Well, here we are again. Lockdown 3.0.
Gyms are shut, we are without the glorious heatwaves of summer 2020, and you’re dying to start your 2021 fitness plan but with no idea how to add any relevant intensity to your bodyweight sessions at home.
You’re not alone. It’s frustrating, but super easy to fix and we’re going to explain three simple methods to give you the same benefits of a weights session:
Time under tension (TUT) is a straightforward method related to the length of time you place a muscle group under strain. For example, the average set of 10 reps would take anywhere between 30-45 seconds. When we apply the TUT method, we can extend the average set length by anything up to an extra 30 seconds by slowing each rep’s tempo. Give this a try at home:
Set 1: Complete a typical set of 12-15 reps
Rest for 30-60 seconds
Set 2: Complete as many reps as you can using the following tempo: lower for 3, pause for 1, lift for 1, pause for 1. Repeat.
Was the second set more interesting? We thought it would be!
Slowing down your reps is a great way to ramp up the intensity and ignite your muscle-building potential.
The term “isometric” in fitness refers to when a muscle contracts without shortening or lengthening. As such, these are static holds such as wall sits and plank holds.
The aim here is to hold these for a set amount of time, anywhere between 30-90 secs is a good marker. These can be done as standalone exercises to ramp up the muscle burn during a bodyweight workout.
Our favourite at Namix is combining these static holds after doing an exercise for the same muscle group. For example, perform a set of squats swiftly followed by a 60-second wall sit.
From around 30 seconds onwards, your legs will be on fire! Repeat this for a further 2-4 rounds to test your endurance.
Home workouts can be somewhat casual, and sometimes it’s hard to muster the motivation to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
At times like these, this is okay right now.
The benefits of physical activity during a third lockdown for both physical and mental wellbeing hugely outweigh any negatives.
But for those that are time-restricted to 20-30 minutes on their lunch break, or find themselves with a spare moment when the kids have gone to bed, our third way to ramp up the intensity is to reduce your rest periods.
Be strict and keep your rest times for anywhere between 20-40 seconds and you’ll see a massive increase in your heart rate, the difficulty of your workout, and you’ll be surprised at how time-efficient your training will be. Get it done, dusted and push on with the rest of your day!
If you’ve not tried them before, we recommend a Tabata session: Pick an exercise and perform eight rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off.
There are plenty of different methods to implement, but these three will give you the best bang for your buck, and without the need for any extra kit.