Build Muscle at Home.  5 Methods that Work + 2 Full Workouts

Build Muscle at Home. 5 Methods that Work + 2 Full Workouts

Can you build muscle at home, without the gym? Yes, but doing hundreds of push ups every day isn’t going to get it done. Read on to see how you can use some advanced techniques and science to your advantage.

Note: This article contains affiliate links. Anything purchased comes at no additional cost to you.

What Makes Muscles Grow?

Your muscles will grow when:

  1. The right type and amount of stress is placed on them regularly.
  2. You consume enough calories and protein to have the extra resources to build muscle.

Regardless of what methods you’re using, there are 2 things that lead to muscle growth:

  1. Mechanical Tension – The muscle can sense the resistance it’s being forced to work against.
  2. Metabolic Stress – The buildup of lactate in the muscle from doing higher repetitions. This is what causes the “burning” in the muscle, usually resulting in a “pump.”

The two are not completely separate. There must be enough mechanical tension to stimulate growth, meaning you must challenge the muscle.

Doing hundreds of standard push ups might feel tough, but the body will quickly adapt to the load being placed on it.

If you want a much more thorough explanation on how the body builds muscle, check out my article: How to Build Muscle: The Full Guide to Gains. Otherwise, let’s move on.

How to Build Muscle at Home: 5 Methods

5 methods to build muscle at home

Here are 5 methods you can use to build muscle from home. I’ll throw in some specific examples and workouts too.

1. Use Explosive Movements

People are too hung up on just doing basic push ups and body weight exercises. These certainly have value, but are not optimal long term for building muscle at home.

Explosive exercises will force your body to recruit fast twitch type II muscle fibers. Your fast twitch muscle fibers are capable of far more growth than the slow twitch fibers.

Just look at a sprinter vs. a marathon runner, and think about how differently they train.

Here are some explosive exercises you can use from home:

  • Squat Jumps
  • Bounding
  • Explosive Push ups
  • Split Squat Jumps
  • Box Jumps (onto any platform)

These explosive movements force the body to recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibers as quickly as possible (rate of force production.) As a result, this is an excellent way to train to be more powerful and to build some quality muscle.

2. Use BFR Bands for Faster Muscle Growth

If you’ve read some of my other articles, then you already know I’m a huge fan of BFR Bands (blood flow restriction bands.) I’m a fan of them because they work. Research says so.

Specifically, BFR Bands are meant to be used with lighter loads and higher reps. In the video below, I’m doing plate curls.. but you can grab anything.. a gallon of milk, a jug of water, or anything you can hold and perform high reps with. You can use them for push ups, or any high rep body weight exercise.

How BFR Training Works

Normally, during a high rep set (15-30 reps), the slow twitch muscle fibers would be dominant in performing the movement. However, the bands restrict blood and oxygen into the muscle. As a result, the slow twitch fibers are unable to keep up, forcing the fast twitch muscle fibers to take over.

Adding in some BFR training (also known as occlusion training) into your body weight routines can make a big difference in your ability to build muscle at home.

Check them out below. These are only $28 and have lasted me well over a year so far.

3. Use Tempo Training For Bigger Gains

tempo push ups to build muscle at home

Tempo training means performing each rep at a specific pace. For example, on a push-up: 2 seconds up, 2 seconds down, trying not to pause at all (continuous movement).

Changing the tempo of an exercise can dramatically change how it feels. Try a set of tempo push ups with 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down with no pauses. The muscles will be burning with fatigue (metabolic stress.)

Tempo reps keep the muscle under constant tension. By slowing down the rep, you are forcing the muscle to recruit more and more muscle fibers as the muscle fatigues.

The more muscle fibers you recruit, the bigger the response. This is why bodybuilders often do slower repetitions.

4. Use Exercise Variations to Challenge the Body and Build More Muscle

If you want to build muscle from home, you have to find ways to challenge the body. Doing hundreds of push ups every day is just not going to work.

Instead, use variations that can challenge the body from different angles. For the push up alone, there are probably over a hundred variations.

Here are a couple of my favorites. If you want to see more, check out my article: 20 Awesome Push Up Variations

There are variations of every exercise. Body Squats, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups all have several different variations that can make the movement both different and more challenging.

