Okay, maybe it’s better if you use your own bodyweight.
Contrary to what you hear from the “bro” at the gym, you can build muscle by doing a home bodyweight workout routine. If you read my Weight Training Tips for Beginners then you know there are three mechanisms for creating muscle hypertrophy (an increase in muscle size) Progressive Overload, Metabolic Stress and Muscle Damage.
All three of these methods can be achieved with nothing more than your body weight, so follow along with my home bodyweight workout routine. Completing this workout twice a week is good, three times is even better, and then have a couple of active recovery days or HIIT days to round out your weekly routine.
I am also going to leave any core training out of this workout, I believe that you should use core training as your warm up before completing this workout as well as on your active recovery days. Aim for 6-10 minutes of dedicated core training that targets all the areas of your core, a stronger core is more than just looking good with your shirt off. It is the foundation for any exercise you do, it stabilizes you at all times whether you are moving or stationary, don’t overlook how important this group of muscles is to your daily performance.
When doing this home bodyweight workout routine do 3 sets of each exercise before moving on to the next one, try to train to just before failure on each set, each week the amount of reps you can complete before failure should increase.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart with your toes pointed out slightly, 5-10 degrees. Keep your back neutral and your head up looking straight ahead. Keep your core tight, take a deep breath in and push your hips back as your knees begin to bend. Raise your arms up straight in front of you as you lower your body. Focus on keeping your knees inline with your feet and drop down until your hips are lower than your knees.
Hold the bottom position for 5 seconds. Breathe out as you drive through your heels and push back up to a standing position. Do not allow your knees to move inward toward each other and squeeze your glutes as you reach the top.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, then step forwards with one leg landing with the heel of your foot on the ground and roll to a flat foot. Drop down until your knees are at 90-degree angles. Push through the heel of your forward leg as you stand back up and bring your feet back to hip width apart. You can alternate which foot you step with or complete all of your reps for one leg before switching to the other.
Start in a plank position with your hands shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the ground, your arms shouldn’t be 90 degrees to your body, instead bring them in toward your sides 10 degrees. Pause at the bottom with your chest just above the ground and then press back up so your arms are straight. Imagine you are trying to squeeze your hands in toward each other to maximize the contraction on the chest.
You will need a bar in a squat rack, or body weight trainer or even a sturdy table that will support your weight and you can lay under. Now lay on the floor under the bar and grab it with an overhand grip, keep your body rigid and your heels planted on the ground, activate your lats as you pull your body up until your chest is touching the bar. Hold at the top while squeezing your shoulder blades together before slowly lowering yourself back down until your arms are straight.
To make this exercise easier you can raise the bar and take a step backward so your body is more vertical.
Get in to a plank position with your hands under your chest, pointer fingers touching and thumbs touching to form a diamond. Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, lower your body until your chest is just above the ground. Now engage your triceps to push your body back up to the start position.
Grab the chin-up bar with your palms facing toward you at about shoulder width apart, let your body hang with your arms straight. Keep your core and legs tight throughout the exercise. As you pull your body up, focus on engaging the biceps, at the top position your body should be away from the bar a bit. To maximize the contraction in the biceps, imagine you are trying to twist your hands to bend the bar in toward your face in the middle. Then lower your self back to the starting position.
Start in a downward dog yoga position with your hands just narrower than your shoulders. Bend your elbows to lower your head to touch the ground while keeping your toes planted on the ground or on an elevated surface for added difficulty. Push your hands in to the ground to bring yourself back up and straighten your arms.
Single Leg Calf Raise
Stand on the ball of your foot on a step or block with your heel hanging off, push your heel up so you are on the ball of your foot and squeeze your calf muscle as tight as you can, now slowly lower yourself down so your heel is just below the block. Work to failure on one leg before moving on to the next leg.
This home bodyweight workout will serve as a good routine for most beginner to intermediate lifters and can be repeated for several weeks before you should change it up a bit. I will do another post for a home bodyweight workout routine with more advanced exercises for the person that needs to challenge themselves more.
What is your favorite bodyweight exercise? How do you challenge yourself with your home workout routine? Let me know in the comments below.