[Guide] Building Your At Home Training Program

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Training

So your gym is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic…

Or maybe you’re reading this well after this pandemic has passed and you’re away from your gym on vacation or work travel…

The way I look at it, you have three options in this scenario:

  • Wait It Out – Do your best to stay active and eat right – workout when you can, go on walks, eat a few salads, and pass up on a few drinks. The best-case scenario with Option #1 is to maintain the progress you’ve made up to this point.
  • Quit – Decide that since you can’t have your gym, your coach in person, or your day-to-day routine, why even bother? You’ll get up off the couch when you get up, but for the most part you’ll just sit back, relax, and completely sacrifice your progress.
  • Get Up – Do what you can, use what you have, and just DO SOMETHING because you absolutely have the ability and time right now.

Now, I’m not new to the game here… I know you took a look at Option #1 and #2 and thought “Well that sounds pretty nice!” but then that little voice inside of your head made you feel guilty for even considering either of those.

I don’t know about you, but I’d go absolutely crazy just sitting around and hoping for the best.

There is SO MUCH you can do with just a little, and let’s be honest, what else is there to do right now?

Let’s not neglect those of you who are readying this in regards to vacation or travel – Is every minute of your travel booked out that you can’t honestly set aside 30 minutes for body movement?

Is it more challenging than just showing up to the gym and being told what to do?

For sure.

Will you struggle with the decision to sit around or get moving?


Well now that we’ve acknowledged that, let’s build your at-home workout plan to reduce some of the challenge or struggle.

The first part is to breakdown is the spatial and scheduling set up, so here are 5 things you can do to set yourself up in the best position for actually getting up and doing something:

Clear a Space

When gyms are open identifying your work out space is not a problem, yet as soon as your gym is no longer an option finding a space for your workouts becomes one of the biggest problems.

The first thing you need to identify is where you’re going to work out.

If you’re on the road, check to see if the hotel has a fitness center or if there’s a hotel nearby offering free passes.

That’s easy.

Matters become more challenging when we’re at home, staying at someone else’s home, or at the cabin.

Here is what I typically recommend for space:

  • Outdoors – this is 100% weather dependent, but there’s no question you’ll have enough space!
  • Living Room – Be sure to move coffee tables, couches, and lamps out of the way but you’ll be left with plenty of space.
  • Guest Bedrooms – A great option if you’re looking to get out of the way of family or friends. Again, be sure to move any objects out of the way and know that you might be more spatially limited.
  • Basements – Whether it’s finished or not, there’s bound to be space in the basement. Move objects out of the way, and who knows you might even find some old dumbbells or gym equipment.
  • Stairs – By themselves, stairs make for a great workout, but add a few stair specific exercises and you’re setting yourself up for a real killer workout. The great part about stairs is there’s a guaranteed space at the top and bottom for some additional exercises.

Create a Plan

Now that space is not a concern, the next biggest challenge is figuring out what to do.

You go to a gym and a coach tells you the exercise, the sets, and reps. At home, you have to tell yourself, and you’re reminded of the reason you pay your coach, they have the degree, knowledge, and experience and you do not.

It’s all on your shoulders to create a workout plan.

Or is it…?

There’s a reason you pay your coach, and I believe there is a reason you should not do this alone:

  • Ask Your Coach – If you know ahead of time that you’re going to be out of the gym, ask your coach for some at-home workouts or exercise recommendations. Most coaches are more than happy to help you out while you’re away.
  • Take Pictures or Keep Record of Your Workouts – I always recommend my clients take pictures or keep a record of their favorite workouts. You can store these for times out of the gym and repeat them.
  • Adjust Your Program – Maybe you’ve been at this for a while and are familiar with a variety of exercises or you’ve been following a program for some time. Eliminate or adjust the equipment in your program so it’s at-home friendly.
  • Do a Search – The Internet is a beautiful tool and full of at-home workouts and exercises. Spend 10 minutes searching, and I bet you can round up quite a few workouts and exercises.
  • Get 14 Free Workouts – In case you missed it, Complete Performance is offering 14 FREE At-Home Workouts. They include video demonstrations, written explanations, and modifications for 14 days’ worth of workouts. Hop on this program by clicking HERE and use them now during quarantine or in the future while you’re away.

Set a Time

In the gym you have a set class time or training time with your coach, but at home you have work, family time, and a whole list of other activities that all of a sudden eliminate all time for training.

You have the time when the gym is open and available, so you still have the time once the gym is closed or unavailable.

Plan ahead.

Identify the number of days you wish to train in a week and be realistic about it.

Take a look at your schedule and choose the specific days you wish to workout.

