Beginner Workouts for Men to Do at Home

Guy-friendly Exercise Routines for Newbies and Intermediates

Some guys like to go to the gym. Others hit the local park to play basketball or toss the football around. But there are certain men who prefer to work out at home or need to exercise at home due to parenting, work, or caregiving duties. In these cases, finding the right workout is a challenge, especially if you are a beginner.

If you're overweight, obese, or have been sedentary for some time, it's smart to start moving to improve your health. But you've probably noticed that many home exercise websites and DVDs are designed for women. Let's face it, you may not get motivated to exercise if your choices are ballet barre class or jazzercise. So this list of beginner workouts is designed just for men. It accommodates the unique biomechanical properties of a guy's physique and appeals to the interests that a sports-minded man might prefer.

Take a few minutes to see which workouts look most interesting to you and give one or two of them a try. Be sure to check with your physician before starting this or any workout routine.

Also, remember to start slowly. If you haven't worked out for a long time, set a goal to move for 10-20 minutes 3-4 times per week. Some of the workouts listed below last just 10 minutes. These workouts may be the best starting point for you as you build a consistent program.

As your fitness level improves, increase both the duration and the frequency of your workouts. You'll find that trying new workouts and adding variety to your routine will help you to stay interested and motivated.

Tips for a Successful Home Workout

beginner workout for men
Banmbu Productions

Safety is key when you exercise at home. If your budget allows for it, you can hire a personal trainer to help you get started. But it's not necessary to hire someone to begin a program of physical activity.

If You Hire a Trainer

If you invest in a personal trainer, it's important to find a qualified professional who appeals to your interests and also protects your health.​

Mike Figueroa is an amateur boxer who is certified by NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) as an MMA conditioning specialist. He is also a USA Boxing certified boxing coach and an Everlast Fit boxing coach. Figueroa trains men in New York City, both in the gym and in their homes. He says that finding a qualified trainer makes it easier to reach your fitness goals.

To find the best coach for you he suggests that you use a searchable online database through a reputable agency such as NASM, ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), or ACE (American Council on Exercise).

If You Don't Hire a Trainer

If you choose to work out on your own without a trainer, these tips from Figueroa will make your workouts more effective:

  • Make sure that your workout environment is at a comfortable temperature. Err on the cool side so that you don't overheat during exercise.
  • Use support during upright movements if necessary, but be sure to hold on to a sturdy surface or a solid piece of furniture, such as a couch or a heavy upholstered chair.
  • Drink plenty of water both during and after your workout.
  • Stay mindful of body signals. Slight discomfort is normal when you start a new exercise program. But pain (especially chest pain) may be a sign that something more serious is going on. If you feel pain, stop exercising and seek medical care.

Beginning Chair Workout for Men

Man Putting Sneakers on
Phillip Simpson Photographer/Getty Images

If you are not comfortable moving on and off the floor or if standing for more than five minutes is challenging, consider a chair-based workout. This workout designed by Mike Figueroa can help you build endurance, strength, and flexibility.

  • Begin with a 3-5 minute warm up. First, do a set of shoulder shrugs (lifting and lowering the shoulders) for 10 seconds. Then circle extended arms at your sides for another 10 seconds. Lastly, open the chest by trying to bring your shoulder blades together behind you. If you can, touch your hands together behind your back. Try to keep your posture lifted and your neck relaxed as you complete these exercises.
  • Start the workout by "marching" in place for one minute while seated. Keep your spine long and tall while you lift and lower alternating feet.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Complete 10 field goal shoulder presses. Place your arms in an L shape on each side so your upper body looks like a field goal post.  Palms should be facing forward. Extend arms fully over your head, keeping palms facing forward. Repeat 10 times. Do one to two more sets if possible.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Complete 10 alternating soccer kick leg extensions. Starting with both feet flat on the floor. Extend the right leg so that the lower leg is parallel to the floor. Lower the right leg. Repeat on the left.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Complete 10 upright arm rows. Sitting up tall, extend both arms in front of your chest with the palms facing down. Retract (pull back) your elbows until they are in line with your chest. Extend the arms again to return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Do one to two more sets if possible.
  • Cool down with meditative deep breathing. Close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Then return to normal breathing. Repeat 2-3 times.

