Thanks to the pandemic, many former gym junkies and fitness aficionados have become accustomed to working out at home—and while lots of people (and wallets) are enjoying this shift away from visiting the gym, it’s not always easy to find the motivation to complete all types of workouts. This is especially true when it comes to strength training.
According to a Freeletics survey, 51 percent of participants report struggling the most when it comes to strength training, with over a third of those polled reporting that they even have a hard time doing yoga and pilates at home, which are both forms of building strength.
There is a multitude of reasons why people find doing at-home strength workouts tough, including being uncertain of correct form, and just not feeling motivated enough to get through the more intense, challenging sets and reps without a trainer’s encouragement (or without the eyes of other gym-goers). “Many people struggle to do strength training at home because it can be intimidating,” says personal trainer Amina Barnes, NASM CPT. “But there’s no need to overthink it!”
If you’ve been dragging your feet on incorporating strength training into your workouts, then keep scrolling to read five tips from fitness trainers on how to do so.
Find out what you like to do
While this might sound like common sense, a lot of people tend to choose “effectiveness” over enjoyment when planning their workouts. “Find a workout and trainer that you enjoy!” says New York-based fitness instructor Garret Caillouet. “It’s much easier to stick to your fitness goals if you enjoy the work you’re doing.”
If you’re not sure what you like, then reflect on workouts that you didn’t enjoy in the past and ask yourself: Was it the trainer in the video you didn’t like? The music? Or the actual style of workout? If you specify what you like and don’t like, then it’ll be easier to fine-tune from there.
Pump up your jams
Music plays a big psychological role in your motivation and energy output during your exercise sessions. “Studies have shown that music can motivate and increase the performance of some of the world’s top-performing athletes,” Barnes explains. “Finding your exercise rhythm at home can be a challenge, but with the right tunes, you’ll be making moves in no time. Create your own playlist or discover new ones online—it’ll help you give yourself the extra boost you need to tackle a tough workout at home.”
Vary your schedule
If your usual weight-lifting routine isn’t motivating you, then Caillouet suggests changing it up and trying pilates or barre which also builds strength. “Don’t get me wrong, consistency is key when building strength and muscle, but stepping outside of your comfort zone with new exercises or a new instructor can keep things spicy and interesting. No one wants to be bored with their workout,” she says.
Use your body
A lot of people think that you need weights to work on your strength, however, if you don’t have access to equipment at home, your body weight is more than enough to build strength. “Many people don’t realize you can use your bodyweight to build strength at home. Try simple moves like push-ups, squats, and full-body sit-ups,” suggests Barnes. “You can increase the resistance your body needs to form lean muscle by adding small dumbbells to your exercises.”
Take your time
Let’s face it. Working out is sometimes hard. Instead of being hard on yourself, Caillouet stresses the importance of being forgiving. “Not every day is going to be your best and that’s okay. Showing up for yourself is what matters. Remember, fitness is self-care.”