Home Gym: Progressing Your Routine

Now that you've found yourself some resemblance of a fitness routine, it may be time to progress. If you've been able to commit to a routine, a factor to consider is keeping things both fun and challenging as you continue working out from home. Below I will offer exercises, brief instructions and sample routines that are designed to progress from the original article Home Gym: Low Cost Essentials:

TRX Suspension System

TRX Row:

Perform with elbows tucked to your sides and shoulders down (think pulling your traps to your pockets). To make it easier, position yourself more upright. To make more challenging, position yourself more parallel. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

Because the TRX is a great "bang for your buck" exercise, it will remain a staple in the routine. However, to add a bit more of a challenge, an eccentric count will be added to the repetitions. The eccentric portion of this exercise is the lowering (shown on the left) of your bodyweight.

TRX Lunge:

The TRX lunge can be thought of as a bodyweight lunge with additional support/balance. Alignment of ankle and knee are the focus of the lead leg while knee, hip and spine alignment of the trail leg should remain constant. When lowering, work to keep the lead leg from swaying side to side or moving too far forward. A mental cue to think of is lunging in a small phone booth without trying to hit the sides... straight down, straight up.

TRX Tricep Extension:

The emphasis of the eccentric portion of the TRX row incorporates the biceps more than the previous version. Because of that, this new exercise will focus on the triceps. With an aligned body, including head, keep the elbows tucked in and at eye level. Using only your triceps, extend the elbows to straighten the arms.

Resistance bands:

Banded side step:

Similar to the clam shell, the side step engages the glutes but with a more dynamic exercise. This exercises incorporates the full body and continuous muscle activation. The starting position is feet at shoulder width, but no more narrow. Then, step with the lead leg 6-8 inches and return to shoulder width by stepping with the trail leg.

Psoas March:

With the band around the mid foot, begin with both legs extended approximately arms length away from the wall. Both legs remain active, with the "lead" leg driving up until your thigh is level with your waistline and the "neutral" leg stabilizing by engaging the glute. While upright, use a surface as needed for support and additional upper body activation. Alternate between left and right legs to complete reps.

Push up:

Beginning in an extended arm position (top photo), be sure your entire body is neutral and remains so throughout the movement. Shoulders, elbows and wrists should also be in line. Keeping your elbows tucked in near your sides, lower your body just above the ground, stop your momentum and press back to your original position. A band can be added around your wrists to increase the level of arm/shoulder involvement.


Banded goblet squat:

With the kettlebell held at chest level, perform a squat to comfortable depth. Depth is dependent on natural range of motion and ability to maintain a neutral spine (a good starting point is squatting to, but not beyond, parallel). Gently, drive your knees out to match the resistance of the band. This will increase lower body (especially glute) muscle activation. The kettlebell remains in the same position throughout the exercise.

Glute bridge:

Lay flat on your back (lumbar support if preferred), with knees at 90 degrees. Focus on using your glutes to initiate the movement without elevating too far to avoid an extended lower back. Control the movement on the way up and down. Place the band either directly above or below the knees. In this progression, you will place the kettlebell around lower abdominals/midline for additional resistance.


Low risk, spine sparring core work is an easy addition to an overall at-home fitness routine. The following movements allow a low-risk, high-reward challenging core workout. Progressions include varied time/sets/reps and well as the swapping the "curl-up" for the front plank.

Bird dog:

Begin on all fours, shoulder aligned with wrists/hands and hips aligned with knees. Driving opposite arm and leg away from midline, maintain a neutral spine. Hold for 10 seconds before "sweeping" the arm and leg back to initial position and return to hold. A mental cue is to image your trunk being a table top, while all movement comes from the shoulder and hip.

Side plank:

Begin with ankles, knees, hips and shoulders aligned. The working (closet to ground) side shoulder and elbow remain aligned. Hold for 10 seconds before "rolling" into a (very) brief front plank to ultimately hold the side plank on the opposite side. When "rolling"/transitioning from one side to the other, keep alignment and engagement. As you get more comfortable, you will find that very little movement is needed to transition.