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How to Track and Advance Your Progress When Working Out at Home

A woman doing an online workout in her living room.
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Struggling to track your progress while working out at home? Here’s how to push yourself to new fitness goals, and track your progress while you’re at it.

Working out at home has its benefits, including no commute and not having to wipe someone else’s sweat off the equipment before you use it. Still, with limited space and exercise tools, reaching and tracking your progress can present a problem. Here’s how to fix it!

Time Yourself

When doing a specific set of exercises you want to get faster and better at, time yourself. Set your stopwatch to one minute, and then see how many reps you can do.

Write that number down, and the next time you do that exercise, time yourself again. Do this every time you do that same exercise and compare your notes. If you managed to do 25 squats in a minute the first time, but you can do 30 after a month, that’s a good indication of progress.

Timing yourself when performing your exercises is easy and doesn’t require any special equipment, which makes it perfect for at-home workouts.

Work Toward Advanced Exercises

Challenge yourself with more advanced versions of your exercises. Keep working on them until they start to feel easier. Going from a regular push-up to superman or archer is no easy feat. So, instead of always doing the same version, challenge yourself with something harder. It will build your muscles and help you get stronger and more powerful over time.

Always be careful when performing advanced movements, though. Only attempt them if the current version is too easy, and you don’t feel any discomfort or pain. If that’s not the case, either stick with what you’ve been doing, or modify the advanced version until it starts to feel easy.

Most exercises have basic, modified, and advanced levels, so start where you feel most comfortable, and then go from there.

Maintain a Consistent Routine

Working out at home can sometimes make us cut our reps short or switch up the exercises too often. That’s why keeping your rep count the same (or even increasing it, occasionally) will ensure you’re staying consistent with your workouts and working the same sets of muscles.

The more you switch it up and play around, the harder it will be for your body to progress. Rather, it’ll constantly be trying to adjust to a new setting or movement.

If you have a specific goal, remain consistent, always targeting the muscles you want to strengthen.

Focus on Warm-Up and Cool-Down

A man and woman in Child's Pose on yoga mats.
George Rudy/Shutterstock

Just because you’re working out in your living room doesn’t mean you should skip your warm-up and cool-down. These two parts of your workout are just as important as the main portion. A warm-up prepares your body for movement, and the cool-down helps it release tension and soreness.

Take both of these as an opportunity to get cozy in your space. Make sure you dedicate enough time to each part of your body, both actively and passively. Focus on the mind-to-muscle connection as you properly warm-up and stretch out.

Additionally, implement foam rolling; it gives your muscles the best after-workout treatment and prepares them for another session the following day. If you’ve never tried foam rolling, make sure you do some research. It’s important to learn the proper technique, and definitely figure out which moves you should avoid.

Staying consistent with your warm-up and cool-down will prevent unwanted injuries, strains, and other uncomfortable sensations. They’ll also help you tune into your muscles and get the best out of your workouts, so you can reach your fitness goals.

Increase the Weight

If you have a real set of weights at home, you can easily track your progress by increasing the weight from whatever you’re using at the moment. Do this when the current weight starts to feel light and not as challenging as it once was.

If you’re still doing bodyweight exercises, though, it might be a good time to look around and see which household items you can use as weights. From bottles of water to bags of rice, anything with some mass can give your muscles the extra challenge they need.

You can start with a small bottle of water, and then advance to a larger one. Those back flys you did with a 32-ouncer will feel a lot different when you start using the 64-ounce.

Learn Something New

Being by yourself gives you the opportunity to try something new you might have felt self-conscious doing in a class or in front of others.

Many people are deterred from yoga, Pilates, or even Zumba for that very reason. But now’s your chance! Check out any of the hundreds of apps and YouTube videos out there and learn those moves you’ve always wanted to try.

Then, whenever live classes resume, not only will you not feel self-conscious anymore, you might even be the most advanced student there!

Working out at home might seem limiting when it comes to progress. If you implement a few of these tips, though, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in just a few short months!

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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