July 19, 2021
At the best of times, it can be a challenge to stay active, form a healthy daily workout routine, and create a strong physical body. 2021 is not the best of times.
As long as you’re stuck at home and can’t make it to the gym, it’ll be that much more of a challenge to sculpt a healthy body. There’s a ton of great benefits to working out at home vs a gym. So how do you avoid letting 2021 get the best of you? This article aims to help.
It’s well known that giving yourself a clearly defined challenge is important to make yourself actually do the exercises daily, week after week.
The most popular of these challenges in 2021 is 30-day fitness challenges.
As you might imagine, a 30-day fitness challenge is a workout challenge that you commit to following for at least 30 days.
During this time, you start off on easy exercises and slowly progress to higher intensity challenges – either by increasing the weight, doing more reps, a combination of both, or even doing entirely new workouts on different weeks.
There is no magic workout you can do once and then forget about.
Like it or not, the health of your body depends on you to continue training regularly.
A 30 day challenge is a great path to training your mind to exercise without prompting.
The goal of the 30-day fitness challenge is that by the time you reach the end you should be on track to carry on with the workout for your entire life from momentum alone.
Because you will need to carry on doing exercise for the rest of your life, long after the challenge is over, the best 30-day workout challenge is one that you will actually do.
That is to say, the best home workout challenge depends on you and is tailored to your own personal health and body.
Consider your life goals, your level of focus to stay active, your home gym environment and your health and adapt your challenges to suit your own situation.
Ideally, your workouts should be done daily at home for free.
They should make use of your body weight and require only equipment and weights that you already have when possible.
Anything that will help you start off and avoid needing a trip to the gym.
That said, there are some tips to tailoring your home exercise challenge routine
In the beginning, you’ll want to start off slowly.
Since the challenge involves daily workouts for a 30-day stretch, you’ll want to make sure you don’t pick workouts that will burn you out and have you giving up before the end of the 30 days.
Here are a few ideas for things you might want to include at the beginning of your home exercise challenges in 2021.
The plank is always a classic, and is a perfect stepping stone for the beginning of your 30 day challenge.
It’s absolutely free to do, requiring no equipment except for maybe a yoga mat if your floor is uncomfortable.
It uses your body weight to work and strengthen your core, on top of developing the strength to maintain proper form for later things like push-ups.
To do a plank, lay down on the ground – or a yoga mat if you prefer – and then prop yourself up so that your forearms and toes are the only contacts with the ground.
Engage your core muscle group in order to keep your back straight, as your back is a central part of every complete body exercise challenge and you don’t want to injure it.
Hold until you can’t hold the position anymore, then move on. You don’t need to count the number of reps – with this pose, one rep is functionally the same as one set.
Just as with planking, the squat challenge is one of the types of challenges that builds your capabilities so that you can do tougher challenges down the road.
Doing squats will work your leg muscle group and your flexibility in your hip, knee, and ankle joints.
To do squats, stand with each leg shoulder-width apart to begin.
Push your hips back and bend at the knees and lower yourself as far as you can go without losing your balance or lifting your heels off the ground.
Hold an arm out to grab something stable in case your stamina breaks down.
Reverse direction and return to standing.
If you can’t get down far enough for your thighs to be parallel with the ground, hold yourself as low as you can safely get for as long as you can to stretch out and improve your flexibility.
You’ll need it later.
When you’re starting out on your journey, working out every day will already be a stretch.
Try to keep your early sessions to around 30 minutes per day and progress as you get stronger.
After the first week or so of your new challenge, the work should hopefully be getting easier and you should be able to hold basic poses more reliably.
When you get to this point it’s time to make things a little tougher, with more moves and harder variations of old ones using more weight.
Push-ups are perfect for working much of your upper body – your arms, chest, shoulders, and so on.
Push ups as well as sit ups are great in that they are absolutely free and you can do them anywhere.
Don’t forget that it’s important for your health that you do every workout right.
Healthy push-ups begin with something similar to a plank position.
This is why you start out getting used to planking.
Instead of resting on your forearms, rest on your hands with your arms out straight under your shoulders.
Make sure your legs aren’t touching the ground, only your toes.
Keep your back straight and bend at the elbows to lower yourself until your chest touches the ground or yoga mat, then reverse direction until your arms are straight again.
Squats without weight are great and all, but once your joints are flexible enough to get smoothly in and out of position they don’t offer very much challenge.
To keep your leg muscles active and healthy, squatting with weight is the next step up.
Start with low added resistance, then increase the resistance as you build your strength and confidence.
There are a variety of ways to practice squatting with extra resistance.
If you search online, you’ll find links to videos for all kinds of different methods for holding the weights posted all over social media. Be careful in your search, however, especially in 2021.
If you find that the person demonstrating their squatting performance has lots of overdramatic tags on their post, you’ll want to take their advice with a grain of salt. The post may be nothing more than a thinly veiled advertisement for something rather than a genuinely helpful video.
To save you the trouble of the search, here’s one example of a popular method of weighted squatting.
It can be done with any type of solid dumbbell that you have the strength to lift, but ideally, one of low mass to begin with.
To do this one, get yourself a solid dumbbell and stand it on one end. Then, pick it up and hold it in front of you by the top end using your upturned palms.
You’ll want to hold it fairly close to you so as not to put undue stress on your wrists and shoulders. Then, squatting as normal is all you’ve got to do.
By this point you’re at least halfway through the challenge and you’ve made measurable gains in strength and stamina. Well done!
By now what’s left to do is continue to make modifications and add in new moves to make sure you don’t get bored.
If you develop the habit of keeping your work out interesting, then by the time you finish the challenge you won’t need a reason to keep working any more.
Remember, you have to be an active participant in your own physical health from here on to the end.
From 2021 onward, it is your responsibility to continue to motivate and challenge yourself to stay in shape.
Whether it’s Jul or Dec, 2021 or 3021, the best time to begin working out was before you got out of shape in the first place.
The second best time is right now.
Just don’t forget, this is all for your own sake.
Try not to let yourself slip, but don’t overdo it either.
Make sure to get enough rest in between work outs.
Hopefully, this has given you some inspiration on developing your very own perfect home workout challenge in 2021 and beyond.
If you have questions or would simply like more personalized guidance, consider looking into getting a personal trainer through System2.
Written by: Nathan Dresser