At-Home Strength Workouts for All Levels

In This Article

When people think about working out, they often assume it means strenuous cardio and resistance training at the gym. But the truth is you don't need a gym membership or even much equipment to get a good sweat on, build muscle, and maybe even lose some weight (if that's your goal) in the comfort of your own home.

If performed correctly and consistently, these beginner, intermediate, and advanced home workouts below can be every bit as effective as a gym workout. The key is to focus on strength training, because building muscle through resistance exercises helps to boost lean mass.

You can eventually incorporate cardio into your workout, but start by getting the basics correct. By seeing and feeling the results early on, you will be more likely to keep with the program over the long term.

Beginner Home Workout

This beginner's workout plan targets the large muscles that provide stability and core strength. You don’t need any special equipment. You can do the exercises together in one workout session or split them up throughout the day.

Aim to do 2–3 sets of 10–12 repetitions (reps) of each exercise. If you can only do four or six to start, that's OK. The aim is to perform an exercise so you are slightly shaky by the final rep, but not so much so that your form suffers. Every week, aim to increase the reps until you are finally able to do three sets of 12.

Here are the four exercises to launch your home workout program:

Push-Ups

push up
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Perfect form is essential when doing a push-up. Start with a variation you can complete with good technique, such as dropping your knees to the floor. Progress to the next level when you can do 10 to 12 reps without dropping you back, stopping short, or shaking unsteadily.

Lunges

Lunge
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Start by doing a set of simple back lunges, which help build your glute muscles and thighs. Use a wall or chair for balance if needed. When you are able to do 10 to 12 lunges on each leg without support, try the front lunge or another variation.

Squats

barbell squat
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The squat works the major muscles in your lower body and helps to shape firm buttocks and thighs. Always perform a squat with your feet hip-distance apart. Your hips should sink behind you as if you are sitting in a chair.

At the gym, you might use a barbell or another type of weight for your squat. At home, you can perform it weightless or use small handheld weights or a kettlebell to add a challenge.

Planks

plank
Verywell / Ben Goldstein 

A plank exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and those that support your back. Begin by holding the plank position for 15 seconds. As you get stronger, progress to 30 seconds and eventually 90 seconds.

Intermediate Home Workout

As you begin to master the beginner workout, you can incorporate additional exercises to build visibly stronger arms, legs, and abdominal muscles. For this intermediate plan, you can purchase a set of dumbbells or use soup cans or other household items in their place.

Start by adding one or two of these exercises to your routine. You can then mix it up as you get stronger, creating workouts of six to seven exercises of your choosing (focusing on the upper body, lower body, full body, or core).

Here are six you can easily do at home:

Biceps Curls

bicep curl
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

To begin a bicep curl, stand with feet hip-distance apart and one dumbbell in each hand. Maintain good posture as you raise and lower the weights, bending at the elbow. Do two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps. Increase the weight when you able to complete the sets with relative ease.

Lateral Raises

Lateral raise
Verywell / Ben Goldstein 

Stand with a dumbbell in each hand to start your lateral raise. Your palms should be facing inward towards the mid-line of your body. Raise your straight arms to shoulder height and lower slowly.

Do two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps. If you find that you are bending your elbows, you are lifting too much weight. Lower the weights and keep your arm straight.

Triceps Dips

Tricep dips
Ben Goldstein

For tricep dips, use a stable chair and place your hands on the seat next to your hips. Press into your palms to lift your body and slide forward just far enough that your butt clears the edge of the chair. Lower yourself until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees, then slowly push yourself back up to the starting position with control.

Complete two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Bent-Over Rows

bent-over row exercise
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

To get into the proper position for this exercise. tilt forward from the hips so that your chest is facing the floor and your arms are hanging beneath you. Pull your arms toward your chest as if you are rowing a boat.

Wall Squats

Woman doing a wall sit against a brick wall in gym
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

For this variation of wall squats, stand with your back to a wall and sink down to a seated position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Let the wall support your back. Now hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds. As you build strength, challenge yourself to hold the squat for a minute or more.

Overhead Press

Shoulder Overhead Press
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

The overhead press can be performed while standing or seated in a straight-back chair. With your back pressed firmly against the seatback, press the dumbbells over your head with your upper arms positioned in a straight line from elbow to elbow. Extend the arms fully without locking the elbow, pausing momentarily before returning to the starting position.

Do two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Advanced Home Workout

In this advanced workout program, you will need a set of resistance bands and an exercise ball. These tools can help further strengthen the muscles used for stability.

There are four exercises you should add to the plan:

Stability Ball Push-Ups

stability ball pushup
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

If you can complete a standard push-up with good form, try performing the stability ball push-up with your lower body positioned on the ball. Start with the ball under your knees and, as you get more comfortable with the exercise, move the ball closer to your feet.

Banded Side Steps

lateral band walk
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

To do the banded side step, step on the middle of the resistance band and grab one handle in each hand. The band should be looped under your feet. Now, step to the side with your right foot while keeping your left foot on the band.

Do five steps to the right and five steps to the left to complete a set. Rest and repeat for three to four more sets.

Lunges With Overhead Extension

overhead lunge
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

For lunges with an overhead extension, step forward into a lunge position, while pressing your arms into an overhead press. You can use a set of dumbbells or a medicine ball here. Sink into a deep lunge. Return to the starting position. Do five reps on each side to complete a set. Rest and repeat for two to three more sets.

Lat Pulldowns

Lat Pulldown
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

For lat pulldowns, you can do this same exercise at home with the help of a resistance band. Hitch the center of your resistance band to a hook on the door. Place the ball against the door. Grabbing a handle in each hand, take a seat facing away from the door.

Slowly pull the bands down until your elbows are fully pressed to your sides. You will feel the effort in the back muscles adjacent to your armpits, called the latissimus dorsi. Raise to the starting position and repeat, aiming for two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

A Word From Verywell

To create a balanced exercise program, work out two to three times per week. Be aware that your weight may drop at first but then increase slightly as you build muscle mass. By this stage, your success should be measured not only in pounds and inches but how you feel look and feel.

If ever you reach a plateau, simply increase the intensity and/or duration of your workout. Your body will respond in kind, as it responds to the challenge and helps you build more strength and confidence.

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  1. Willis LH, Slentz CA, Bateman LA, et al. Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults. J Appl Physiol. 2012;113(12):1831-7. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01370.2011