Strength training at home – 5 Home programs, 2 methods
Author: Bruno Chauzi, certified professor of Physical Education. Article modified on
Strength training at home, with little space and small equipment, allows you to tone quickly to gain power, speed and muscular endurance. A simple weight training mat is already very useful for toning your abs! A dumbbell, small loads or your body weight are sufficient, especially for body maintenance and improving physical condition. Gaining maximum strength and gaining mass is more difficult at home without a specialized weight machine. To build muscle quickly at home and gain strength and volume, you will need to buy more important equipment: a weight bar, many discs, a fitness bench, 2 solid uprights or a squat rack and finally 2 dumbbells as in our Crossfit program for the pecs. Whatever the goal, recovery will be facilitated by also following a complementary program of stretching, self-massage and electrostimulation.
What are the minimum conditions for training at home?
How much space do you need for your sports sessions?
A surface of 10 square meters is more than enough to build muscle at home. This corresponds, at best, to a garage, a bedroom or a long corridor. A staircase or a simple step can also be used for the leg muscles in jumps but also to change the inclination of the pumps (see chapter Strength training exercises at home)
What equipment can we use at home?
A table, a chair and a wall are enough to make dips, pull-ups or push-ups. Stability is the essential element to consider before starting to train in these conditions.
Small usable equipment can of course be purchased, but it can also be tinkered with.
- Dips bar for arm strength training
- Modular step bench and jump rope for toned legs and good vertical relaxation
- Door or wall-mounted pull-up bar to strengthen the back and strengthen the biceps
- Fitness mat: Muscle strengthening in static sheathing and abs exercises in motion is done with a simple floor mat
- Roller, single and double massage ball for muscle relaxation and lymphatic circulation in the fascia.
- Stick, broomstick or pvc tube : a simple stick is enough to soften the shoulder joint.
- Gym ball: The gym ball also called gymball, fitball or swissball allows you to perform weight training, proprioception and stretching exercises for all the muscles of the body but especially the stabilizing muscles.
- Strength training machine for abdominals: In case of overweight a strength training machine for abdominals will initiate the flexion movement of the bust by a spring system or with the help of the arms depending on the chosen device
- Weighted ankles : The ankles are particularly effective for building the glutes
- Fitness elastic band: A fitness elastic band offers a large selection of gym exercises for the glutes, arms and shoulders to improve muscle power and explosiveness. In addition to the small size of this kind of equipment, the advantages of resistance training with elastic are permanent tension and resistance which increases with the stretching of the band.
- Hanging strap : You can also use at home, in the office or outside a suspension strap to build muscle. This method of gymnastics is based on gravity and body weight. It allows a complete bodybuilding of strength, balance and sheathing in 3 dimensions.
Large weight machine, rower, mat
If you have a larger training space such as a garage or a room specifically reserved for your physical condition, multifunction weight training machines with guided load can be a good investment for isolation exercises that target the effort on a single muscle group. It will still be necessary to combine them with free load exercises or gym exercises with body weight to work on coordination with more comlet and more functional exercises.
A rower, a treadmill, an elliptical trainer or an exercise bike are less energy-hungry and represent an excellent investment to improve your cardio and tone up sheltered from the vagaries of the weather.
What loads to use to build muscle?
Usable loads can also be tinkered or purchased:
- Compact or variable dumbbells
- Bodybuilding bar
- Weighted backpack
- Small additional charges
- Weighted air chambers
- Kettlebell: Kettlebells allow movement ballistic, ie swings, with acceleration then relaxation. The effort required to handle them promotes explosiveness as well as the participation of the stabilizing appendage muscles.
2 methods bodybuilding at home without equipment or with small loads
1 Loads can be varied from 0 to 85% to increase volume or endurance
The percentage mobilized of its maximum strength (FM) is known empirically by identifying the maximum number of repetitions performed on an exercise. With the exception of chin-ups, it will be difficult to exceed 85% FM because this level is crossed when the exercise cannot be performed more than 6 times without stopping. The consequence of the above is that it is impossible, without heavy load, to develop the maximum force at home since one cannot increase the loads to get closer to his 1RM.
The table below allows you to determine the qualities that can still be developed. For example, and whatever the exercise, traction, squat or dips, if, at normal speed, we execute 10 repetitions we develop the volume.
2 You can vary the speed of execution to get different results
For the same charge, the effects vary according to the speed of execution.
- On a slow rhythm, in long series (20), with a load equal to 60% of the max and a recovery time equal to the effort time we develop muscular endurance, maintenance of the body and improvement of physical condition.
- On a fast rhythm, in short series (8), with a load equal to 60% of the max and a recovery time equal to at least twice the effort time we increase the speed, the explosive force and the relaxation.
9 effective strength exercises at home
Bodybuilding exercises easily performed at home are detailed below. Click on the links to benefit from all the execution advice.
