Ready to build some muscle but stuck at home? Forget a gym membership or a fancy home gym, because you don’t In fact I need them.
Enough your own body weight or a pair of dumbbells to get a flatulence at home.
Let’s start with the basics: Your workout routine should include a mix of cardio and strength training. Strength training can include some hand weights or just your own body weight.
As you get stronger and need more of a challenge, weights will be your best friend. But don’t sleep on cardio. It’s still a necessary (and sometimes a sinister) part of any exercise plan. To build muscle ideally, focus on HIIT cardio a few times a week.
So how often should you exercise? According to a 2016 research review, strength training at least two days a week is ideal for developing your muscles. So start with 2 or 3 days of whole body weight training, 2 days of cardio, and 2 days of rest.
As you get stronger, you can add a fourth weight day and try to divide the days between upper and lower body exercises. And be sure to book at least two days a week to allow your body to rest and recover. Your plan could look like this:
You don’t actually have to pump iron to get stronger. All you need is yourself and some creativity to get those muscles moving.
1. Pushup: 3-6 sets of 6-12 reps
Pushups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises you can do to build strength in your chest and triceps. But it also gives your shoulders, core muscles, lower back, and lower body a workout.
How do: Lie face down and place your hands on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders. Push up to raise the shoulders, torso, and legs until arms are fully extended. Only your hands and toes should be touching the ground. Slowly lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, then repeat.
Pro type: The differences in pressure are almost endless. If you are a beginner, you can start with wall push-ups or knee push-ups. Feeling of progress? Try push-ups.
2. Burpee: 6 per minute for 15 minutes
Need a more explosive workout? The Burpee may be the best combination of bodyweight exercises, working your chest, torso, arms, back, buttocks and legs for a full-body cardio workout.
How do: From a standing position, lower yourself into a squat position and place both hands on the floor, wider than your feet. Leap feet back into a plank position. Do a pushup while returning to the plank position. Draw your legs back into a squat position, then jump up explosively with your hands above your head. repeats.
3. Pull-ups: 3 sets of 2-5 reps
Dragging can be intimidating, especially when you’re just starting out. But it’s a great body weight exercise to work your shoulders, upper back, and biceps. Start with a few reps and work your way up as you get stronger.
How do: Grab the pull-up bar with a raised fist, and wrap your thumbs around the bar. “Dead Play” – Start a dead stop from the bar. Press the bar with your hands and engage the muscles of the upper body and torso. Pull up to the chin to remove the tape. Slowly lower yourself into the dead suspension position. repeats.
Pro type: For in-house pull-ups, you can purchase a portable pull-up bar that fits into the door frame.
1. Plank-up: 3 sets of 5-10 reps
Doing any type of plank will strengthen your arms, but doing planks is especially effective for strengthening the triceps and biceps in your arms.
How do: Begin in a plank position, with elbows and toes on the floor, core, and torso elevated. Raise yourself into a push-up position by extending one arm at a time, keeping your body straight. Lower your arm at your elbows. repeats.
2. Triceps dip: 2 sets of 10-12 reps
You will need a chair, box, ledge, bench, or ladder to perform your triceps exercises. This move will quickly strengthen your triceps (and chest muscles!), which need targeted training to grow.
How do: Start by sitting in a chair (or on a tray, etc.). Hold the edge of the chair with your hands on either side of your hips. Lift up and out in a hovering position behind the edge of the chair. Extend the legs until they are mostly straight. Slowly lower yourself toward the floor until the elbows are roughly parallel to the shoulders. Push down into your hands to raise again until your arms are straight again. repeats.
3. Rodents: 3 sets of 4-6 reps
This bodyweight movement is (almost) as fun as it sounds. This is one of the scary exercises that will make you feel like a little kid again while building triceps, shoulders, chest, abs, buttocks and quads.
How do: Stand with the knees slightly bent. Bend from your hips and slowly reach down and touch your toes. Place your hands on the floor, then “crawl” away from your torso until you are in a plank position. Take insect-sized steps forward until feet meet hands. repeats.
1. Step-up: 3 sets of 15 reps (each side)
Do you have a drawer? or a box? Then you can do this leg exercise. Step-ups are a simple beginner’s exercise that can give you stronger quads, hamstrings, and hamstrings. Just take one step at a time.
How do: Go to the stairs in your home, or if you don’t have a ladder, put a sturdy box in front of you. Climb up the first box or ladder with your right foot, then your left. Step back and back down with your right foot, then left. Repeat, switching the leg you start with each time.
Pro type: For more difficulty, raise your knee toward your chest as you take the second step on the chest or ladder.
2. Lunge: 3 sets of 15 reps (each side)
There are dozens of forms of lunges you can do, but even just a classic lunge builds your quads and muscles. In addition, it strengthens the hamstrings.