Start playing around with some variations and get better at them. Challenge your body!

5. Use Resistance Bands

resistance bands build muscle from home

When it comes to building muscle at home, resistance bands are a tool you definitely should have.

A 2019 Study showed that working out with resistance bands resulted in similar strength and muscle gains compared to using conventional methods (the gym).

With a set of resistance bands, you can replicate almost any gym movement. Squats, Deadlifts, curls and rows can all be performed with a set of bands.

Here are a few examples from my article: 16 Muscle Building Exercises With Resistance Bands.

They’re affordable and extremely versatile. A set of bands can completely change up how you work out at home. Get a few with varying resistance so you can use them for your whole body effectively.

Check these bands out from American Barbell. High quality and affordable

Workouts that can Build Muscle from Home

build muscle at home lisa dips

The best approach would be to combine all 5 methods from above.

Start with explosive movements, then pick some challenging exercise variations. End each session with 10 minutes of BFR training with resistance bands and/or tempo training.

Here’s 2 muscle building workout examples you can try from home:

Tip: Check out the articles below if you need to see video descriptions of these exercises and others you can use.

Upper Body At Home Workout

ExerciseSetsRepsRest
A. Explosive
Push ups
38-122 Mins
B. Pull ups/
Chin ups
3Max Reps90 Secs
C. Slideboard
Push ups
33-6/arm90 Secs
D. BFR Circuit: 10 MinsOnly when
Needed
D1 – Close Grip
Tempo Push ups
/8-10/
D2 – Band Curls/15-25/
D3 – Band Chest Fly/15-25/
D4 – Band Pull-apart/15-20/
Shop Now Rogue Fitness

Lower Body At Home Workout

ExerciseSetsRepsRest
A. Jump Squat310-1590 Secs
B. Step Ups310-12/leg90 Secs
C. Banded Good Mornings312-1590 Secs
D. BFR Circuit10 MinsOnly When
Necessary
D1 – Walking Lunges/20 total
(10/leg)
/
D2 – Banded Tempo Squats/8-10/

Create Your Own At-Home Workouts to Build Muscle

You can use the above workout templates to make your own home workouts up. Just plug in different exercises.

Choose an explosive type exercise to start. Then try to look for a challenging variation or two to challenge the body.

Lastly, pick a few exercises you can get relatively high reps with, strap on your BFR Bands and hammer out a 10 minute circuit.

You may have to be creative. Find a way to do pull ups, whether it’s from a beam in the garage or a doorway pull up bar. Find objects you can use for curls and other exercises.

I used to work in a prison, and inmates would fill up trash bags with water or fill pillowcases with books. Where there’s a will, there IS a way.

Conclusion

You CAN build muscle at home. You just need to do things a little differently and use methods that can actually force the body to build muscle.

If I had to put it in an ordered list, it would look like this:

  • Get yourself some BFR bands and resistance bands
  • Start using explosive exercises, tempo training and BFR circuits
  • Eat more and make sure you’re getting enough protein (0.7 grams/pound of body weight, approximately).

Stop doing the same old thing, and take your home workouts to the next level!

As always, I hope this article helped in some way to get you a little bit closer to that best version of you! Leave a comment and follow my blog for more awesome fitness articles and workouts.

Mike (Supastrong)
Mike (Supastrong)

Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach and personal trainer. I’ve run boot camps and served as the wellness coordinator for a fortune 500 company. Currently a Federal Agent in San Diego, CA, and an Infantryman in the Army Reserve.

Quarantine Workouts:  5 Ways to Stay Fit at Home without the gym.

Quarantine Workouts: 5 Ways to Stay Fit at Home without the gym.

While we’re all stuck inside for the time being, many are trying to find ways to stay in shape, maintain muscle and strength or maybe even improve overall fitness.

So we have 2 choices… Wait it out and do nothing, or make the most out of it and come out even better.

Every problem carries with it an opportunity. Yes, the gyms are closed.. But sometimes taking a step back can be a good thing. You can discover new ways of training, work on some weaknesses. It’s a chance to grow.

