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Your guide to the best exercises to help build muscle at home

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Mika, Staff Writer

Friday, 30 April 2021

Home workouts to build muscle

Are you looking to start building some muscle from the comfort of your own home? Then you’re in the right place!

If you don’t have the proper equipment that you’d get in a gym - don’t panic! It’s easy to transform household objects lying around into temporary weights, you just need to get creative. 

If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, or have a long medical history or any pre-existing injuries, remember to consult your GP or a qualified professional, to ensure home workouts are safe and suitable for you. Let’s take a look at some of the best home workout exercises requiring minimum equipment that you can practice to build muscle.

  1. Upper body and core

  2. Lower body

  3. Introducing weights

  4. Importance of cardio

  5. Diet and nutrition

  6. General tips

Upper body workouts to build muscle:

Push-ups

Push-ups are a great way to help you build up muscle mass, especially in your upper body; the muscles around your shoulders, arms, chest, and abdomen all respond to push-ups.  

As a beginner, your best bet is to begin push-ups slowly. Use the floor and work your way upwards by doing a few push-ups per time. Be careful to take enough rest as and when due. Eventually, you can make your push-ups more and more difficult by lifting your feet up higher up in the air by using a chair or the sofa at home. Likewise, you can choose different variations, such as a one-arm push-up, or incorporate a clap, to push yourself further from the ground.

Push-up to help build muscle

Pull-ups

Pull-ups work the same way as push-ups do. The aim of this exercise is to build some muscle mass in your upper body and strengthen your muscles’ abilities to withstand some pressure. Pull-ups are great because they exert almost all the muscles of your upper body.

This exercise involves hanging on to a bar a bit above your head and pulling your body off the floor. For the best results, know your body’s limit and be sure to rest adequately, to minimise injury.

You should get a pull-up bar that you can easily and safely attach to the frame of your door.

Tricep dips

While parallel bar dips may require specific equipment which is likely found in a gym, bench dips are a great way of focusing on building your tricep muscles with limited professional equipment. This exercise is perfect for working out at home. While beginners can keep their feet on the floor, you can make this exercise more difficult by raising your legs higher on a flat surface, to really work those arm muscles!

Tricep dips to help build muscle

Crunches

These are a great way to really work your core muscles without gym equipment. Consistency is key here, like with push-ups, build on the number of crunches you want to achieve in each core session, in order to see yourself improve. To make this even harder, you can incorporate variations, for example bicycle crunches or a more static abdominal exercise such as a V-sit hold.

Plank

Requiring no external equipment, the plank is a great home workout exercise to help build and strengthen your core. Once you feel you’ve made good progress, you can attempt other variations of the plank, including the side plank, high plank, or even plank dips.

As with all of the above exercises, completing them incorrectly is likely to be dangerous and cause injury. To minimise any risk, you may find it beneficial to hire a personal trainer who can put together a personalised training plan, and correct your form, before you choose to attempt any exercises by yourself.

Lower Body workouts to build muscle:

Squats

This simple-looking exercise is another great option for you if you are looking to work out the muscles of your lower body (quads, glutes, and calves). Squats involve taking a shoulder-width stance with your feet placed firmly on the floor and dipping yourself as low as you can get without losing your balance. 

Getting the right technique may be difficult if you are just starting out. Like with the upper-body workouts, to minimise risk of injury due to poor form, you should consider hiring a qualified professional to instruct and guide you.

Exercises to build muscle

Lunges

Exercises targeted towards your legs, such as forward or reverse lunges, are a great way to strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, quads and even your calves. 

As is the case with every other strength exercise, take extra care so you don’t lose your balance, or perform the exercise incorrectly. This might cause a muscle tear, ankle injury, or cause lasting damage which will be counterproductive to your fitness goals. 

Weightlifting exercises

There are a ton of weightlifting exercises that can help you develop your upper body muscles. These exercises make use of weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, stability balls, and others to stretch your muscle fibres and cause them to grow.

Another exercise that functions like weightlifting is resistance pulling which makes use of resistance bands (in place of weights) to get the work done.

These exercises are a great way to start building muscle mass, and the best part is that you do not need a lot of money, experience, and equipment to get started with them.

If you are looking to bulk up, take a critical look at the exercises discussed above so that you can create a routine for yourself around them. Alternatively, you can hire a local PT who will also be able to create a plan that resonates with your fitness goals.

Resistance bands to help build muscle

Importance of cardio

While home workout exercises targeted to your upper and lower body are a great way to build certain muscles, don’t forget the benefits of building up your cardiovascular health. Running or jogging is a great way to do this, often having a positive impact on your metabolism as a result too!

Remember, if you’re not used to going on regular jogs in your local park, it’s better to start short, and slowly work your way up to longer distances. You’ll soon see the progress, which will in turn help to motivate you to keep seeing these results.

Diet and nutrition

Working hard to build muscle is all well and good, but you’re only likely to see the tangible results of your hard work, if you pair this with the correct meal plan. A professional nutritionist will be able to create a meal plan designed to ensure you’re eating the correct quantities of all of the different food groups. The right diet will help to improve your overall performance when you workout. 

A balance of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals among other key food groups are important to consider in regards to helping you build muscle.

Diet and Nutrition to help build muscle

Overall tips to build muscle at home:

Commitment is key. If you only choose to workout once a month, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to see much progress. By sticking to a workout plan and exercising frequently, you’re more likely to stay motivated, as the results of your hard work will be more visible to you week by week.

Track your progress. By monitoring your results, you can use this data to inspire yourself to keep getting stronger with your at home workouts. Be sure to take adequate time out to allow your muscles to rest. You could also consider treating yourself to a sports massage, to aid any muscle tension as a result of regular exercising.

Remember to always consult a professional before you choose to begin a new workout plan. Balance your workouts with the correct nutrition, for the best results for building muscle at home.

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