How do: From a standing position, take a large step forward with one leg. Lower your body toward the floor until the front leg’s upper thigh is parallel to the floor and the back knee is directly above the ground. Lift by applying pressure to the heel of your front leg. Repeat by taking that first big step with the other leg.
3. Squat: 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps
Squats are popular among weightlifters, which can lead to a misconception that they can only be done with weights. But even squats with your body weight alone can give you strong leg muscles if you do it well.
How do: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Spread the arms straight out with the palms facing down. Inhale and push your hips back slightly as you bend your knees. Look straight ahead and keep the chin and shoulders erect and the back straight. Squat as low as comfortably possible, aiming to bring your hips down below your knees. Engage your core to push up explosively from your heels.
If you prefer to start with weights or are ready to step up your workouts, you don’t need giant gym equipment. Just a set of dumbbells will do that. But you can also switch things up with resistance bells or bands.
1. Chest press: 3-6 sets of 4-8 reps
The chest press targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps – primarily the chest and deltoid muscles. In the gym, you’ll likely see people doing chest presses with a barbell, but you can easily do them at home with dumbbells as well.
How do: Lie face up on a bench or on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Hold the dumbbells at the sides of your chest, stabilize your core, and press the dumbbells straight. Then lower the dumbbells gently and slowly before repeating.
2. Lie dumbbells fly: 3-6 sets of 4-8 reps
Your chest strength will increase when you perform dumbbell exercises, which can be done on a bench or lying on the floor. You’ll hit the chest, deltoid, and biceps muscles with this movement.
How do: Lie on a bench or on the floor with your knees bent. Hold the dumbbells directly above your chest with your palms facing each other. Lower the dumbbells in a slow arc to your sides, bending your elbows as far as you feel comfortable (or until touching the floor, if you’re not using a bench). Bend the elbows, raise the dumbbells back above your chest, then repeat.
3. Blues: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Build abs, chest, and muscles like a woodcutter (without worrying about an ax or a target). This dumbbell exercise can be performed on a bench, floor or stability ball. Just make sure you get a firm grip on the dumbbells!
How do: Lie with feet on the floor. Grab one dumbbell in both hands and raise it above your chest. Slowly extend the dumbbells over your head with your elbows slightly bent, then return to the starting position. Make sure you start this with a low enough weight that you can comfortably manage. Don’t risk dropping the dumbbells on your chest or head!
1. Biceps flexion: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
This classic biceps exercise builds your arm strength and increases the arm muscles you want to bend in the mirror.
How do: While sitting or standing, hold the dumbbells straight at your sides. Bend your elbows and lift the weights toward your shoulders, rotating your arms so that your palms are pointing toward your shoulders. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
2. Triceps extension: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
You’ll raise your arms victorious with this triceps building exercise, which requires some good focus and form. You can do this movement standing or sitting.
How do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell with both hands. Lift the weight above your head with your arms straight, then bend your elbows and lower the weight behind your head. Lift the weight back over your head, then repeat. Keep the arms as steady and steady as possible to maximize the exercise.
3. Wrist wraps: 3 sets of 12 reps
This movement not only increases the strength of the hand, but also builds the muscles of the forearms. This often-overlooked muscle group is used for everything from turning a doorknob to moving a computer mouse.
How do: Sit on a stool or chair, holding a light weight in each hand. Place your forearms on your thighs, with your wrists above the knees and hands extended beyond the knees. The palm can be facing up or down. Roll the weights slowly and then lower them. Move only your hands, not your arms. repeats.
1. Dumbbell squats: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Squats alone work your major leg muscles, but the extra weight can really help those muscles pop. You can also add dumbbells to any form of squat if you need a challenge.
How do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell at each of your shoulders. Sit in a low sitting position, keeping the weight in your heels. Pressing through the heels, push the hips forward and up to return to a standing position.
2. Dumbbell lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps (each side)
Dumbbells add an extra degree of difficulty to lunges, as well as alternate them with varying lunges. Adding dumbbells to lunges helps you build your quads and glutes like a standard lunge, and it also enhances your grip strength.
How do: Stand with a dumbbell in each hand. Lunge forward with your right leg, and lower until your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Push through your front foot to stand up. Repeat by lunging with the other leg.
3. Calf raise: 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Have you ever stood on your toes to pick up something from the top shelf? Then I made a standing calf – it’s really that simple. It’s also an easy desk exercise for the life of a WFH.
How do: Stand, holding dumbbells at your sides, just by your hips. Lift your heels, keeping your toes on the floor and the weights by your side. The bottom heel is back to the floor.
Pro type: For a seated calf raise, place the dumbbells above your knees and raise your heels, either one leg at a time or both together.
Do these 18 exercises and work them into a weekly routine to kick-start your month-long plan. Here’s a chart to help you build muscle while strengthening your core and staying fit.