Strength Training at Home

By Brad Murrow , last updated December 9, 2011

You don’t need to hire a personal trainer or go to a gym to create an effective workout program. Using a small area in your house and little or no equipment, you can create a variety of strength training workouts to help you meet your goals. Even without weights, you can build muscle in the privacy of your own home. Read on for some tips about strength training at home.

Types of Exercises

To perform strength training workouts, you need to create resistances against your muscles. You can do this with weights, resistance bands, a home gym or just your body’s weight. Bodyweight exercises include push ups, pull ups, chin ups, sit ups, crunches, dips, squats and lunges. Using weights, resistance bands or a home gym, you can add exercises such as curls, presses, rows, extensions, kickbacks and deadlifts.

Equipment

Your equipment choices for a home strength training program includes dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, a barbell and bench set or a home gym. To create bodyweight workouts, you’ll need a chin up bar for chin ups and pull ups and two chairs for dips. A kettlebell looks like a bowling ball with a handle. You can purchase different weights, or use one for all of your exercises, exchanging balls as you build strength. Elastic bands let you increase your resistance as you build strength by tightening the bands more.

Workouts

If you have weights or resistance bands, perform 3x5 or 5x5 workouts, performing five reps of an exercise, and three to five consecutive sets, with short breaks between sets. Use as much weight as you can lift, tighten resistance bans as tight as you can, or use the highest resistance setting on a machine to perform your reps. For bodyweight exercises, perform 10 to 12 reps of an exercise, take a short break, and perform another set of the same exercise, performing three to five sets before you move to a new exercise. If you will be doing five sets of an exercise, create warm-up sets, starting with roughly 50 percent of your maximum weight or resistance to do the first set, then 75 percent of your max for the second set, finishing with 100 percent of your max for the last three sets.

Alternate your exercises to use different body areas for each new exercise. For example, after you do three sets of biceps curls, move to a lower-body exercise, such as deadlifts. After you do deadlifts, work on your core. If you are doing bodyweight exercises, start with push ups, move to squats, then crunches, and so on.

Workout Pattern

Start each workout with a warm-up. This will help you get blood flowing to your muscles as you gently stretch them. Warming up before strength training will help create better muscle contractions when you start your workout. After you perform your workout, cool down for five minutes with moderate muscle movements to get lactic acid out of your muscle. Stretch to help lengthen the muscles you’ve just shortened and get even more lactic acid out of your muscles. Cooling down and stretching will help decrease the stiffness and soreness you feel after workouts.

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