The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

The Ultimate Home Workout

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

Do this total-body, fat-blasting circuit in your living room–no equipment required!

A home gym can be a valuable tool in helping you reach your fitness goals, but it's certainly not a requirement. This circuit uses just your body and your couch (or similar piece of furniture) to give you an effective, total-body cardio and strength workout.

How It Works: Complete the prescribed number of reps for each move before immediately moving on to the next. Once you've completed all 8 exercises, rest for 1 minute and then repeat the entire circuit 1-2 more times (or try these moves while catching up on episodes of your favorite TV show).



Target your legs, butt, and core with this move that also serves as a great warm-up (don't squat as low during the first set).

Stand with your back to your couch cushions, feet hip-width apart, and your arms extended at chest height, hands clasped together.

Perform a squat by bending your knees and sitting back into your hips as you chop your arms down and across to the outside of your left thigh.

Pushing through your heels, quickly stand your squat as you bring your arms back to the start position.

Repeat to the other side. Alternate sides for one minute.

Get your heart pumping and your arms and abs firing with this elevated version of a mountain climber.

Start facing the couch cushions, and place your hands on the seat of the couch, directly under your shoulders, arms extended. Walk both feet back out to a plank (top of a pushup) position and brace your abs in tight.

In a quick, controlled motion, begin alternating 'running' one knee in towards your chest at a time, keeping your shoulders steady over your hands the entire time.

Do this as fast as you can for one minute.


Sit facing away from the couch with both palms pressed into the edge just outside of your hips. Walk your feet out away from your body and lift your hips off the couch (but keep your back close to it).

Lift your right leg off the floor and bend your knee into your chest, foot flexed.

Bend both elbows to perform a dip and lower your hips, pulling your right knee in closer to your chest.

As you press the dip and extend your arms, lift your hips and press out through your right heel, extending your right leg out in front of your hip.

Repeat this for 10 reps with the right leg, and then do 10 reps with the left.

Zero in on your abs with this exercise: Sit lightly on the edge of the couch with both hands placed just outside of your hips. Maintaining a straight spine, bend both knees at 90 degrees and lift your heels off the floor.

Brace your abs in tight to your spine, inhale, and hinge back as far as you can without rounding your back at all (you may touch the back of the couch, but don't rest your body on it).

Exhale and draw both knees up to hip height (maintaining their 90-degree position and keeping your back straight).

Lower your legs with control and tap just your toes back on the floor, holding the hinge position with your upper body. Repeat this up to 20 times in a row, exhaling each time you lift your legs.

Challenge your balance, legs, and glutes with this move: Stand close to but facing away from the couch. Draw your right knee up towards your chest and hold onto it with both hands.

Bend your left knee, sit back into your hips, and slowly lower your body, sitting all the way back onto the couch while still holding onto your right knee.

Stand back up, holding onto your knee the entire time.

Repeat this 10 times on one leg and then repeat it 10 more times on the other leg.



Amplify your pushup power with your couch! Stand about three feet away from the couch (with your back to it) and get into top-of-a-pushup position with both feet placed on top of the couch cushions (we recommend taking off your shoes or placing a towel under your feet to keep furniture footprint free).

Keeping your body in a straight line and your abs tight, bend your elbows and slowly lower your body into a pushup, chest between your hands as you lower and lift up.

If this is too hard, try flipping your position and instead place your hands on the cushion for incline pushups.

Sit facing the couch with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor (you can also tuck your toes under the edge of the couch for help with this move), and place both hands behind your head.

Lie all the way back onto the floor, and then sit up as quickly as you can (you can reach your arms forward to help you sit up if needed).

Next, slowly lower yourself back to the floor, first placing your lower back on the ground (part 1), then your midback (part 2), and then finally let your upper back and head touch the ground (part 3). Sit up as quickly as you can and repeat up to 15 times in a row.

Lie face-down on the floor in front of the couch (if you don't have a rug or carpet, you may want to lie on a mat or towel for cushioning) with both arms and legs extended out straight and open (your body should resemble a letter 'X').

Extend your spine and lift your chest, thighs, arms, and legs off the ground, maintaining the 'X' shape. Hover above the floor, and then lift your right arm and left leg higher towards the ceiling. Return to the hover (not the floor) position.

