The At Home Workout Plan (For Beginners)

Looking for an at home workout plan? Let's talk about how you can perform a total body home workout (with and without workout equipment).

The goal of this article is to empower you to create the at home workout plan that you'll follow on days you can't make it to the gym.

Skip down the page if you just came for the at home workout plans.

Woman stretching on a blue yoga mat with dumbbells lying just out of focus behind her

Similar to the article on planet fitness, we'll touch on a couple of key areas:

  • What the best home workout programs have in common.
  • Equipment you likely have access to (or some you may consider purchasing).
  • Exercises that you'll want to perform in a total body workout (or a week).
  • Towards the end - I’ll share an 8 week at home workout plan that you can try out.
  • For those without - A 6 week home workout plan (no equipment) will be below the 8. Scroll far.

(You'll get more out of this article if you know strength training best practices)

Below you'll find answers to the following questions:

  • Is it effective to workout at home?
  • Can you get ripped working out at home?
  • Why is working out at home better?
  • How can I tone up in 4 weeks?
  • How can I get fit at home without equipment?
  • What is a good workout routine at home?

Is it effective to workout at home?

Yes, it is effective to workout at home (if you can hold yourself accountable).

As long as you can get yourself to stay consistent, a home workout can be just as effective as one at a gym.

The best home workout plans program using the principles of strength training by incorporating:

  • Variation - making changes to stay on the path to progress.
  • Progressive overload - being able to perform better as a result of good training.
  • SAID principle -exercise in a specific way. Get a specific result.

Remember individualization. You and a friend can find the same program online and end up with different-looking glutes.

Variation helps you avoid boredom and overuse injuries. If you're trying to master a move, you might changes exercises less often.

You can target energy systems, movements, or muscle groups but, you should be specific about what it is you want to get out of your training.

The best strength workouts connect the principles above with these variables:

  • Volume - How much exercise you perform.
  • Intensity - How hard your training is or how much you lift.
  • Frequency - How often you're training each muscle or move.
  • Exercise selection - The exercises you perform each week.
  • Exercise order - The order you perform exercises in.
  • Rest - How long you rest between sets, exercises, and workouts.
  • Tempo or velocity -How fast you move.

Your first workout of the week can't leave you sore for days if you hope to exercise often.

Be sure to cover your primary movement patterns each week:

  • Squatting - Bodyweight squats, goblet squats, suitcase squats, and overhead squats.
  • Hip hinging/extension - Bridges, hip thrusts, RDLs, and single-leg glute bridges.
  • Lunges - Split squats, reverse lunges, step-ups, and step-downs.
  • Upper body pushing - Push-ups, floor presses, and overhead pressing.
  • Upper body pulling - Bent-over rows, chin-ups, and pulldowns.
  • Loaded carries and farmers walks.

Various core and accessory muscles can be sprinkled in lightly as needed.

If you're targeting muscles instead of moves;

  • Squatting - Quads and glutes
  • Lunging - Quads and glutes
  • Hip hinges - Hamstrings, glutes, and erectors
  • Upper-body pushing - Chest, shoulders, and triceps
  • Upper-body pulling - Back (Lats) and biceps
  • Loaded carries - Erectors, core, etc. - Total body

Don't forget to make sure your plan is something you can stick to.

Can You Get Ripped Working Out at Home?

Yes, you can get ripped or tone up working out at home (if you eat well).

Assuming that it's in your genes, you can tone up with, or without weights, bro.

The resistance you're applying can come in the form of dumbbells, barbells or buckets of sand. You can purchase any piece of equipment that you have room for. You can plan your routine around what you like and not limit it based on who hogs what when.

Some examples of useful home gym equipment include:

  • A squat rack, rig, or squat stand
  • Dumbbells (or kettlebells)
  • Various length resistance bands
  • An adjustable-height bench
  • Stall matting

Your two limitations on equipment will be space and money. If you don't have space for a squat rack, squat stands are lighter and smaller. The squat rack is very versatile providing storage and a place to do pull-ups.

Resistance bands travel well. A longer set will allow you to perform rows, hip hinges and assist your push-ups and pull-ups. A shorter set will allow you to perform lateral band walks and abductions.

You can add a band to almost any movement including:

Dumbbells can take up a lot of room. You can try to limit the number of dumbbells you have by taking jumps between weights.

A minimalist set of dumbbells might look like:

  • A light pair - Something you use for 20-30 reps on bridges for your glutes.
  • Medium - You can use these for at least 10 reps, maybe as many as 15 on lunges or rows.
  • A Heavy set - Something you can use to work your legs for sets of 6-8 on hip hinges and squats.

A full set of dumbbells typically ranges from 7.5-50 or 100 pounds. At $1 per pound, that can get real pricey, real quick.

If you're taking the minimalist approach, you can find lighter things around the house to use for curls. Adding weight isn't the only way to add challenge to a workout but it's easy and effective.

Why is Working Out at Home Better?

Working out at home is better because you control the environment.

