home workout program!
Minimal Equipment, Maximal Results, & Social Distancing Approved!
Alec Enkiri | 11/9/20
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The entire home workout program detailed in this article is free and available for download on Google Docs.
It's also available on YouTube in video format complete with exercise demonstrations.
If you have access to a gym for the foreseeable future you should Check out my re-usable training templates! Designed to take a trainee from beginner to advanced lifter while maximizing muscle and strength gains!
It's a shame that I have to make this blog post, but it looks like we're not quite out of the woods yet here in terms of the global pandemic. Cases of Covid-19 are expected to surge in the United States in the coming weeks, especially as we move through the fall and the winter, and they've already begun to spike pretty rapidly across the European Union, according to several recent reports that I've read. So in light of that it would be prudent to plan for your gym to be closed again, and possibly very soon. I've actually gotten multiple comments from subscribers on my YouTube channel these past couple weeks saying that the gyms have already been closed in their countries.
If any business is going to be shut down a second time for this pandemic, it's going to be gyms, remember that, so if you can swing it it might seriously be time to start considering investing in a home gym, and if you need some ideas on how to go about getting that process started then check out my article THE HOME GYM STARTER KIT: 5 Essential Pieces of Equipment For Starting a Home Gym.
Given how volatile and unpredictable everything is right now it really seems like that's the route you should go at this point if you're able to, but I know not everyone has the space for that so barring that, I've decided to put together a solid home workout plan, or at least mostly home workout plan, that's going to buy you at least 2 or 3 months of very productive work and allow you to still make good progress during that time even without access to a gym. The idea here is to keep the required equipment very minimal, in this case really just a set of resistance bands and some weight plates, but it's important to note that because of that this isn't an indefinite plan and we're really just making the best of a bad situation. If you are looking for an optimal long term plan and you know you'll still have access to a gym for the foreseeable future then you should check out my series of re-usable training templates.
But so the focus here is going to be on a lot of body weight exercises. We're going to use the plates and bands we have available to increase the external resistance as you become stronger, but we'll also rely heavily on manipulating density here as a form of progression. This plan really is not for beginners though. It is designed for serious lifters in the intermediate to advanced stage of training and you need to have pretty good relative strength to make it worthwhile. I've linked some good resistance bands at the bottom of the page here as well a doorway pullup bar in case you don't have that because you will need one to be able to complete the program optimally. I don't recommend buying the ones that just attach to the doorframe via pressure because I've seen too many of those come undone on too many occasions to trust them. So the one I've linked below does require some screws to be put into the doorframe, but that shouldn't be a big deal if you're serious about this program and about maintaining or increasing your overall fitness even in these difficult times.
So what can you expect here? To be honest, you'll probably add some decent size to your upper body. This is going to be a lot of total reps and a high total workload on exercises that you probably don't do that often, so you can expect some good muscular gains in the upper body. As for the lower body, the strength options are limited here so it's going to be a larger focus on explosiveness instead, which is something that a lot of lifters neglect. So this will be a good change up for many of you in this regard, but there will also be a pretty potent hypertrophy stimulus for both the quads and the posterior chain as well. Anyway, let's take a look at the training plan!
So it's a 4 day week upper/lower split here. You should train 2 days in a row followed by 1-2 days of rest (e.g. Upper 1 on Monday and Lower 1 on Tuesday; rest on Wednesday; Upper 2 on Thursday and Lower 2 on Friday; rest Saturday and Sunday; repeat). Pretty straightforward. As you can see, you're going to be doing a lot of push-ups of different sorts, a lot of chin-ups, a lot of lunges, and some good old fashioned sprinting and jumping. And that's really the meat and potatoes of thing. If you don't like that sort of thing then this isn't going to be the plan for you, but I truly believe that this sort of a training program is good for most meatheads because the fact is a lot of you guys don't move around enough. I was guilty of that for a long time myself even, but the shit we do in the gym doesn't make up for NOT running and jumping. Those things should be done - and they need to be done - you just have to break yourself in appropriately and you'll be fine.
And I know someone is going to chime in and tell me this is a reckless recommendation because for whatever reason sprinting is considered by laypeople to be some kind of super dangerous activity, and like anything worth doing, it's not without risk - obviously - but tell me, what's more dangerous: sprinting and maybe tweaking a hammie at some point? Or being in such piss poor shape overall that the act of sprinting itself represents some kind of overly dangerous scenario for your body? Because I'm inclined to say the latter, in which case, you should probably rectify that. Or you're not really in shape, no matter what you might tell yourself. Sprinting is a primal, natural, and intuitive activity and to lack the capacity to even do it is a scary though to me personally. Just start off slow and break yourself in over the course of a few weeks and you'll be fine.
Plyometric push-up. This session kicks off with the plyometric push up. The main thing here is that you should keep a rhythm and knock out all of your reps in an unbroken fashion. Go for maximal power and maximal explosiveness with every rep you do and be sure to rest an adequate amount of time in between sets. You want to stay explosive here on every set.
