This page is for anyone who wants to know how to build muscle from home. Best of all is that you don’t even need to buy expensive home gym equipment. You can if you want to, but it’s not necessary.
You’ll need a few basic pieces of gear, though. If you want to keep the cost down, you can often find some great second hand weights and other bits in local classifieds.
The basic workout apparatus for home use should look something like this:
- Dumbbells: these provide you with a wide range of motions
- A barbell with weights: necessary for compound exercises
- Floor (exercise) mat
- Workout bench
None of these things are expensive, yet they all contribute toward building the body you’ve always dreamed of. As you get more into developing your muscles, you can simply add to the equipment you’ve already got. There’s also a good chance that you’ll join a gym once you look the part.
I can’t tell you how much weight and the type of weights you need. This is because we’re all different in so many ways. If in doubt, get an assessment done, and explain what your goals are (be specific).
What’s important is that you don’t try to do too much too soon. When it comes to the novice workout, ignorance is definitely not bliss, it’s potentially dangerous.
Where the Mind Goes the Body Follows
I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s true nonetheless. Once you train your mind, that body of yours will follow as sure as eggs are eggs. With the body and mind in sync your possibilities have few limits.
Make sure you maintain a positive attitude and a determination to follow through at all times. Add to this a little patience and persistence and you WILL get the body you want from the home workout.
I understand the reasons why some people don’t or won’t go to the gym. I was one of them. I was a skinny guy and ashamed of my body. It sounds shallow now, I know, but it’s how I felt at the time.
Common reasons why people avoid the gym include:
- No time: too busy working, studying, or other commitments
- Embarrassed about your body, i.e. too heavy, too thin, too old, etc.
- Nearest gym is too far from your home
- Gym membership is way too expensive
- Other justifiable reasons
Today I love my local gym, but I had to change my physique at home first. Your reasons for wanting to build muscle at home don’t matter. All you need to know for now is that you can do it 😉
Working out is not only more fun when you have someone to train with, it’s much safer too. And you perform better. Various studies back up the benefits of mutual support during exercise.
Many enthusiastic people fail because they try to go it alone. It’s easy to get bored, demotivated, and idle. If no one you know wants to join your program, there are others who will, but choose with care.
Search the internet in your local area if you don’t have a workout partner. It’s vital to find someone you get along with. Seriously, you’ll find lots of local advice online if you need a workout buddy.
The At Home Workout Plan
The most important thing of all is to set a date and make a start—that’s it. I used to procrastinate… a lot. I could kick myself for it now. Don’t do what I did, and waste your time on the “tomorrow” excuse.
There are seven days in every week and “someday” is not one of them.
Once you’ve made a mental decision to start, the next job is to have a plan of action.
For now, you need to start making preparations and definite decisions:
- How fast do you want to build your muscles (set realistic mini and major goals)
- Which areas need the most/least attention?
- What space have you reserved for your workouts, i.e. spare bedroom, garage
- What equipment do you have and what do you still need to get?
- Who’s going to be your workout buddy
- When do you plan to start: set a date and stick to it
If something distracts you, don’t use it as an excuse for not starting or stopping halfway through. This shouldn’t happen if you’ve got a good workout partner to watch your back.
If you’re alone, consider joining one of the excellent online bodybuilding communities for support.
Sets and Reps
I had better explain what sets and reps are for the uninitiated. A “rep”, or repetition, is a single exercise. Think of a pushup from the start position back to the start position as a complete motion.
A “set” is a group of the same exercises from start to rest. If you did five consecutive pushups, and then stopped to rest, that’s one set. If you did another five, then that would be two sets of five reps.
With the example above, the instructions would read something like this:
Exercise Name: pushups
- Sets: 2
- Reps: 5
- Rest time: 60 seconds
That’s about as technical as the jargon gets for now. I’m not going to get into any details about the actual exercises. This page is about how to prepare your home workouts, not how to perform them.
There are many other articles on this site that explain how-to do certain exercises to perfection.
To end this piece, I have named some great beginner workouts for building muscle at home. Nothing is set in stone, but it’ll give you a foundation to work with as you put together your muscle building plan.
I’ve broken these down into two categories:
- Bodyweight exercises to build muscle (no equipment necessary)
- Building muscle with weights
Below are the names of effective bodyweight workouts. Each training session has a set of different exercises related to its title (see my workout section for details).
- Workout 1: bodyweight Spiderman
- Workout 2: bodyweight squats
- Workout 3: burpee finisher
- Workout 4: pullup to failure
- Workout 5: chinup & valslide workout
- Workout 6: full-body bodyweight workout (includes warmup)
Eight effective home exercises using weights include (sets and reps as guide only):
- Barbell Squat: 2 sets, 12 reps:
- Dumbbell Lunges: 2 sets, 12 reps
- Barbell Seated Calf Raise: 2 sets, 15 reps
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets, 12 reps
- Arnold Dumbbell Press: 2 sets, 10-12 reps
- Side Lateral Raise: 2 sets, 12-15 reps
- Lying Triceps Press: 2 sets, 12 reps
- Barbell Curl: 2 sets, 12 reps
OK, so you’ve got plenty to think about now. If nothing else, start to write down you goals, including mini goals as well as major ones. Find a buddy to work with, even at this early stage, if you can.
Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be down. You’ll have plenty of time to fine tune things once you start to work out and get to know your body better.
If you’re not sure about any of the exercises, take a look at the informative articles on this site for guidance. All that remains now is for you to make a start.