Even if gyms across the country are slowly opening up, a lot of folks are still weary of going outside. We're currently in the middle of a global health crisis, and gyms are still considered high-risk areas.
That's why a lot of people are looking into home workouts to keep themselves fit. But while it is easy to burn fat at home, is it possible for people to build muscle when there's limited or no access to gym equipment?
Is it possible to pack on muscle with home workouts?
The answer is yes. While working out at the gym is great because you have access to an extensive selection of equipment as well as the expert advice of trainers, you can still pack on muscle at home. A study pointed out that there’s no difference with lifting weights that are 30% of your 1-rep max — as long as you train to failure. This shows that building muscle does not necessarily need a myriad of gym equipment, and you can use your own body or lighter weights to increase muscle mass.
But of course, it’s important to have the basic equipment like a comfortable mat and gym clothing. Other than that, you can simply fashion household items into a substitute for gym equipment. For example, a small bag with heavy objects inside can be used as a makeshift kettle bell or a small dumbbell. In Gala Bingo’s guide to toning up they point out that you can use your furniture, such as a sturdy chair or sofa, to do bodyweight exercises like chair dips and seated leg raises. These will help build up your triceps and anterior hip flexors. Lunges and squats can be made more challenging if you wear a backpack weighted with heavy objects inside of it, allowing you to replicate the weight of a barbell. Whatever you choose, just make sure that your chosen DIY equipment is safe otherwise you could end up injuring yourself if it breaks.
What are the best home workouts for muscle building?
Now that we’ve covered why home workouts are just as good as working out in the gym, we’ve drafted up an extensive full body home workout plan. Even without any fancy gym equipment, this workout will train your muscles hard and help you get massive gains.
This workout plan is best done at least every other day. For the warm up, we suggest doing at least 3-5 rounds. While for each superset, we suggest doing at least 3 reps, but feel free to do more to add intensity. We’ve mentioned that bodyweight workouts can be effective — but only if you push yourself to your limit. Feel free to do multiple repetitions of the supersets until you feel like your body is satisfyingly engaged. Make sure that you rest for at least 30 seconds after every set and 2 minutes after you’re done doing one superset.
Butt Kicks x50
These full body exercises are meant to engage as many of your muscle groups as possible to prevent injury. As everyone knows warm-ups are crucial to every workout, as these make your muscles and joints loose and gets your blood flowing. Just because you are working out at home and maybe not lifting as heavy, this doesn’t mean you can ease down on the warm-up.
Diamond Push-Ups x15
Bicep Curl x15
Side Planks x15 seconds/side
Ab Crunch x15
Diamond push-ups are a little more challenging than your usual push-ups because the positioning of your hand forces your triceps to do most of the work rather than your chest. If these are a little easy for you, try a decline push-up position by propping your feet up on a chair. This will make the exercise harder and help further develop the top of your chest.
If you don’t have any dumbbells or weights for the bicep curls, you can go back to our point on DIY weights and use a sturdy shopping bag filled with heavy objects or even a water jug. As it will be harder to judge the weights, it is better to do the curls separately using the same object.
To engage your core, shoulders, and chest, do 30-second side planks. If this is too easy for you, doing star planks — where you raise your other arm and leg — will make your muscles work harder to maintain balance.
Classic crunches can give your abs the definition it needs. If you want to make it harder you can switch to bicycle crunches.
Mountain Climbers x20/side
Hip Lift x15
Mountain climbers are a great way to engage key muscle groups like your quads and core while training your endurance and agility.
If you want toned legs and firmer glutes, squats are the way to go. Make this exercise more challenging for you by carrying a heavy object. If you carry the weight on your back this will focus more on the lower back, glutes and hips, while if you hold the weight to your chest, this will develop the upper back and quads more.
Lunges will further engage your hamstrings and glutes, as well as improve your range of motion and balance. There are many variants to try depending on how difficult you want the exercise to be.
Hip lifts are a great way to improve your posture and strengthen your core. Verywell Fit notes that if you want to take hip lifts to the next level, try not letting your legs touch the ground between repetitions. Doing so keeps your core engaged all throughout the exercise.
Arm-Cross Shoulder Stretch x30 seconds/side
Standing Quad Stretch x30 seconds/side
Child’s Pose x60 seconds
Cooling down is a vital part of every workout, as stretching after every workout reduces the build up of lactic acid — the primary cause of muscle stiffness and soreness. Just like warming up don’t skip cooling as you could affect your ability to perform the next time you exercise.
The above home workouts should keep you going until everything returns to normal. Then you can hit the gyms and continue to build muscle and burn fat using our full body workouts .