Banded push-up. Now these are actually deceptively difficult, and in spite of the fact that it seems like this should be a triceps dominant exercise because of the band, the chest activation is actually incredibly high. Here you'll do a density block. Start off with 10 minutes and do as many reps as possible during the 10 minutes. Repeat the following week and try to get more total reps the second go around.
In week 3 increase the density block to 12 minutes in duration and repeat the process. You can continue in this fashion until you get to anywhere from a 16 to 20 minute density block, so that'll take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks right there just to do that. At that point you can double up on the bands and start the process all over again.
Close Grip Chin-up. You'll do the exact same thing with the close grip chin-up as you did with the banded push-up. Here you'll need that weight plate I mentioned earlier, at least eventually. Initially, most of you will want to start with body weight only as with he close grip these are significantly more difficult than regular chin-ups. But once you've knocked out a 16 or so minute density block and accrued a few hundred total reps then you can go ahead and add a 10 pounder or a 25 pounder to the exercise, whatever you have on hand, and do it all over again!
1 Arm Plank. Now this is fucking hard - much much harder than a regular plank. It also incorporates aspects of anti-rotation along with the typical anti-extension aspect. Start off with 20 seconds per side and increase from there. If you can get to 4 rounds of 40 seconds per side then put a plate on your back and start over.
Shoulder Quad Set. And finally we finish up Session 1 with the quad set for the shoulders. This is gonna burn. So you start off here holding a 10 pound or 25 pound plate, whatever you have available. It's better if you have a pair if plate for this exercise series so that you can do both arms at the same time, so just bear that in mind as well. Start with rear delt flyes and go to basically failure; then move immediately to the lateral and do the same thing; then move immediately to the front raise and so the same thing; and then finally finish up with the overhead press. And that's one set! Rest for maybe 30 or 60 seconds and then attack it again and keep going in this fashion until you get to 30 reps per exercise. Some exercises will get wrapped up quicker than others and that's fine. From that point forward though, over the course of the next several weeks or months, you can work your way up to 40 reps, and 50 reps, and maybe even 60 reps per exercise. And then at that point it would be better to switch to a slightly heavier plate if possible and repeat the process.
Weighted Jump. I like to perform these just like a regular standing vertical jump but with some extra weight added on to it. You can pretty much do this forever and its always going to have some level of value for you, but if you have multiple weights that you can rotate through every few weeks that's even better. Either way, take a normal jump stance with the plates held at your sides, hit the bottom - I like to pause for a second or two to eliminate some of the stretch reflex - and then explode back up to the top with maximal effort and maximal aggression every single time. Make sure you land nice and solidly, then reset and get ready for the next rep. Be sure to rest a few minutes between sets here so that you can give it your all with every rep.
Reverse Lunge. Here we're going to do basically the same thing as we did with the banded push-ups the day before. Just use whatever weight you have available and knock out as many reps as you can in 10 minutes. Try to get within roughly 2-3 reps of failure every time you hit a set, rest briefly, and then get after it again. As you move through the weeks try to get more total reps in, increase the duration of the density block by a couple minutes here and there to give yourself more time, and add more weight to the exercise in time, if you have it available.
Glute Bridges and Banded Good Mornings. For the bridges I recommend holding every rep at the top for at least 5 seconds and just focus on flexing the glutes while you're up there. This exercise is always really more about quality anyway and people often try to go too heavy with it and they really lose the beneficial effect that it offers in the first place so lowering the weight like this can actually be a good thing on this exercise. Focus on feeling the glutes burn and do as many clean reps as you can, at least 20 per set if possible. The total rep count doesn't really matter here so much as the fatigue that you're able to create in the glutes does, that's really what were going for.
And then after the bridges move immediately into the banded good morning. These are actually pretty legit and I think I'm going to start doing them on a regular basis to be honest. The bands really change the movement because now just holding posture up top is actually a massive strain on the glutes so that you don't get pulled down and forward. Adding in some additional weight in your hands is also really helpful because the bands don't do too much at the bottom. But you can really load up the band tension on this exercise and the hamstring and glute activation gets cranked up pretty damn high so just focus on getting a good hamstring stretch as you descend, flex the glutes hard at the top, and knock out a bunch of clean reps. After you finish the set you can rest for a minute and then move into the next round. And be sure to check out the YouTube video if you need to see the exercise in action!
Dead Stop Plyo Push-up. Next up is Session 3, which is Upper Body #2! You'll kick this one off with the plyo push-up again, but this time you'll do the reps from a dead stop in the bottom, which is substantially more difficult. You wont be able to push yourself off the ground nearly as high like this as compared to the rhythmic variation. So move to the bottom of the push-up, pause for 2-3 seconds, and then explode up as high as you can. Really give it al you've got! Then catch yourself and allow the momentum to carry you back to the bottom again, pause for 2-3 seconds, and then explode again. Repeat for 6-8 reps or until you begin to lose power.
