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!
What most at-home workouts get wrong
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.
However, while there are loads of at-home workouts available online, most of them get it wrong. This is mainly because:
- they place zero emphasis on the basics of building muscle (that is, performing the core lifts through full range of motion with sufficient intensity, and aiming to progressively overload the muscles over time).
- 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 proceed with the workout, it’s important to make it clear who this workout is and isn’t for.
If you already have a year or two of proper training experience, this workout is unlikely to help you build muscle and strength. It may, however, help you maintain most of your gains until you return back to the gym.
If you’re an experienced lifter, 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.
Note that the above isn’t to say that even more advanced trainees can’t continue progressing with at-home workouts, mind you. It’s just that the specific workout in this article is targeted more towards beginner trainees.
Also, it should be noted that the at-home workout in this article is generic, so it doesn’t cater to any specific needs.
If you’d like an at-home workout plan that’s designed specifically to cater to your fitness goals, training level, personal preferences, and available training equipment, check out our custom-made workout plans.
A workout to build muscle at home: instructions
Okay, 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.
While there are videos under each exercise to show how they are properly executed, 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, and a pull-up bar.
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 8-20 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 8-20 repetitions. When you can perform 20 repetitions with good form for all sets of a given exercise, slightly increase the load. For the close grip push ups, you can start with the knee variations, and, as you get stronger, progress to the decline variations. This also applies to the pull-up variations.
Rest between sets: rest around 2 minutes between your sets. This should be sufficient inter-rest recovery so that training intensity isn’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.
A workout to build muscle at home: the workouts
1. Dumbbell floor press 2. Goblet squats 3. One-arm dumbbell rows 4. Dumbbell Romanian deadlifts 5. Dumbbell lateral raises 6. RKC plank (hold for 10-30 seconds) 7. Dumbbell lying triceps extensions 8. Dumbbell concentration curls
1. Seated dumbbell shoulder presses 2. Dumbbell reverse lunges 3. Chair-assisted pull-ups/Normal pull-ups 4. B-stance dumbbell Romanian deadlifts 5. Dumbbell seated rear delt raises 6. V-ups 7. Close grip push-ups from the knees (variation shown in the video below)/Normal close grip push-ups/Decline close grip push-ups 8. 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!