The Dad Bod Busting At-Home Workout
The summer is just about here and maybe those extra servings of doughnuts and slices of pizza have enhanced your Dad Bod more than you would have liked. But don’t despair. There’s still time to get in shape even if you don’t have time to go to a gym. You can still perform the same exercises to achieve very similar if not better results in strength, definition, endurance, and cardiovascular health.
It goes without saying that home workouts can often be better than the gym, because:
- It’s free! Nothing beats free
- It’s convenient especially if you have a busy schedule
- You don’t have to worry about a stranger’s sweat or germs on the equipment
- You’ll get faster, injury free results with calisthenics, bodyweight workouts than you would with the traditional body split weight workout you may have done back in your youth. You may remember those days . . . Mondays were chest and triceps, Tuesday was back and biceps, Wednesday was off, Thursday was arms, and Friday was legs. You’re older and wiser now.
- Your kids can watch you workout which is a positive thing for everyone.
Let’s be clear. Just because you don’t have access to Cybex machines, 45 pound plates by York, or other fancy equipment that a gym may offer, it doesn’t mean getting in shape and shedding that Dad Bod is impossible. But it’s not going to happen overnight. Losing weight and losing the Dad Bod is gradual so trust the process.
If you do the below exercise circuit at least three to four times a week, you’re going to start building a routine, and that’s when the changes really start to happen. When you start working out with more intensity, you’ll find that your appetite goes down which will ultimately help you lose weight through a caloric deficit. Remember, it takes 6 weeks to build a habit. Taking care of yourself is a great habit to build for you and your family.
Exercise 1: Jump Roping
If you have a jump rope lying around your house, then you won’t believe how fast this can help you get in amazing shape. There’s a reason why the top boxers, from Mike Tyson to Floyd Mayweather to Lennox Lewis, swear by the good old jump rope to get in tiptop shape. Just get a jump rope and start jumping away. This form of exercise tones your calves, legs, and butt, while it also builds your cardiovascular system. Jumping rope is a great workout for your heart, too. Jumping rope is also a great calorie burner, burning more than 100 calories per 10 minutes of jumping.
Jump roping is also a great way to improve your coordination and balance – two skills that can help you prevent injuries and perform better in other types of exercise. Jump roping can be done indoors or outdoors.
- After warming up for a few minutes, do 1 or 2 sets of jump rope for 5-10 minutes. If you’re doing multiple sets of jump rope, rest 2 minutes between sets. Don’t go out too fast especially if you haven’t jump roped since the third grade. It takes a bit of time to get the timing right so don’t get frustrated. And, for beginners and intermediates alike, we highly recommend weighted cotton jump ropes. The timing is much easier with these jump ropes than those crossfit ones.
Exercise 2: Body Weight Squats
Squatting is an exercise that targets your thighs, hips and buttocks, but you don’t need weights or machines to perform this exercise. All you need is your own body weight. You can use a chair or bench to help balance yourself if need be, but otherwise you can do this without any props at all.
To do this exercise, stand with your feet about hip-width apart, bend your knees, and with your hands either behind your head or clasped together in front of you, lower yourself as if sitting down. Squat down as low as you comfortably can, then stand back up again.
- Following the jump rope, do 3 sets of body weight squats for 15-20 reps, with 60-90 second rest between sets. Don’t rest at the top of the movement. If you’re having a bit of knee pain, put a 2 by 4 or something similar (about 2-3 inches in height) under your heels. Elevating your heels will allow you to squat a bit deeper without having to lean forward that much. It will also eliminate any knee pain or lower back pain you may be feeling.
Exercise 3: Body Weight Lunges
Lunging is a great muscle-building exercise that people often overlook. While lunging with weights targets your hamstrings and glutes, lunging with your own body weight takes it a step further. Lunging with your body weight targets your legs, hips, buttocks, and abs.
Stand with your feet together, hands clasped in front of you or on your hips, and then step forward with one leg. Bend both knees as you descend towards the ground. Your knee doesn’t need to touch the ground but it should get close. And the step you take forward shouldn’t be too long. Take a normal step.
- Following the bodyweight squat, do 3 sets of lunges for 15-20 reps per leg, with 60-90 second rest between sets. If you want to hike up the intensity, you can superset the bodyweight squat with the bodyweight lunge.