Block 30 to 45 minutes of time in your schedule. Better yet, set reminders for your workouts’ start and end time.

Finally, remind yourself that you do have the time and that this is just as important as a number or of other things in your day. If it’s a priority when the gym is open and available, it is equally as important when it is not.

Make It a Challenge

Have you tried working out at home and find yourself feeling like it’s just not as much of a challenge?

If we’re being honest, it probably isn’t as challenging.

There’s different equipment, exercises, and most importantly, a different atmosphere.

I recommend all of my clients get competitive with themselves when training outside of the gym.

If you’re using timed sets, count the number of reps and focus on beating your “score” every round.

If you’re using sets, find ways to add difficulty (add weights, bands, pauses, etc.) each set to increase the difficulty as you go.

It’s easy to get complacent and to not push yourself as hard when you’re not in front of a coach or a gym full of people; therefore, my recommendation to clients is to never repeat the same set twice in a row. The adjustment from set to set varies the stress on the body and can incorporate a new level of challenge.

Get Accountability

Along the same lines of pushing yourself harder in front of your coach and a gym full of people being out of the gym takes away a lot of your accountability.

If you’re used to working out with a coach, you no longer get that accountability.

Same goes if you’re used to working out in a class or with a few friends.

It’s important to replace that accountability when you’re outside of the gym.

Encourage a family member or friend to hop on the workouts with you.

Send a picture, video, or text to your coach each time you finish a workout (I LOVE sending my clients a virtual high five!).

Post on social media.

Check in with a family member or friend who is also committed to working out.

Find SOMEONE to stay accountable to.

But here’s a word of caution. No amount of external accountability can make up for the lack of personal accountability. Stay accountable to yourself by tracking your metrics (number of workouts, workout progress, weight, body measurements, etc.). After all, you are the one doing the work.

Now those things are all important to ensure you get your workout in, but let’s talk about the workout specifics.

I want to help set you up for your best at-home workout routine because while you can go out on the Internet and pull together a list of exercises, that’s unlikely to get you the best results.

Since you made the choice to do something outside of the gym, I want to help you get the best.

I know you want to kick your own butt, and I want to help, but I want to do it in a way that leaves your body feeling stronger each day.

There are 2 styles of training I find most effective for an at-home program.

Full Body

One of the toughest parts about training at home is generating enough variation to hit all areas with enough volume.

One of the easiest ways to solve this problem is through full body training, here are some of its benefits:

  • Time Efficient – Full body workouts are your traditional get in-get out workouts. It’s an easy way to target 5 to 8 exercises in a short amount of time because you’re able to decrease rest time and move from exercise to exercise.
  • Sufficient Frequency – If you’re training a minimum of 3 times per week there’s no question, you’ll be hitting the optimal amount of frequency.
  • Improved Recovery – Training in a full body style decreases the volume day-to-day on your muscles, which gives the body ample time for recovery and reduce overall muscle soreness.
  • Greater Caloric Burn – Full body workouts can really increase your metabolic aspect and contribute to a greater caloric burn. When following a full body program, you’re recruiting a greater number of muscle groups, elevating the heart rate, and overall burning more calories.
  • Enjoyable – if you’re following a well-thought out full body program, it can be very enjoyable because you are hitting literally every muscle and movement pattern. When you move from muscle group to muscle group and movement to movement, you stay highly engaged and interested in the program.

Let’s talk about the set up.

During programming, I recommend 3 to 4 full body training days per week comprised of 1 to 2 exercises from the following categories:


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 5
  • Repetitions: 10 to 20 (Dependent on resistance and rep style)
  • Examples: Squats, Sumo Squats, Split Squats, Reverse Lunges, Front Foot Elevated Lunges, Step Ups


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 5
  • Repetitions: 10 to 20 (Dependent on resistance and rep style)
  • Examples: Good Mornings, RDLs, Rear Foot Elevated Deadlift, Split Stance RDL, Hip Raise, and Hip Thrust)

Upper Push

  • Variations: 1 (Males may benefit from a secondary variation)
  • Sets: 3 to 5
  • Repetitions: 10 to 15 (Males may benefit from a ultra-high reps)
  • Examples: Push Ups, Shoulder Presses, Chest Presses, and Triceps Presses and Extensions

Upper Pull

  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 6
  • Repetitions: 10 to 20
  • Examples: Supermans, Face Pulls, Rows, Rear Delts, and Biceps Curls


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 6
  • Repetitions: 15+
  • Examples: Planks, Hollow Holds, Dead Bugs, Paloff Presses, Leg Raises, Sit Ups, and Carries

When you follow a full body training program, I recommend planning it out in your schedule to prevent stacking training days too close together. Here’s an example schedule:

  • Monday– Full Body
  • Tuesday – Rest or Cardio
  • Wednesday – Full Body
  • Thursday – Rest or Cardio
  • Friday – Full Body
  • Saturday – Full Body, Rest, or Cardio
  • Sunday – Rest

Then there’s the other form of training…

Upper-Lower Split

Personally, I enjoy using this training split for clients in the gym and at home simply because it just seems to get people results and clients enjoy it.

