You want to build muscle but you don't have enough time to go to the gym. Home workout are as valid as going to the gym, and they can help you build muscle as well. And the best of all, you don't need any equipment.
Scroll down and find out how to do your home workout with no equipment!
How Do You Build Muscle?
Muscle building is the increase in the cross sectional area (CSA) of the muscle. In other words; increase in muscle size.
To achieve muscle hypertrophy, you need to follow three mechanisms (study):
- Mechanical tension: force created when a muscle contracts isotonically against a load
- Metabolic Stress: physiological process that occurs during exercise in response to low energy that leads to metabolite accumulation in muscle cells.
- Muscle Damage: damage of muscle fibers in consequence of the mechanical tension induced during intense physical exercise
What Can You Do to Build Muscle?
Muscle building can be tough if you don't know what to do. But it's easier than what most people think.
There are three main variables to build muscle:
- Intensity: extent at which the muscle is taken close to failure
- Volume: number of sets given to a certain muscle during a period of time
- Frequency: number of times a certain muscle is trained during a period of time
General Recommendations to Build Muscle
Different people require of different recommendations for each variable.
However, we can get to a common consensus that fits the majority of the population.
Follow the RIR/RPE scale (study) (e.g: RIR 1 = RPE 9 = 1 rep from muscle failure). Sets performed at intensities of RIR 3-0 show to induce the highest muscle hypertrophy, while higher RIR don't contribute to muscle hypertrophy at all (study).
Don't go lower than your 50% RM. Lower intensities don't have a significant effect on muscle hypertrophy (study)
There are many ways to calculate your weekly volume.
Count based on effective sets (study). These are all sets performed between 6-20 reps with a RIR 3-0.
Start with 10-12 sets/muscle with the big muscles and go for 6-8 sets/muscle for small muscles.
If you want to get a better idea of the volume for each muscle, follow indications of the picture below:
MV = Minimum volume required to mantain muscle
MEV = Minimum effective volume to induce muscle gains
MAV = Maximum adaptive volume to get the best hypertrophic response
MRV = Maximum recoverable volume at which you are able to recover for the next session
Frequency is the number of times you train a muscle per week. It's highly depedent on the volume you follow.
Higher volumes will require frequency 2-3, and lower volumes may adapt to frequency 1.
However, the total volume is what determines muscle gains (study)
Frequency loses importance when you do the correct volume
HOW TO PLAN A HOME WORKOUT WITH NO EQUIPMENT
The way you build muscle is the same all the time.
If you workout at the gym, your house or the beach,... it doesn't matter. In all these cases you'll have to do the same things to build muscle.
"Train intense, reach a minimum volume threshold to induce muscle adaptations and progress over time"
How to Convert your Home into a Gym
If you are thinking on doing a home workout with no equipment, you must make your home a gym.
Anything can be converted to a gym machine if you think about it. These are some example that might help you:
- Table: use the surface for inverted pushups, and the legs for support for doing inverted crunches
- Chair: use it as a reference for your squat, or use it for inclined pushups
- Sofa: support to do crunches or reverse harmstring curls
- Backpack: use it for weighted exercises
Choose 3-4 things that you can use for different exercises, put them together in one place of your home and make that your "home gym".
This way you'll associate those objects and space with working out, which can make it easier to start going and being motivated
Build Your Own Material
Get crafty and engineer your own gym material.
Weights can be anything creating an opposed force created by the gravitational field.
How to Engineer Dumbbells and Barbells
There are many ways to make home-made dumbbells.
To build your dumbbells you'll need a resistent enough bar to support weight at each side of the bar. And, if more weight can be added or removed, that would make it useful for different exercises as well.
Take water bottles and tape them to a piece of pipe or any other resistent stick.
Fill a bag with sand and tide it to each extrem of the stick.
Easy Backpack Dumbbells
Everyone has a backpack they don't use at home. Take it, fill it up with heavy stuff and you have your dumbells. Use the hanger to lift it, or get fancy and put it in a resistant enough bar.
This requires of more time, but it is worth it. Make a mold, fill it with concrete and insert the stick. Let it dry and you have your home made dumbbell.
Home Workouts with No Equipment
You know how to build muscle at the gym or any other place.
You also now how to make your homemade gym.
What's next? Build your home workout with no equipment!! Let's get into it!
Bodybuilding Home Workout
This is a pure bodybuilding home workout with no equipment required. It focus mainly on building muscle mass and the anaerobic component. Here the idea is to get the sets to a high intensity and get enough rest between sets to fully recover for the next set. In the reps range, use enough weight to do 6-15 reps while doing RIR 3-0
Material: homemade dumbbells, backpack, chair or table.
