From Dad Bod To Greek God: 8 At-Home Workouts To Build Muscle

Middle Class Dad yogic breathing benefits man practicing yoga in a black and yellow outfit on the beach

If you’re relatively new to the world of fitness, joining a gym may be a daunting thought.

Let’s be honest: commercial gyms are often portrayed as intimidating. They appear to be packed with muscle buffs who hog the weight rack, and this alone is enough to put any newbie off. 

This is merely a common stereotype though, as commercial gyms have come a long way in terms of catering to all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels.

But if you’d still prefer to build up your strength in the comfort of your own home, check out these simple yet effective at-home workouts.

How to Structure Your At-Home Workouts

Whether you’re intimidated by the gym or not, it’s entirely possible to build your strength and fitness from home, sans fancy equipment. 

There’s a number of benefits of kicking off your strength training at home too. You can learn to master the technique of certain exercises in your own time while building up your fitness. Learn more about the Muscle Expert here for top tips on exercise form. 

Ideally, you should aim to include equal amounts of both cardiovascular and strength training with your home workout routine. In a nutshell, you can achieve this through compound bodyweight training. 

This being said, here are a few pieces of basic equipment you should add to your at-home collection to mix up your workouts:  

  • Kettlebells 
  • Dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Workout/yoga mat 

Using your own body’s weight to build strength elevates the heart rate and provides the joint benefit of cardiovascular training. It also promotes muscle growth while burning fat. 

Bodyweight training also boosts your metabolism, speeding up the calorie-burning process of the body. Here are a few at-home workouts to get you started.

At-Home Workouts That Break a Sweat 

If you’re a beginner, it’s important to focus on exercise form rather than on speed or reps. Focus on carrying out each exercise in a slow and controlled manner, without rushing. Believe it or not, this puts your muscles through more tension, which results in a better overall burn.

1. Elevated Pushup

This is just like a regular pushup but takes the exercise a bit further by using the added force of elevation. 

To perform the exercise, you’ll need a couch or a low chair. Get into a regular pushup position with arms straight below the shoulders and hip level. Remember to engage your core too.

Then, place your feet onto the couch or chair behind you so that your legs are elevated behind you. You should be facing downwards toward the ground. Then, lower into your pushup, chin just above the ground and drive back up. 

Complete 12 x reps for 4 sets. 

If this exercise is too difficult, simply lose the couch/chair and perform regular pushups. 

2. Alternating Split-Squat Jump

Begin in a split stance, i.e. your left leg at the front, right leg at the back. Squat down by bending both knees at once, then explode back up into the air.

As you do so, switch legs and land in the opposite standing stance. Try to alternate as quickly as you can, jumping as high as you can each time. 

Complete 10 x reps per leg for 4 sets. 

3. Single-Leg Box Squats

For this exercise, you’ll need a relatively low chair, couch, or bench. Begin by facing away from the chair, then lift one leg and keep it slightly bent at the knee.

Engage your core and slowly lower yourself to sit back onto the chair. Then, drive back up without putting your leg down on the ground. 

This is a brilliant exercise to test balance and build concentrated muscle strength in each leg. 

Complete 6 x reps per leg for 6 sets.  

4. Tricep Dips

This exercise is the perfect example of using your own body’s weight to build up the strength in your arms; specifically, the triceps and shoulders. 

To do this exercise, you’ll need a chair, couch, or even the edge of your bed. Sit right at the edge of the seat and place your hands just over the edge, keep your arms close to your sides. Make sure your knuckles are pointing forwards. 

Extend your legs out in front of you, bent at 90-degrees, with your feet pointing ahead. Then, keep your elbows close to your sides as you lift your buttocks off the seat edge and lower yourself towards the floor. Drive back up to the top and repeat. 

Complete 10 x reps for 3 sets. 

5. Crunches

Crunches are a pretty stock-standard bodyweight exercise, but a great way to build concentrated core strength. 

Lay down on your back on a workout mat or carpet. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor, and cross your arms across your chest.

Lift your shoulders up to the ceiling as you engage your abdominal muscles, and pause as you reach the top. Then, slowly lower back down with control and repeat. 

Complete 12 x reps for 4 sets. 

6. Walking Lunges

In a standing position, place your feet hip-width apart. Then, take a large step forward and bend both knees to 90 degrees. Make sure your knees do not extend over your ankles; keep your back upright and shoulders over your hips. 

Repeat these large steps with controlled movements; focus on your form rather than speed. 

Complete 10 x reps per leg for 4 sets. 

7. Tricep Extensions

This is yet another bodyweight workout that’s great for the arms; namely the triceps, shoulders, and upper back.

Begin in a plank position, but place your elbows a little further in front of your shoulders than you usually would in a plank hold. Engage your core.  

Then, push your body up by straightening your arm from the elbow until both palms are flat on the ground. Then, lower back down to your elbows. Keep your core engaged and back as straight as possible.  

Complete 8 x reps per arm for 3 sets.

8. Alternating Side Plank

For this final exercise, get yourself into a high plank position, with both your palms flat on the ground, hips high and core engaged. Then, slowly shift your weight to the left side as you lift your right arm and extend it to the ceiling.

Stack your feet on top of each other as you rotate onto your side. Balance here and hold the position for 30 seconds. Then, repeat on the right side. 

Complete for 3 x sets of 30-seconds each. 

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If you’re looking for more inspiration on at-home workouts, diet tips, marriage advice, or financial tips, this website has it all. 

Be sure to explore all the helpful life hacks you could possibly need.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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