1.) Follow Along With Great Trainers

Xplicit Fitness Quarantine Workout Series

It helps to know some people in the fitness industry, and I’m lucky to know these guys. Having spent some time as a trainer at Xplicit Fitness in San Diego, CA, I can tell you that these workouts are among the best you’ll find to do from home.

Here’s a full at-home, 30 minute full body workout they posted to keep their members in shape during the quarantine. Chad (the owner) makes every workout fun and he’s a great motivator.

If this leaves you wanting more, they’ve posted several more of these workouts. Click here if you’d like to check out the rest of the quarantine workouts by the guys at Xplicit.

Other Good Sites:

There are other good sites out there with plenty of home workout ideas. These are a few that people like and that I’ve checked out and deem worthy of your time and energy.

  • Fitness Blender: Lets you filter workouts by difficulty, Gender and body part focus.
  • Turbulence Training: Youtube channel with free, easy to follow and effective body-weight workouts.
  • Body Rock TV: A huge collection of at home workouts with limited equipment.

2.) Work Out Like an Inmate

I spent over 10 years working in a prison. Being a trainer, I spent a LOT of time watching how inmates in my units work out.

Use what you’ve got

With no equipment other than a pull up bar, they stay in extremely good shape. Some fill up trash bags with water to use as resistance. Others filled pillowcases with books or soda bottles.

The point is, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here’s one example I saw a lot:

Perform one set (4 push ups) of the push up variation below, get up to your feet and jog in place. Jog in place only as long as you need to perform another set. Repeat this for a set period of time. For example, 20 minutes (inmates would do it for 1-2 hours)

Keep it Simple

With no equipment, inmates are forced to keep it simple. You can add pull ups and/or some body weight squats and lunges into the mix and get a great full body workout.

Looking for help with push ups or pull ups? Check these two articles out:

3.) Resistance Bands

Resistance bands can be an awesome addition to your workouts, even when you do go back to the gym.

Resistance Bands are:

  • Cost Effective
  • Versatile
  • Adaptable to any fitness/strength level
  • Easier on the joints than heavy weights

Here’s a good set of Resistance Bands at a reasonable price from Amazon

Resistance bands offer Ascending Resistance, meaning the further you stretch the band, the more difficult it becomes. This is especially beneficial for 3 reasons:

  1. Most people are weaker at the end range of motion of a movement. Bands can help improve strength all the way through.
  2. Injuries often occur at the end range of motion. Resistance bands can serve as a “prehab” tool by building strength at the end of the movement.
  3. Bands can allow you to perform a ton of reps without the joint stress you’d get using weights.

If you’d like to see a list of exercises you can do with resistance bands, check out my article here with 20 muscle building exercises with resistance bands.

4.) Tabata Workouts

Tabata workouts are 2 things: Really short, and really hard.

They’re also really simple. To perform a Tabata workout, just follow these guidelines:

  • Choose an exercise, preferable a compound movement like a squat, squat jump, push up, or even jump rope.
  • Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds
  • Repeat 8 times, for 4 total minutes = 1 Tabata
  • Perform one, or several Tabatas to make up your workout

Studies Show Tabata Workouts Work

A Study by ACE showed that a 20 minute tabata workout could burn 240-360 calories, and met the criteria to improve cardiovascular fitness and improve body composition.

Since Tabata workouts are high intensity, It is recommended to perform them 1-2 times per week, allowing your body 2-3 days of rest in between sessions.

If you’re looking for home workout ideas, try this out:

tabata workout

5.). Run Sprints

It always amazes me that more people aren’t out there running sprints. The benefits of sprinting are tremendous:

  • Build Lean Muscle (look at any Olympic sprinter, male or female)
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Get faster
  • Improve body composition (burn fat)
  • Can be done quickly, and from almost anywhere

Studies show that just 6 sprint sessions can improve performance in athletes. This is because maximum effort sprinting is a very high intensity effort. It pushes your heart rate up to the upper zones, and forces your fast twitch muscle fibers to their limit.

Sprinting can raise your resting metabolic rate, causing your body to burn more calories for several hours or even days after your workout.

run sprints home workout

How to Work out with Sprints:

Interval Sprints

To get the most out of a sprinting workout, use interval sprints. This means you’ll sprint as hard as you can for a set distance (or time), then walk slowly the same distance (or time) to recover. Then repeat.

