The Ultimate Quarantine Workout
This blog post is all you need whilst quarantine continues. In this blog post I assume that you have access to ZERO equipment. Like nothing at all. If you have some form of equipment, then you use it in combination with this blog post. But I’m going to assume the worst here and assume that the people reading this don’t have any equipment whatsoever. You’ll see why in a minute when I talk about the two most important techniques available to you: pause reps and negatives.
I will be breaking down the only bodyweight workout you need to do during quarantine and self-isolation. This workout can be repeated several times per week, but we’ll get into that more in a minute. For now, just know that you don’t need any other workouts right now other than this one.
I often say that you need the following six exercises in your workout program: squats, rows, bench press, deadlifts, dips and overhead press. This is very true and it stays the same with bodyweight workouts. I’ve noticed recently that people think that bodyweight workouts are different and something has to change because you aren’t in a gym. Nothing has to change. The principles of building muscle remain the same: compound exercises are king and you will gain the most amount of muscle and strength with these exercises. As long as you are doing the movements mentioned above, you are fine. Focus on the movement, not the type of equipment or specific exercise variation you are doing. These micro details don’t mean anything in the long run…
I recently got off a client call with Chris, a university student in Australia. He’s been spending this week adapting to bodyweight workouts like all of us. We all have different circumstances and we all have different amounts of equipment and space in our homes, but one thing is true for all of us: we can use two techniques called pause reps and negatives. These two techniques are at the very core of the bodyweight workout you are about to see. There’s literally no excuse for not working out at home anymore. Lets get into your bodyweight workout. The workout you will be using throughout the rest of quarantine.
Full Body Warm Up Routine
|Exercise||Time||Reps||Technique/Form||Type of exercise/stretch||Muscle trained|
|Jogging on the spot||5 minutes||N/A||Knees as high as possible. Pump arms back and forth. Focus on opening up your hips as much as possible.||Cardiovascular||Heart|
|Arm helicopters||N/A||10 each arm||Hold onto your shoulder to minimize momentum. Keep head neutral facing forwards.||Dynamic stretch||Shoulders|
|Arm torso crossovers||N/A||10||Alternate which arm is above the other whilst crossing your arms over. Use some momentum with this exercise.||Dynamic stretch||Shoulders and chest|
|Alternating lunges||N/A||10 each leg||Lunge until a 90 degree angle is made at your knee. Keep your back straight, head neutral looking forward. Hold until you can feel a nice stretch in your hips.||Dynamic stretch||Hips|
|Leg swings front to back||N/A||10 each leg||Hold onto a wall or chair whilst doing these. Hold your opposite hand (fingers specifically) on your swinging leg to ‘feel’ the stretch in your hip as you swing back and forth.||Dynamic stretch||Hips|
|Leg swings side to side||N/A||10 each leg||Hold onto a wall or chair again. Don’t swing too far the other way because this can put a lot of stress on your standing leg, due to your foot being planted on the ground and a lot of your bodyweight moving/twisting the other way, this could cause knee injuries if you swing too fast and too far. So just do it lightly and ease into it, always being aware of your standing leg and how your knee feels.||Dynamic stretch||Hips|
Just because you’re working out at home doesn’t mean you can neglect your warm up routine. It’s still just as important. The exercises above are dynamic stretches, which I talk about in more detail in this blog post. These types of stretches are the best because they simulate the exercises you are about to do and move each joint through a full range of motion, increasing flexibility and minimizing injury risk. You must do these dynamic stretches after jogging on the spot for 5 minutes. Doing them beforehand won’t bring any benefits because the whole point of stretching is to increase range of motion, and this is much harder when there is a reduction in blood flow around the body due to a lack of cardio at the start of your warm up routine. In the current climate, we must assume that you aren’t allowed outside (unless you live in the UK and can do one form of exercise per day outside).
Full Body Workout Routine
|Press Ups||3||4-12||1-2 minutes||5 second negatives, 5 second pauses mid repetition||This video here|
|Overhead Press||3||4-12||1-2 minutes||5 second negatives, 5 second pauses mid repetition||This video here|
|Dips||3||4-12||1-2 minutes||5 second negatives, 5 second pauses mid repetition||This video here|
|Rows||3||4-12||1-2 minutes||5 second negatives, 5 second pauses mid repetition||This video here|
|Deadlifts||3||4-12||1-2 minutes||5 second negatives, 5 second pauses mid repetition||This video here|
|Squats||3||4-12||1-2 minutes||5 second negatives, 5 second pauses mid repetition||This video here|
As you can see the exercises are in a certain order. You don’t have to do the exercises in the exact same order each time you workout. However, it is strongly advised that you rotate the order of your exercises. Meaning, you don’t do push exercises that focus on your chest, shoulders and triceps (press ups, overhead press and dips) before pull exercises (rows and deadlifts) and leg exercises (deadlifts and squats) every time. You rotate the order in a 3 day rotation. Meaning, every time you workout you do one of the following exercise order examples:
Exercise Order No.1: Push exercises, pull exercises and leg exercises.
Exercise Order No.2: Pull exercises, leg exercises and push exercises.
Exercise Order No.3: Leg exercises, push exercises and pull exercises.
