The Definitive Guide To Strength Training At Home – Chapter 1
I’ve thought long and hard about how I wanted to approach the topic of weight training at home. It’s such a difficult subject because there are numerous variables. Sure, you have taken my advice on how to set up the best home gym and snatched up the best power rack, got plenty of plates and you are ready to go……now what? Well, good question.
I’ve used a ton of methodologies in my years of training. I’ve also seen a lot of things come and then go only to come back again. When you start to look at a lot of programs, especially for raw training, you see some glaring similarities and then a few tweaks here and there. It is when you start looking at what is the same that you get close to finding out the best way to improve your strength vs. the few different things that stand out in each program.
This guide is based on MY experiences using different methods for training as well as my education. If you are just starting out then this information will definitely get you pointed in the right direction. It’s this type of information that I wish I had known when I was 14-15 years old as it would’ve been invaluable and saved me from wasting a lot of time.
For this guide, we will be assuming that you have a few basic things:
- Squat rack
- Some way to bench (power rack or bench)
- Deadlift platform or a place to pull
- Adjustable dumbbells or some sort of dumbbells for accessory work
Weight Training At Home Concepts
First, if you are training at home you do may or may not have some limitations with spotters etc. I trained for years solo (no spotters) and still do the majority of my training by myself. There are definitely times that having someone spot you gives added confidence but aside from that you SHOULD be able to muster up enough intrinsic motivation to make progress. If you will be training solo, the use of spotter arms will be a necessity as well as a way to record video. This is the only way to gauge form and progress by yourself. You don’t need to plaster every video of yourself online, but it definitely helps to review form and technique between sets.
The overload principle
In order to make progress the biggest concept that needs to be understood is the overload principle. You must continuously improve from training session to training session. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to add weight to the bar. Some easy ways to make continuous progress are:
- Adding weight to the bar
- Adding volume (more reps/sets or both)
- More/same amount of work in less time (density)
What I have found is that each of the above mentioned styles of training above work until they don’t work anymore. This basically means that you need to plan your training in blocks. Some blocks will be focused on adding weight until you can’t add weight anymore. At that point you need to change gears and make progress with another method.
Compensatory acceleration training (CAT)
This will be your best friend when combined with volume training and density training. CAT style training is by far the most beneficial way to train that I have found. Compensatory acceleration training is trying to push each rep of each set as fast as you possibly can while maintaining form. Bar speed and velocity trackers (Push Band) have really taken this approach and added some great data for this training style. What this all means is that you can take sub-maximal weights and push them with the strength needed to push maximal weights to elicit a training effect. In short, you don’t need heavy weights to get stronger, push each rep as fast as possible and you will be fine. The sweet spot for percentages are all over the place but a good start is generally found in Prilepin’s Table
I have found that each lift has a different sweet spot and that those percentages can change from individual to individual. Virtually every program that you find online (conjugate training, 5/3/1, Cube, etc) is based off some form of this table. There are some broad ranges for both sets and reps that are recommended and this is where it is up to you to test, track and see what happens.
With that all being said, chapter 2 will take a look at what I feel is the best way to implement these concepts if your goal is to increase your strength while at home.