My favorite Sprint workouts are 400 meter (1/4 mile) sprints, but 200 meter sprints can also work really well.

30/60’s and 60/120’s

Another Sprinting workout that works really well are 30/60’s and 60/120’s. We used these in the military a lot. You simply sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds, and repeat. If that’s too easy, then up the time to 60 seconds sprinting and 120 seconds walking.

Since sprinting is very demanding on the body, it is recommended to only do 1-2 sprint sessions per week, so your body can recover properly and you can get the most benefit from your hard work.

quarantine workouts home

Conclusion

Relying on the gym can cause you to miss out on a lot of activities that can improve your overall fitness. It’s always good to take a step back and find new ways of pushing your body.

I hope you found some of these ideas helpful, and as always, I hope something here will help you get a little closer to that best version of you!

16 Bodybuilding Gym Exercises Using Resistance Bands.

16 Bodybuilding Gym Exercises Using Resistance Bands.

Just because you’re without the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get a solid workout in. And I’m not talking Pilates. I’m talking the same exercises you use in the gym. We’re just swapping out iron for some latex rubber resistance bands. These 16 resistance band exercises can help keep you big and strong while you’re out of the gym.

Studies have shown that adding resistance band exercises to your regular weight training routine can increase your strength more than weight lifting alone. So, incorporating some of these movements now can help you add them later when you return to the gym. You’ll have a new weapon in your arsenal for strength and size.

The Big Lifts… With Resistance Bands

We’ll start with the big lifts, which of course are:

  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press
  • Overhead Press
  • Squat

I’m certainly not suggesting that you abandon these lifts in exchange for using resistance bands. But, you are activating the same muscles with both forms of resistance. You have the same range of motion and ability to use variable speed in the movement. That said, there’s no doubt these can be effective at getting you bigger and stronger.

Disclaimer: 1. Check with your doctor before performing any exercise routine. 2. This article may contain affiliate links.

Deadlift

Banded Deadlifts mimic a trap bar deadlift, with hands at your side

The Deadlift is rightfully known as the king of all lifts. It uses the entire body in unison, forcing the legs, lower back, lats and traps to work hard to pull the body into an upright position against resistance.

Remember to keep a flat back. Flex your abs and push through the floor, just like you would picking up a barbell.

Here’s a great set of Resistance Bands at a reasonable price

Bench Press

While you probably could rig a resistance band to press similar to a bench press, it’s easier and just as effective to utilize a push up movement instead.

Wrapping the band behind your back, you’ll be pushing up against the resistance of the band. Control your descent and push up explosively, activating the most motor units (muscle fibers). Keep your body in a straight line. This version places more emphasis on the core than a traditional bench press.

Overhead Press

The overhead press is the best exercise to build your shoulders.

Using resistance bands, you can overhead press two ways. You can do it standing, with the band under your feet. Or you can perform it kneeling.

With either version, keep your abs tight and flex your glutes. This keeps your core tight and protects your back. Press up explosively, or do slower tempo style reps without any pauses.

Standard Press

Behind the Neck Press

Squat

If there’s a contender for the “king” of all lifts, it is definitely the squat.

Arguably the best overall muscle building exercise, the squat is one movement you definitely want to include in your training.

Place the band under your feet, in the middle of the foot. Then bend down and wrap the band around the back of your neck. Stand up, then sit back into the squat position. Keep a flat back, abs tight (as with all big lifts).

Traditional Squat

Overhead Squat

The overhead squat is a little more challenging. It’s easier with bands than with a barbell, so it could be a good way to practice the movement with some resistance.

Bent Over Rows

Rows essentially work your entire back. When you perform the row, try to hold and squeeze for a quick second, then lower the bands.

Sit back slightly until you feel like you’re activating your hamstrings. This establishes a strong athletic position so you can lean forward without putting too much stress on your lower back.

When you perform the row, try to turn your hands in so your palms are facing up (like a reverse grip row). This will allow more activation of the back muscles and the biceps.

