Training in your Home Gym
Many of us want to avoid expensive gym membership fees or just workout comfortably at home without having to depend on hours of operation anywhere. That is why you should consider investing in basic equipment and take on fewer variations of exercises for your workouts.
Basic equipment should include the following:
- 1. An adjustable incline bench
- 2. A barbell rack that is stable enough to place it behind or over your head (for bench press exercises) and with which its height can be adjusted to put down the barbell safely while doing squats. The same applies for the barbell shoulder press!
- 3. 2 Dumbbells with dumbbell collars
- 4. 1 Barbell with collar
- 5. Sufficient amount of weight plates (1,25 kg, 2,5 kg, 5 kg, 10 kg, 15 kg and 20 kg plates)
- 6. Full-length mirror
- 7. One 10cm thick and 50cm wide rectangle step block
- 8. One 2m stick (broomstick)
- 9. One regular chair
This basic equipment can be used for the following exercises to build muscle and ultimately build strength:
- Flat bench press with barbell and dumbbells
- Incline bench press with barbell and dumbbell
- Flat and incline flyes
- Dumbbell pullovers
- Bent barbell rows with overhand and underhand grip
- One arm barbell rows
- Good Mornings
- Front and back barbell press
- Dumbbell press, upright barbell row (in front and back of the body) and shrugs with dumbbells
- Seated, standing and bent over flyes
- Front raises with dumbbells and barbell
Front squat, lunges
Deadlifts without using legs
- Standing calf raises holding dumbbells or a barbell (step block below you). Balance can be a problem and you may have to hold on to something! (You have to be creative)
- Seated calf raises with barbell on your quads (step block below you)
- Barbell curls
- Dumbbell curls in all variations
- Concentration curls
- Hammer curls
- French press with barbell lying down, seated or standing
- Dumbbell raises above head (two arms or one arm)
- Flat and incline close-grip bench press
- One-armed dumbbell kick backs
- Bench dips (feet on chair and hands on the bench)
Barbell wrist curls
Reverse barbell wrist curls
Standing wrist curls behind the body
- Lying leg raises with legs straight
- Bar twists
- Dumbbell side bends
These exercises can easily be matched to your own training schedule and goals. Workout plans can be found on our homepage, but I would like to give an example of a common 4 day split plan:
- a) Flat barbell bench press, 5 sets 15*/12*/10-5 reps
- b) Incline Dumbbell bench press, 4 sets 12*/10-5
- c) Flat Flyes, 3 sets, 12-8 reps
- a) Barbell curls, 4 sets, 12*/10-6 reps
- b) Seated Dumbbell curls with supination, 4 sets, 12-6 reps
- a) Squats, 5 sets, 20*/15/*/12-8 reps
- b) Lunges, 4 sets, 20*/15-8 reps
- c) Deadlifts without using legs, 4 sets, 15-8 reps
2. Calf raises:
- a) Standing calf raises with dumbbells, 4 sets, 10-20 reps (with step block)
- b) Seated calf raises with barbell placed on quads, 4 sets, 10-20 reps
- a) Bent-over barbell row, 5 sets, 15*/12*/10-5 reps
- b) One-armed dumbbell row, 4 sets, 12*/10-5 reps
- c) Barbell good mornings, 3 sets, 15-10 reps
- a) Lying leg raises on bench, 3 sets, 30-20 reps
- b) Crunches, 3 sets, 30-20 reps
- c) Bar twists, 3-5 minutes
- a) Barbell press, 5 sets, 15*/12*/10-5
- b) Seated side bend, 4 sets, 15-8 reps
- c) Bent-over side bend, 3 sets, 12-8 reps
- d) Dumbbell shrugs, 3 sets, 12-8 reps
- a) Close grip bench press or French barbell press, 4 sets, 15*/12-8 reps
- b) One-armed dumbbell raises above head or kick backs, 3 sets, 12-8 reps
Before every workout:
5-10 minute warm up with jogging (can be in one place if it is too cold) + stretching
After every workout:
Stretching of worked muscle groups You can do any other split set or whole body workout depending on your fitness and goals!
If you want to invest in more than just a small home gym, we can suggest the following equipment for you:
- 1. A pull-up bar on your ceiling
- 2. Tower home gym including bench, lat pulldown, leg curl and leg extension machine, sometimes even butterfly
- 3. Indoor bike 4. EZ curl bar
If you were able to get the equipment, you can add the following exercises to your workout program:
- Different kinds of pull-ups
- Close or wide-grip lat pull downs to chest and neck
- Leg extensions
- Leg curls
- EZ curls
- EZ Upright row
- EZ French press
- Hanging leg raises
Cardio on the bike is a good alternative to jogging and riding the bike during cold winters!
Intensity and Safety
Both are very important aspects that should be considered at home. All of us want to get the most out of our home gym and workouts, but we have to be aware that we are alone. It is difficult to move a dropped barbell off your chest without any support nor can somebody assist you during an intense repetition.
That is why we have to use alternative techniques to increase the intensity in our workouts. Intensive and negative reps are not recommended without the proper support and safety of a partner spotting you. The better option are as follows
For example, after finishing the last set of an exercise with 5 reps, we drop some weight off the dumbbell to finish with concentrated repetitions that will burn the muscle until the end. Repeat this cycle to get even stronger. Emphasis of eccentric negative repetition phase.
Negative repetitions are a great way to add more intensity into your workouts by controlling the tempo of the repetition and slowing down the lowering phase. The concentric phase should be performed properly as well but can be done slightly faster.
Its always beneficial to do a set of bench press immediately followed by a set of flyes or even antagonistic: 1 set of biceps curls immediately followed by a set of dips.
Progressive weight training (without lying to yourself).
We should always try to go heavier on our weights step by step. This requires the right technique when performing the repetitions without lying to yourself.
Therefore, you need a good amount of weight plates that can be acquired from time to time.
Be careful not to overuse intensity techniques as they allow you to push beyond conventional failure. It is important to balance your workouts, diet and recovery to reach your goals. Always put safety first and pay attention to your technique and how to perform the exercise properly. Keep in mind that you are alone in case of an emergency and also risk an injury that can prevent you from your training. No one wants that!
We hope that we could provide some tips and the most important aspects of home gym workouts. We deliberately did not go into detail for the workout plans as they are described somewhere else on this site. It is essential to have a variety of exercises that can target every muscle group. Basic exercises can be valuable to avoid workout times beyond 60 or 90min.