I’m really proud of myself today because my muscles are sore from working out yesterday with my home gym. And I only exercised for about fifteen minutes. I brought the home gym up here to my room, and I can already tell that I’ll use it all the time now.
Yesterday, for the first time, I incorporated Joyce Vedral‘s workout techniques using the home gym. I read and studied her books over twenty years ago, and I highly recommend them.
Vedral teaches a pyramid system for reps. You need three varying levels of resistance. For example, two 2-pound dumbells, two 5-pound dumbells, and two 6-pound dumbbells. Using my home gym, the levels are level 1, level 2 (which is harder), and level 3. (The higher the home gym goes, the more strength you have to use.)
So when you have those three levels, first you do 12 reps with the lightest setting. Then you do 10 reps with the middle setting. Then you do 8 reps with the heaviest, most difficult setting.
At this point, you’ve gone up the “pyramid”. If you want to come back down, you’d then do 10 more reps with the middle setting, and end with 12 reps of the lightest setting.
For example, if you’re doing biceps curls, you’d do:
- 12 reps with the 2-pound dumbells,
- 10 reps with the 5-pound dumbbells,
- 8 reps with the 6-pound dumbells,
- (optionally): 10 more reps with the 5-pound dumbbells, and
- (optionally): 12 more reps with the 2-pound dumbbells.
Another common variation she taught was to do two muscle groups at once:
- 12 reps with the 2-pound dumbells for biceps,
- 12 reps with the 2-pound dumbells for triceps,
- 10 reps with the 5-pound dumbbells for biceps,
- 10 reps with the 5-pound dumbbells for triceps,
- 8 reps with the 6-pound dumbells for biceps,
- 8 reps with the 6-pound dumbbells for triceps, and
- (optionally) work back down the pyramid with 10 reps and 12 reps of both.
I mean, it’s brilliant. I did it yesterday using levels 1, 2, and 3 on my home gym. The only downside was that I had to keep getting off the gym to adjust the incline between sets. Not a huge deal, but there’s something to be said for the ease of just using dumbbells. I will say, though, that even though dumbbells are obviously less costly than a home gym, my home gym has a few exercises that can’t be done otherwise (to my knowledge) that really make it worth the expense.
So, since I did it yesterday for: biceps, triceps, deltoids (shoulders), lats (upper side back muscles), and trapezius (your back right below the neck), all of those muscle groups are sore except for my biceps. My biceps might need more of a challenge next time. (And my muscles are the right level of sore. I’m in pain, but I’m not, like… destroyed.)
And you don’t want to pick impossibly heavy levels to do. The lightweight level should be easy. The middle level should be challenging, but not to the point of killing you. The upper level should be more of a challenge, but hey, you only have to do eight reps with it.
And I only did one or two exercises per muscle group. It didn’t take long at all. I’d say that using the treadmill at the gym is a bigger time crunch with my current forty-minute routine.
I don’t think I’m burning calories, though, with the home gym. At least, not aerobically. But I think your metabolism goes up if you have more muscle mass. And being in shape is its own reward, and all that.
Vedral states that you should let all muscle groups *(except abs) recover for 48 hours before exercising them again.
*(She says abs are a small muscle group that can be exercised every day. I don’t know if I agree, but she’s obviously an expert, and I’m just the lazy person who doesn’t want to do abs exercises every day. Doing them every other day is probably fine.)
It’s amazing I still know all this stuff. I really made an effort over twenty years ago to get fit. I think I burnt out. I was doing all her exercises every day (the upper body one day, the lower body the next, etc.), but the routines exhausted me. What I know now is that I only need to do one or two exercises per muscle group so that I don’t get aerobically exhausted, which could lead to burnout. Also, in a lot of ways, it wouldn’t be readily doable if I didn’t have my home gym.
Like I said, the home gym shines with a few exercises that are super-hard to replicate on your own. One strength of the home gym is the abs exercises. Back when I was doing the routines in Vedral’s books, I had to do crunches because I didn’t have the home gym. Oh my gosh, I can’t do crunches or sit-ups at all. Just shoot me. But the home gym allows me to do abs exercises at my level, and without strain to my neck.
The other amazing capabilities of the home gym involve being able to do push-ups, also at my level, ’cause I sure can’t do them otherwise. Like, check out the first few seconds of this video. There’s a similar concept I also like where you move the handles to the top of the incline and do pull-ups that you can see here. So those are three exercises (those two and the abs exercise I love) that you can only do with the home gym.
So I love the home gym for being accessible and letting me do exercises at my level of ability. See, in Vedral’s books, it was all done with dumbbells. But I’m using those concepts with the home gym. Instead of grabbing a heavier dumbbell, I just notch up the incline level of the gym (which takes two seconds–you can move it up and down with ease).
Maybe I can become a fitness buff!