As this workout becomes more comfortable, add sets to each phase of the workout. For example, instead of doing one set of ten field goal extensions, do two sets of ten. Rest for at least 20 seconds between each set.

At-Home Boxing Workout for Men

at home boxing workout
Tim Tadder/Getty Images

If boxing interests you, consider a home boxing workout. Boxing gloves are not required, but you can use them if you prefer. You won't use a punching bag for this workout, either. Figueroa suggests that you start with a solid warm-up:

  • Do 30 seconds of jumping jacks followed by a 10-second rest. Repeat three more times for a total of four sets. If jumping jacks are not comfortable, use alternating side toe taps instead of jumps and keep the arms movements the same.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Prepare for boxing. Assume a boxing stance with your dominant hand in the rear and non-dominant hand in front. Feet should be hip distance apart with a slight bend in the knees.
  • Complete a boxing drill. Begin a 20-second punch combination. Jab with your lead (front) fist and then follow with a cross-punch from the rear. Repeat the combination for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Complete three more rounds of the punch combination. Rest for one minute between each set.
  • Cool down for about five minutes by walking around and doing simple full body stretches. Your workout is complete when your breathing returns to normal.

Once you get comfortable with this boxing workout, add new punch combinations to lengthen the workout and make it more intense. You can also add jumping rope (with or without a rope) to make the workout harder.

Fun Football Workout

football snap stance
Collinj at German Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Got a football lying around in the garage? Use it for your workouts! This gridiron-inspired exercise session is appropriate for beginning- to intermediate-level men and should take 10-15 minutes to complete.

  • Begin with a full body warm-up. Start with a wide leg stance, legs slightly bent. Grab the football with both hands and circle your arms fully around your body. Keep knees bent and posture upright. Do three circles on the right, then reverse the circle and do three circles on the left. Your core (midsection), shoulders, and legs should feel warm and ready to work.
  • Complete 10 football snap squats. Start in a football snap position (see photo) with both hands on the ball. Keep knees bent, then lift the ball to chest height, keeping the legs in a squat position. Arms should stay extended in front of the body when you are in a full upright position. Return to startng position an repeat 9 more times.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Complete 10 lateral lunges. Start with feet hip distance apart. Legs should be straight but knees should be soft (not stiff or locked). Hold the football in both hands in front of your chest. Take a wide step to the side with your right foot, lunging deeply enough so that you can touch the ball to the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat on the left. Repeat that sequence ten times.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Complete ten push-ups or push up variations. If you are not ready to do a full push up on the floor with good form, use a push-up variation. You can perform an incline push up with your arms placed on a sturdy counter. If the incline push-up is too challenging, try a wall push-up with hands placed on a wall.
  • Rest for one minute
  • Finish with a core (midsection) workout. Start in a seated position on the floor with feet placed about 12-14 inches in front of your hips. Lean back slightly until you feel your abdominal muscles engage. Place the football in your right hand. Lift the right foot off the floor and pass the football under your right knee to your left hand. Repeat on the left. Do ten repetitions.
  • Stretch. Finish your workout laying on your back. Use a yoga mat if possible. Extend your arms out to the side in a t-shape. Knees should be bent with feet flat on the floor. Keeping both shoulders on the mat, let the knees drop to the left side and hold the stretch for 20-40 seconds. Repeat on the right.

As you get more comfortable with this workout, add a few challenges. Instead of (or in addition to) side lunges, complete lateral shuttle runs and tap the football on the ground when you run to each side. When you do abdominal work, use a weighted ball instead of a football to build strength.

At-Home Stretching and Yoga Workouts for Men

If you can schedule at least one flexibility workout into your week, you'll gain benefits including decreased stress, increased range of motion in your joints, better sleep, and improved mobility.

You can either create your own stretching program using movements from the Verywell Fit Exercise Library. Or you can use another resource for a structured session.

A website called DoYogaWithMe.com offers a wide range of online yoga workouts that range in length and intensity. Many of the sessions are taught by men and require little to no equipment. There are also many yoga books available. For example, 5-Minute Yoga is a quick resource that you can use to sprinkle quick sessions into your daily routine.

At-Home Cycling Workouts for Men

If you own a bicycle and you like to ride, you can complete great cardiovascular and strength workouts without ever leaving your living room.

