Is working out at a gym not an option for you at the moment and do you need a workout to build muscle at home?
If so, this article is for you!
Training to build muscle at home isn’t easy
It’s true that training to build muscle at home can be challenging, since most of the equipment you can find at a gym won’t be readily available to you. However, it’s certainly not impossible.
A couple of basic pieces of exercise equipment, some knowledge of biomechanics and a little imagination are all you need to get a great workout in the comfort of your own home.
Unfortunately, most of the at-home workouts you find on the internet truly suck. This is mainly because:
- they place zero emphasis on the basics of building muscle (i.e. performing the core lifts through full range of motion with sufficient intensity and aiming to progressively overload the muscles).
- they typically only involve lots of high repetition sets of weird “toning” and “sculpting” exercises.
One thing’s for sure: doing hundreds of reps of unweighted glute kickbacks will definitely not help you build a stronger, better-looking body. That, we can guarantee!
Of course these are just a couple of the most common muscle growth mistakes most people make when training to build muscle and strength.
Who this workout is and isn’t for
Before we go ahead and give you the workout, it’s important to make it clear who this workout is and isn’t for.
If you already have a few months of training experience and have managed to build a good foundation of strength and muscle, this workout is not for you!
You are much better off reading our “How to Build Muscle” training guide as well as the interview we did with Eric Helms on Training for Muscle and Strength.
If, however, you are a beginner with little to no training experience looking to build muscle at home, read on!
A workout to build muscle at home
OK, let’s get straight into this!
Below are two workouts: Workout A and Workout B. Both work the full body, each one with different exercises.
If you are not sure how exactly to perform an exercise, look it up on exrx.net. If you are still unsure about proper execution, ask a certified fitness professional in your area.
What you’ll need: the only pieces of equipment you’ll need are a pair of adjustable dumbbells with plates (such as gift idea #8 here) and a pull-up bar (such as gift idea #3 here).
Frequency: perform your workouts on 2-3 non-consecutive days per week (e.g. Monday/Wednesday/Friday), by alternating workouts A and B. So, for example, this is what your schedule may look like:
Week 1: A/B/A
Week 2: B/A/B
Week 3: A/B/A
and so on
Volume: Perform 1-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions for each exercise. If you are a complete beginner, start with just one set and increase the number of sets as you adapt to the volume.
Intensity load and progression: use a weight with which you can manage 8-15 repetitions. When you can perform 15 repetitions with good form for all sets of a given exercise, slightly increase the load. For the push-ups and close grip push ups, you can start with the knee variations and progress to the decline variations.
Rest between sets: rest around 2 minutes between your sets. This should be sufficient inter-rest recovery so that intensity and volume aren’t compromised. If you are in a hurry, you can pair each exercise with the next one and rest 1 minute between sets instead.
Repetition tempo: perform repetitions in a controlled manner. Neither a super-fast, nor a super-slow approach seems to confer any benefits, so aim for around 1-2 seconds for the concentric and 1-2 seconds for the eccentric part of the exercises.
- Knee push-ups/Normal push-ups/Decline push-ups/Explosive decline push-ups
- Goblet squats
- One-arm dumbbell rows
- Dumbbell Romanian deadlifts
- Dumbbell lateral raises
- RKC plank (hold for 15-30 seconds)
- Knee close grip push-ups/Normal close grip push-ups/Decline close grip push-ups
- Dumbbell concentration curls
- Seated dumbbell shoulder presses
- Dumbbell rear lunges
- Chair-assisted pull-ups/Normal pull-ups
- Single-leg dumbbell Romanian deadlifts
- Dumbbell seated rear lateral raises
- Dumbbell lying triceps extensions
- Dumbbell alternating biceps curls
So there you have it! If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments section below!
Also, if you know someone who would enjoy this workout, please share it with them!