Over the last decade, I have been going to the gym twice a week to power through cardio and weight routines. It started out as a great way to keep in shape, but eventually devolved into a fundamental annoyance with my fellow human beings. I ranted about it in a New Year’s Anti-Resolution post. In short, I decided to quit the gym and work out at home. However, I never described what that entailed.
And so, lets do just that. (sings) Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure attenuation …
In a nutshell, I decided to focus on body weight exercise and outdoor activities. I found a great routine over at Nerd Fitness (my favorite site for healthy living). I also found a great article that outlines the six upper body movements. Using both as templates, I created an at-home routine that maintains proper strength without investing in bulky equipment.
Minimal equipment was a driving force. I had invested in heavy equipment in the past, which always ended up on Craigslist due to shifting interests. This time around, I asked myself, “What is the bare minimum I need without sacrificing quality?” That’s how I discovered the wonderful world of calisthenics. Screw machines, all I needed was a few pieces of basic equipment (chair, weighted bar, resistance bands, and a door frame pull-up bar).
Using the bar and bands, I can do most of what I did in the gym on various machines (rows, curls, overhead press, etc.). From there, I use the pull-up bar for pull-ups (shocking) and the chair for dips. The rest are just simple body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges. Easy breezy. Here’s the full routine, doing 3 sets of 10 reps each:
Horizontal Push (push-ups)
Horizontal Pull (bent rows with bar/bands)
Vertical Push (overhead press with bar/bands)
Vertical Pull (pull-ups/negatives)
Elbow Flex (bicep curls with bar/bands)
Elbow Extension (chair dips)
Squats and Lunges
I like to superset each round (all 8 exercises back-to-back with no breaks), which significantly cuts the time. I do this routine three times a week, usually M-W-F, and can knock it out in less than 30 minutes. And then for cardio, I engage in some sort of outdoor activity a few times a week, like a long walk or casual bike ride.
So far so good, I’m actually enjoying my workout again instead of cringing at the gym bros. This is something I can definitely see sticking with for the long haul, so maybe I’ll be pushing down and pulling up well into my golden years.