The Ultimate Home Gym Workout Plan (Perfect for Beginners)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: April 30, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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Buying exercise equipment and setting up a home gym is often the easiest part of getting fit without a gym membership. But having a carefully planned workout program can then be a tricky task.

To help you create a home gym workout routine that can transform your body, our team got together with a few clients to discuss different goals.

We then also came up with a 5-day exercise program that you can easily adapt for weight loss or muscle building.

Let me show you what it’s about.

Quick Summary

  • To set up an effective home gym workout plan, it's essential to focus on a mix of cardio and strength training tailored to personal fitness goals like weight loss or muscle building.
  • A well-planned home gym routine can be as effective as gym workouts, utilizing minimal equipment like resistance bands and bodyweight exercises.
  • According to Garage Gym Reviews, 61% of people have a designated workout space in their homes, indicating a significant preference for home-based fitness routines.
  • Based on my experience in fitness, integrating scientific methods and mental techniques in home workouts significantly enhances overall physical health and workout effectiveness.

Setting the Right Goals for Each Muscle Group Workout Plan

Workout at home notes with a clock beside the notebook

The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you just want to lose weight, build up muscle mass, or a combination of both.

And you also want to take a look in the mirror to see which muscle groups and body parts you want to change the most.

For some people, it will be getting rid of body fat around the belly and developing a stronger core.

Others might be looking for big biceps and shoulders.

And some of you might just want to drop a few pounds and become physically more healthy with great workout routines that are fun and easy to do at home.

From my experience, if your goal is to build more lean mass, focusing on muscle hypertrophy in every set is key. Aim for 8-10 reps.

And if you want to lose some fat and look a bit leaner without big muscles, then aim for about 15 reps in each set.

I’ll get to the sample sets shortly.

Weight Training vs. Bodyweight Exercises

Couple about to perform their own workouts

Many people shy away from working out at home because they think they need a multi-gym machine that can cost thousands of dollars.

And while I would recommend such an investment if you really want to get fit and strong at home, you can achieve a lot of the same goals with body weight and just a few cheap pieces of essential equipment for your home gym.

I’ve developed an exercise routine below that you can easily adapt to minimal equipment.  According to a study on Frontiers, these exercises let you get great compound and isolation movements [1].

Related Article: Home Gym Leg Workouts

5-Day Home Workout Plan

Two individuals holding their own dumbbells

Let me share some sample workouts that I personally developed for my clients. They are adapted for fat loss with higher reps and muscle building with lower reps.

You can also do these with basic equipment like resistance bands or to an advanced level with a multi-gym machine.

Learn More: Slim Thick Workout Plan: Sculpt Your Curves

Day 1: Bodyweight HIIT Routine

This day is all about hitting all body parts hard with resistance training in a high-intensity way where, according to Examine, you should have very short rest intervals between sets [2].

  • Pull-Ups: Head to the pull-up bar and do a standard-grip pull-up set; use a chair if you don’t yet have the strength for a full set.
  • Burpees: Start in a plank position and jump your feet up between your hands. Then stand up and jump as high as you can before getting back into the plank.
  • Box Jumps: You ideally need a CrossFit box for this or a bench that is secured to a wall. Jump up as many times as you can
  • Squats: Either use weights or resistance bands to add some tension and get your buttocks down below your knee level before pushing back up.
  • Push-Ups: Finally, pick either wide, narrow, or diamond push-ups to mix things up on a regular basis.

“Interval training refers to training that alternates bouts of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest or recovery.”

- Kamal Patel, MPH, MBA at Examine.com

Day 2: Upper Body Strength Training

Lifting a dumbbell
  • Triceps Extensions: The triceps extension is always on top of my arm days, and you can do triceps kickbacks either with bands or dumbbells. 
  • Wide-Grip Pull-Ups: This is an excellent exercise to build up strength in your upper back and shoulders. 
  • Chest Press: You can do this with bands attached to a door frame and pushing your arms away from your body. Or, if you have dumbbells, then do this as a bench press. 
  • Biceps Curls: Bicep curls are another vital part of a weekly routine as they perfectly isolate the glory muscles. 
  • Lateral Raises: This is one exercise I always recommend because you don’t want huge biceps and triceps with a skinny shoulder area. 

Day 3: Cardio Day

I prefer my cardio days on a rowing machine to a treadmill as I find a good rower will activate your legs, core, arms, and shoulders.

But you can choose whatever suits you, and it could even involve heading out for a cycle or run.

Day 4: Lower Body Strength Training

Performing squats inside his home

Here are my favorite lower body exercises, and most of them are practical for people without multi gyms or other expensive machines.

  • Leg Extensions: If you have a multi-gym machine, then this will be a lot easier. Alternatively, you can attach a resistance band to the door and do a standing single-leg extension. 
  • Squats: If you don’t have weights, then go as deep and slow as you can, and once you’ve built up the strength, you can do single-leg squats. 
  • Calf Raises: Ideally, grab a pair of dumbbells and do a minimum of 12 reps. You can go for a higher rep range to get the burn. 
  • Lunges: These aren’t practical with bands, but if you have some free weights, you can easily do walking lunges. 

Day 5: Full Body HIIT And Core

This day is a personal favorite. It's not about isolating a single muscle group but engaging the entire body. I've found this approach to be incredibly effective in building overall strength and endurance.

For this day, you’re not focusing on one body part. You want to make sure that you target all areas.

My recommendation is to pick eight of your favorite exercises from above and cycle through them at least twice, with just a short break after each set. 

You should also add these core workouts:

  • Leg Raises: Lay down on your yoga mat, and while keeping your back on the ground, lift your legs to 45 degrees and then slowly lower them down. 
  • Sit-Ups: Do as many as it takes to feel the pain.
  • Plank: Aim for at least 90-120 seconds and extend as long as possible.

Integration of Technology and Apps in Home Gym Workouts

With advancements in digital tools, it's now easier than ever to create a personalized, effective, and engaging workout experience right in the comfort of your home. Here's how technology can improve your workouts:

  • Choose the right fitness app: Start by selecting a fitness app that aligns with your goals. Look for features like personalized workout plans, instructional videos, and progress tracking.
  • Utilize wearable fitness trackers: These devices track your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and even your sleep patterns. Wear it during your workouts to monitor your performance and throughout the day to keep track of your overall activity levels.
  • Explore AR and VR workouts: These technologies can transport you to virtual environments, making your workout feel like a game or an adventure. They're especially great for cardio workouts and can be a fun way to stay motivated.
  • Stream workout videos: Use your smartphone, tablet, or smart TV to stream workout videos. Many apps and online platforms offer a wide range of workout classes, from HIIT to Pilates. Choose workouts that suit your mood and fitness level.
  • Track your progress: Regularly use your app or fitness tracker to review your progress. Look at the data to understand your strengths and areas for improvement. Tracking your progress is key to staying motivated and adjusting your workout plan as needed.

FAQs

Can a Home Workout Be as Effective as a Gym?

Yes, a home workout can be as effective as a gym. It all comes down to choosing the right exercises for limited equipment and then targeting different muscles each day.

Can You Build Muscle With a Home Gym?

Yes, you can build muscle with a home gym. What you need to do is make sure you pick exercises that will challenge muscles to the extreme and then keep repeating the process.


References:

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01105/full
  2. https://examine.com/other/interval-training/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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