We have a workout experiment for you…
It’s simple, effective and it’s perfect for people who work from home. If that’s your situation right now, there may be no better time to try these training routines. We call them ‘trigger training.’ But they’re also known as intermittent workouts, micro-workouts, or mini-workouts.
These workouts will help you to…
- Move more frequently throughout the day
- Make working out easier while improving your fitness
- Do lots of exercises—without needing an hour of training time
- Short work breaks to free your mind
- Trying out a new approach to exercise
How to build your own trigger training
We call this idea of doing a set or three of an exercise every time you walk past a certain object or are reminded by a timer “trigger workouts.” (It’s way easier to say than “intermittent.”)
A lot of coaches have been doing these trigger workouts with their clients for years.
Trigger training are a great way to improve fitness and motor skills. And, as discussed above, they may even be more beneficial for certain aspects of health than a one-hour workout done once per day (if you’re otherwise sedentary).
Trigger workouts are also a sneaky way to get in a lot of exercises on days when you otherwise wouldn’t have time for a full workout.
Here’s how you can do it…
1. Establish a trigger and a time frame
This can be anything from 5 to 10min.
Set some kind of a Trigger to your phone or maybe position any kind of training equipment around your house or apartment. Whenever you are going to the kitchen or the bathroom and pass the trigger do your small dose of training.
Every time I walk by my set of kettlebells I do a few sets of swings, snatches, or presses. In the past I’ve had pull-up bar in my guest room and would do a few sets of pull-ups every hour when a timer went off. Whatever your trigger is, make it somewhat frequent.
So, you’ll be moving around every hour.
If you’re working from home (like millions of others right now), this gives you enough time to do focused work. It also gives you a brief, regular break from the mental demands of work.
2. Pick some exercises
Generally, choose movements that work a lot of big muscle groups (so, no time and place for curls) and that can be done safely without a warmup. Read: It’s not the best time to test your personal best deadlift.
Consider exercises like:
- Snatches (only if you’ve been well-trained )
- Goblet squats
- Bodyweight squats
- Dumbbell rows
- Ring rows
- Overhead presses (if your shoulders do well with them)
- Band movements like pull-apart
- Ab movements like a plank
You can also mix in some favorite stretches or mobility drills.
Come up with about 3-5 movements, and try to get about an equal mix of upper and lower body movements.
3. Decide how many reps, sets and time you want to spend on it
The specific number here isn’t critical. You’re just trying to make physical work feel easy. Stay at a level where you don’t feel a “burn” in your muscles and never go to failure. As a general rule, it’s better to do 3-5 sets of 5-8 reps at a time.
An example trigger training day every 90min
9 am: 5 goblet squats, 8 kettlebell swings, 5 lunges (per side)
10:30 am: 8 band pull-apart, 5 pushups, repeated for 3 total rounds
12:00 am: 5 goblet squats, 5 dumbbell rows (per side), repeated for 4 total rounds
1:30 pm: 5 ab wheel roll-outs, 5 banded no-moneys, 5 pull-apart, repeated for 3 total rounds
3:00 pm: 10-second side plank (per side), 5 dumbbell lunges (per side), repeated for 2 total rounds
4:30 pm: 5 dumbbell rows (per side), 5 single-leg dumbbell deadlifts (per side), repeated for 3 total rounds
Of course, you can also just pick one or two exercises, or a single circuit, and repeat that over the course of the day.
Do you have to give up all other types of exercise altogether?
In fact, don’t. Where possible, use trigger workouts with some conventional training, and go play outside.
This training method works best when it’s done in combination with the type of maximal strength training and periodic high-intensity work that’s done in a gym (even if that’s your home gym). At least over the long term.
A very good combination in fact is 2-3 times per week a 20min EMS Session combined with 2-3 days of trigger training days. Within 2-3 weeks you will not only feel, but also see that your body will look much better!
Let’s get Strong. With EMS!
Johannes, Head of Training & Education