Do home workouts work? If some of your fitness time is spent at home, you’ve likely pondered that question.
Or maybe you feel that they work, but you’re wondering what you need to make them tip-top. You’re not alone. A lot of people do at least one or two workouts each week at home.
And like most people, you probably enjoy hitting the gym and consider home workouts inferior for muscle and strength gains. But is that true, or have you been misled all this time?
Let’s talk about it.
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Do Home Workouts Work?
Yes, home workouts can work, but it might be more challenging to make them effective than if you train at a gym.
For 90% of people who are looking to get in their very best shape, and build a lean physique, then home workouts work very well.
If you’re looking to build serious mass or pursue competitive bodybuilding, then you’ll likely need a gym to realize this goal. This is because a typical gym provides more intuitive options to train all the major muscle groups and create the necessary overload for growth.
For instance, you can use gym machines to do controlled movements for the shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps––you name it. Looking to challenge yourself? Simply add more weight.
But for most people, home workouts work great, and you can achieve your fit goals with home workouts. The key is having a few basic items that you’ll need for building muscle or toning muscle.
Why Home Workouts Get a Bad Rap
Most people see home workouts as only good for beginners and elderly individuals. The primary argument against home training is that it presents a ceiling for progression, making it impossible to see results beyond a certain point.
Simply put, you can see some results, but not as much as you could with gym training. But again, for 90% of people this is not a consideration. Most people living normal, working lives just want to get fit and improve their looks and health. You can certainly do that with home workouts!
4 Ways to Make Home Workouts More Effective
1. Invest In Some Quality Dumbbells
Dumbbells are a fantastic training tool, especially at home. They are truly a game changer, and you can work every major muscle group by having some quality dumbbells for your home workouts.
They don’t take up much space, but are versatile and allow you to work both sides of your body individually. This is highly beneficial as it reduces the risk of muscle or strength imbalances.
We recommend having two sets of lighter dumbbells for isolation exercises and smaller muscles (biceps, triceps, abs) and two sets of heavier ones for larger muscle groups (chest, back, legs). Heavier weights are also good for compound lifts: squats, Romanian deadlifts, shoulder presses, bent-over rows, etc.
Our Recommendation for Dumbbells & Dumbbell Rack for Home Workouts
2. Train With Proper Form
Training with proper form is essential for everyone, and things are no different when exercising at home. (1)
Working out with proper form allows you to maximally stimulate the target muscles, essentially getting the most out of each rep.
In contrast, poor form can shift the emphasis to muscles you don’t intend to train and increase the injury risk.
- Train through a full range of motion
- Do each repetition slowly and with great control
- Strive to feel the correct muscles activate
- Avoid jerking motions and momentum
3. Get Creative With Angles
Adjusting your body’s angle can effectively increase or decrease the difficulty of some bodyweight exercises. (2)
Take the push-up as an example. Doing it with your body in a horizontal position (e.g., on the floor) is ideal for most trainees––those beyond the beginner stage who are not that strong or experienced.
However, performing the push-up at an incline (say, against the kitchen counter) makes it easier because you have to push less of your body weight. In contrast, a decline (where you elevate your feet off the floor) makes the movement more challenging.
4. Focus on Progressive Overload
Another crucial thing to remember for effective home training is to think about progression: doing more work over time.
The obvious choice is to do more reps, especially on bodyweight exercises. However, you can also lift more weight (e.g., heavier dumbbells), slow down the tempo, and manipulate your body’s angle to increase the challenge.
Simply put, your training must steadily become more difficult for you to continue seeing positive results. (3)
So, do home workouts work? Yes, they do. But, as you can see, there are several things you must keep in mind to make them work.
- Freytag, C. (2021, October 7). How learning good form can help your strength training. Verywell Fit.
- Mallory Creveling, A.-C. (2022, December 15). The best bodyweight exercises you can do at home. Health.
MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Progressive overload: How it works, workout plan, and more. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/progressive-overload#progressive-overload