Especially because of the pandemic, more and more people are not only having to exercise at home, but actually want to.
A lot of people who want to work out at home are buying expensive equipment that they don’t know how to use, is burning a hole in their pocket, and taking up space in their home.
I’m not going to claim this is a no weights workout, because it’s not. Most of the no weights workouts out there still ask you to use dumbbells, so they aren’t usually pure bodyweight routines anyway.
But what I’m going to do here is explain how you construct a “pick and mix” workout routine allows about 60 minutes of good physical activity that works all your major muscle groups and is brilliant for building core strength.
In the beginning you don’t need a fancy gear, you don’t even need to pay for a gym membership. Create your own routine based on core exercises, and do 60 minutes three times per week. I’m telling you, in a month you’ll notice a world of difference and can then make better decisions on what you want to invest in, in terms of both time and equipment to drive things forward.
Even if you don’t want to do that, you can increase the duration, the reps, build the weights you use up, and swap out different exercises to start hitting core groups on a more individual basis, targeting your weaker areas using the same basic structure.
That’s what I did for the first year I was really working out. It got me increased tone, strength, and reduce my body fat. I grew in confidence, and it meant that when I was ready to step into the gym, I didn’t feel like a complete lazy idiot. I got the confidence to take the next step up, and it’s what you can do very easily with very little investment here.
Don’t Be Fooled By “No Weights Workouts” – You Will Need Some
It’s perfectly possible to do bodyweight exercises and make good progress. However, to get the most out of at home workout routines, you will need some weights.
They are expensive though. The cost of a couple of months of gym membership you can get dumbbell bar and barbell bars with enough weights to allow incremental increases for several months.
Fitness is free, but it’s not always best in the long run to make the most overall progress.
Don’t be fooled into thinking a certain type of exercise better than another. Studies have shown that it doesn’t matter which bodyweight exercises or specific cardio exercises you do, the overall results in terms of fitness, fat loss, and benefits the cardiovascular system appear to be very similar. What’s important is getting moving and pumping.
So you don’t need weights, when you start with bodyweight exercises. However, if you want to be able to push things a lot further, and you’re considering going to the gym in the future as well, then the investment on buying some weights to use at home is well worth it, even if it’s just some adjustable weight dumbbells.
How To Construct A Good Beginners At Home Gym Routine
I’m going to suggest here that you pick 8-10 from the list of exercise I’m going to give you.
Do three sets of eight reps, so a total of 24 for each exercise. If you can’t manage that, try three sets of six instead. Then, when you get stronger, increase it to 8, and then 10 or 12.
So even with bodyweight exercises you can incrementally build up the reps, and if that becomes less of a challenge, build up the number of sets as well.
10 different exercises, doing three sets of eights for each, with a one minute rest will take you about one hour. That’s a perfect length of time, and is even longer than the recommended 30 minutes minimum of activity people should take each day.
Don’t get bored though. After a couple of weeks, swap out a couple of exercises. That way you’ll always have something new to master, and you won’t just get into a routine where you whizz through the same set of exercises three times per week, reaching a plateau after about a month.
By challenging your body you will build your muscles in different ways, and you’ll be able to notice when you are plateauing in terms of performance, and then you can build in different exercises, increase the reps, or increase the weights you are using slightly.
Select 10 From The Following List To Build A 60 Minute Routine
So here is the list of exercises I want you to pick up to 10 exercises from. It really doesn’t matter which 10 you pick, because a lot of these will work different muscle groups.
Just be careful not to pick too many that work on a specific area of the body. So don’t pick 5/10 that focus on your arms for example.
For each exercise you choose, first check out YouTube videos for each one so that you can understand how to do it. Work through the routine the first couple of times slowly, using YouTube videos, until you’re confident you can remember the proper form for each exercise you choose.
1. Press up
This is the classic press up that works the arms, shoulders, and if you do it right, the chest as well.
Make sure your hands are flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Make sure they are in line with your chest, so not too wide, not too narrow, not too high, not too low, straight down from the chest to the floor.
Also ensure a straight line forms along your body with a flat back, from your head all way down to your heels.
Lower your body all the way down until your chest is only an inch from the ground, and then drive up fully extending the arms.
2. Dumbbell shoulder press
This is the standing version of the dumbbell shoulder press. As a beginner this is safer because it stops strain on your joints.