  • Different Training Styles – When you’re at home or outside of the gym, workouts tend to lean on the endurance side of training because when we want to kick our own butts, the best way we know how is to do whatever it takes to breathe heavier. That’s not always the best training approach. An upper-lower split strategically varies the focus of each workout so you’re able to optimize gains. In these programs, it is best to designate one day per body region for strength and another for hypertrophy or endurance.
  • Upper-Lower Isolation – One of the con’s of a full body workout is you have to continually adjust your focus to different body parts; therefore, an upper-lower split is beneficial for its ability to focus on the mind-muscle connection and achieve better muscular activation.
  • Greater Volume – There’s a minimum number of sets and reps per muscle group that needs to be hit to elicit progress. When days are specifically dedicated to muscle groups, you can more easily accomplish that minimum volume requirement.
  • Adequate Frequency – Research shows that the ideal amount of frequency per muscle group is to target it 2 times per week with a 48 hour gap between training sessions. The upper-lower split dedicates the recommended amount of frequency, and if well-planned, achieves the appropriate recovery time.
  • Program Flexibility – Being at home or out on travel can make it difficult to follow your typical training schedule, but an upper-lower split gives you the opportunity to switch around the days fairly easily to meet your schedules needs.

Here’s what a breakdown of an upper and lower day would look like:

Upper Body:


  • Variations: 2 to 3
  • Sets: 2 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Push Ups, Shoulder Presses, Chest Presses, and Triceps Presses and Extensions


  • Variations: 2 to 3
  • Sets: 3 to 5
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Supermans, Face Pulls, Rows, Rear Delts, and Biceps Curls


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 2 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Shoulder Presses, Front Raises, Lateral Raises, and Reverse Fly


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Skull Crushers, Band Presses, Crossers, Dips, and Triceps Extensions


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: DB Biceps Curls, Band Curls, Cross Body Curls, and Outward Curls


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 6
  • Repetitions: 15+
  • Examples: Planks, Hollow Holds, Dead Bugs, Paloff Presses, Leg Raises, Sit Ups, and Carries

Lower Body

  • Squat
  • Variations: 2 to 3
  • Sets: 2 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Squats, Pause Squats, Squat Step Outs, Squat Holds, and Wall Sits


  • Variations: 2 to 3
  • Sets: 2 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Good Mornings, RDLs, Split Stance RDL, Single Leg RDL, Hip Thrusts, or Hip Raises

Single Leg

  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Reverse Lunges, Split Squats, Front Foot Elevated Lunges, or Step Ups

Abducted or Lateral

  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 4
  • Reps: 8 to 10 (Strength), 10 to 15 (Hypertrophy), or 15+ (Endurance)
  • Examples: Lateral Lunge, Lateral Step Ups, or Sumo Squats


  • Variations: 1 to 2
  • Sets: 3 to 6
  • Repetitions: 15+
  • Examples: Planks, Hollow Holds, Dead Bugs, Paloff Presses, Leg Raises, Sit Ups, and Carries

One of the cool parts about this training style is its flexibility within your schedule, but here’s a look at what it could look like during your week:

  • Monday: Lower Body
  • Tuesday: Upper Body
  • Wednesday: Full Body Cardio or Rest
  • Thursday: Lower Body
  • Friday: Upper Body
  • Saturday: Full Body Cardio or Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

Trust me, I love going to the gym more than anyone (Hello, remember I’m a gym owner!), so I get that training at home isn’t quite the same. But just because your typical space for training is not an option does not mean you’re only option is to do nothing. Use this as a resource, and do all that you can to just DO SOMETHING.

About The Author

Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.

Looking for MORE tips & tricks on training and nutrition?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Looking for more tips & tricks?

Check Out Our FREE Resources!

Why Your Metabolism is Holding You Back From Losing Weight!

5 Effective Exercises to Make You Faster!

Run Faster & Jump Higher!

Need a Quick Workout to Do Anytime, Anywhere?

Try our very own 3x3 Program!

Burn Belly Fat & Build a Stronger, Flatter Core

with The Core Training Hierarchy!

Interested in Training with Complete Performance?

Get Started by Booking a