Home workouts: 5 At-home strength training exercises to try

Strength training at home has become a popular option for many, offering a practical way to boost overall health and well-being without the need for a gym membership.

The convenience of exercising in your own space, on your own time, eliminates common barriers that often deter people from maintaining a consistent fitness routine.

The rise in home strength training is largely attributed to recent shifts in lifestyle habits brought on by the pandemic and a heightened understanding of the health advantages associated with muscle strengthening [1].

Engaging in a structured strength training regimen can significantly boost strength, with children seeing improvements ranging from 30% to 50% in just 8 to 12 weeks [2].

This blog provides a selection of exercises that can be done at home, making it easier for individuals of all ages to enhance their physical health without needing a gym.

These exercises are designed for ease and convenience and to ensure that anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can benefit from effective and comprehensive workouts right from their living space.

What strength training exercises can you do at home?

Strength training at home offers a convenient way to stay fit and active. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, these five exercises can amplify your routine.

No fancy equipment is needed; just your dedication and a bit of space. Let’s dive into these effective workouts!

1. Bodyweight squats

A staple in most workout routines, bodyweight squats provide a powerful way to target the legs and core without needing any equipment [3]. When done correctly, they engage the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and even the lower back.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest up.
  • Imagine sitting back into a chair, lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your knees behind your toes and your back straight.
  • Push through your heels to return to the starting position.

Tips:

  • Engage your core throughout the exercise.
  • Focus on maintaining a steady breathing pattern.
  • Don’t rush; prioritize form over speed.

For those looking to spice up their routine, adding variations like jump squats or pistol squats can provide an extra challenge.

But even the classic bodyweight squat can be a game-changer for your fitness regimen when executed with proper form. 

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2. Push-ups

Push-ups are a timeless exercise that offers a fantastic way to strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. Versatile and efficient, they can be done almost anywhere, making them a top choice for at-home workouts.

How to do it:

  • Begin in a plank position, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Lower yourself, aiming to get your chest close to the floor.
  • Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels.
  • Push through your palms, extending your arms back to the starting position.

Tips:

  • Maintain a tight core throughout.
  • Focus on controlled movements, avoiding any temptation to rush.
  • Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your body.

For an extra challenge or a change of pace, consider variations like knee push-ups, decline push-ups, or diamond push-ups. No matter which type you opt for, push-ups remain a reliable way to build upper body strength and endurance.

pushups

3. Bent over dumbbell rows

Engaging primarily the upper back, lats, and biceps, bent over dumbbell rows are a powerful addition to any strength training routine. These rows not only sculpt your back muscles but also play a vital role in improving posture and supporting overall upper body strength.

How to do it:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • With a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward at your waist, keeping your back flat.
  • Let the dumbbells hang down, palms facing in.
  • Pull the dumbbells toward your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck neutral; avoid straining it upward.
  • Aim for controlled movements; it’s about quality, not speed.
  • Ensure your back remains straight throughout to prevent any strain.

Considering the importance of back strength in daily activities and overall physical health, integrating bent-over dumbbell rows into your routine can make a world of difference. 

4. Planks 

Planks are a cornerstone exercise for building core strength and stability [4]. More than just a core workout, they also engage the shoulders, back, and glutes, offering a holistic strength training experience without moving an inch.

How to do it:

  • Begin in a forearm position, elbows directly under your shoulders.
  • Extend your legs straight, forming a straight line from head to heels.
  • Engage your core, ensuring your hips don’t sag or rise too high.
  • Hold this position, focusing on your breathing and maintaining stability

Tips:

  • Your body should resemble a straight plank, hence the name.
  • It’s essential to keep your neck neutral; no need to strain.
  • The longer you can hold the plank, the more you’ll challenge your muscles, but always prioritize form over duration.

Whether you’re squeezing in a quick workout or aiming to enhance your core resilience, planks provide a solid foundation. Remember, it’s not about how long you can hold it but how well you can maintain proper form.

5. Lunges

Lunges are a versatile exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. They’re perfect for building lower body strength and improving balance, making them a must-have in any workout regimen.

How to do it:

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart.
  • Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Ensure the forward knee stays above the ankle and doesn’t push out over the toes.
  • Press through the heel of the front foot to return to the starting position, then repeat with the opposite leg.

Tips:

  • Keep your upper body straight and core engaged.
  • To increase the challenge, hold dumbbells at your sides.
  • Focus on controlled movements; rushing can compromise your form.

Lunges offer an efficient way to enhance lower body strength and flexibility. They’re simple but pack a punch in terms of results.

