings

1 minute Jump Rope

  • 10 continuous rounds without rest between swinging and jumping.
  • Two movements performed savagely well.

 

Intermediate workout:

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 Kettlebell Goblet Squats

1 minute Jump Rope

  • 10 continuous rounds without rest between swinging, squatting and jumping.
  • Addition of the squat pattern element to the baseline workout above.

 

Advanced workout:

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 Kettlebell Goblet Squats

5 Right/Left Arm Kettlebell Overhead Press

1 Minute Jump Rope

  • 10 continuous rounds without rest between swinging, squatting, pressing and jumping.
  • Now it’s a party.  A full-body training session of hip hinging (swings), squatting (goblet squats), vertical pressing (overhead press) with jumping rope serving as the active rest between these loaded movements.

 

One easy way to make any of these workouts more challenging is to complete more rounds in the given timeframe.  

In other words, work faster.  Be mindful of exercise technique of course.

Less is more.  

The impact of a simple workout like this is tremendous, and I often recommend breaking the monotony of traditional cardio training with sessions like this.

Incorporating big bang major movement patterns like kettlebell swings will serve you amazingly well.

Enjoy these workouts and feel free to progress them beyond what I’ve suggested to further challenge/customize to suit your needs.

 

Kyle

 

Similar posts:

 

Hybrid Suspension Training: Body Row + Anti-Extension Ab Roll Out

Quick Tips

Suspension training is probably the best training option for the home, travel or outdoors.

I used to feel a little guilty about promoting suspension training because I felt like I was turning into a guru.  Then I just came to the conclusion that I value the tool so much that it’s completely worth the time taken to talk about it.

As I have mention, I am an avid Lifeline Fitness product user.  I love the innovation coming from this company.  It’s innovation within reason, meaning that they are bringing products to consumers that solve problems and serve a purpose.  Best of all, they are made with quality and are affordable for just about anyone.  The portability of all of the products is a major benefit to people who love to workout at home without sacrifice.

Quality workouts in the comfort of your own home will change you life, literally.  

I will commonly work hybrid style suspension training exercises into my warm ups and the meat of my workouts.  The versatility of products like the Lifeline Jungle Gym suspension trainer make these hybrid movements safe and natural.  Nothing feels forced or out of control.

Jungle Gym Suspension Trainer

A strap with two handles and foot loops

In the video below, you’ll see me performing a sub maximal body row that flows into a standing anti-extension abdominal rollout.  The body row is best performed on a suspension trainer.  The hands are free to rotate, which adds a rotational component to the rotator cuff and shoulder muscles.  The standing anti-extension ab rollout (besides being a mouthful) is a tremendous movement for reinforce core stability and preventing extension in the mid-section.

Both exercises provide tremendous functional carry over to the demands of a physical lifestyle and sport.

I like the explosiveness of the body row.  You’ve got to put some force into the full in order to get yourself to the standing position, transitioning into the forward fall of the ab rollout.

With this movement, the upper body does the bulk of the work.  The feet should not move and the rest of the body should remain rigid.  After the aggressive pull on the body row, you’ll transition from the heel of your foot, to the mid-foot, then on the balls of your feet.  Pulling out of the ab rollout you will go in reverse order (ball, mid-foot, heel).

heel, midfoot, forefoot

Heel (hindfoot)— Midfoot— Ball (Forefoot)

***Wear non-skid soled shoes or perform on a non-slip surface to avoid any unnecessary slippage on the ground surface.  One slip and you’ll understand what I am talking about.  I am wearing my trusty Vibram Five Fingers in the video demo.

 

 

Cheers to pulling and resisting extension…

KG

How to Warm Up Before a Home Workout (Video)

Quick Tips

Below is a sample of what a warm up looks like for me prior to a training session.

The only awkward moment comes when I attempt to stay on the rubber matting while performing forward, backward and side to side gorilla hops.  Hey, I’m human, shit happens.  This isn’t Hollywood produced, it’s real world home training.  Film it like it happens, right?

The important thing to remember is that you should always maximize the equipment, time and space that you have available to you.  You can always get way more accomplished with what you have than you originally thought.

I have really come to enjoy integrating animal style movements in the warm up, as it demands rhythm, stability and mobility to accomplish the moves.  Plus it isn’t boring, which is important for keeping your movement endeavors interesting and sustainable.

 

 

After you watched some of the video, it’s important to understand a couple of things:

1)  I only foam roll problem areas (trigger points, stiff muscles, overactive muscles)

2)  I only address mobility in areas that I lack it.

3)  The dynamic movement prep is mostly total body.

4)  Jumping rope serves to increase blood flow, core temperature and gets me sweating.

The point is that there is no time wasted and everything has a purpose.  My body is prepped for the transition into the physical demands of the workout.

My workout for this day was highly metabolic, which is how I have been training for quite some time now.  All workouts are designed mindfully and not intended to destroy my body, but rather build and condition it intelligently.  I completed all of the exercises below without rest between movements in a 15 minute timeframe (I was tight on time):

Metabolic Strength Training

 

 

I have used workouts like this successfully for over 5 years now.  The loads and exercises are appropriate for my skill and fitness level.  To be completely honest, the less complicated you make a session like this, the more fun you will have.  I rarely stray from the basic movement patterns: push ups, vertical pulling, squats, kb swings, etc.

I am after the training effect, not a circus-like performance.  The risk doesn’t always match the reward with complex movements.  It usually looks great on paper and sucks in practice.

For the time invested, I haven’t found any other style of training that keeps me lean and functional for the time invested.  The trade-off for time reduction is an increase in intensity.  This isn’t for beginner or the weak of heart.  You’ll be tired at the end.

It’s a great blend of work capacity and strength movements that demand full range of motion and attention to technique.  Of course, you can increase the difficulty of a workout like this or make it slightly easier if need be.  Progression is always the answer.

 

Cheers to making less excuses and  taking more action…

 

 

KG