Weight Training 6: Training at Home During Quarantine

Previously: One / Two / Three / Four / Five

Here's a long overdue post on how I trained at home during quarantine. In fact, as I write this, I've just begun going back to the gym since one week.

Training @Home

I saw the quarantine as an opportunity to experiment with at-home training, something that had been in the back of my mind for a while.

With no clear best candidate to adopt for at-home training, I decided to adapt my previous training regimen (based on Jeremy Ethier's Intermediate Build program) for home work.

(In fact, Jeremy ended up releasing an adapted version of his program for home, which includes barbell, bodyweight and resistance band versions of all workouts. But that wasn't available when I started quarantining.)

The experiment was pretty successful. I was able to put on some weight, and get past a sticking point I had between 89 and 90 kgs.

In fact it was a bit too successful. The program calls for 5 workouts a week, but I ended up burning out after a couple weeks, and scaling back to 3 workouts a week while keeping the 5-workouts rotation. Probably not the most optimal thing to do, but eh — choosing exercises is hard.

Home training can mean widely different things. I already owned a pullup bar and a couple resistance bands and tubular bands. Additionally, I decided to invest in a pair of adaptable dumbbells. Those are pretty pricey: the "cheap" (as in both price and potentially, make) version I bought ran me 100€ for each, while the original brand product is 250€. Ultimately, it proved to be a good investment: they held up until now and proved really invaluable and enabling me to perform more exercises.

Towards the end of quarantine I also bought a suspension band (also known as "TRX band", after the most popular brand). This is super handy for back workouts, which are othewise a bit awkwards excepted for pullups. Really recommended if you're going to work your back at home.

The program went through multiple slight iterations — I'm just going to reproduce the final version below, with links to demonstrations for all the exercises. A few comments on its evolution will follow.

The Program

Note: No rep counts are included. Since I have only limited ability to overload the movement with weights at home, most of these should simply be "as many as possible".

Upper Body

Lower Body 1



Lower Body 2


The most notable evolution the program went through is that most most exercises that have two sets used to have three, but I reduced when deloading after burning out on the early version. Subsequently I simply increase the volume on those two sets instead of adding a third one. I'm not sure this is the best thing to do (3 sets is often seen as somewhat of a standard), but the main benefit was helping get the length of the workouts under control.

As already mentionned, I bought the suspension band only partway through, and that means that other exercises had to be selected for the back before that.

Here are a few of the exercises I tried: towel row, superman, back widow, resistance band seated row, reverse pushups, overhand/underhand table rows, tubular band face pulls, band-assisted pullups, scapular pullups.

There was also some variation on the other workouts, though less. Most notably I did some kitchen counter dips, and some of the exerecises outlined in this chest workout.


As I've said a couple times, this probably isn't the most optimized home workout. 5 workouts over 11 days is probably too long of a rotation. There are too many exercises, and it would be better to have a bit more sets per exercise.

On the other hand, I got positive results out of it, and it was pretty good given the circumstances. If anything, my biggest success here was to be able to back down when I felt the onset of fatigue and overtraining — which has been hard for me in the past.

As for what's next, I've started to do all the big lifts (bench, squat & deadlift) again, three times per week, all the while cutting on a moderate deficit. This might be a terrible idea, but I'm giving it a try. More on that soon (hopefully).