Adapting to working out from home

In this unprecedented time many of you are asking will we be able to get a good workout in even though the gyms are now closed? 

Well yes, you definitely can! 

Here are some of my thoughts around training during this period.

To start with you need to remember the fundamental movement patterns. Download the free guide here


  • Vertical Press e.g. DB overhead press
  • Vertical Pull e.g. Chin/Pull-ups
  • Horizontal Press e.g. Bench press, press-ups
  • Horizontal Pull e.g. 1 arm row, BB row
  • Hip Hinge e.g. Deadlift, Hip thrust
  • Squat e.g. BB back squat, Leg press
  • Accessory work e.g. Bicep curls, Lateral raises etc


From here we can start to manipulate the usual exercises you do in the gym for these movements and adapt them for the home environment – with or without equipment. 

For Nutrition tips for home click here

back to the training ….


It’s important to remember that from a muscle preservation perspective, doing no exercise will become an issue. Whilst muscle is not gained quickly it will also take a longer time to lose muscle so don’t be freaking out. Mentally a good approach would be to go into maintenance mode and look to maintain what you have worked hard to create. Whilst strength might be something that you need to put to one side for now, when the gyms reopen you’ll be able to get it back reasonably quickly. 


Ways to add weight when doing the movements:


  • Add weight into a bag e.g. rocks or heavy books – this works for both back and front! 
  • You can hold a heavy object – if you have Dumbbells/Kettlebells use them or use a heavy stone from your garden! 
  • You can use resistance bands
  • You can modify the exercise to make it harder to complete
  • You can add water to a container like a bucket


Download my banded resistance training guide here


Vertical Press example movement swap-outs


Usually, these would be exercises like Barbell, Dumbbell or Kettlebell overhead presses. Barbell might be out the window but hopefully, you have some Dumbbell or Kettlebells and can keep going with those. If not then here are some other examples

  • Banded overhead press
  • Handstand press-ups
  • 2 handed rock(or other heavier object) overhead press
  • Pike Press-ups


Vertical Pull example movement swap-outs


This is a slightly trickier one as you essentially need resistance above your head to pull towards your body. You can do this with if you have a chin-up bar or a branch! 

  • Chin/Pull-ups
  • Band assisted Chin/Pull-ups
  • Band pulldowns (to replace the lat pull down)


Horizontal Press example movement swap-outs


Again hopefully you have the Dumbbells or Kettlebells where you can do something like a floor press but if you don’t you can go for these:

  • Press ups – use incline and not knee press-ups if you need to
  • Feet elevated Press-ups
  • Weight loaded press-ups (with the backpack for example)
  • Band resisted press-ups
  • Diamond press-ups (more focus on triceps here)


Horizontal Pull example movement swap-outs

So here the aim is to be pulling weight towards your body. You could do:

  • Dumbbell or Kettlebell rows
  • 1 arm Dumbbell or Kettlebell rows
  • Banded rows
  • Brush shaft rows (between 2 chairs – replaces the BB inverted rows)


Hip Hinge example movement swap-outs


The usual ones here are things like the Barbell Deadlift or the Barbell Hip thrust so you have to think slightly differently here:

  • DB/KB deadlifts
  • 1 leg RDL’s – add weight if
  • Banded Deadlifts
  • Hip thrusts
  • Banded hip thrusts (kneeling or standing)
  • 1 leg hip thrust
  • Banded Good mornings
  • Glute bridges


Squat example movement swap-outs


Here we’d have carried out movements like Barbell Back Squats or the Leg Press but for other options, we might use:

  • Goblet squats – using DB, KB, holding a rock or wearing a backpack
  • Archer Squats
  • 1 Leg Pistol Squats
  • Bulgarian Split Squats
  • Lunges



Accessory work movements


These muscle groups will be utilised using the movements above but you still want to be hitting the isolation work as you usually would at the gym:

  • Bicep curls – DB or using resistance bands
  • Tricep pull downs – using resistance bands
  • Tricep Dips
  • Lateral/Front shoulder raises using DB’s or resistance bands


How often should I be working out?

The reality is you could just carry on with your standard workout routine whatever way you’ve set that up. You have enough swap out exercises to continue on as normal. 

You may need to however up the rep ranges to make sure the intensity is still there. So if you usually did strength Barbell Back Squat 3 sets of 6 reps at an RPE of 8 you can then swap that out for 4 sets of Goblet Squats for 12 reps to try and get the same intensity.  

RPE – Rate of perceived exertion chart again for reference!

Here are some routine examples you could use:

Full body

3 days a week e.g. Monday/Wednesday/Friday – incorporates all of the movements in each session – Vertical Press/Pull, Horizontal Press/Pull, Hip Hinge and Squat! Might take a bit longer but it hits everything. Good for beginners and people coming back from injuries or starting to train again after a while off

Upper/Lower Split

Could do this 4 times a week or more e.g. Monday – Upper, Tuesday – Lower, Wednesday – Pilates or rest day, Thursday – Upper and Friday Lower. Allows a bit more volume for the muscles groups than you would get per session if doing Full Body. Good for intermediates

Push/Pull split

Because you are using opposing muscle groups you can up the frequency e.g. Push/Pull/Push/Pull/Push/Pull or another way is Push/Pull/Legs/Push/Pull/Legs. The movements for Push = Vertical and Horiontal Push and your Squat variants and then for Pull it would be the Vertical and Horiontal Pull and your Hip Hinge variants. This is good for advanced trainee as there is alot more volume here


If you have any questions about these just reach out to me!

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