There are two types of people in the world: People who love working out at home and people who absolutely hate it. Although the gym is superior, in terms of fitness equipment, home workouts are better for other reasons...
For one, they're free - No gym membership required. Second, they're perfect when you don't have gym access or don't have time to go. Third, they challenge you to try new workouts that you wouldn't have tried if you were going to the gym. At home, you have to get creative, step outside of your comfort zone in order to get effective results.
Luckily, at home, you don't need all the equipment at the gym (but if you happen to have a home gym then props to you 👏). All you need to start strength training at home is your body! That's right, you don't need heavy weights to build muscle at home, you just need to learn how to use your body and create a bodyweight routine that will help you with fat loss, getting tone, and building muscle without any dumbbells or other weights!
How bodyweight training can get you results
Many people might think bodyweight training is not enough to build strength and can only get you results as a beginner, but it's very possible. All fitness levels can get effective results without lifting weights. At first, you start with the basics, learn how to master essential bodyweight exercises. Once you master those, you can move on to making adjustments to make them more difficult. You just need to know how to make them challenging. Here are a few ways to do that:
Change the pace: Increase the pace to elevate your heart rate or decrease the tempo to increase the time under tension.
Do unilateral exercises to add instability: The base of support is smaller making you work harder to balance and work the muscle group targeted.
Change the angle: There are so many variations you can do for different exercises, by changing up the angle you ensure you target different muscles. The best example of this is doing different variations of push-ups, or squats (wider, narrow, one leg/arm).
Add another movement: Compound movements are the key to muscle building, they help challenge your muscles even further. There are various compound bodyweight exercises you can create by just adding in another movement to common exercises.
Implementing these small changes to key exercises are equivalent to adding weight plates on an empty barbell. What's even better is that there are a variety of exercises to choose from, so you can create a list of bodyweight exercises by muscle group and create a full-body circuit that targets various muscles in one workout.
Full-Body Bodyweight Workout
This full-body circuit routine requires no equipment, except for one (or two if you count a sturdy chair or table). This workout does include pull-ups so you will need a pull-up bar, but we will also have an alternative for those who don't!
You can do this routine at home with no equipment or at the gym if you want to add weight to some of the exercises. Make it more fun and do it with a few of your close workout buddies so you help motivate each other throughout the circuit! And don't forget to WARM-UP! Before any workout, do a few static stretches and dynamic stretches to limber up your body and prepare it for all the movement and jumping. After you've warmed-up do a few glute activation exercises, if you really want to make sure your glutes are working through the lower body exercises 😉 After you're warmed up, let's get started!
This is a beginner-friendly full-body workout, it will include a total of 8 exercises that target your lower and upper body, core, and a little bit of cardio to get your heart rate pumping. For those who want more of an advanced workout, feel free to adjust the exercises to be more advanced (look at the list above). This will be a circuit training routine, so instead of focusing on how many sets and reps, you'll be focusing on doing the exercise for a certain amount of time.
This circuit will include four rounds with a minute to two minutes of rest in between rounds. Do each exercise for a full minute, and really focus on your form and tempo. After the minute is up, take a 30-second break (up to a minute if need more rest), then move to the next station. Once you're done with one round, take a minute to two-minute break, and repeat until you've completed four rounds. The rest times really depend on what your main goal is. If your goal leans more towards muscle growth then take 1-2 minutes of rest. If your goal leans more towards weight loss and cardiovascular health then take less rest in between sets and rounds.
Exercise #1 - Deep bodyweight squat
We're going to add a twist to the usual squat exercise that will help keep your chest up, improve form, and work them shoulders! Grab a small towel and hold it overhead with your arms straight and keep it taut. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing outwards. Stand upright, looking ahead, and keep your core tight. Bend your legs to lower down slowly, keeping knees wide apart. Aim to go through the full range of motion, so lower until your hamstrings touch your calves, but if you can't get down that low then just go as low as possible.
Exercise #2 - Burpees
This is a classic compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups. To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body down as if you're about to squat, then place your hands on the floor directly in front of you, shifting the weight onto your hands. Jump your feet back into a plank position (do a push-up to make it harder). Your body should form a straight line. Then jump your feet back so they land near your hands. Reach your arms over your head and explosively jump up into the air. Then repeat.
