exercise with equipment in different rooms at home
How to Make Progress Using Home Gym Equipment

How do you manage progression safely and effectively when you’re working out at home? Here’s our personal trainer’s advice on getting stronger without injury or burnout

How to Make Progress Using Home Gym Equipment

Answered by wlr Personal Trainer Carla van Traa REPS L4

Full Question

(from wlr member MumLosingIt)

I’m a 45 year old female with a BMI of 47ish at the moment.

I’m very lucky to have an amazing home gym equipped with free weights, bench, pull down, glute machine, recumbent bike, treadmill, punchbag, cross trainer (I can’t use this as I suffer with my knees if I try).

I’m currently doing 30 mins bike at 7 resistance aiming at 27 kph and 30 mins treadmill 2.7 incline 1 and doing 25 reps each leg glute machine each day and on alternate days I do some light arm toning.

What do you suggest I do to move on - is it best to increase resistance and incline or speed?

Also, the glute machine I can fairly easily manage 25 reps each leg with 80kg is it best to do more reps of find a way of increasing the weight (80kg is the max).

I am keen to build on what I’ve been doing slowly and sensibly so as my weight comes down my fitness increases but am mindful not to push myself too hard too fast and cause an injury that may well put me back.

Thank you in advance for any advice it’s much appreciated.

Carla’s Answer

You are absolutely right in ensuring your progression is in measured steps, to avoid injury and burn out!

Re: Cardio

Bike 30 mins at 27kph L7 & TMill 30 mins, 2.7%

Ok so I would start my mixing up the tempo, speed, resistance etc on both bits of kit.

Interval work will get you fitter quicker and with better results. The amount of time is great, but imagine you’re out peddling your local parks etc, it’s a mixture of hills etc.

There are some fantastic routes on YouTube you can follow, for road and mountain bikes and studio spin too. If you’re watching someone hill climb it might encourage you to up the resistance …

Same with the treadmill, look at increasing your length of stride, your speed and use the hill program if you have one. One measure to look at is your distance travelled too, then aim to complete that at least every time. I can't say how far because that is unique to you.

I use time and distance on my bike, playing one off against the other to get me to my finish line.

Re: the Glute machine

If you’re maxing it out and you’re on 25 reps, then that’s tough. Can you do single legs? Is there any reason why you are focusing on glutes (bum) and legs in general with all the cardio?

With the cardio you are already doing I would guess you've got nice strong legs coming along already, so how about a focus on your upper body, chest, back, shoulder and arms.

Further Exercise with Your Equipment

The pull-down machine could be utilised for lat push or pull down, for Biceps and Triceps too.

Press ups, against the wall or kneeling, (drop hips, so you have a straight line from knees to shoulders - not - folding/hinging at the hip joint) for chest and biceps.

Lat raise for your shoulders and upright row.

The punch bag for your boxing skill of course, wear sparring gloves, ideally some wraps too to help your keep your wrist to elbow straight, or your wrist will take the hit not your arms and shoulders.

Finally, some core / ab work. From standing on one leg to some gentle Pilates moves, I don’t mean sit ups etc, you need to work the deep corset muscle groups.

Going Forward

You could do your legs / glutes on one day and upper body the following and alternate those, then each gets a rest day (that is when we grow stronger). And personally, I'd go heavy with max of 8-10 reps as long as you are feeling safe and technique is good.

I would try and mix it up, keep your body and mind interested, or on the hop as it were. If it thinks " here we go the usual 30 mins on the bike" it won’t work as hard during and post workout than if you did a random hill session.

Recent studies are showing that peri (you’re almost there) and menopausal women, do benefit from a circuit type training rather than steady state cardio. So maybe do a mixed-up session a couple of times per week and your steady state a couple of times per week.

All in all what you are doing is fantastic. The cardio is like medicine to your body, helping lubricate your joints, helping your body deal with the sugars and insulin, making your heart and lungs have a good workout, fantastic Nicki, really well done.

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