Close Grip Weighted Push-up and Dead Hang Chin-up. For the close grip push-ups just use the grip width you would use for a close grip bench press, or maybe a tad narrower. Pause in the bottom for 1-2 seconds, and then press yourself explosively back up to the top.
I demo this exercise on my knuckles as I find that much more comfortable than putting the hands flat, but if you have push-up handles those would be a great option here as well. Either way, knock out as many clean reps as you can here - nothing wrong with going to failure on an exercise like this - but between the close grip, the pauses, and the extra weight on your back don't expect to be knocking out an insane amount of reps anyway. If you really need more resistance you can add a light band to complement the weight plate on your back.
For the chin-up you'll do the same thing as the push-up, 5 sets of as many clean reps as possible. This time you'll use your normal chin-up grip instead of a close grip. Be sure to add the weight plate onto your dipping belt if you need it and perform every rep from a dead hang in the bottom this time. Make sure you reach full extension so you get a good stretch in the lats, do a quick 3 count in your head, and then move into the next rep.
Band Face Pull and Hammer Curl. Here you'll perform alternating sets and the goal is just to reach the total rep count. Work nearly to failure on the face pull, then immediately switch to the hammer curl and do the same thing. Rinse and wash and repeat until you get to 100 reps each. For these exercises the loading is really inconsequential. We're just trying to work the upper back, and work the biceps and forearms, so just focus on really feeling those muscles work hard and get pumped up. You can shorten the rest times and exaggerate the eccentrics to make things a little bit harder as you move through the program.
And finally Session 4! This one is my favorite of all because here we finally get to sprint! But you're going to start off with some jumps first.
Lunge Jumps. Focus on exploding vertically as high as possible, do a little scissor kick in the air to switch legs, and then move rhythmically into the next rep with the other leg. Remember to be as explosive as possible with every rep here and be sure to rest a couple minutes between sets so that you stay fresh. Perform 5 total sets of 5 jumps per leg on each set. After a few weeks you can experiment with adding a small amount of weight if you think it's necessary.
Sprint Series. Next up is the sprint! Here it's tough to give hard recommendations because it's going to be a very individualized thing. The important points to note are that you want to break yourself in adequately and you want to rest a lot between sets. To break yourself in just start slow - start off with a jog if you have to - and then push just a tiny bit harder each week until you are going all out. You can do this over the course of 6 to 8 weeks, there's no shame in it, but if you haven't sprinted in a while you will tweak something if you aren't careful....so be careful! Like I said earlier though, everyone should be able to sprint without worry or issue. If you're below the age of fucking 50 and you cant run then that is honestly a problem and you should work on it. You are NOT fit if you cant run. I don't care what else you can do.
Feel free to get creative here though and mix things up a bit every few weeks. You can run on flat ground, you can run up hills, or you can run up stairs. Feel free to rotate through all of these if you have a good hill or good stairs nearby. And other than that, once you become proficient, vary the distances as well. You can do short sprints of 20 to 40yds for a couple weeks, then move into 80 to 100 meter sprints for a time, and then 200 or even 300 meter runs as well, and then go back to the short stuff again. Just remember, the longer the sprints the longer you need to rest in between sets. The rule of thumb here is 1 minute of rest for every 10 meters sprinted so if you are running 100 meters that day you should be resting approximately 10 minutes in between runs in order to stay fresh and explosive. Either way, be sure to start off with just a couple of runs at first and slowly increase the volume as your work capacity increases.
Walking Lunge. And then after the sprints you might as well wrap things up with some walking lunges since you're already outside anyway. For these no weight is required, just do 3 sets of as many clean reps as possible. That might be 20 or 30 or even 40 steps per leg, depending on how strong you are at the moment. Rest for a minute or two, and then hit it again. These are going to burn, but they'll basically guarantee that you don't lose any leg size and your legs might actually get bigger as well, so don't skimp here!
And that pretty much covers it guys. There's a lot to digest here, but this program isn't too shabby. So when your gym inevitably closes again this fall or winter be sure to check it out and consider giving it a shot. Even if you're an advanced trainee I can guarantee you there is something here that is going to be very challenging and very beneficial for you. Some of this stuff is deceptively difficult, I'm not gonna lie, and the heavy bands really go a long way towards increasing the value of the push-ups and the good mornings. So anyway, feel free to modify the program as you see fit in order to best suit your needs, and be sure to share it with someone else who you think might benefit from it!
And if you found this article valuable or helpful then please be sure to keep checking back in with my website for more content like this! Best of luck to everyone and be safe out there!
A synopsis of this blog post in video format for those who prefer visual learning. The video is timestamped on YouTube and I demonstrate the majority of the exercises found in the program so you can see how to execute them properly. Best of luck and please let me know how the program works out for you!