Whether you’re taking a quick break from desk work or integrating them into a more extensive routine, lunges are sure to get those legs fired up!

How can you be successful in strength training at home?

Strength training at home is more than just lifting weights or doing a few squats in your living room.

It’s about creating an environment and a routine that fosters growth, challenges you, and is sustainable. Here are some actionable tips to enhance your home strength training sessions.

Set clear goals

Setting goals gives direction to your strength training [5]. First, pinpoint your motivation. Are you looking to tone up, gain muscle, or boost overall fitness? 

Understand your “why.” This fuels commitment. Instead of vaguely wanting to “get fit,” aim for tangible objectives like lifting a particular weight or achieving a certain number of reps.

Note down your starting point. Celebrate small victories along the way. As you evolve, so will your goals. Re-evaluate and tweak them to stay challenged and motivated. Remember, clear goals lead to clearer results.

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Designate a workout space

Creating a dedicated space for your home workouts can significantly enhance your training experience. 

Having a set area acts as a visual cue, reinforcing your workout habit. A specific space minimizes distractions, helping you concentrate on your routine.

Ensure the area is clear of hazards to prevent injuries. Store equipment neatly, making it easier to access and start your session promptly.

No need for a fancy home gym; even a small corner can make a world of difference. Prioritize comfort, functionality, and safety [6]. Transforming a spot into your workout zone can be a game-changer!

Get the right equipment

Choosing the right equipment can elevate your home strength training. Start with essentials like dumbbells, resistance bands, and a good-quality yoga mat.

Opt for compact, multi-use equipment if you’re tight on space. There are numerous effective workouts using just body weight or low-cost tools. Read reviews and get recommendations to ensure durability and value for money.

Your equipment should match your goals and available space. It’s not about having the most gadgets but the most suitable ones. Quality over quantity will serve you best in the long run.

get the right equipment

Warm-up and cool down

Never underestimate the power of a good warm-up and cool down during your strength training sessions.

Warming up prepares your body for exercise, increases heart rate, and loosens muscles. This reduces the risk of injury and boosts overall performance. Cool down helps gradually lower heart rate, prevents muscle stiffness, and aids recovery.

Consider dynamic stretches for warming up, like leg swings or arm circles. For cooling down, static stretches, where you hold a pose for 15-30 seconds, work wonders.

Incorporate these phases into every workout. They’re your safeguards for a safe and effective training experience.

Stay motivated

Keeping the spark alive during home strength training can be a challenge, but it’s vital. Break down your main goal into achievable milestones. Celebrate each one!

Rotate exercises to avoid monotony and keep things fresh. Documenting improvements, whether through photos or notes, can be encouraging.

Find a workout buddy or join an online fitness group. The community feeling helps. After a successful week or reaching a goal, treat yourself.

Remember, motivation wanes for everyone at times. It’s the commitment and strategies you employ that keep you on track.

Final takeaways

Embracing home strength training is a fantastic way to maintain and enhance your physical well-being.

As we have navigated through the essential exercises and practical tips, it is clear that this form of exercise is not just convenient but incredibly effective as well. The key, of course, lies in consistency, proper technique, and a well-structured approach.

Home strength training is a practical and effective way to build strength, improve fitness, and enhance overall well-being. With the right approach, it can be as effective as any gym workout.

FAQs

What strength training can I do at home?

At home, you can engage in a variety of strength training exercises using bodyweight movements such as push-ups, squats, and lunges. Additionally, utilizing simple equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, and kettlebells can further enhance your workout routine.

What equipment is needed for strength training at home?

You don’t need a lot to start; basic equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands, and a yoga mat can be effective. As you progress, consider adding more specialized tools like kettlebells or a pull-up bar.

Can I do strength training everyday at home?

For beginners, it’s advisable to start with 2-3 days a week, giving your muscles time to recover between sessions. As you build endurance and strength, you can increase the frequency, but always ensure you have rest days.

What should I eat while strength training?

While strength training, it’s beneficial to consume a balanced diet rich in protein to support muscle repair and growth. However, specific dietary needs can vary based on individual goals, such as weight loss or muscle building.

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[1] https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/strength-training-popular-health-benefits-rcna94678 
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445252/ 
[3] https://www.insider.com/guides/health/fitness/benefits-of-squats 
[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/plank-exercise-benefits 
[5] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/physical-activity-setting-yourself-goals 
[6] https://blog.daisie.com/5-steps-to-your-personalized-home-gym-design/

The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.