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Do Home Workouts Work?

If you’re someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to get to the gym or you’re feeling intimidated by going, you might be wondering…do home workouts work? Can you actually get results from working out at home instead of going to the gym?

Yes…but with a few caveats. Home workouts can absolutely work but they need to meet certain criteria in order to be effective. In this article I’m going to break down how to make sure your home workouts are actually going to get you the results you want.

First up:

1. Follow a strength training program

If you are looking to build muscle and tone up you must be following a program. Your muscles want repetition. They want to do the same sets of exercises over an extended period of time while applying progressive overload.

What the heck is progressive overload? It’s just a fancy way of saying make the exercises more difficult over time by adding some sort of additional stimulus like more weight, reps or sets.

If you’re doing random workouts everyday and not following a program, you won’t see the results you’re looking for whether you’re at home or at a gym. It will also be hard to monitor progress and know if these workouts are “working”.

When you’re doing different exercises every time you go to the gym you don’t have a

great way to measure your strength gains over time vs when you’re following a program you can much more easily tell how much stronger you’re getting by tracking your weight used, reps & sets over the course of the program.

A good program will typically be 4-8 weeks long and have you repeat the same exercises(or slight variations of the same exercises) over those 4-8 weeks while also applying progressive overload and making the exercises harder over time.

If you’re not sure where to start and need a good, At Home program to follow, check out my free 3 day/week strength training program.

2. Have heavy enough weights at home OR be ok with higher reps/a lot of tempo work

In addition to following a program, in order to build muscle & make sure your home workouts work, it’s also important that you’re lifting heavy enough to make your last 2-3 reps feel very difficult. If you only have 3-5 lb weights at home, that won’t cut it.

Bodyweight and light weights are a great place to start if you’re a beginner but over time you will gain strength and need heavier weights. If you don’t want to workout at a gym, you’re going to need to invest in some heavy weights for your home. If you’re a beginner, you’re also going to gain strength a lot quicker than you think.

You might think you really don’t need anything heavier than 10-15 lbs but after a few months, those won’t be heavy enough for lower body exercises for most people. If you can, I recommend investing in a good set of adjustable dumbbells. These are more of an investment up front than a single set of dumbbells will be, but they’ll end up saving you money when you don’t have to buy 10+ pairs of dumbbells in varying weights. These will grow with you and give you a lot of room for increased strength.

If you don’t want to invest in heavier weight you’ll have to be ok with working in higher rep ranges or using tempo work to produce the same effect on those last 1-2 reps that having heavier weight will. You’ll need to incorporate 12+ reps of most exercises, a lot of pause reps, eccentrics, 1.5 reps, etc.

3. If this is the only way you’ll workout

Many people do not have the time or money to belong to a gym. If working out at home is the difference between you getting a workout in or not doing it at all…you should workout at home. Something will always be better than nothing.

Don’t skip strength training just because you feel like you should go to a gym or should wait until you have heavier weight. You’ll benefit from doing even a little bit.

Home workouts are also a fantastic option for people who are just getting started with strength training & aren’t comfortable in the gym. If you feel better working out at home, you want to get more comfortable with form, or you want to stay consistent before you invest in a gym membership, home workouts are a great option to help get you started.

If this is the difference between you starting at all or continuing to not workout, start at home!

4. You’re ok with less variety

Like we talked about, a good program should have you doing the same sets of exercises for 4-8 weeks at a time. Repetition is normal. But, working out at home can mean less equipment which means you have less variety in terms of exercise selection.

In order for home workouts to work, you may find you’re having to repeat a lot of the same exercises to hit a certain muscle group because there are only so many options when you don’t have access to all of the machines & equipment a gym can offer.

Some people find this really boring and hate repeating exercises frequently which is why it’s helpful to go to the gym and have a wider selection of equipment and therefore, exercises to select from.

If you don’t mind the repetition, home workouts with limited equipment will work just as well.

5. You can keep your motivation up

One of the hardest parts about home workouts is being in your home environment. That can be a benefit because it makes it easier to get your workout in, but it can also mean it’s harder to get your head in the game and get to work.

Without the benefit of the gym environment you need to be willing to put your gym hat on and get to work. In order for your workouts to still be as effective as possible you need to be willing to WORK during those 30-60 mins. You should be really focused and dialed into your mind to muscle connection and make the most out of every exercise.

This can be tough to do when you’re tempted to switch out your laundry, put the tv on, sit on the couch, or play with your dog in the middle of your workout.

If you can stay out of this home mindset and still treat your living room the same way you would a gym, you’re all set!

Now that you’re bought into the idea of home workouts and know what you need to do in order to make sure they’re just as effective as gym workouts, let’s talk about how to build your own home gym.

Equipment I recommend for your home gym

The list below is in order of most to least important. Investing in gym equipment can get expensive which is why many people choose to go to the gym instead. The more equipment you have in your home gym, the more exercise variability you’ll have and the less bored you’ll get.

I recommend starting with equipment from the top of the list and work your way down purchasing more equipment as you get more advanced and need more variety!

  • Multiple sets of dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells can be a great option.

  • Loop bands. These will allow you to replicate a cable machine at home.

  • A bench that has the ability to incline.

  • Pull Up bar

  • Barbell & Squat Rack - these are definitely a “nice to have” but the more advanced you get, you’ll want heavy weight like this!

  • Kettlebells

  • Stability Ball

  • Piece of cardio equipment: stationary bike, treadmill, rower, walking pad, etc.

Home workouts can be just as effective as gym workouts but it will require a little bit of investment in equipment, the ability to stay focused on the task at hand, and being ok with slightly more repetitive exercises.

Remember, something is always better than nothing so if some days all you have in you is a home workout, that’s fantastic and will be better than doing nothing at all.

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article here’s a little treat for you to help get you started with your home workout journey.

Full Body Home workout to try

1. RDL - 10 reps

rest 2-3 minutes

2. Chest press from floor - 10 reps

rest 2-3 minutes


3a. Goblet Squat - 10 reps

3b. Bent over Row - 10 reps(each side)

rest 2-3 minutes

Finishing Circuit

4a. Curtsey Lunge - 12 reps(each side)

4b. Lateral Raise - 12 reps

4c. Hammer Curl - 15 reps

4d. Plank Hold - 30 seconds

rest 2-3 minutes

*Complete 3 sets of each exercise resting 2-3 minutes in between each set or superset. If you need form videos for any of the above send me an email and I'll link them for you!

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