Shoulders – Banded Front, Lateral and Rear Delt Raises

Along with the overhead press, you can also use resistance bands to target the shoulders with front and lateral raises. Both are great options to build strength and size in the shoulders.

Lateral Raises

Lateral raises primarily work the lateral deltoid, along with the traps. They are great for building wider, broader shoulders.

Front Raises

Front raises focus on the anterior deltoids. The anterior delts are responsible for raising the arm forward. This part of the shoulder usually takes a beating with all the pressing movements people do, but isolating it can help strengthen and build the muscle.

Rear Delt Flyes

Most people overwork the front (anterior) delts with all the pressing they do in the gym. This can result in imbalances in the shoulder, and can lead to injury.

Strengthening to rear delts is essential for shoulder health, and for getting stronger. They also make your back look good when you build them up. Hold a one second squeeze on each rep.

These can be an excellent movement to incorporate into a warm up for your pressing days in the gym, or as a finisher to any upper body workout.

Chest Flyes

Chest flyes get a good “squeeze” of the pectoral muscles. They are a great way to isolate the chest. Using bands, we can perform a low chest fly. As in previous exercises, hold the top position for a one second squeeze on every rep.

Good Mornings

Banded good mornings are a really amazing way to hit the low back and hamstrings. These are an excellent option as a warm up for squatting or deadlifting, or for getting some lower impact volume in for the back and hamstrings. Do these for 15-20 reps and you won’t be disappointed!

Keep a flat back with a slight bend in the knees and lean forward until you feel a good stretch in the hamstrings before returning to the upright position.

Arms

You can definitely build your arms up with resistance bands. They allow you to get a really good squeeze of the muscle, and you can really perform a good amount of volume (reps) without the same stress you’d incur using weights.

Hitting these for high reps will give you a huge pump, and you know that’s never a bad thing.

Curls

You can perform these as regular curls, turning your hand in at the top, or as hammer curls with a neutral grip. Both are great and I recommend mixing it up.

Triceps Extensions

These are performed as overhead extensions. If you have something to hand the resistance band from, you can also do regular extensions similar to the cable pulldowns at the gym. Both are great.

Try to keep your elbows high (pointed at the ceiling), and try not to swing your arms.

Split Squat

The split squat does a great job of isolating the quad muscles. Try to perform these in a rhythm, with no pause at the top or bottom, for 15-20 reps per leg.

Shrugs

Last but not least, shrugs. Traps are one muscle that all strong people seem to have.

While I prefer to hit the traps with high pulls, farmer carries and deadlifts, the shrug is always a good option to build them up, and we can still get it done without weights.

Hold the top of the shrug for a one second squeeze, and don’t rest at the bottom. Keep the muscle under constant tension.

Some tips on using resistance bands

If you’re going to use resistance bands to work out, there are a few things you can do to make your workouts more effective.

  • Try to focus on each rep and get a good squeeze.
  • Shoot for higher rep ranges (15-30). You can build up a lot of volume this way and stimulate some muscle growth.
  • Shoot for short rest periods (30sec – 1min).
  • Perform the workouts in a circuit. Choose 3-5 exercises and follow the above rep and rest period guidelines.
  • If it feels too easy, use a heavier band. If it feels hard, use a lighter one. Seems obvious, but worth mentioning. Lose the ego.

Conclusion

A lot of people view resistance bands as inferior, but most of those people have never worked out with them. You can build muscle and strength with bands. Research has proven that, and incorporating them along with traditional resistance training can improve your gains.

Try some of these exercises out. Make the most of your time away from the gym.

I hope you liked this article. Leave a comment, or shoot me an email and I’ll respond as soon as I can. Thanks for reading, and as always, I hope this helped you in some way to get a little bit closer to that best version of you!

Mike (Supastrong)
Mike (Supastrong)

Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach and personal trainer. I’ve run boot camps and served as the wellness coordinator for a fortune 500 company. Currently a Federal Agent in San Diego, CA, and an Infantryman in the Army Reserve.

At Home Leg and Booty Workout. No Gym, No Problem!

At Home Leg and Booty Workout. No Gym, No Problem!

Get a bigger butt, wider hips, tone up your legs.. without needing the gym? Is that possible? Yes! There’s always more than one path that can lead to success. If the above sounds like something you’d like to accomplish, then maybe I can help.