You can purchase a basic bike trainer at any local cycle shop or sporting goods store. Brands like Blackburn and CycleOps make popular models that range in price from around $100 to over $300. These gadgets allow you to stabilize your bike so that you can pedal in place to rev up your heart rate and build strength in your legs.

If you choose to invest more money into your home cycling workout, consider a Zwift bike trainer to gain the advantage of virtual riding courses. You can also choose to invest in a Peloton bike. These stationary bikes allow you to ride along with New York City-based spin classes from the comfort of your own home.

Online and App-Based Home Workouts for Men

Your smartphone or computer can be a great workout tool if you choose to exercise at home. Some apps and websites are free, while others require a fee or the purchase of equipment.

Apps like Sworkit provide guided workouts on any device. The free  Nike Training App is a popular download for iPhone users. And if you like to listen to music while you sweat, consider Jabra Sport Coach wireless headphones that talk you through different types of workouts that you can complete anywhere. Beachbody is another popular online program, although many of the programs geared for men are designed for guys who are experienced exercisers.

If core strength is your goal, a Stealth Core Trainer might interest you. The device helps you to develop core strength while you play target games on your smartphone. Or the ActivMotion Bar Ignite system (popular with golfers) helps you to improve balance and coordination while building strength and endurance.

Lastly, if you own a Fitbit Ionic, you'll get guided workouts right on your wrist with easy to follow videos to make sure you are completing the exercises with proper form.

Treadmill Workouts for Men

Another option for home exercisers is the treadmill. If you don't currently own one, you may want to establish an exercise habit with no equipment (or less expensive equipment) before you invest in a treadmill, as they are generally quite pricey. But for some, the cost is worth it.

A treadmill offers a reliable workout with many options for improvement. Some models, including the SKILLRUN by Technogym, even provide cadence feedback so that you can adjust your steps to maximize your workout and maintain good form. SKILLRUN also provides a slightly wider running/walking space which may be helpful for larger exercisers.

If you already own a treadmill, there are several tricks and tools that can help make your treadmill workouts more effective.

If you are new to treadmill walking use a basic plan to get started. But if you are a regular user, consider adding variety to your workouts with hill climbs and interval workouts.

There are also gadgets to make your running plan more effective. Zwift Run allows you to run in a wide range of creative environments, like the jungle, undersea, or even through a volcano. And the partnership between Adidas and Fitbit now provides Fitbit Ionic users with specific run coaching tools (warm-ups, guided workouts, and strength exercises) to improve fitness.

The Most Important Equipment for Your Home Workout

As you can see, many home workouts can be completed without expensive equipment or tools. In fact, some of the best workouts involve no equipment at all, like the lunge, the squat, and the push-up. But there is one investment every home exerciser should make: proper footwear.

If you are overweight or obese, proper footwear can help protect your joints. Excess weight puts more strain on your body and having good shoes can ease that strain. 

Gretchen Weimer, Vice President of Product at HOKA ONE ONE explains that "Proper fit and support is important for everyone, particularly larger runners on hard, man-made surfaces.” But it's not just runners that might suffer. Home floor surfaces like concrete can be unforgiving on your joints and having well-cushioned shoes may make the difference between your program's success and failure.

To find the best shoe for you, Weimer recommends that you visit a local running store to get fitted:

“Trusting your local fit experts at a running specialty store can help you find a proper fit, and especially help to identify if you need a wide option, which will help insure that your foot is sitting on top of the midsole, and not overhanging it,” she continues. “Some shoes like HOKA are designed to offer support by actually sitting the foot down further inside of the midsole, and by offering wider footprints.”

In addition to HOKA, there are other athletic shoe companies that make shoes for wider feet, such as Brooks and New Balance. So try several styles to find the pair that feels most comfortable.

A Word From Verywell

Exercising at home doesn't work for everyone. But we don't all have the option to go to the park or the local health club. You can, however take a few minutes each day to invest in your health. Use these beginner workouts for men to get started, then get creative. Add friends or family members to your routine. Challenge your kids to join you. Join online groups or boast your successes on social media. Every effort deserves congratulations and acknowledgement. With a consistent routine, you're bound to feel better, look better, and gain a greater sense of well being. 

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