Day 1 - Lower Body
- Weighted squats: 4x 6-12
- Lunges with dumbbells: 3x 10-15
- Good Morning with dumbells on the upper back: 3 x 10-12
- Reverse harmstrings curl: 3 x 10-15
- Sumo squat : 2 x 10-15
Day 2 - Upper body
- Bench press: 4 x8-10
- Row with elastic bands: 4 x 10-15
- Lateral Raises: 3 x 10-12
- Pec Deck: 3 x 10-15
- Row with dumbbells: 3 x 10-15
- Bicep Curls: 3 x 10-15
Crossfit-like Home Workout
Cross-fit mixes aerobic and anaerobic "modules" (also called WOD, from Workout Of The Day), to achieve a more complete fitness and physical condition. This is another option for a homeworkout with no equipment required, also giving you a bit of the aerobic and "fat burning" component.
Material: kettle bells, cardio aids
Day 1 - Anaerobic WOD (Barbara)
5 rounds, rest 3 minutes between each round:
- 20 pull ups
- 30 push ups
- 40 sit ups
- 50 squat
Day 2 - Aerobic WOD (Eva)
For time: 5 rounds
- 800 meters run
- Kettlebell swing, 30 reps
- 30 pull ups
Day 3 - Mixed WOD (Margarita)
50 reps of each exercise, four times:
Day 4 - Recovery WOD (Recovery Day)
Repeat 3-4 times
- 2 min airbike
- 2 min rest
- 2 min row
- 2 min rest
- 2 min skierg
- 2 min rest
This High Intensity Interval Training is a good option for when you don't have too much time for your workour or to burn some extra calories.
Warm-up: 5 minutes
- 2 min ergometer
- 2 min jumping jacks
- 1 min jogging in place
HIIT: 20 min
- Jumping squats: 30s
- Weighted step-up: 30s
- In out squats: 30s
- Crunches: 30s
- Rest: 15s
- Push-ups: 30s
- Overhead press: 30s
- Dips: 30s
- Flat bench press with dumbbells: 30s
- Rest: 15s
- Inverted rows: 30s
- Bent row with backpack: 30s
- Bicep curls: 30s
- Scissor crunches: 30s
- Rest: 15s
- Jumping Jacks: 30s
- Pushups: 30s
- Burpees: 30s
- Plank: 30s
- Rest: 15s
Repeat the sequence of Cycle 1-4 two or three times, depending on the difficulty desired.
Cheap Gym Equipment on a Budget [Bonus]
In case you are considering building your own "gym" at home and keep working out there, you may be interested on start buying some aids to improve the quality of your workouts.
Home workout with no equipment are definitely possible, and you can create muscle mass and improve with them.
But, as you move on, gains are harder and it takes more effort to see results. In these cases, you may want to invest a little bit of money (not even 50$).
This kit of elastic bands is great to add resistance to your exercises. It allows you to perform any exercises you'd do at the gym with cables, or even dumbbells.
Elastic bands also add extra resistance to body-weight exercises such as push-ups or squats. And their price is almost a bargain. Get a kit for less than 20$...
The abs roller is one of the best exercises to train your abs. Compared to other abs exercises, it shows a higher electromiographic activity (more stimulus) in the trunk muscle (study).
And the abs roller is considerably cheap. In my opinion, simply a 'must' for your home gym... Get it now for less than 20$
Pull-ups are for sure one of the best and most demanding back exercises. It doesn't need of any extra weight and still gives you enough intensity to keep growing.
Pull-ups are very versatile. There are a lot of variants depending on grip position, or how you perform them. That gives you more room to enjoy your trainings, make them more variable and keep improving over time.
To end with, a jumping rope is another 'must' if you want to start building your home gym. It's a cheap aid to do some cardio without having to go anywhere.
Compared to other cardio activities, based on their METS (study), jumping rope obtained a METS of 8.8-11.2 (study). This is considered vigorous intense activity and it's very efficient for burning calories. And the best of all, its price. Get one for less than 10$!!
Home workout with no equipment are possible. Applying the same principles of muscle building, one can be able to progress and build muscle over time.
In this post we discussed how to do a home workout with no equipment. After discussing the principles of muscle building, we touched upon how to convert your house into a gym. Finally, some routines you can start with depending on your goal, and cheap aids to start building your gyme for nice home workouts.