Stand straight with your back firmly arched and your shoulders thrust backwards for good form. Hold the dumbbells at shoulder height with an overhand grip, with your upper arms forming a straight line over your shoulders.
Make sure your elbows are tight and don’t flare out at the sides. Press the dumbbells above your head until they are fully extended, then return slowly with resistance to the starting position.
As an alternative version, you can do alternative dumbbell shoulder presses rather than doing the two dumbbells together.
3. Dumbbell squat
Holding a dumbbell in each hand with your arms facing straight down to the floor from a standing position, this is a standard squat using the dumbbells for additional resistance.
Make sure you keep your legs shoulder width apart, with your head up and your back straight, and squat until dumbbells are a couple of inches from the floor. If this is really tough for you, then you could switch to a goblet squat where you only use one dumbbell held against your chest using both hands.
Everyone knows how to skip, or at least how to start practicing. It’s been found in studies to be more efficient than jogging for cardiovascular activity, and it works the upper body, especially the shoulders and chest muscles. 15 minutes of skipping is as good as 30 minutes of jogging.
5. Farmers walk
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, making sure they are as heavy as you can handle, you will start standing and holding them down by your side. Stand as tall as you can, with your shoulders back and your back and neck straight.
Then, you simply walk forward as quickly as you can using short steps. Do about 10 paces, then turn around and do 10 paces back. Do three sets eight.
6. Lateral raise
Starting standing position with two lighter dumbbells in each hand down by your sides. Make sure your back is straight, make sure your neck and head straight with your shoulder’s rollback.
Then slowly lift the dumbbells out to each side until your hands reach shoulder height. This is with your palms upwards. Don’t go higher than the line of your shoulder, and then slowly let them down.
No matter how often you are told these are brilliant for you, everyone hates doing Burpees in the beginning. The reason they are good is because they work many of the major muscle groups in your body and are great for cardio. There are variations on doing them, so I would suggest you look for video examples and work out which variation you can manage, and maybe work up to if you can’t manage a full rep.
8. Dumbbell calf raise
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, down by your sides. Then slowly lift your heels off the ground until you are on the balls of your feet, with them raised around 3 inches from the ground. The variation with a heavier dumbbell to work one calf at a time. Stand facing the wall, with one large dumbbell on the side you are going to lift, with your other hand stabilizing you by being palm flat on the wall.
9. Bicep curls
Start standing with two dumbbells in your hands palms facing outwards, arms down by your side slightly to the front. Do not lock your elbows, keep them slightly bent. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level. Make sure only the lower arm moves, you are not lifting them using your upper arms at all. Make sure you squeeze the bicep hard at the top of each rep then slowly lower.
Another classic, the plank works your core brilliantly. There are variations on this depending on your strength, so look at YouTube video examples. You’ll want to hold the position for one minute, and do that three times.
11. Dumbbell floor press
Not as effective as a bench press, this will still work your shoulders, arms and chest. Lay on your back with dumbbell in each hand facing upwards from the elbows. Push-up with power until the arms are straight, and squeeze the pecks while you hold the position, then slowly lower the dumbbells.
12. Side plank
Lay on one side, with all your weight on 1 foot, and on one arm extended to the floor. Keep your body straight and hold the position one minute. Then switch to the other side. This is one rep.
There are different variations on this, so you’ll have to look at which one you can manage researching on YouTube. However, you are looking to crunch your abdomen and work the muscles hard, so at least three sets of eight, but push more if you can.
14. Lower back curl
Lay on your front with your arms facing downwards. Then lift your legs and arms upwards, curving your back, while keeping them straight. Keep your neck and head straight and raise those as well, then slowly return the floor.
15. Bodyweight glute bridge
Lay on the floor on your back. Arms down by your side push your hips upwards using your heels for the force, and then use your arms as well to maintain the position before slowly returning to the floor.
This is a brilliant exercise that uses light dumbbells. Start standing with the two dumbbells in your hands, arms stretched high above your head, your entire body straightened. Then lower your body into a squat, keeping your thighs perpendicular at the bottom, and then power upwards.
17. Hammer curls
Let’s finish here with one purely for the arms. Start with two dumbbells down by your side, palms facing inwards. Don’t lock the elbows. Then lift them using only your upper arm strength, keeping your back straight and your shoulders rolled backwards.
As you lift the dumbbells, curl them so your palms come against your chest, and squeeze your biceps before slowly releasing the dumbbells back to the starting position.