It is possible to build muscle and strength at home with minimal equipment. My personal home training equipment is limited to a set of resistance bands, light dumbbells (5, 10, 15’s), and furniture floor sliders. Using only these items and my body I am able to push my limits. It all comes down to programming and your willingness to seek intensity. Here are my best tips to hit muscular failure in the hypertrophy ranges at home and a sample shoulder workout following these principles.
- Pre-Exhaust: Compound movements involve multiple muscle groups. For example the Push Up works the chest, but also involves the shoulders and triceps. Squats are king for building legs, but bring in the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. When working at home with minimal weight, especially when you are strong, the key is to pre-exhaust the muscle group you intend to target with isolation exercises before doing the compound movements. Examples of isolation exercises include:
Legs: Leg Extensions, Sissy Squats
Chest: Fly movements
Back: Straight Arm Pulls
Shoulders: Lateral and Front Raises
- Rest Periods: Since we are not able to lift extremely heavy weight at home keep rest periods minimal in the 45-60 sec range. Shorter rest periods will make the workout much more intense even with lighter weight.
- Control Tempo: Make lighter weights more effective by slowing down your lifting speed and pausing at every contraction. There is no correct tempo, but in general hold a contraction for 2-4 secs, take a 3-5 sec neg, and lift a weight over the course of 1-3 seconds. Play around and vary these numbers up until you find a sequence that sets your muscle fibers on fire.
- High Volume: When working with relatively lighter weight focus on high volume. Do a lot of sets and reps for each muscle group. Because we are resting less the workouts won’t have to be super long.
- Compound Movements Finale: After several isolation movements finish with your bigger compound movements such as squats, rows, pull-ups, and shoulder presses. If you only have light dumbbells available like me combine a medium-to-heavy gauged band to make the resistance high level. I look to hit absolute failure in the 10-12 range if possible to build strength and muscle.
Here is a recent Shoulder workout I did at home applying all these principles:
- Banded Single Arm Laterals: 5 sets of 15-20 reps each side.
- Banded Behind Back Front Raises: 5 sets of 12-15 reps.
Superset 3: Do these two exercises back to back for one set. Do 4 sets total.
3a. Heavy Banded Laterals: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
3b. Light DB Laterals: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
- Banded W Raise (rear Delts): 5 sets of 12-15 reps.
- Banded DB Press: 5 sets of 12-15 reps.
See video of this entire workout HERE https://www.instagram.com/p/B-zxS0Vp38s/
Michael Wittig, ISSA CPT
Natural Pro 3x Champ
Master World Champion
All socials: @WittigWorks
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