10 At-home Muscle-building Workouts

Plank to Pushup
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The gym is not the only place where you can transform your body. While we aren’t suggesting that you avoid the gym at all costs, we’d like to provide you with an alternative plan for building muscle and improving your body that can be done at your own home and with minimal equipment.

These workouts, designed by a number of fitness trainers and coaches, will promote hypertrophy and allow you to build muscle and strength wherever you may be.

Eraldo Maglara is an N.S.C.A.-certified personal trainer and author/TV host of “Healthy Lifestyle with Eraldo.”

Alli Forsythe is a Los Angeles-based NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, SoulCycle Instructor, cyclist, triathlete, world traveler, and writer. She can be seen on the 25th Season of The Amazing Race on CBS as one half of #TheCyclists.  

Will Lanier is the General Manager and personal trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp.

Todd Miller is a Board Member of the The National Strength and Conditioning Association.

1. Upper-body At-home Workout A

Created by Maglara
Sets: 3-6
Reps: 6-12
Rest: 30 sec. – 1.5 min.

1. Angled Chest Press
Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders
How to: Place a bench in the middle of a room. Keep your hands flat (shoulder-width apart) on the bench while keeping your arms and body straight on an angle. Slowly lower your body until you touch the bench and then bring your body to starting position.

2. Bentover Row on Bench 
Muscles Worked: Lats, Biceps, Rear Delts, Traps
How to: Start by placing one leg on a bench, keeping your back straight, your head looking downward while holding a dumbbell with the opposite arm. Slowly raise your weighted hand towards your chest and hold that position for a count of one. Lower the weight to starting position and repeat.

3. Seated Reverse Dumbbell Flye 
Muscles Worked: Traps, Rear Delts
How to: Sit on a bench while holding a pair of dumbbells close to your legs. As you push upward, contract your abs and maintain balance until your arms are fully stretched parallel with the floor. Hold for a second and repeat.

4. Lateral Band Side Raises
Muscles Worked: Lateral Deltoid, Traps
How to: Start by standing straight, arms by your side and holding a pair of bands in your hands. Position one foot (or two) over the band and slowly raise your hands until you reach horizontal level. Do not go further up as doing so can cause impingement in the shoulder and it doesn’t give you any more benefit.

2. Upper-body At-home Workout B

Created by Maglara

Sets: 3-6

Reps: 6-12

Rest: 30sec.-1.5min.

1. Feet Elevated Pushups
Muscles Worked: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
How to: Place both hands on the floor while keeping arms straight and your feet on a bench. Lower your body until face almost touches the floor. Hold for a second and then lift your body to starting position. Repeat.

2. Upright Rows With Dumbbells 
Muscles Worked: Lateral Deltoid, Anterior Deltoid, Traps, Biceps
How to: Start by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight while holding a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Slowly raise your hands until your elbows are in a straight line parallel to the floor. Hold for a count of two and then lower the weight to starting position.

3. Dumbbell Flyes
Muscles Worked: Chest, Anterior Delt, Biceps
How to: Start by laying down on a bench, feet firmly on the ground, back flat on the bench while holding a set of dumbbells above your chest. Slowly lower the weights in an outward movement until your elbows are parallel with the floor. Return to starting position and repeat.

4. Standing Single-arm Row With Band 
Muscles Worked: Lats
How to: Start by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, back leaning forward and legs slightly bent. With band secured to a surface, reach out with one hand and slowly pull the band towards the chest.

3. Upper-body At-home Workout C

Created by Maglara
Sets: 3-6
Reps: 6-12
Rest: 30sec.-1.5min.

1. Standing Military Press With Dumbbells
Muscles Worked: Delts, Triceps, Core
How to: Stand straight up, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand (slightly below ear level) palms facing forward. As you push upward, contract your abs and maintain balance until your arms are fully stretched. Hold for a second and repeat.

2. Bentover Row With Dumbbells
Muscles Worked: Lats, Traps, Biceps, Rear Delts
How to: Stand straight up with feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly lean forward (keeping your back straight) until you reach starting position. Lift the dumbbells in a rowing motion until they almost touch your abs. Repeat.