Some choice architecture includes:

  • You can make all the coffee at home.
  • If you want to turn your music up (or play some Bieber), do it.
  • You can avoid bad weather and a tedious commute.
  • Do gyms seem intimidating to you? None of that in your bathrobe.
  • Flex your workout to fit your sleep and work schedule (if possible).
  • If you can make space for exercise, you can purchase any piece of equipment that you have room for.
  • There is a 0 minute wait time for dumbbells.

Gyms are open based on their schedule and needs. When you pay for a gym membership, you're paying rent for equipment. You might as well pay to use things you like when you need them.

(If you're looking for a good gym in Columbia, Mo, peep this article reviewing a few.

An exercise routine built around your favorite moves is one that you're more likely to do.

How Can I Tone Up in 4 Weeks?

You can begin to tone up in 4 weeks by establishing a smart diet and performing strength workouts 2-3 times a week.

It depends on where you're starting from (and who your parents are). All of our bodies respond differently to diet and exercise.

Even working with a trainer, it might take you 3-6 months to begin to see results.

It's also helpful to know that "toned" means something different to everyone.

I've worked with women that have no problem putting muscle on their legs but want to keep their shoulders trim. Figure out where you want to be and work backward.

How Can I Get Fit at Home without Equipment?

You can get fit at home without equipment performing bodyweight exercises (with a dash of creativity).

You'll need creativity when exercising at home to get around these problems:

  • Performing rows and upper body pulling movements without weights.
  • Finding ways to challenge your hamstrings and erectors (back).
  • Coming up with ways to make exercises easier, if they're too difficult.
  • Keeping yourself interested enough to train without weights.

You can perform pushups, squats, lunges, and bridges without weights. Elevating your feet will allow you to make push-ups harder and bridges easier. Elevating your hands makes push-ups harder. Elevating your back foot makes lunges harder.

To get enough equipment, you can use household objects for resistance such as:

  • Backpacks
  • Reusable grocery store bags
  • Gallon jugs
  • Cans of paint
  • Laundry baskets

Anything that you can load will work. If you can buy a set of bands, it will make things much easier. Working out at home might mean adjusting your expectations. Your progression path could be paved with adding reps, time or distance traveled.

Some people do find bodyweight workouts boring because they like using weights.

What is a Good Workout Routine at Home?

Let's talk about the two home workout routines below.

Each workout plan is a full-body training day that could be repeated for a month or more.

In the first, I changed the exercises after four weeks to keep you entertained and give you more ideas.

The goal is progress. If you're still making gains in fitness on the first plan, save weeks 5-8 for later.

General, smart training advice:

  • Start with a weight that you can perform 12-15 reps with - add weight each week as possible.
  • Once you meet the top end of a rep range in each set - increase weight next week.
  • Add sets as you need, after you stop making progress - you shouldn't be sore to the touch.
  • Rest times vary - rest as long as you need to perform well on the next set.

A side note on incorporating rest:

The above program is for 8 weeks but, you don't need to affix yourself to that timeline. One strategy involves repeating the same set and rep scheme until you can no longer make progress for two successive weeks.

After your two weeks perform a deload.

A deload is a stress management strategy where you temporarily reduce the difficulty of your exercise routine to dump fatigue. The result is hopefully being able to continually push yourself to make gains in fitness.

Try cutting your volume (sets and reps) by 30-50%. Reduce your weights by 10-15%.

Need to drop a small amount of fatigue? Experiment with a smaller cut.

Start your next workout where you left off or, slightly harder than you started your last program.

Following the programs, you'll find set, rep, and load guidelines from the essentials of strength and conditioning. You can use those numbers as starting points as well.

At Home Workout Plans - Warm-Up

General Warm-up:

  • Walk, bike, or jog for 5-10 minutes.
  • Jumping jacks in place for 5 minutes.
  • Foam rolling, lacrosse balls, and other soft tissue work.
  • Or any activity of your choice

Movement-Specific Warm-up:

  • Ankle warm-up drills
  • Hip mobility circuit
  • Leg swings
  • Lunges (forward/backward/lateral)
  • T-spine rotations
  • Bear crawls (forward/backward)
  • IYT raises

These are just examples. Warm-up any way that you prefer.

The 8 Week At Home Workout Plan for Beginners

Workout A - Full-Body Weeks 1-4

Paired Set A: Perform one set of each exercise back to back

  • Goblet squat | 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Bent over row | 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps

Paired Set B: Perform one set of each exercise back to back:

  • Romanian deadlift | 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hands-elevated push-up | 2-3 sets of 6-15 reps

Accessory Exercises:

  • Glute bridge | 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps (20-30 seconds rest between sets)
  • Side-lying hip abduction | 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps each side
  • Plank | 2 sets of 20-45 seconds
  • Side plank | 2 sets of 20-45 seconds each side

Workout B - Full-Body Weeks 1-4

Paired Set A: Perform one set of each exercise back to back

  • Staggered stance romanian deadlift | 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • One-arm dumbbell row | 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps

Paired Set B: Perform one set of each exercise back to back:

  • Split squat | 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Half-kneeling dumbbell shoulder press | 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

Accessory Exercises:

  • Single leg glute bridge | 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps each side (20-30 seconds rest between sets)
  • Side-lying clam | 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps each side
  • Dead bug | 2 sets of 5-10 reps each side
  • Dumbbell side bend | 2 sets of 15-20 reps each side

This workout plan assumes:

  • You are performing exercises with good form. If you don't know how to do something, YouTube it.
  • You'll be working out for about 45-60 minutes.
  • You're pushing yourself between sets. Resting 1-2 minutes as needed.
  • You're using accessory exercises to add volume.
  • There are dumbbells handy.