Exercise #3 - Triceps dips
You'll need a sturdy table, bench, or chair for this one. Start by sitting on the bench with your hands either next to your hips or slightly under the hips. Slide your butt off the bench with your legs extended out in front of you and with hands still on the bench. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off the elbows. Begin to slowly bend your elbows and lower your hips down, keeping shoulders down and hips close to the bench. Once elbows are at about a 90-degree angle push back up and repeat.
Exercise #4 -Bulgarian split squat
You'll need the same sturdy bench or table as the one used in the triceps dips exercise. Stand approximately one to two feet from the bench, face away from it, and rest your right foot on it, it should be about knee height. Keep your torso upright, core engaged and hips square to your body. Breathe in as you bend your front left knee to lower your body down as far as you can keeping your knee in line with your foot and shoulders back and chest out. Drive through your front heel pushing your body up. That's one rep. Since this workout is time-based, perform with one leg for 30 seconds then switch to the other.
Exercise #5 - Push-up
This is going to be a standard push-up, but if you still have trouble with your form or don't think you can perform a full minute of push-ups quiet yet then do feel free to do knee-push ups or an elevated variation (takes some of the pressure off your arms and shoulders).
Place your hands an equal distance apart and right under your shoulders. Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulder, keep your core engaged, and squeeze your glutes too! Once you got your position ready, lower your body down to the floor, but make sure your back is straight and your lower body doesn't sag on the floor. Then push back up. If you're doing the knee variation, then follow the same guideline except for you bend at the knees so you're on your knees as you lower your torso down. For the elevated variation, use a sturdy elevated surface (bench, chair, table) and perform the push-up as directed above.
Exercise #6 - Step-ups
You can either use the same bench used in the previous exercises or use some type of raised platform. Step onto the bench with your right leg, while making sure your foot is flat against the bench. Lean forward slightly and push yourself upwards through the heel of your right foot, so your left leg can come up to the bench. Step down with the right leg under control. That's one rep. Since this workout is time-based, perform with one leg for 30 seconds then switch to the other.
Exercise #7 - Pull-ups
It's time to bust out your handy pull-up bar, don't worry if you don't have one we have another no-equipment option for you - Supermans!
Once your bar is mounted and ready, grab it with palms facing forward. Make sure your hands are close to shoulder-width apart (can be wider for a wide-grip pull-up). Pull yourself up, making sure to drive your chest towards the bar and squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the pull-up. Lower yourself and repeat. Feel free to use a resistance band for assistance.
Alternative exercise: Supermans - Lie straight and facing down on the floor or yoga mat. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you. Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor and hold for 2-5 seconds. Squeeze your lower back to get the best results from this exercise. Exhale and slowly begin to lower your arms, legs, and chest back down to the starting position. Repeat.
Exercise #8 - Mountain climbers
Get into a plank position, making sure your wrists are stacked beneath your shoulders and body in a straight line. Step your right foot to the inside of your right palm. Jum your right foot back to plank position. Do the same on the left side, and continue alternating in quick succession.
There you have it, your full-body no equipment circuit! The best thing about doing a circuit workout program like this is that you can easily swap bodyweight exercises out. You can swap exercises out for others that fit your fitness levels and your goals. Here are a few other great exercises you can include in your home workout program:
- Walking lunges
- Curtsy lunges
- Jumping lunges
- Pistol squat
- Squat jumps
- Side planks
- Lateral plank walks
- Standing long jumps
- High kicks
Those are just a few to name! The point is, you don't need a bunch of equipment to create your own home workout. But having a little bit of equipment does help to add more variety and make certain exercises more intense. You can easily add more exercises to your workout program by just adding a set of short and long resistance bands. That way you can create an at-home bodyweight workout routine to build muscle if muscle growth is your main goal. The best thing about resistance bands is that you can use them for your home and gym workouts!
And in case you didn't know... We have resistance bands - Long and Short! Our collection of long and short fabric resistance bands come in cute various colors, designs, sizes, and resistance levels. Plus, you can combine three different bands, short or long, and get the third one at half price!