Who Say's You Need Fancy Equipment To Build Muscle At Home

Here's a simple home workout that I use to build muscle and strength.

There is nothing fancy about this workout but it is effective. I've been using this workout now for about 3 months and I've been improving with each workout.

Now, I've been using this workout because I have some rotator cuff problems with my right shoulder.

However, I just got some good news from my physiotherapist and he advised me that my progress has been great and I can start to resume full time training next week.

That's absolutely great news!

Anyways, this routine seems to be working for me just fine so I'm going to keep doing it. I was thinking of joining a gym but why try and fix something that's not broken?

Before we continue with the workout, there are some points you should remember with this workout. First, I do a complete warm up for my whole body and my rotator cuffs. Stretching is very, very important to improve your range of motion. I strongly suggest you warm up and stretch. Now, because of my shoulder problem, there are some things that I do in my routine that must be done. Firstly, I use mostly dumbbells for my movements. The reason I use dumbbells is because I can turn my hands inwards where the thumbs face each other. This little trick puts the rotator cuffs in a more natural position and takes some of the strain off of them.

So, instead of doing my seated dumbbell press' with my palms facing forward, I turn my hands inwards so the palms face each other. I suggest you do the same. However, do what feels comfortable for you.

Secondly, I don't go all the way down for my exercises. For example, when I do a seated shoulder press, I don't bring the dumbbells down past my ear level. If I bring the dumbbells down past my ear level, I overextend my rotator cuffs which can lead to more injuries. However, after talking to my physiotherapist, he said that it is very, very important to keep the traps and scapula muscles (small muscles in the back - infraspinatus and teres major ) stabilized. The most important point about doing the exercises is to keep the chest out and your back straight.

By doing this, you ensure that the weight is controlled and you make sure the scapula is in it's proper position when doing the exercise. He said this is one of the common injuries of weight lifters and body builders with shoulder problems. The scapula actually drops out of position and with it, the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff drops and pulls the front of the cuff which causes friction at the top and front of the shoulder joint. I thought my injury was at the top and front of my shoulder but really, the injury is at the rear of my shoulder in the scapula. Very interesting. For those of you with shoulder problems from weight training, this may be the cause.

Anyways...Let's move on to the workout.

The warm up and stretching period lasts for about 20 minutes. The workouts lasts for about 40 minutes and are broken down into two weight training sessions. I use a basic split training system in which I train upper body on day one and lower body on day three. It's simple but very effective. Here's how the routine looks.

Week 1

Day One - Monday

Upper Body

Day Two - Tuesday

Rest

Day Three - Wednesday

Legs

Day Four - Thursday

Rest

Day Five - Friday

Upper Body

Day Six and Seven - Saturday and Sunday

Rest

Week 2

Day One - Monday

Legs

Day Two - Tuesday

Rest

Day Three - Wednesday

Upper Body

Day Four - Thursday

Rest

Day Five - Friday

Legs

Days Six and Seven - Saturday and Sunday

Rest

The cycle continues in week three with upper body on day one again.

Let’s take a look at the exercises and repetition schedules.

Upper Body Exercises

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Incline Dumbbell Press
Bent Over Barbell Rows
Standing Barbell Curls
Lying Triceps Extensions
Shrugs
Ab Crunches

Lower Body Exercises

Leg Extensions
Front Squats
Lunges
Lying Leg Curls
Stiff Leg Dead lifts
Donkey Calf Raise

This is all I do. As you can see, it’s nothing fancy but if you do the exercises right, it is very effective. Here’s my repetitions scheme and rest periods. I've also provided links to full descriptions on how to perform each exercise. The link is right above each illustration.


Upper Body Exercises

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
Set one: 1 set of 12 repetitions
Set two: 1 set of 12 repetitions
Set three: 1 set of 12 repetitions
Set four: 1 set of 12 repetitions

I will rest about 35 seconds in between each set. Now, I don’t go super heavy for these movements but I do keep it challenging for the last set. I pyramid the weight from set one to set four. On the last set, I usually have a tough time getting the last repetition.


Incline Dumbbell Press

Warm up: 1 set of 20 repetitions
4 sets of 12 repetitions

I usually take a one minute break after doing my seated dumbbell press. In between sets, I will rest for about 35 seconds. I will pyramid the weight from sets one to four. That is, with each progressive set, I’ll add more and more weight until my last set. I’ll usually rest for about 30 seconds before going to barbell bent over rows.


Bent Over Barbell Rows

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
3 sets of 8 repetitions

The first thing I do is reverse my grip. Instead of taking an overhand grip, I’ll use and underhand grip. I find it takes some of the pressure of my shoulders. I’ll usually rest between 30 and 40 seconds in between each set. I also pyramid the weight with each progressive set. However, I don’t go to failure and the last set is done in very strict fashion.

I’ll rest for about 30 seconds before going on to standing barbell curls.


Standing Barbell Curls

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
4 sets of 12 repetitions

This exercise is pretty straight forward. I’ll do a warm up with 20 repetitions and than rest for about 30 seconds. I pyramid the weight with each progressive set and rest about 30 seconds in between each set.


