How to Increase the Challenge of Your Home Workouts


One thing is for sure: home workouts aren’t going away any time soon.

With gyms continuing to be closed in many places around the world due to Covid-19, more people than ever are trying to figure out how to work out using their bodyweight or the few pieces of workout equipment they have at home.

Even when gyms do open up, gyms and workout classes will look much different than before the pandemic. My guess is that a significant portion of the population will continue to work out at home much more than before due to convenience, and for some people, fear.

I’ve been training using my bodyweight and a few select pieces of equipment for nearly a decade now, and my workouts don’t look much different than they did before the world turned upside down.

There is so much you can do using your bodyweight, even if you have strength or mass goals (just look at gymnasts for proof).

In spite of this, I’m still hearing a lot of people say they don’t know how to get the same workout they used to do at the gym at home.

If you feel like your home workouts aren’t challenging you enough, or are looking for ways to increase strength, power, or speed while at home, here are several ways to up the challenge.

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Yoga for a Calm Mind

With the state of the world right now, we recognize that you might not have the energy to crush HIIT workouts as much as usual. When life gets crazy, movement is more important than ever – and there are so many options to stay active and support your mental health.  Our Community Manager Amanda is …

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Beginner Handstand Challenge: Week 3

12 Minute Athlete

We’re more than halfway through our Beginner Handstand Challenge!

This week we’re focusing on the next step in the handstand journey: handstand wall scissors.

One of the hardest parts of learning to do a handstand is getting over the fear of falling over and learning to balance in a handstand.

When the wall is there to support you, you can build up your strength and confidence being upside-down.

But when the wall is no longer there…

…it’s SO easy to lose confidence and forget all the skills you’ve gained until now.

You’ve built the strength.

You’ve put in the time.

You CAN take this next step.

Don’t give up now!

Follow along with the 12 Minute Athlete community by posting pictures of your progress on our Facebook group, and tag us at @12minuteathlete and #12MAhandstands.

Remember, one lucky challenge participant will win a copy of my NEW book!

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The 12 Minute Athlete Beginner Handstand Challenge

12 Minute Athlete Beginner Handstand Challenge

The 12 Minute Athlete team is so excited to share our latest community challenge: the 2020 Beginner Handstand Challenge!

We’ve heard from many of you that one of your long-term goals is to crush a freestanding handstand. So we’re dedicating our next month-long community challenge to helping EVERYONE get their handstand practice on.

We’ll break down the steps necessary to work up to a solid handstand, send handstand-themed exercises and tips to help you build up your strength and endurance, and share our favorite ways to add extra challenges to handstand work.

Handstands are one of our favorite skills for so many reasons. Once you get hooked on them, handstands can become part of a lifelong journey.

Let’s get to it!

(Looking for the Week 1 exercises? Click here to visit the Week 1 challenge page. Then download the challenge overview here.)  

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Building an Epic Home Gym: Our Favorite Pieces of Equipment

Home workout equipment is one of the best investments you can make for yourself or any fellow fitness-lovers in your life.

Workout equipment is relatively inexpensive, and will last through years (if not decades) of tough workouts. If you prefer to work out at home rather than go to a gym (or at least want the option), it will help keep your workouts varied and always challenging.

Here are our top home workout equipment recommendations to help you start building a home gym:

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Why I’m Not a Fan of (Most) Group Classes

Does this sound familiar at all?

You sign up for the new “it” class, either by yourself or with a couple of friends.

You’re a few weeks in, and making a TON of progress. You’re feeling more energized, getting leaner, and feeling stronger. The workouts are becoming so much easier than they were when you first started. You’re feeling motivated and it’s awesome.

Fast forward a few weeks, months, or even a year… and everything… stalls.

Your progress slows. The motivational talk that fired you up in the first few weeks now just seems repetitive. Your class instructor is more focused on their killer playlist than giving you individual attention.

Frankly, you’re just a little bored.

You start making excuses to skip class and stop going as often. Eventually you either fall off of your fitness habit altogether, or take up the next “it” class, and start the same cycle all over again.

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How to Keep a Beginner’s Mindset

When I first started training handstands nearly six years ago now, I had absolutely zero previous experience with the skill.

I didn’t do gymnastics growing up, and had no reason to believe I would ever be even remotely decent at a difficult skill like hand balancing.

Similarly, when I first started boxing a year and a half ago, I had zero experience other than hitting a punching bag as hard as I could (now I realize, with poor form) and punching a few holes in the wall growing up (sorry, Mom and Dad!).

Both experiences started out as extremely humbling and frustrating. I can’t tell you just how many times that I wanted to quit, to tell myself and others that I wasn’t a “natural” at either skill and move on to something else.

After all, no one but me would really care if I quit.

So why didn’t I?

Because I know that maintaining a beginner’s mindset in at least one area of my life is the best way to continue growing and progressing as an athlete and person in all areas of my life.

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Workout Highs and Lows: Why They’re Normal and How to Deal With Them

workout highs and lows: why they're normal + how to deal with them

Throughout your fitness journey you’re bound to experience highs and lows. Even the most experienced athletes can attest to this.

“Highs and lows” can look different for everyone, but here are some common situations I hear about from students and clients:

…You experienced rapid progress at the start of your journey, but your gains are slowing down or have come to a standstill. (plateaus)

…You challenged yourself to start a new skills program or fitness plan, and you’re really struggling. (need to scale back)

…You were motivated and on a roll, but now you’re lacking inspiration and skipping workouts. (boredom/lack of interest, or life change)

…You’ve recently been injured and don’t know how to keep up with your goals while working below full capacity.

Do any of these sound familiar?

As you continue to challenge your body and push your limits, you’ll likely run into roadblocks at times. Whether your progress has slowed, your motivation is lacking, or you’re just not seeing the results you expected, rest assured that every athlete experiences challenges like this.

Here are some recommendations for getting past the “lows” and getting back to the “highs” of exercise – progress, health, and happiness!

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How to Bounce Back from Injury

how to bounce back from injury

If you’re active and moving your body, it’s almost a guarantee that at some point you will experience an injury.

Injuries can include everything from a pulled muscle to a broken bone.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—as you challenge your body and push your limits, you’ll inevitably run into minor injuries from time to time.

Yet when you get injured and can’t work out in the ways you’re used to, it’s easy to get discouraged.

This can lead to falling into unhealthy habits, or giving up exercise entirely.

At its worst, the mindset of “I can’t” starts to creep back in….

  • I can’t EVER do this exercise because of my injury
  • I can’t work out consistently without getting injured
  • I can’t ever get back to where I was pre-injury

It might not feel that way at the time, but these kinds of statements are often much more detrimental than the physical injury itself.

Here’s how to get out of the “I can’t” territory and bounce back from injuries in a healthy, sustainable way:

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