Bring the hottest fitness trends to your home workouts

The American College of Sports Medicine recently released its projections of the biggest trends projected for the coming year. Although some fitness trends, such as small-group training and combination classes, are great add-ons to a home fitness program, many of them can be used at home every week to bring new energy and effectiveness to your home workouts. Here are just a few of the biggest trends you’ll see in 2013 and some advice on incorporating them into your home workouts. Strength Training: Regardless of your age or gender, strength training should top your list as an add-on to your recumbent bike, elliptical or treadmill workouts. Strength training helps prevent injury, fight metabolic resistance and control your weight more effectively than cardiovascular exercise alone. You don’t need to lift heavy weights in order to gain the benefits of strength training. Resistance bands and bodyweight exercises (also high on this year’s list of fitness trends) can both be used at home to provide you with a challenging and convenient workout. Bodyweight Training: The concept of using your own bodyweight as resistance has been around for years, but this form of strength training is making a serious comeback and is a natural complement to your home fitness workouts. Push-ups, squats, lunges and pull-ups are only the beginning of these functional exercises that work your entire body. For ideas on bodyweight strength training, check out this list (with descriptions) of 50 different bodyweight exercises. Core Training: Emphasizing the stabilizing muscles of the center of the body, core training includes exercises for the back, abdomen and hips. These exercises can be performed with or without equipment such as stability balls, BOSU balls, foam rollers or other stability challengers. Core work is a natural add-on to your home workout and can be completed in as little as five minutes at the end of your workout. The Mayo Clinic offers a slide show of ways to challenge your core here. Circuit Training: Consisting of several exercises that are completed in a series with little or no rest in-between, circuit training represents another old idea that has come round again. Circuit training allows you to get an efficient and challenging workout in a short period of time and is a fun way to use your home fitness equipment in combination with other exercises. Rather than counting reps, try completing one-minute intervals of bodyweight exercises back to back with two-minute cardio challenges on your treadmill, elliptical or recumbent bike. You can also use your home fitness equipment as a warm-up and cool-down for a series of six to 10 circuit exercises that include both bodyweight and core work. This challenging, but quick, form of workout also allows you to bring home another fitness trend of 2013….Express Workouts. Express Workouts: Although fast and effective workouts (think 30 minutes or less) are making a big entry to health clubs for those looking to do the maximum in a minimum amount of time or for those who want to combine classes back to back, you can design your own power workout by combining circuit, core and bodyweight exercises with cardio bursts of three to five minutes. Try using your home fitness equipment for a warm-up before completing three- to five-minute sessions emphasizing strength training or core work, divided by three- to five-minute cardio sessions on your treadmill, bike or elliptical (see the sample format at right). For a more effective workout, set a stopwatch with a timer to keep you moving through your stations and put on some motivating music to help the time pass quickly. Personal Training/Group Personal Training: This is another big trend in the fitness industry that is accessible even if you’re working out at home. Commercial settings, corporate environments, community-based programs and online personal training are all resources for the home exerciser. A personal trainer can meet with you one-on-one or in a group setting and help you to set up a workout that meets your specific needs. Meeting with a trainer can also be a great way to check your form and get some ideas for strength training you can continue to do at home to complement your workouts on your home fitness equipment. If you have a friend or two who are also looking to improve their workouts, many trainers will offer big discounts for working with you in a small-group setting. Some trainers may even help to match you up with a group of similar people. While the above activities are some of the biggest fitness trends in 2013 that work naturally with your home workout, you can also combine your home workouts with offerings such as outdoor recreational activities (think guided hiking or camping) or yoga classes (or DVDs) to bring a well-rounded, enjoyable approach to fitness both in and out of the home. Weigh In: How do you keep your home fitness routines fresh? Are you bringing any of the biggest trends into your workouts this year?