I’m going to include a full workout using Arena Strength Bands. These are high quality, excellent bands…but feel free to use what you have. If you just want to see the workout, then feel free (see below). If you want to learn more about how to build up your booty and tone up your lower body, then I recommend reading on.

Resistance Bands

You can accomplish a LOT working out from home with just your body weight and a set of Bands. Bands add resistance to your movements and challenge the muscles.

Why Use Bands?

  1. Resistance bands offer Ascending Resistance.. meaning that the resistance is strongest at the end of the movement. This stronger resistance at the end range of motion is beneficial in a lot of ways. In particular, this is where many injuries are suffered. Using bands can help prevent injuries.
  2. Most people are weakest at the end range of motion of a movement. Using bands can build strength throughout the full range of a movement.
  3. Bands are much easier on the body vs. lifting weights. Less stress is placed on the joints, and you can keep your muscles under constant tension. There are also different bands offering different levels of resistance.

How to Build a Bigger, Firmer Butt.

how to get a bigger butt

Like I said before, there’s always more than one way to reach a goal. But, there are definitely some things you should be doing when trying to hit your glutes. The workout in this article isn’t a random collection of exercises. It’s a series of movements targeted at hitting the glutes from specific angles.

Here are some exercises and key points to remember when working on firming up your butt muscles and toning up your lower body.

Use Hip Abduction For Wider Hips and Firmer Glutes.

Hip abduction refers to movements where you move your leg away from the midline of the body. Movements focusing on hip abduction target the outer glute muscles and hips, and can be used to get a bigger, firmer butt and wider looking hips.

The exercises below use hip abduction and are great additions to any butt workout:

Side Leg Raises

  • Lie on one side, band just above the knee
  • Raise the top leg laterally and return to starting position
  • Repeat for desired reps
  • Slow, controlled movements

Quadruped Hip Abduction: AKA, Fire Hydrants

  • Start in a quadruped position (on all fours).
  • Lift one leg out to the side, keeping a 90 degree angle.
  • Don’t twist your body. Keep your belly button facing the floor
  • Slow and Controlled Movements

“Squeeze” the Glutes:

Hip Bridges with a “Squeeze.”

Bridges are a unique way to target the glute and quad muscles. At the top of each repetition, actively squeeze the glutes for a quick second and feel the deep burn.

  • Start by laying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor
  • Push through the middle of the foot, raising your hips.
  • Actively squeeze the glutes briefly at the top of the movement

Squat, Squat, Squat

There really is no substitute for the squat. It is one of the most basic, and productive movements you can do. Squats work the entire lower body, and I’d include them in any workout program targeting the legs or glutes.

The lower portion of the squat really forces the glutes to work hard. It’s the best way to hit the entire lower body in one movement.

  • Squat by sitting back, moving from the hips. (picture sitting into a chair)
  • Squat down as low as you’re comfortable, and return to standing
  • When squatting, visualize squatting your torso between your legs
  • Keep a slight resistance in the bands by actively pulling your legs apart.

If you’re interested in the Arena Strength Bands, check them out. This is an affiliate link, but I’d never recommend something I didn’t believe in, and these really are awesome.

Key Points

The purpose of this article was to show you that you can get a highly effective workout targeting your butt and legs right from home using resistance bands and your own body.

We discussed using hip abduction to target the outer glute muscles and hips to get wider looking hips and a bigger, firmer butt. We also went over resistance bands and ascending resistance.

Then we talked about bridges and squats, two excellent ways to target the glutes. Remember to make sure you focus on actively squeezing the glutes at the top of the bridge. Little things really do make a big difference.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope you checked out the video. If you try it out, make sure to let me know how it went.

You really can accomplish a lot right from home with just your body and some resistance bands.

As always, I hope this article was helpful, and I hope you got enough out of it to get you just a little bit closer to that best version of you!

Mike (Supastrong)
Mike (Supastrong)

Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach and personal trainer. I’ve run boot camps and served as the wellness coordinator for a fortune 500 company. Currently a Federal Agent in San Diego, CA, and an Infantryman in the Army Reserve.