Home workouts can be just as efficient as the ones performed in gyms if you want to get fit fast. Granted, you probably haven't got all the machines you use at the gym available in your abode but by getting a few essentials – maybe even the best home gym equipment – you can recreate an almost complete copy of your gym workouts at home. All you need is a handy list of the best exercises to do in your home gym, and we'll provide you with that here.
You don't have to use the below exercises exactly in this order and feel free to swap in/out exercises depending on your fitness goals. Want to work on the glutes and quads more? Have a look at the best leg exercises. Working on your core? Check out this 3-move abs workout. Want to have a full body blast at home? If you lack equipment try a home bodyweight workout. Otherwise please read on…
- Best home dumbbell workout for beginners
- Best bodyweight workout for beginners at home: 20-minute zero gear workout for anyone and everyone
- Best home gym equipment you can still buy in the UK
Eat well and stay safe
Although resistance training is great for losing weight fast, if you haven't done much exercising lately or ever, it's best to get a training buddy to work out with, even at home, or at least someone to be around so they can keep an eye on you and keep you safe.
Always make sure the workout area is free clear and that you can perform all the planned exercises without bumping into any furniture or random objects in the household.
If you want to gain muscle mass and/or lose weight, your diet is equally as important as the workout itself. Up your protein intake by having a protein shake or two a day and swap those mid-afternoon chocolate bars to something healthier, like a protein bar in order to cut back on sugar. Also, drink more water and introduce more fibres to your diet as well to boost metabolism.
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The 5 BEST exercises to do in your home gym
Do some mobility exercises and stretching to warm up before you start your workout to get the heart rate up a bit. Try working on your biggest muscles first, like your legs/glutes, and finish off the workout with exercises aimed at small muscles like the biceps. Do some light stretching after the workout too.
Alternatively, you can get the best suspension training system for home and train all your muscles using these versatile tools. They not only provide a good workout but are also great when you haven't got an awful lot of space in your flat.
1. Pull up
In depth: chin up vs pull up
To perform a pull up, hold the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you) and hands being wide apart. A nice wide grip will help activate the lats even more and help you shape that back-V sooner.
Keep your core engaged all the way through the movement, don't drop your shoulders and be mindful of the negative movement (when you lower your body). The slower you can perform pull ups – within reason – the longer the muscle activation, meaning you will see results sooner.
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2. Weighted squat
In depth: how to squat right
Depending on the weights you use, you'll perform this exercise slightly differently but the one thing is for sure: aim for a deep squat, using your glutes and quads for the movement, not your lower back. The back is kept straight through the movement.
If you are doing barbell back squats, rest the bar on the traps and not your neck so you won't put a lot of pressure on the spine. As for goblet squats – kettlebell in hand in front of your chest – try not to lean forward too much to avid lower back strain.
3. Mountain climbers
Equipment needed: yoga mat
In depth: best calisthenics workout
Starting position is the same as you were to do push ups. To perform mountain climbers, pull one of your knees up to your chest then kick your leg back and pull the other knee to your chest in in quick succession. You want to keep your body in a push up position all the way through the exercise, so don't bob your hips up and down as you're tucking your legs in.
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4. Overhead press
Equipment needed: barbell or dumbbells
In depth: overhead press (how to)
To perform a standing barbell overhead press, load the appropriate plates onto each end of the barbell (the same on both ends) and secure the weights with the collars. Then, pick up the barbell from the ground using an overhand grip and rest it on the top of your chest. Legs are shoulder width apart, core engaged.
When you press the bar up, it should move in a straight vertical line. In order for it to do just that, you will need to move your head back and forth a bit as the bar passes in front of it. Keep your core engaged all the way through the motion and don't arch your back, that will lead to lower back pain (and injuries in general).
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5. Bench press
Equipment needed: barbell or dumbbell, weight bench
In depth: how to bench press correctly
To perform a bench press, load the bar up with the weight plates you would like to use and secure both sides with the spring collars. Both sides of the bar have the same amount of weight on it.
Lay down on the weight bench with your head resting under the bar, feet on the ground. Place your hands on the bar, a bit further apart than shoulder width. Use an overhand grip (palms facing away from you) and engage your core. You want your feet to dig into the floor a bit, make sure they are firmly pressed down before you lift.
As you exhale, push the bar up off the rack and extend your arm fully. Inhale as you lower the bar down to your chest, tucking your elbows in slightly. Come close to the chest as you lower the bar, then as you exhale, pressing the bar up again.