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Minimalist Strength Training for The Housebound

Minimalist Strength Training for The Housebound

Big enough to swing a kettlebell around.
Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

I like to think of myself as a minimalist. Not a hardcore minimalist who takes only chewing gum and a stapler to go on a zombie hunt. But a minimalist nevertheless.

I have a somewhat nihilistic view towards most of the gym equipment. Although I work at a gym (Except now. Cheers, COVID-19. You dick.) with options galore of training equipment, I often set imaginary restrictions on the equipment I can and can’t use.

Working with these invisible rules is a sort of creative outlet, I guess. Besides, time is of an essence with a young family. One equipment training makes the whole session more efficient. Which is sort of nice now when most of us train at home.

Let’s cover everything you need to have and know to master full body strength workouts at home. Even better, take the kettlebell to your backyard or a nearby park for some rays. If you have the luxury to do so.

Equipment

One kettlebell

A weight that is challenging for 10-12 reps of single leg deadlifts. For most people, 12-16kg will do just fine.

Here’s one you can order. Or you can try to rummage Amazon for one. 

Two square metres of space

Ideally without any kids, glass, or pets in the immediate vicinity.

Your body

Makes the training somewhat easier.

Warm up

Let’s keep it simple. Repeat the following warm up for 5-10 minutes, depending on how cold you’re feeling on the day.

  1. Snoop Dog doing Spiderman x 5 per side
  2. Squat to stand x 5
  3. Standing march x 10 per side

Strength exercises

Choose one exercise from each column for the day’s workout. Complete them as a circuit:

Lower body → upper push → upper pull → core

Exercises – choose one from each column

Lower bodyUpper pushUpper pullCore
Single leg deadliftPush upReverse snow angelHigh tension plank
Swing or 1-arm arm swingSingle arm floor pressNaked batwingsBear squat
Goblet squat1-arm pressSplit stance rowHigh tension side plank
Split squatHalf-kneel bent press1-arm 1-leg rowCrawl

Programming

Choose one of the rep ranges: 6-8, 8-10, 10-12, 12-15*.
*Batwings and planks, do the reps as powerful exhales through pursed lips. *Crawls, take one step forward and one step back. Repeat other side. That’s one rep.

Aim to complete as many rounds as you can in 20-30 minutes. 

The goal is to do a strength workout, not mindless high intensity I-forgot-my-name-fuck-the-form-I-am-Troy-is-it-Christmas-yet cardio. After completing a set of one of the exercises, wait until you can comfortably talk before moving to the next exercise.

Then take a bit of extra time after completing a full circuit of the four exercises. Get some water and admire your glistening figure in the mirror. Maybe open the curtains to give the neighbours something to look at.

Never lose your form. Even if it means that you can’t complete the rep range you set out to do. You can always try again another day.

Progressing

If you did 3 rounds last time, try to beat it. Again, don’t sacrifice form to get there.

When the weight is good for some exercises, but too heavy/light for others

If it’s too heavy simply do less reps. If it’s too light you can get creative with pauses, increasing tension, or doing 1.5 reps. Since I am all about tables and columns today, let’s make this into one.

ExercisePauseTension1.5 reps
Single leg deadlift5 seconds at the bottomUp to 5 seconds on the way downn/a
Swing or 1-arm arm swingn/aShould be tight as it isn/a
Goblet squat5 seconds at the bottomUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way down, halfway up, down, up
Split squat5 seconds at the bottomUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way down, halfway up, down, up
Push up5 seconds at the bottomUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way down, halfway up, down, up
Single arm floor press5 seconds in the middle of the rep on the way downUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way down, halfway up, down, up
1-arm press5 seconds in the middle of the rep on the way downUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way down, halfway up, down, up
Half-kneel bent press5 seconds in the middle of the rep on the way downUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way down, halfway up, down, up
Reverse snow angeln/aUp to 10 seconds per directionAll the way down, halfway up, down, up
Naked batwingsn/aShould be tight as it isn/a
Split stance row5 seconds at the topUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way up, halfway down, up, down
1-arm 1-leg row5 seconds at the topUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way up, halfway down, up, down
High tension plankn/aShould be tight as it isn/a
Bear squat5 seconds at the topUp to 5 seconds on the way down and upAll the way up, halfway down, up, down
High tension side plankn/aShould be tight as it isn/a
CrawlStep, spend 2 seconds suspended before touching the groundMove in slow motionn/a

Sample Strength Program

6 minute warm up we covered earlier.

10-12 reps of each exercise with a 16kg kettlebell.

1-arm swings → 1-arm press → split stance row → crawl → longer break.

Repeat for 20 minutes.

To recap

You can get heaps done with a whole lot of nothing and a bit of creativity. As long as you have a kettlebell, a small space and a body, you’re golden.

The hardest part of this housebound living is not deciding what to do with training. The hard part is actually doing the training when you’re stuck on your computer and struggling to switch off work.

Or, if you’re like me, you might have a kid demanding some of your attention. And rightfully so. Being a parent is awesome. More the reason to keep the training short and simple to get on with the other things that matter in life.

The Easy Approach to Training When “Life Happens”

The Easy Approach to Training When “Life Happens”

The Easy Approach to Training When “Life Happens”

There’s times when the workload either at home or in the office hits a tipping point and something’s gotta give. In the perfect world you could always priorities training over everything else but this is not a perfect world It’s a world filled with distractions, some which are urgent and justify tapering your training to an absolute minimum.

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