Fitness Tips

Hate Strength Training? You’re Not Alone—Here’s How To Make It More Enjoyable

Dominique Michelle Astorino

Photo: Getty Images/Guido Mieth
We’ve all been working out at home a lot more—no surprise there. What started as a means of survival while our beloved boutiques were closed has since become a fixture in our everyday lives. But that doesn’t mean working out at home comes without its flaws. In fact, some things are genuinely difficult to do at home. Chief among these? Strength training workouts.

When it comes to exercising at home, 51 percent of respondents to a Freeletics survey say they’ve struggled most to do strength training. Over a third of those polled said they even have a hard time doing yoga and Pilates at home (both forms of building strength). So, what gives?

For starters, what makes it tough probably varies from person to person (and we don't have hard, fast facts on the exact why). What we can surmise, however, is that it’s likely tougher for many people to push through those more challenging moves, sets, reps, etc without a trainer’s watchful eye and encouragement. Doing it on your own is hard! It can also be discouraging to not know if you’re doing something correctly, particularly more complicated, coordinated patterns. “Many people struggle to do strength training at home because it can be intimidating—but there’s no need to overthink it!” says personal trainer Amina Barnes, NASM CPT.

So what can we do about it? Our favorite trainers have some advice that you can implement right now. Scroll down to learn how to make strength training fun.

1. Find out what you like to do

It might sound clichéd, but it’s easy to forget the simple things. “Find a workout and trainer that you enjoy!” says Barry’s instructor Garret Caillouet in New York. “It’s much easier to stick to your fitness goals if you enjoy the work you’re doing.” If you don’t love a particular workout, ask yourself: Was it the trainer? The type of exercises? The style of the workout? The music? Get specific, and fine-tune from there. Maybe try a new trainer, or take the class again (if it’s a live format) on a different day to see if the moves change. Treat it like an experiment until it clicks, and the workout feels more joyful and energizing.

2. Pump up your jams

Speaking of joy and energy, music plays a huge psychological role in your workout—and science backs this up. “Studies have shown that music can motivate and increase the performance of some of the world’s top-performing athletes,” says Barnes. “Finding your exercise rhythm at home can be a challenge, but with the right tunes, you’ll be making moves in no time. Create your own playlist or discover new ones online—it’ll help you give yourself the extra boost you need to tackle a tough workout at home.”

3. Vary your schedule

“Don’t be afraid to change things up,” says Caillouet. “Don’t get me wrong, consistency is key when building strength and muscle, but stepping outside of your comfort zone with new exercises or a new instructor can keep things spicy and interesting. No one wants to be bored with their workout.” Take this to heart if you’re feeling sluggish in your routine or if you’re lacking motivation. Maybe you’re a little burnt out on weight training—that’s okay. Mix it up with Pilates and barre to target your smaller muscle groups and build overall strength.

4. Use Your Body

Are weights daunting? Maybe you don’t have any equipment at home, and you don’t think you can participate in a certain class or exercise format. “No worries,” says Barnes. “Many people don’t realize you can use your body weight to build strength at home. Try simple moves like push-ups, squats, and full-body sit-ups. You can increase the resistance your body needs to form lean muscle by adding small dumbbells to your exercises.

5. Take your time

Here’s the deal… Sometimes it just is hard. Strength training—and exercise in general, for that matter—isn’t always fun, enjoyable, or easy. That doesn’t mean it can’t be, and it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. “Most importantly, be forgiving!” says Caillouet. “Not every day is going to be your best and that’s okay. Showing up for yourself is what matters. Remember, fitness is self-care.”

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