I would strongly recommend just going from exercise order no.1 to exercise order no.3 and starting the cycle again once you’ve completed all three of them after you’ve done three workouts. Why is this important? It’s important because I don’t want you developing muscle imbalances and having one area significantly stronger than other areas. Muscle imbalances are what cause injuries and that’s the last thing we want to happen. It’s also important from a motivation angle too. You are never as motivated on the last 1-2 exercises in your workouts, so rotating the order of your exercises allows you to make sure that a different exercise that trains a different muscle is at the end of each workout, so you’re not letting the same muscle get less effective training with each workout you do.
Pause Reps And Negatives – Your Secret Strategies
You can also see that you are doing five second pause reps and five second negatives. This is because you don’t have any equipment. If you do have equipment, then you can combine these techniques with your equipment to make your workouts harder. Pause reps are where you pause half way through the rep, hold that pause for 5 seconds and then finish the rep. This increases the time under tension, increasing blood flow to the working muscles and making your workouts much harder. The same applies for negatives too. Negatives are where you slow down the ‘lowering phase’ of the repetition, for 5 seconds, and increase the time under tension that your muscle is contracting for. Again, this technique makes your workouts ten times harder than they would be without it.
How Often Should You Workout?
Beginners, you should follow this workout routine two times per week. You don’t need any more volume (sets and reps) or frequency than this to make significant progress during quarantine. As for intermediates, you should follow this workout routine three times per week. You need a bit more volume and higher training frequency than a beginner. If you don’t know whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, don’t let your ego tell you you’re an intermediate. An intermediate, in my opinion, is someone who has been training for anywhere between 1-3 years whilst a beginner is someone who has been training for under a year.
How To Make Progress?
You can make progress in several ways with this workout. You can do more reps (as long as you stay in the 4-12 rep range), longer pause reps (6 seconds instead of 5 seconds), longer negatives (6 seconds instead of 5 seconds and additional resistance if you add water bottles and books to backpacks. You can also increase the number of sets you are doing, so 4 sets instead of 3 sets and you can increase workout frequency…this last one is particularly relevant if you’re a beginner.
Exercise no.1 – Press Ups
Rest: 2 minutes
Press ups are your bodyweight version of a standard bench press or dumbbell press. They train your chest, shoulders and triceps all in one movement. There are many different variations you can choose from which all focus on different areas. Variation number one: wide grip press ups. As seen in this video here, wide grip press ups focus primarily on your chest more so than your shoulders and triceps. Mentally you should see wide grip press ups as your replacement for bench press. Always be reminding yourself with any bodyweight workout how the exercises at home translate into the gym versions of these exercises. Training is all about principles, not micro specifics like the type of equipment you use.
Exercise no.2 – Overhead Press
Rest: 2 minutes
Overhead press is essential for those wide, tapered shoulders that you’re looking for. You can find out exactly how to do overhead press with no equipment in this video here and this video here. Overhead press blasts your shoulders into smitherines (not literally, but you get the idea…it trains them hard) and it also works your triceps quite a bit too. Again there are many variations but it doesn’t matter which one you use. Just as long as you are doing overhead press. It could be seated or standing and it could be with either dumbbells, barbells, cables or machines. The movement is still the same in each scenario, so it doesn’t matter how you do it. Just as long as you do it!
Exercise no.3 – Dips
Rest: 2 minutes
Dips are probably the best tricep exercise in the game. Like no joke, they are lethal. And what’s great about tricep dips is you can adjust them to suit your level of experience. If you’re a complete beginner then you can do them with your feet on the floor. If you’re more of an intermediate you can do them with your feet on a chair. And if you’re experienced then you can do weighted dips and standing dips on proper dip bars. You can find out exactly how to dips in this video here. Dips also hit your shoulders and blast your chest hard too. They really are a game changer if you’re struggling to come up with exercises to do at home.
Exercise no.4 – Rows
Rest: 2 minutes
Rows are incredible. They are a full back builder and train your entire back musculature. They also hit your biceps hard too and the emphasis you place on your biceps depends on the type of grip you use. If you use a ‘palms facing inwards’ grip, then you will place more emphasis on your back than your biceps. If you use a ‘palms facing outwards’ grip, then you will place more emphasis on your biceps than your back. The same applies for pull ups vs chin ups. Again, you can check out this video to learn how I do rows at home in my garage.
Exercise no.5 – Deadlifts
Rest: 2 minutes
The ultimate back and hamstring builder: deadlifts. You can find out how I do deadlifts without any equipment in this video here.
There are many variations of deadlifts, but because you are doing squats in this bodyweight workout, there’s no need for you to do sumo deadlifts. Sumo deadlifts place a lot of emphasis on your quads (thighs) and this isn’t necessary because you are already squatting. So we’re going to focus on conventional deadlifts, the type of deadlifts that focus on your hamstrings and back.
Exercise no.6 – Squats
Rest: 2 minutes
Lastly, you need to be doing bodyweight squats. You can learn the exact technique that you need for bodyweight squats in this video here. Squats blast your quads (thighs at the front), your glutes (ass) and work your core too. They are the ultimate leg builder and you must be doing them if you want strong, warrior legs like me. Your glutes are the biggest and most powerful muscles in your legs and if you really want to be powerful in sports and optimize everyday functioning with day-to-day chores, you need to be squatting. The same applies to deadlifting, which we’ll get onto in a second.
You must treat this blog post like a workout routine…because it is! And it’s all you need whilst you are in quarantine and self-isolation. Lets get to work. Lets get jacked and lean during quarantine.