The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended just about every aspect of our lives—and for everyone who usually makes working out a top priority in their daily schedule, like Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., the last few weeks have been especially frustrating.
Gyms and fitness clubs are closed, and even low-contact meetup groups like run clubs are cancelled due to the widespread adoption of social (or physical) distancing principles. But you can still keep up with your training at home—as long as you have some ingenuity, drive, and hopefully, a few pieces of equipment.
To help everyone out there trying to crush their home workouts, Samuel filmed his own home training session to serve as a guide, or at the very least an inspiration. He might have access to more equipment than you do, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t follow his advice and make as many adjustments as possible to make it work for you.
Get ready to smash your upper body with this back, chest, and shoulders with this pull-push focused session. Watch the video above for the full routine, and check out these tips from Samuel below. Want more? Check out his first routine here.
Bodyweight Inverted Row Anywhere
Pullups are great, but mastery of the horizontal pull is even more critical to shoulder health (and a precursor to mastery of the pullup anyway). Under a table can work, and my shed worked well for me once I added a chair.
You can replicate the shed idea in your house using your door jamb. Just get a chair, or a table for your feet. That’ll help get your torso closer to parallel to the ground, creating the angle you need to get quality pulls. There’s a grip challenge here, too, but don’t run from it. Attack it.
Stairway to Upper Chest Heaven
Decline pushups (I honestly prefer to call them incline pushups since they replicate the incline bench press angle, but I’m never going to beat the world on that) are a solid and simple way to level up the pushup, but doing them with your hands on the floor costs you the last few degrees of range of motion.
If you’re working at home, a staircase is a better option; it’ll let you get a more full range of motion and thus have to push up over more range as well.
When Short On Load, Add Tempo and Pauses Every Set, Not Reps
You can’t increase the weights you’re working with at home, which leads many to fall into the trap of training with intervals, and then you wind up training only with HIIT. That’s good for sweat, not good for muscle-building.
If you want to pile on muscle, you need to find other ways to ramp up challenge. One of the best ways to do that is via tempo adjustments. Start with, say, a standard set of 20 pushups. On your next set, add a pause to each pushup. On your next set, add a halfway pause. It’s much more effective than just doing more pushups, and it’ll improve your pushup technique and your body’s awareness of technique as you go.
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