When it comes to doing a home workout effectively, the only measure to go by is the amount of work that gets done. The term work is used to describe “moving a weight over a distance” and the SI unit of work is joule (J), which is defined as the amount of work required to move an object over a distance. This measure of work- Joule, can be converted to Calories. As we all know, Calories being the well-known measure of the energy we get from food, as well as the energy expended in the workouts we do as well as our daily activities, it’s therefore directly related to the amount of work completed during our workouts.
If this is all too sciency for you- let me simplify it: If a person was to carry a 10kg weight over a distance of 1 km, it would not make a difference whether he runs or walks, as the weight and the distance is the same in each instance. The energy that is expended is balanced out because if it takes 15 minutes to walk the distance while carrying the weight, but it only takes 7 minutes to run it. The 8-minute difference would be spent doing work in the first instance, while no work will be done in the second.
So what does this mean for your bodyweight workouts at home? Simply that: It makes no difference how long you train, but rather, how hard you push yourself by moving more accumulative mass or applying more accumulative force. Also known as the volume of work that gets done. In other words, doing heavier exercises, that force you to literally push harder.
Now, although the time that passes from the moment you begin your workout until it ends is immaterial to the effectiveness of your workout, applying the time factor by attempting to do your exercises faster or with more power, makes it necessary for you to push harder, applying more force and ultimately do more work. This makes your workouts more effective, which leads to better and faster results.
A great way to make sure that you are doing workouts that meet these requirements for effectiveness is to choose hi-intensity exercises and sequence them in intervals that ensure that as the muscles required to perform one hi-intensity exercise fatigues, you move on the next hi-intensity exercise. The sequencing of the exercises ensures that the total effort and force that is applied remain high and so does the load on your body. This method of training is known as Hi-Intensity Interval Training or, HIIT for short.
Now it is important to note that the intensity of a workout is relative to the fitness and ability fo the person doing the workout. In other words doing sets in the workout that combine 5 push-ups, 10 Squats and a short 25-meter run may not be as difficult for a Springbok Rugby Player as it would be for a 40-year-old sales manager that sits at his desk most of the working day. The Springbok Rugby Player might have to combine 5 one-arm push-ups on each side, 10 squat jumps with a 15kg sandbag and 25meter sled-push, in order to be challenged effectively.
There are a few ways to structure your workout so that you get the most out of it and to make sure that it gets you up, and keeps you up at that hi-intensity level. Here are two of my favourites.
TABATA. A method developed by a Dr Tabata for a study that compared high-intensity interval training with steady state cardio training, like Jogging. A Tabata workout consists of short bursts of very high effort exercise intervals with even shorter rest periods in between. A typical workout set would be 8 intervals of 20 sec exercise and 10 seconds rest, to combine in a total of 4 minutes. Depending on the time you have available and your fitness level, you may add a few sets in your training session or just do one if you’re just starting out.
Another method is AMRAP or As Many Rounds As Possible in a given time. Here one would do a set of 4-6 different exercises with varying repetitions and aim to complete as many rounds as possible in 15 to 20- or even 30 minutes depending on the available time and fitness level. The Video below has more info for you.
Go on give it a go.
For an additional challenge, check out my challenges on the- I Challenge you, page.