- Exercises with guided load
- Squat with barbell, with dumbbells, with Kettlebell or without load
- Step, Squat hop, Thrust up, jumps and thigh sheathing: see the page on vertical relaxation
- Strengthening the calves
- Plank or Gain-Abs
5 Programs Body Weight Training At Home
At home we will follow, depending on its level, one of these 5 programs :
- the first easy sport program offered below for a quick overall toning
- a 2nd program for losing weight in circuit training, more difficult, consisting of 12 exercises
- a 3rd program more focused on sports efficiency and allowing to develop explosiveness
- 4 tips for training at home
- 100-day sports-free session
1 Easy sport program for beginners who want to tone up at home
This program has 4 exercises; the only equipment needed is a weight training mat. The 1st exercise uses the gluteus medius and allows shaping of the buttocks. It is also part of the Rope-Fitness Program to firm the thighs and glutes. The 2nd strengthens the adductors and refines the inner thighs. The 3 ° works the lower abs and flattens the belly under the navel. The 4th and last exercise muscles the triceps, to tighten the skin, and the pectorals, to avoid having the shoulder blades taken off and the back round.
2 Weight loss program
This complete bodybuilding program in circuit training increases tone and does not cause muscle gain, so it is in particular a good bodybuilding program for women. It allows you to lose fat, gain lean mass and thus increase the basal metabolism.
3 Advanced program for explosiveness or tone
The body-building program, which can be downloaded free of charge from the site, aims to develop muscle explosiveness without gaining volume. It is partly applicable at home and is intended for athletes wishing to improve their starting speed, their tone, and the dominant speed of their muscular power. It requires little equipment: a pull-up bar, a jump rope, a floor mat, a ball, a stopwatch, a pair of shoes with thin soles. It lasts 8 weeks with 7 gym sessions per week, 3 of which are strength training at home.
4 4 tips for training at home
A practical way to train easily at home is to combine daily life gestures with a specific bodybuilding exercise. Here are 4 examples among many others.
5 Session without equipment at home from the 100 Sports Days Challenge
The circuit training consisting of doing 10 pushups on the knees, 15 squats with the arms above the head and 20 seconds of sheathing on the elbows, preceded by a few warm-up exercises on site, is one of the possible sessions to meet the challenge 100 sports days.
What else to do at home to stay in shape?
Exercising at home is not just about building muscle. Strength training is necessary but not sufficient. Whether you are looking to tone up, gain volume or gain explosiveness, you will also have to devote significant time to stretching, massaging and, possibly, electrostimulating. The first benefit of its complementary physical practices will be a total and faster muscle recovery therefore less aches and the possibility of increasing the total volume of training by adding one or two weekly sessions to your bodybuilding program.
1 – Stretching
Stretching offers a specific benefit, which is gain in amplitude and thereby gain in motor comfort. We advise you to insist particularly on the dorsal muscle chain and on the complex anatomical hinges that are the joints of the shoulders and hips and in particular the deep muscles such as the pyramidal, and the psoas. For the shoulders, a simple stick will suffice to perform daily the exercise of passing it over the head to bring it in the back at the level of the kidneys without letting go or changing its manual grips during the movement.
Consult our complete file on stretching
2 – Self-massages
Self-massages with a roller facilitate muscle relaxation by acting on the fasciae and improve lymphatic circulation. Here is for example an excellent exercise with foam roller to relieve the lumbar muscles and back pain.
3 – Electrostimulation
The muscular electrostimulation or electro musculation makes it possible to carry out an effective muscular work without cardiac fatigue and by reducing tendon constraints as much as possible. It also relieves muscle pain, cramps and aches …
4 – Sports board games
The objective of sports board games is certainly not to increase muscle or heart potential. The atmosphere of conviviality of these games is rather favorable to maintain good humor and to enrich family and social relationships. However, it is not excluded to imagine that through playful challenges, sporting vocations could be revealed … between two giggles 😉
In this context we offer two games: the game of the sportsman’s goose and a card game, the Battle fitness.
The sportsman’s goose game
After printing this game and obtaining a goose (optional) and a die (compulsory), all you have to do is prove to your family and loved ones that the pumps, mountain climbers and burpees have no secret to you …
The fitness battle
The BATTLE FITNESS is inspired by the classic battle card game. It is played with 32 cards. At each round all the losers must carry out together the exercise represented by the color of the winner’s card. For a tile you have to do squats, for a heart pumps, for a spades sit-ups, for a Clover front slots. The number of repetitions is indicated by the value of the card. For Character cards, losers will do 11 repetitions for one valet, 12 for one lady, 13 for one King, 15 for one ace, 20 for one joker. The game stops when there are no more cards. We can consider special arrangements depending on the physical condition of the players (let’s not forget that this game is played with the family, everyone must be able to participate). Squats can be performed from the sitting position on a chair. You then have to get up and sit on the chair. The pumps can be done obliquely with your hands against a wall or on your knees. The front lunges may be incomplete, the knee not touching the floor. Sit-ups can be stopped mid-way so without finishing lying on the ground but by leaning against a thick cushion for example.