Lying Triceps Extensions

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
4 sets of 12 repetitions

Again, this is a pretty straight forward exercise. I’ll first do a warm up with 20 repetitions and than rest for about 30 seconds. I’ll pyramid the weight with each progressive set and rest about 30 seconds in between each set.


Shrugs

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
4 sets of 12 repetitions

I will usually pyramid the weight with each progressive set. However, I don’t pile the weight because I really want to squeeze the weight up and down. Here’s a tip to get the most from this exercise. When you position yourself for this exercise, bend forward slightly and look down. You will perform this exercise looking down at the floor with a slight bend at your waist. This way, you ensure complete stimulation of the trap muscles.


Ab Crunches

4 sets of 20 repetitions.


Lower Body Exercises

Leg Extensions

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
4 sets of 15 repetitions

I never go heavy for this exercise. This exercise is not a muscle builder - Squats are meant for that. Personally, I use this exercise as a warm up and to get the blood flowing in and around the knee area. This is very important. My leg extension apparatus is not the best so it’s best not to use heavy weight. However, stick to light to moderate weight and really warm the knee area up.

I will usually pyramid the weight with each progressive set but I won’t go super heavy. I’ll rest for about 30 seconds in between each set.


Front Squats

Start

Finish

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
4 sets of 12 repetitions

Squats are the leg builders so you want to make sure you do them, especially for home workouts.

I do front squats because the movement doesn’t put a lot of pressure on my right shoulder like normal squats do. That is, when you do traditional squats, you have to extend your shoulders back in order to rest your hands on the bar. I don’t have to do this with front squats since my arms are crossed in front of my chest. I also like front squats because the resistance from the weight is placed squarely on the front of the thighs and not the hips and butt like back squats do.

I usually set my bench press racks on the highest settings. From there, I set my barbell on them to load the weight on. It’s just high enough for me to get under and to adjust the weight to my shoulders. Check out the photo above.

I will pyramid the weight up with each progressive set. However, I don’t go heavy enough that will cause me to go to failure. I will rest about 50 seconds in between each set. Above images courtesy of bodybuilding.com


Lunges

3 sets of 12 repetitions

This is a great exercise. I will usually use a light set of dumbbells for this exercise.

Rest for about 30 seconds in between each set.


Lying Leg Curls

Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions
4 sets of 12 repetitions

This is a pretty straight forward exercise. My bench came with a leg curl apparatus and it seems to do the job. It’s not the best but it can handle a decent amount of weight without getting wobbly. I will usually pyramid the weight up until I can just barely get my last repetitions on the last set. I will usually rest about 30 seconds in between each set.


Stiff Leg Dead Lifts

3 sets of 12 repetitions

I have a couple of 2 x 4's that I stand on when I do this exercise. This way, the plates don’t hit the floor at the bottom of the movement. You can either do this exercise with dumbbells or a barbell, I prefer a barbell.

The thing you have to remember about this exercise is that it’s all about form. You don’t need to go super heavy for this exercise to get the most from it. If you remember to keep your hamstrings and butt squeezed during this exercise, you’ll get a lot from it. Always squeeze hard at the top of the movement.

I will rest for about 30 seconds in between each set.


Donkey Calf Raise

5 sets of 20 repetitions

You don’t have to have anyone sitting on your back for this exercise. I usually do this exercise on my staircase with my weight shifted back on my legs with my knees slightly bent. I sometimes use a weight belt to add a little more resistance. I rest about 30 seconds in between each set.

For each workout, I’ll do 5 to 10 minutes on my home elliptical machine. The warm up is nothing to strenuous but it helps get the blood flowing. After I’ve done my warm up, I’ll do 10 minutes of stretching followed by my rotator cuff training.

Alright, that’s it. Now, this is going to be the most important tip about this whole simple home workout routine. This routine may seem very simple but it’s how you progress that will decide how effective this program is.

Actually this goes for any type of weight training routine that you may do. The most important thing that you must do in order to get the most from this simple home workout routine is to progress with each workout. Here’s how I look at my progress.

For each of your exercises, you should always be progressing from one workout to the next. Especially on your last set. You should be using heavier weight on your last set, for the same amount of repetitions, and the same rest periods than you did last workout.

Or, use the same amount of weight but do more repetitions using the same rest periods as your previous workout. Or, do the entire workout in a fast time.

If you can manage to improve with each workout using the points above, your going to grow and get strong. Once you stop improving, something is wrong. you have to step back and take a look at why your not improving. Ask your self:

• Am I eating enough quality nutrients?;
• Am I getting enough rest?;
• Am I getting more stressed and work or school?;
• Do I need to take a couple of weeks off from training?;
• What’s changed in my daily routine that has caused me to stop progressing?;

The main point is to find out why your not improving and correct it.

Well, that’s it. This is a simple home workout routine but if you can manage to stick to it and improve with each workout, your going to get a lot from this program.

Good luck and all the best,

Blake





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