Workout A - Full-Body Weeks 5-8

Paired Set A: Perform one set of each exercise back to back

  • Negative goblet squat | 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps (3-5 seconds on the lowering phase each rep)
  • Negative bent over row | 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps (3-5 seconds on the lowering phase each rep)

Paired Set B: Perform one set of each exercise back to back:

  • Romanian deadlift w/pause at bottom | 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Negative push-up | 2-3 sets of 6-15 reps (3-5 seconds on the lowering phase each rep)

Accessory Exercises:

  • Glute bridge | 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps (20-30 seconds rest between sets)
  • Side-lying hip abduction | 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps each side
  • Plank | 2 sets of 30-60 seconds
  • Side plank | 2 sets of 30-60 seconds each side

Workout B - Full-Body Weeks 5-8

Paired Set A: Perform one set of each exercise back to back

  • Braced single leg romanian deadlift | 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Negative one-arm dumbbell row | 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps

Paired Set B: Perform one set of each exercise back to back:

  • Reverse lunge | 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Seated dumbbell shoulder press | 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps

Accessory Exercises:

  • Single leg hip thrust | 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps each side (20-30 seconds rest between sets)
  • Side-lying clam | 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps each side
  • Dumbbell dead bug | 2 sets of 5-10 reps each side
  • Dumbbell side bend | 2 sets of 12-15 reps each side

This workout plan assumes:

  • You needed to progress the last workouts. If not, repeat them for another month first.
  • You are performing exercises with good form. If you don't know how to do something, YouTube it.
  • You'll be working out for about 45-60 minutes.
  • You're pushing yourself between sets. Resting 1-2 minutes as needed.
  • You're using accessory exercises to add volume.
  • There are dumbbells handy

6 Week Home Workout Plan (No Equipment)

Workout A - Full-Body

Paired Set A: Perform one set of each exercise back to back

  • Backpack reverse lunge | 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps rep side
  • Backpack freestanding row | 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps per side

Paired Set B: Perform one set of each exercise back to back:

  • Backpack hip hinge | 2-4 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Hands-elevated push-up | 2-4 sets of 6-15 reps

Accessory Exercises:

  • Glute bridge | 2-3 sets of 15-30 reps (20-30 seconds rest between sets)
  • Side-lying hip abduction | 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps each side
  • Plank | 2 sets of 20-60 seconds
  • Side plank | 2 sets of 20-60 seconds each side

Workout B - Full-Body

Paired Set A: Perform one set of each exercise back to back

  • Backpack hip hinge | 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Backpack freestanding row | 2-4 sets of 10-12 reps

Paired Set B: Perform one set of each exercise back to back:

  • Backpack lateral squat | 2-4 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Hands-elevated push-up | 2-4 sets of 6-15+ reps

Accessory Exercises:

  • Single leg glute bridge | 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps each side (20-30 seconds rest between sets)
  • Side-lying hip raise | 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps each side
  • Dead bug | 2 sets of 5-10 reps each side
  • Side plank | 2 sets of 20-60 seconds each side

This workout plan assumes:

  • You use good form. YouTube and a mirror are your friends.
  • You have a backpack. You can substitute any unforeseeable household item in its place.
  • You're pushing yourself between sets. Rest 1-2 minutes as needed.
  • You don't have bands. You could easily add bands to this routine, I assumed you had little to nothing.

Your primary means of progressing with bodyweight are to add sets, reps, or range of motion (when possible).

Stretch (While You're Still Warm)

Stretch all your major muscle groups including your hamstrings, calves, quads, hip flexors, etc with exercises of your choice.

NSCA Guidelines Based on Training Goal

Training Goal Reps Sets Load (%1RM) Rest Time
Strength ≤6 2-6 ≥85 2-5 min
Power: (Single-effort) 1-2 3-5 80-90 2-5 min
Power: (Multiple-effort) 3-5 3-5 75-85 2-5 min
Hypertrophy 6-12 3-6 67-85 30-120 sec
Muscular Endurance ≥12 2-3 ≤67 ≤30 sec

Source: Program Design for Resistance Training 20161.

Bookmark these for the next winter snowstorm.

Confused? Don't know what an RDL is?

Find the contact page linked in the navigation above. If you work with a trainer for six months and learn technique, it will be easier to do these workouts at home.

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Sources:

  1. Sheppard, J. M., & Triplett, N. T. (2016). Program Design for Resistance Training. In 955580880 744355483 G. G. Haff & 955580881 744355483 N. T. Triplett (Authors), Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (Fourth ed., pp. 439-467). Champaign, IL, IL: Human Kinetics.