3. Chest Flyes With Bands
Muscles Worked: Chest
How to: Start by standing tall with one foot in front of the other. Grab bands( securely attached to a surface) and slowly push hands forward until arms are fully extended. Return to starting position.

4. Lateral Band Side Raises
Muscles Worked: Lateral Deltoid, Traps
How to: Start by standing straight arms by your side and holding a pair of bands on your hands. Position one foot (or two) over the band and slowly raise your hands until you reach horizontal level. Do not go further up, it can cause impingement in the shoulder and it doesn’t give you any more benefit.

4. Lower-body At-home Workout A

Created by Maglara
Sets: 3-6
Reps: 6-12
Rest: 30sec.-1.5min.

1. Squats With Overhead Medicine Ball 
Muscles Worked: Quads, Glutes, Shoulders, Core
How to: Start by placing your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a medicine ball straight up above your head. Slowly lower your body (keeping your torso straight) until your glutes almost touch the floor. Hold for a second then push your body up to original position.

2. Lunges With Dumbbells
Muscles Worked: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves
How to: Stand straight up with feet slightly apart and dumbbells in each hand. With core engaged slowly step forward with one leg keeping your back straight and NOT allowing your knee to go past your toes. This measure will prevent future injuries to the knee.

3. Mountain Climbers
Muscles Worked: Quads, Core, Shoulders
How to: Start by assuming a pushup position with head straight and looking down. Slowly raise your knee to your chest while keeping your foot off the floor. Hold the position for a second and then return to starting position. Repeat with other leg. Quickly alternate.

4. Plank
Muscles Worked: Core
How to: Lay down on the floor by keeping your forearms flat on the ground, head straight, legs stretched, and on your toes. Maintain position for 1 minute (or longer) depending on your training level.

5. Lower-body At-home Workout B

Created by Maglara
Sets: 3-6
Reps: 6-12
Rest: 30sec.-1.5min.

1. Goblet Squats With Dumbbell 
Muscles Worked: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core
How to: Start by placing your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell (vertically) with your hands close to your chest. Slowly lower your body (keeping your torso straight) until your glutes are parallel with the floor. Hold for a second then push your body up to original position.

2. Bulgarian Split Squat
Muscles Worked: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
How to: Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands while placing your back foot on a bench and keeping your other foot in front of you past your knee. While maintaining your back straight, slowly lower your body until your back knee is about 2-3 inches off the floor. Your front knee should not be past your front toes during this movement.

3. Step-ups With Dumbbells
Muscles Worked: Quads, Glutes
How to: Place one foot flat on a bench (the other on the ground) while keeping a pair of dumbbells in your hands and back straight. Elevate your body upward by using your bent leg and foot placed on the bench.  At the top of movement, engage your core and stabilize your body while keeping one foot off the bench. Hold the position for count of one and then lower your body to starting position.

4. Russian Twist w/ Medicine Ball
Muscles Worked: Core
How to: Start by sitting on a floor with your legs bent (about 90 degrees), holding your back in bent vertical position and holding a medicine ball in front of you with arms stretched out. Slowly twist your body to one side (while keeping your arms straight) and holding the position for a second before switching to the other side.

6. Total-Body At-home Workout A

Created by Forsythe
Note: For a longer training session, go ahead and challenge yourself by performing this workout back to back with either one or both of the following full-body workouts.
Sets: 4
Reps: 12
Rest: 1 min.

1. Squats and Laundry
Muscles Worked: Glutes and Quads
How to: Holding a bottle of laundry detergent (or something 10lbs or heavier), perform a squat; keeping your feet hip-width apart and your knees behind your toes, lower your hips toward the ground with your chest up and return to an upright position.

2. Pushups
Muscles Worked: Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Core
How to: Start modified if necessary with your knees on the ground, keeping your shoulders over your hands. As you progress, straighten out one leg, then the other. For a more advanced option, elevate your legs on a stool or bed.

