We've just come through a period of time where people have realised how much can be done from the home environment. At Strength For Endurance, we've witnessed some of our greatest client success stories, whether it be getting over an insurmountable injury, racing Kona or completing Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, all whilst training from home.
Due to modern technology, access to great coaching, and more readily available equipment, the home gym set-up should no longer be perceived as training in your living room with a pair of 2kg vinyl coated dumbbells.
We want to share what we feel are the fundamentals of a home gym set-up, not just for remedial bodyweight exercises, but actual power and strength development.
If investing in equipment is holding you back, you won’t need to get everything at once, but rather as your strength develops. We help our ‘home training’ clients decide what's necessary to start out and then, as they progress, what is needed to help them stay on their upward strength trajectory.
Your Training Space
Firstly, the key is to create an effective training space or set-up that allows you to consistently hit your sessions without having to set too much up or, at the other end of the scale, just ‘make do’. It doesn’t have to be a huge space, but if you can prioritise somewhere in your home where you can always have your kit ready to use, then this will certainly increase your adherence to your program.
Adjustable weights - Dumbbells/ Kettlebells
If you're an aspiring athlete, the two main qualities you’ll be seeking is more speed and more endurance. If this is correct then the prerequisite to this is to develop your level of strength. Even if your starting point is bodyweight exercise, you should progress towards working with weight in a very short amount of time.
With a progressive strength program, you'll likely be moving through the gears, working from 5kg through to 20kg across the space of a few months.
Remember the outcome of all of this gym setup is that you should be seeing significant gains in strength improvement across a very short period of time.
Chin Up Bar/Suspension Trainer
The ability to pull your own bodyweight is absolutely essential to your athletic development. It’s very easy for us to do bodyweight or free weight exercises with pushing and pressing based movements, but the one thing that you may well lack as an endurance athlete is that of posterior chain strength. The suspension trainer is usable for all abilities, from beginner to elite performer, simply due to the range of motion (and difficulty scale) that you can work at.
The progression of this would be the chin up bar, which immediately brings reservations to many people, simply due to the work that is required. But that's the point and why it’s probably the most important upper body exercise you can be working towards, simply because it recruits and trains such a high level of muscle tissue. It’s how you program and work through the exercise timeline that will determine your success.
As your strength develops, which it should do significantly when working from the right program, you'll hit a plateau with the amount of dumbbell or kettlebell weight you can hold in your hands. So this is where the barbell or trap bar will come into play as it allows us to lift greater loads more efficiently.
Remember the stronger you are, the easier your training will become.
With the barbell, we're able to move loads with more complexity and further develop your speed, power, strength and endurance as an athlete.
Squat Rack/ Power Rack
All of you should be working on some sort of squat variation at some point during your programming. You’re going to be working at intensities / or with weights that you’re going to require assistance with, and having the ability to start and finish the exercise with the barbell high up on the rack is key for safety and efficiency.
Many variations will now allow you to fold away the rack for space saving benefits. This rack will become your base of operations for your entire program; upper body, lower body, core based exercises. And the majority of power rack variations will have a built in chin up bar.
A large number of endurance athletes will base their entire strength program around the use of a resistance band, and it will be their only form of resistance. This is great for beginners, but you will outgrow this level of resistance within a space of weeks, and what role they should play in your program beyond this should be more as an aid to improve movement mechanics, engaging key muscle groups and acting as an accessory tool within your training.
Mirror: The mirror, much like using your camera phone is a valuable aid to ensure that you're working with great technique and range of motion. We rely heavily on video footage feedback with all of our SFE programming, to ensure all of our clients are learning, progressing and improving the whole way through their journey.
Landmine Attachment: A simple but fantastic piece of equipment that allows you to utilise the barbell in multiple new ways, bringing an increased level of entertainment and strength development to your sessions.
Stability Ball: A cheap and effective way to bring more stability into your training. Fantastic for developing posterior chain and core strength.
Skipping Rope: Many have a love/hate relationship with this piece of equipment, but it’s a great way of warming up and bringing low level conditioning into your lower leg muscle groups, which is often a problem area for many athletes.
All the gear, no idea!
So many individuals invest in getting themselves set up with the right equipment, but they run the danger of falling under the umbrella of that famous old saying: ‘all the gear, no idea’.
You could actually have an effective program using just a few of the pieces of equipment noted above, because at the end of the day it’s the program you're following that will determine the success of your program.
If you’re looking to overcome injury or improve your performance and aren’t currently strength training, this should be a priority. For more information about the Strength For Endurance Training Programs, whether it’s at home or in the gym, you can find out more at www.strengthforendurance.com or book a free consultation call with us.