People often associate exercise with intense aerobic and strength training in a gym. However, you don’t have to go to a gym or even have a lot of equipment to work up a sweat, build muscle and maybe lose weight (if that’s your goal) in the privacy of your own home.
These beginner, intermediate and advanced home strength training exercises can be just as effective as those in the gym if done correctly and regularly. The goal is to focus on strength training, as resistance exercises help increase lean body mass.
You can gradually include cardio in your workouts, but master the basics first. You’ll be more likely to stick with the program over the long term if you see and feel the benefits early on.
Beginner’s Home Strength Training Workouts
This beginning workout focuses on the major muscles that provide stability and core strength. No additional equipment is required. You can do all the exercises in one session or spread them out throughout the day.
Each exercise should be performed in 2 or 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. It’s okay if you can only do four or six at first. The idea is to feel a little unsteady on the last rep, but not so unsteady that you lose form. Increase your reps each week until you can do three sets of 12 reps.
Start your home workout program with these four exercises:
Start on all fours with your hands on the floor, slightly wider than vertical but in line with your shoulders.
From your shoulders to your ankles, your body should form a straight line.
Contract your abs as hard as you can and hold them in place.
Keep your elbows tucked in and close to your chest and lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor.
Return to the starting position after a break.
Do 20 reps.
The first step is to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.
Then, with one leg, take a step forward and bend your knees until your back knee almost touches the ground.
Finally, turn your body over (starting position).
Then repeat with the opposite leg.
Do 10 reps with each leg.
Stand with your feet slightly shoulder-width apart and your chest up.
2 To keep your balance, hold your hands out in front of you.
3 Start by sitting down and then standing up, as if you were in an imaginary chair. Face forward with your head and face.
4 Lie on your back with your thighs parallel to the floor. Place all your weight on your heels. To return to the starting posture, keep your body tense and push up through your heels.
Do 12 repetitions.
Lie face down on the floor.
Align your arms so that your shoulders are precisely over your elbows and your wrists are in a straight line with your elbows (see image above).
Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles (the muscles that make up your buttocks) and hold the position for as long as possible. Gradually increase the time you hold the position.
Take one minute of rest between reps.
Try to hold for as long as you can.
Intermediate strength training at home
Once you’ve mastered the basic routine, you can add other exercises to significantly strengthen your arms, legs and abdominal muscles. You can use soup cans or other household items instead of dumbbells for this intermediate program.
Start by including one or two of these exercises in your workout. As you gain strength, you can mix them up and create your own six- or seven-exercise regimens (focusing on upper body, lower body, full body or core).
Here are three that you can easily do at home:
- Biceps Curl
Hold a dumbbell in both hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Depending on your strength, the weight should be at least 1 kg.
Hold the dumbbell firmly by your thumb and fingers, with your wrist and arms facing outward.
Then, with your elbows bent toward your shoulders, lift both dumbbells firmly and feel the pressure in your triceps and the back of your arms.
Then return to your starting position.
Do three sets of 10 reps.
Stand up and stretch your legs.
Grab two dumbbells and gradually stretch them out to the sides, trying to make them parallel to the floor.
Reverse the process and return to the starting position.
Do between 10 and 20 stretches.
All you need is a chair, bench, couch or step to perform this exercise, often called “triceps dips.”
To get the most out of this exercise, keep your buttocks and lower back close to the chair (or whatever you’re using). Do 10 reps.
Advanced strength training at home
A set of resistance bands and an exercise ball are needed for this advanced workout. These tools can help strengthen the muscles that are responsible for stability.
You should include the following four workouts in your plan:
Medicine Ball Russian Twists
A medicine ball (as shown) or dumbbells are needed.
1 Sit on the floor, lift your feet off the ground and gently lean back. The idea is to maintain your balance in this position.
2 Turn to one side of your body, then to the other, with your arms stretched out in front of you.
3 A full turn consists of one turn to the left and one turn to the right.
4 You can make the exercise more difficult by using a medicine ball.
Repeat this exercise ten more times.
Try doing a pushup with the stability ball by placing your lower body on the ball if you can do a classic pushup with good form. Start by placing the ball under your knees and progress as you gain confidence.
Side step with resistance band
Place both feet on the floor, hip-width apart, with a resistance band wrapped around your thighs, making sure your knees are in line with your toes. Bend your hips and knees, keeping your knees in line with your toes while looking straight ahead. Bend your knees until your upper legs are parallel to the floor. Maintain a 45-90 degree angle between your back and your hips. This is the starting point.
Step out with your left foot so that your feet are slightly shoulder-width apart while remaining in a squat posture with your right foot on the floor.
Dumbbells are required.
1Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, putting your weight on your left leg.
2First, hold the weight in both hands near your left shoulder, then rotate toward your right hip.
3Then, with the rotation, rotate your feet and knees and bring the weight back toward your left shoulder for 20 reps.
Perform 20 reps on each side.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, standing with your feet hip-width apart.
2Lance forward, extending one leg behind you and reaching toward the floor, until your torso is parallel to the floor.
3Return to your starting position.
12 to 20 reps with each leg.
Train two to three times a week to establish a balanced workout routine. Remember that your weight may decrease at first, but will gradually increase as your muscle mass increases. Your success should now be judged by how you feel and look, not just by pounds and inches.