Four Home Workouts for Surviving the Coronacalypse

Pretty much everyone is stuck at home now with very little to do, some of us more than others.  Like, I work from home and live alone, so I’m super-extra-stuck, but at least I probably won’t get sick.  Well, won’t get sick again.

The thing is, quarantine is largely what you make of it.  You could eat a lot more junk food since that’s easy to get and you’re bored, or you could eat healthier since you’re eating at home and have more opportunities to cook.  

You could watch more TV with your spare time, or start a side project.  Or both.  

For both the dichotomies I just mentioned, I’d say both possibilities are about equally likely.  Exercise is different.  There’s no question that when you can’t leave home, the default outcome is that you get less exercise.  

On the other hand, if you have time and equipment, you could easily take this opportunity to do a whole buttload of home workouts.  So here are four workouts– two of them are mostly upper body, two are mostly lower body.  Do them four days a week if you’re a novice, and six or seven times a week if you’re more advanced, rotating between them in the order listed.  

Equipment you’ll need:  

Adjustable weight dumbbells.  I recommend either this brand if you want to be thrifty, or this one if you’re willing to pay more for quality and convenience.  

A chin-up bar.  Make sure your door frame can hold it though.  If not, substitute resistance band pull-downs for chin-ups and pull-ups.  

Compact resistance bands– the kind with tubed bands and handles, not the fit loops.  I like this brand, and it comes with a book that shows every band exercise I mention here.

A jump rope.  

Warning: home workout gear, and adjustable weight dumbbells in particular, seem to be selling out fast so you may have to search around a bit.

I’m also seeing a lot of price gouging by third-party sellers.  You should be paying about 120-200 for a basic pair of adjustable weight dumbbells with 100 pounds or so of plates (each individual dumbbell may only hold 65 pounds or so), or like three or four hundred for something really fancy like Bowflex or Powerblock. Don’t be taken in by these assholes selling $120 dumbbell sets for $700.  

Please report price gouging to Amazon– not if the price just “feels” high, but if you can plainly see that something is being resold for at least twice the normal price.  

You can look up videos for most of these exercises on YouTube.  Also if you buy the resistance bands I recommend, they come with a booklet showing you all of the band exercises.  

Workout A- Upper Body

A1) Dumbbell floor press, 3 sets of 6-12

A2) Dumbbell bent-over row, 3 sets of 8-20

B1) Monkey shrugs, 2 sets of 8-12

B2) Goblet squat, 2 sets of 10-20

B3) Pushups, 2 sets to fatigue Do plyometric pushups if you can

C1) Jump lunges, 2 sets to fatigue

C2) Resistance band abdominal crunch, 2 sets of 15-20

D1) Resistance band shoulder press, 2 sets of 8-20

D2) Pull-ups, 2 sets of 8-20

E) Jumprope, 10 minutes

Workout B- Lower Body

A1) Dumbbell stiff-legged deadlifts, 3 sets of 8-15

A2) Resistance band squat, 3 sets of 6-10

B1) Resistance band standing calf raise, 3 sets of 30-50

B2) One-armed farmer’s walk, 3 sets per side of 6-8 laps back and forth across the room

C1) Chin-ups, 2 sets to fatigue 

C2) Band chest press, 2 sets of 8-15

D1) Dumbbell Bulgarian split squats, 2 sets of 8-12 per side

D2) Front plank, twice to fatigue

Workout C- Upper Body

A1) Resistance band standing decline press, 2 sets of 6-12

A2) Dumbbell Y press, 2 sets of 8-12

B1) Pull-ups, 3 sets to fatigue

B2) Dumbbell Arnold press, 3 sets to fatigue 

B3) Dumbbell modified upright row, 2 sets of 10-15

C1) Dumbbell swings, 2 sets of 12-20 per arm

C2) Jump squats, 2 sets of 5-10

D1) Resistance band shoulder press, 2 sets of 8-20

D2) Zottman curls, 2 sets of 12-20

E) Pushups, one set to failure Elevate feet if you can do more than ten

F) Jumprope, 10 minutes

Workout D- Lower Body

A1) Dumbbell two-armed farmer’s walk, 3 sets of 8-12 laps back and forth across the room

A2) Resistance band lateral walk, 3 sets of 8-12 reps

One rep is going back and forth, i.e. step left with your left foot, bring the right foot left to match it, then step right with your right foot, then bring the left foot right to match it.  

B1) Resistance band pull-through, 3 sets of 8-12

B2) Dumbbell walking lunges, 3 sets of 16-30 reps 

One rep is one step on one side, so this is effectively 8-15 reps per side

C1) Resistance band paddlers row, 2 sets of 8-12

C2) Dumbbell triceps extension, 2 sets of 12-20 per arm

D1) Goblet squat, 2 sets of 12-20

D2) Side plank, twice per side to fatigue 

A final word

If you normally work out at the gym, it can be hard to motivate yourself to work out at home instead.  That’s doubly true if, like me, you’re strong enough that your home workout gear is going to feel too light for you.  

The best solution that I’ve found it to keep your workout gear lying in plain sight, ready to use.  My dumbbells and resistance bands have been sitting on the floor in the middle of my living room almost non-stop for the past week.

It is also perfectly fine to do sets throughout the day, rather than doing twenty or so in quick succession as a “workout.”  Or you can do both– do workouts plus bonus sets throughout the day.  Ultimately what matters the most is training volume.