Initially a complete shock to the system, national lockdowns seem to have become something we're fairly used to now. And, even though they were originally a huge interruption to our studio and gym workouts, home workouts have been the norm for a good while.
The only thing is that working out at home can be more likely to end up in an injury, should you be making a few common home workout mistakes. The Body Coach, aka the Joe Wicks, says there are six errors he sees people making with their home fitness routines. Fortunately, he's here to help problem solve, as well.
1. Skipping the warm-up
We've all done it, jumped straight into a session without actually preparing properly. It makes "sense" at the time but know that you're setting yourself up for a few bad outcomes.
"In my YouTube workouts, I try to encourage people to do a warm-up but sometimes, they want to crack on and get straight into it. Now I try to incorporate warm-up exercises into the workout. By doing that, you're priming your joints, and your body's ready for it and you can get into a nice deep squat and lunge without any tightness," says Wicks.
"Yes, it's the "boring" part of the workout, the warm-up and the cool down, but it's the most effective for your flexibility and your joints, and to really get the most out of the session recover more quickly. I would really emphasise the need, even if it's a quick three or four-minute dynamic warm-up, before you start going into explosive jumps and things like that."
2. Not focusing on your form
There's nothing like having a personal trainer on tap able to point out where you're going wrong with your exercise technique. Unfortunately, that's just not realistic when you're working out at home. Because of this, we can slip into bad form without even realising and then continue those same bad habits every time we workout.
Wicks has a pretty simple hack to get you back on technique track, watch what the trainer does and try to recreate it with the help of a mirror.
"Video content of a trainer demonstrating the technique will help you. It's also good having a mirror to exercise with as you can see your form which can be really useful. A good online trainer will be demonstrating good technique – just try your best to follow along."
3. Thinking it's all about your body
Exercise is just as much for your mind as it is for your body, so don't get caught short thinking anything else.
"Don't do it just for your physical body. So many people only do it for their body, like it's a punishment," says Wicks. "If you shift your mindset and you start thinking about the mental health benefits and how much it changes your life and how much better you feel, that's going to be the thing to motivate you to come back and exercise."
4. Thinking you need loads of kit to get fit
A fully stocked home gym absolutely isn't a necessity. You can get really fit using just your body weight.
"I really think all you need is a good exercise mat and a water bottle. That's it because most of the exercises I do are just bodyweight ones," Wicks says. But don't be fooled that bodyweight exercises are necessarily more easy than their weighted counterparts. You can make them much more challenging simply by slowing the exercise down, adding in static holds or removing one point of contact with the floor.
5. Waiting for an injury to start stretching
This is common and very much linked to point one. Barrelling through the week without making time for recovery (stretching and mobility work) or overtraining can lead to an injury. The best way to avoid this is to make stretching part of your regular routine.
"My advice is, don't wait until you're tired and you've got an injury and pain somewhere before you start taking it seriously. Be someone who can really move their body, who works all the joints. That way you're going to be able to move better and you're going to feel so much more confident as well when you're exercising."
6. Not making your workout routine fit your lifestyle
A brilliant 45-minute workout might not work in reality when you're juggling so many other things. With this in mind, look to make your workout as realistic for your daily routine as possible – this will help ensure it actually happens.
"It's about reducing the resistance – the friction points between you and your workout," says Wicks. "If you use your kitchen, bedroom, living room or garden, there's no excuse. You could do it in your pants or in your underwear if you wanted to. This is the quickest way to a sustainable and consistent exercise routine."
Although you might feel like you should, don't shoot for the moon every day. It'll just end up demotivating you. Instead, aim for small, consistent wins. They're the ones that add up to long-term progress.
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