3. Lazy Situps
Muscles Worked: Abs
How to: Sit on the edge of your bed with your hips 6 inches from the edge. Begin to lie down extending your back past the edge about 45 degrees towards the floor and curl back up.

7. Total-body At-home Workout 2

Created by Forsythe
Sets: 4
Reps: 12
Rest: 1 min.

1. Single-Leg Stair Squats
Muscles Worked: Lower Body and Core
How to: As you walk down your stairs, try a single leg squat with every step by lowering your body down, tapping your butt on the step behind you and then raising back up and switch legs as you move down your staircase. For added balance, raise your arms parallel to the ground as you squat.

2. Triceps Dip With Chair
Muscles Worked: Triceps
How to: Sit on the edge of a chair with your hands next to your hips. Walk your feet out far enough to get your hips off of the chair. Lower your body down with a 90 degree bend in your elbows, then, press back up keeping your elbows parallel.

3. Hanging Abs
Muscles Worked: Abs and Upper Body
How to: If you’ve got a doorway with enough space for grip, jump up, hang on, and draw your knees to your chest. As you progress, you can straighten your legs and raise them repeatedly OR tuck your knees twisting side to side . (If you have a pullup bar in your house, “Body by Jake Hanging Ab Straps” are the perfect accessory to hang on the bar. I have them hanging in the doorway to my bathroom. Every time I walk into my bathroom, I do 15 leg raises. It is a quick and easy way to sneak some ab work in).

8. Total-body At-home Workout C

Created by Forsythe
Sets: 4
Reps: 12
Rest: 1 min.

1. Walking Lunges
Muscles Worked: Glutes, Quads and Hamstring
How to: Instead of just walking around your house, substitute steps for lunges. It will get you where you need to go and create a little strength endurance while you’re at it.

2. Single-leg Calf Raises
Muscles Worked: Calves, Core (Balancing)
How to: Raise up to your tip toes and shift over to one leg. Lower your heel down and up. If this is too easy for you, add weight. If it’s still too easy, lower into a squat then perform calf raises. Not only will you build strength in your calves, you will simultaneously be working on your glutes, core and balance.

3. Handstand Hold 
Muscles Worked: Entire Body (especially shoulders)
How to: If you have a three-foot space in your house and your spouse or roommates don’t mind a footprint or two on the wall, throw yourself into a handstand and hold for 30 seconds. As you progress, try shifting your weight to one arm and holding.

9. Total-body At-home Workout D

Created by Miller
Sets: 3-4
Reps: 12
Rest: 1 min.

1. Pushups
Muscles Worked: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
The pushup is an excellent upper body exercise, targeting the chest and triceps as the prime movers, with the core activated for stabilization.
How to: To increase difficulty, try elevating the feet on a box or chair to place a greater emphasis on the upper chest and shoulders.

2. Squat Jump
Muscles Worked: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings
The squat jump is a high intensity movement for the lower body.
How to: Ensure proper squat technique during the jump, and concentrate on absorbing shock during the landing.

3. Dumbbell Curl & Press
Muscles Worked: Biceps, Shoulders
How to: Curl and raise the dumbbells quickly, then slowly lower to the starting position. Be sure to select a weight that only allows for 12 reps.

4. Mountain Climbers
Muscles Worked: Quads, Core, Shoulders
How to: Start in a pushup position and keep the torso as stable as possible while shifting the legs front and back.

5. Renegade Row
Muscles Worked: Lats, Core, Shoulders
How to: Choose a dumbbell heavy enough to only allow for 12 reps per side. Pull the dumbbell straight back toward the armpit and avoid twisting of the torso during the movement.

10. At-home Workouts Finisher: Pushup Challenge

Created by Lanier​

Muscles worked: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
How to: Give yourself only 2 minutes to complete the following:

  • 1 pushup
  • walk hands in, stand up, then back down for…
  • 2 pushups
  • walk hands in, stand up, then back down for…
  • 3 pushups

Proceed in this fashion until you have completed the set with 10 pushups.