I’m still experimenting with more patio workouts for training at home. Have to admit I miss the iron and the camaraderie of the gym. (I don’t miss people sitting on equipment checking their phones between sets.)
After a recovery day (or two), I figured it was about time for Patio Workout Two. Patio Workout One used exclusively TRX and focused on chest, back, and legs. On Day Two, I experimented using primarily resistance tubing, concentrating on arms and shoulders, with some light leg and chest tossed in for effect.
Tubing is very versatile, especially with a door anchor, handles, and wrist/ankle straps. With those, a lot of exercise and set-up variations are possible, and, you can vary the resistance…both by adding tubes to the anchor, or, by varying the resistance just by stretching it before you start the exercise. Retailers like Power Systems offer a wide selection of tubing and bands, so you can pick the degree of resistance–ranging from light to really dang heavy–and accessories to make them work in your set-up.
***Always warm up. For this workout, the warm-up was light resistance tubing for the first exercises in the routine. High reps–30 to 50–for those. Just enough to get in the groove and feel a little lactic acid burn.
|Exercise||Set-up||Reps||Sets||Why I chose this|
|Posterior delt flyes||Tubing||Anchored top of door, no handles||15-20||5||Pulling from high to low aligns the posterior deltoid muscle fibers with the direction of pull. Use a neutral grip, just holding the tubes through the palms with index finger toward the anchor and pinkie finger toward the back.|
|Standing French press||Tubing, TRX||Anchored top of door, no handles||8-12||5||I intentionally switched from tubing to TRX at the end because it gives the most resistance at the start of the move rather than the end...which is the one drawback of tubing.|
|Side laterals||Tubing||Anchored, knee height||12-15||5||At knee height, pulling "across" the body, the lateral head of the deltoid gets the focus. I use an ankle strap around the wrist rather than trying to grip a handle, a trick I learned from reading Doug Brignole.|
|Anterior delt presses||Tubing||Anchored knee height, underhand grip||20||5||More props to Brignole...I've personally never found any front delt exercise that tops this one. Requires focus on the front delt doing the moving and not the triceps. Push from waist level and finish about lower rib-cage high. I wish I'd learned about these 30 years ago.|
|Curls||TRX||X mount||15-20||2||I may be the only guy I know who hates working biceps. Man, I hate it. TRX puts a spanking on them. I'd intended to do 4-5 sets but got in 2. TRX handles roll in concert with the wrists, so there's less chance of developing tendinosis with it. I should probably use it more.|
|Supported squats||TRX||X mount||20||4||When done super-strict, these are much harder than they look. Keep tibiae at 90° to the ground, and squeeze glutes, making them do as much of the work as possible. Deceptively difficult and great for the glutes...not bad for quads either due to the lever angle.|
|Decline presses||Tubing, Predator||Anchored top of door||20||4||A decline angle follows the natural contractile direction of the pec major. In other words, they let the pecs work effieciently. Chose a higher rep range since this workout falls in between the heavier chest days.|
Cool tubing hack: Double the resistance of a tube by connecting both ends to a handle. Here are photos showing how to turn a 30 lb. tube into one with 60 lbs. of resistance, just by connecting both ends to a single handle.
What I’ve learned so far
This whole no-gym thing has taught me a thing or two about what’s important, both from a fitness perspective and a life-in-general perspective.
- Fundamentals matter. For those of us without the space, forethought, or financial capacity to have a lavishly equipped home gym, maintaining pre-pandemic conditioning is going to take knowledge and wisdom. Knowing the way muscles and joints work, and how to make them do their thing efficiently, equips us to MacGyver or re-tool exercises in effective ways. If I know that the quads’ mission in life is to extend the knee, then I might opt for sissy squats to take the place of leg extensions. The quads don’t “know” or “care” if the tibia’s moving or the femur–only that the knee is loading and unloading with a similar direction of resistance. Do the biceps “know the difference” between pulling a rubber band hooked in a door, or the weight on a preacher curl machine. Rhetorical question: No. Fundamentals that matter:
- Knowing what a muscle is supposed to do makes it easier to build-your-own exercises and suitcase gym.
- Muscles can’t do math. Which is why what you feel is a lot more important than what you read on a weight.
- The type of workout implement is less important than using it correctly. A fool with a tool is still a fool.
- Fun matters. Motivation is really important right about now, so making exercise fun is also really important. Who cares Nobody’s looking.
- Less is more. I think I may have been working out too much before.
Stay tuned for more patio workouts for training at home coming soon.
Suitcase gym. Healthy living (regardless of what life throws at you)