Exercises 4 & 5: Push-ups and Plank Superset
Push-ups are one of the most classic exercises around, and you can do them just about anywhere. While push-ups primarily work your chest, triceps and shoulders, they also require lots of core strength to prevent the lower back from sagging during the exercise. You will also add in planks to really work your core in a superset. A superset is doing a set of an exercise and, without resting, doing another exercise. In this case, you will be doing a set of pushups first followed by a set of planks.
To do a push-up, get down on your hands and knees with your hands underneath your shoulders. Do not go wider than shoulder width as doing so will risk a shoulder/rotator cuff injury. Put your hands at a 45 degree angle inwards if you are able. Push yourself up, making sure not to let your back sag. Make sure to lock your arms for the full extension on the way up and squeeze your chest. You will activate your triceps and chest much more than doing half pump pushups. Go down in a controlled fashion until your chest is a few inches above the ground. Your head should be looking straight ahead and not down at the ground. This will allow better alignment of your body and prevent neck injury.
An easy tip to making sure your chest is being worked is to squeeze your butt when you’re doing a push-up. Trust us on this. When you squeeze your butt, you engage your core and, in turn, you work your chest directly.
Following a set of push-ups, immediately go to the plank exercise without resting. You can either do a plank on your forearms or do a straight-arm plank. Make sure to lift your hips and keep your back straight. Hold this position. Engage your core by squeezing your butt. Doing this will also limit the amount of lower back pain you may feel.
- Following the bodyweight lunges, do 3-4 sets of the pushup/plank superset. Do 15-20 push ups, followed by a 30-45 second plank. Rest between 60-90 seconds between each superset.
Bonus Exercise – Chin Up or Pull Up
Chin-ups (reverse grip) or pullups (regular grip) are one of the best exercises for strengthening the muscles in the back and arms. In this exercise, you will loop your hands around the bar, engage your core so that it’s tight, and then you will pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar or your upper chest reaches the bar.
The chin up or the pull up primarily works the muscles in the back, such as the latissimus dorsi, teres major, and deltoids. Over time, chinups or pull ups can improve your back, shoulders, and arms.
Chin-ups put a bit more emphasis on the biceps and are easier to do than pull-ups. Either exercise is fantastic. You can alternate this exercise when you’re doing the sets. For instance, do a couple sets of pull-ups because they are harder. Then as you reach failure, move over to doing chin-ups for your final sets.
We put these exercises as a bonus because most dads do not have a chin up bar at home. The Review Dads do not recommend the chin up or pull up bars that hang in your doorframe. They aren’t stable and importantly, it’s hard to get a good stretch at the bottom. To do a proper chin up or pull up, you’ll need to go all the way down and all the way up. You don’t want to cheat yourself by using bad form with this exercise as you’ll rob yourself of the strength and power in the long run. Lower the rep range if you can’t do the full reps. It’s better to do full reps in the beginning than fight through partial reps all the way through.
- Following the pushup/plank superset, do 20 chin-ups or pull-ups total. We are not asking you to do 20 chin-ups or pull-ups in 1 set. Rather, we are expecting you to be able to do 20 chin-ups or pullups in at least 3-5 sets. It’s okay if it takes you more sets. If you can easily do more than 20 chin-ups or pull-ups, then do enough chin-ups or pull-ups with good form where it will take you at least 3-6 sets to complete. Take 90-120 seconds between each set. Again, solid form is essential. Use bands, a chair, or a milk crate if you are trying to build strength to do pullups or chin-ups.
The summer is just about here and perhaps your Dad Bod is in full effect. Do not despair. You can shed the Dad Bod just by changing your routine. Do it for your kids. Do it for your wife. Most importantly, do it for yourself.
Here’s a summary of the workout:
The Dad Bod Busting At-Home Workout
- Jump Rope: 1 – 2 sets. 5-10 minutes per set. 2 minute rest between jump rope sets if you’re doing multiple.
- Bodyweight Squats: 3 sets, 15-20 reps, 60-90 second rest between sets.
- Bodyweight Lunges: 3 sets, 15-20 reps per leg, 60-90 second rest between sets.
- Pushup/Plank Superset: (Set of 15-20 pushups followed immediately by 30-45 second plank) x 3 to 4 sets.
- Bonus: Chin-up or Pull-Up – 20 reps total.