Repeat 10 times with the right arm and left leg and then 10 times with the left arm and right leg.

Photo Credit: Vanessa Rogers Photography



The 7 Best At-Home Workout Routines: The Ultimate Guide for Training Without a Gym

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

So you want to start working out, but you don’t want to leave the house?

No problem! 

Our online coaches specialize in helping people get fit from home.

If you’re in a hurry, sign-up for our free weekly newsletter and we’ll send you PDFs of our “Work Out at Home” guides!

Download our Free Home Workout Guides!

Let’s go over the 7 Best At-Home Workouts so you can start training today: no gym or equipment required!

Note: If you’re here because your gym is shut down due to the outbreak of Covid-19, check out our guide “How to Stay In Shape (While Staying Inside).”

At Home Warm-ups and stretching routines

No matter which at-home workout you pick, I want you to start with one important thing:


I cover why you should always warm up in an article found right here. It doesn’t have to be much though, give it about five minutes to get your muscles active and your heart rate up.

This will help you do exercises properly and help prevent injury. You can run in place, do air punches and kicks, or some jumping jacks.

Here is NF Senior Coach Staci (you might know her incredible story) showing you many beginner options you can use to warm up as well:

If you’re curious, here’s my personal (advanced) warm-up:

  • Jump rope: 2-3 minutes 
  • Jumping jacks: 25 reps
  • Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
  • Lunges: 5 reps each leg.
  • Hip extensions: 10 reps each side
  • Hip rotations: 5 each leg
  • Forward leg swings: 10 each leg
  • Side leg swings: 10 each leg
  • Push-ups: 10-20 reps
  • Spider-man steps: 10 reps

Our goal isn’t to tire you out, instead we want to warm you up.

That’s step one.

Completing your chosen at-home workout would be step two.

Below, you’ll find 7 sequences you can follow along with!

Home Workout #1: Beginner Bodyweight

This at-home routine, as we lay out in our Beginner Bodyweight Workout article, is as follows:

The above is what we call “circuit training,” with the objective being to run through the workout sequence once, then again, then again.

Note: Not a milk drinker?

If you don’t have milk in the house for the rows, find something of roughly the same weight with a good handle.

If you want to download this Beginner Bodyweight Workout as a worksheet, you can do so when you sign up in the box below:

Grab Your Beginner Bodyweight Routine Worksheet. No Gym Required!

  • Complete this workout at home, no equipment required
  • Avoid the common mistakes everybody makes when doing bodyweight exercises
  • Learn how to finally get your first pull-up

It’ll help you track your progress as you begin your training.

Home Workout #2: Advanced Bodyweight 

If the beginner at-home workout above is too easy for you, move on to our Advanced Bodyweight Workout. The workout looks this:

  • One-legged squats – 10 each side [warning: super-difficult, only attempt if you’re in good enough shape]
  • Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
  • Walking lunges: 20 reps (10 each leg)
  • Jump step-ups: 20 reps (10 each leg)
  • Pull-ups: 10 reps [or inverted bodyweight rows]
  • Dips (between bar stools): 10 reps
  • Chin-ups: 10 reps [or inverted bodyweight rows with underhand grip]
  • Push-ups: 10 reps
  • Plank: 30 seconds

Not familiar with these moves? Check out the 21 Best Advanced Bodyweight Exercises for a full breakdown.

I warn you, the above sequence will hurt… in a good way. You should be proud if you can get through this three times.

Do you want to get as strong as possible so this workout ain’t no thang? 

Sign up in the box below to grab our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll teach you all of these advanced bodyweight exercises!

Download our comprehensive guide

  • Everything you need to know about getting strong.
  • Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

Sometimes, you just plain find yourself stuck in a hotel room. Maybe you can find the hotel gym, but I bet it’s terrible! It probably has 2 machines, a broken treadmill, and no free weights. 


Instead, how about a 20-min workout you can do in the room itself! Utilize the furniture to its full potential.

Level 1

Level 2

Set the alarm clock to 15 minutes from now and see how many circuits you can do!

Check out our full post on hotel circuits if you want Level 3!

We have a LOT of business travelers throughout the Rebellion! Learn how they stay fit on the road with the Nerd Fitness Starter Kit!

Get your Nerd Fitness Starter Kit

  • The 15 mistakes you don’t want to make.
  • Full guide to the most effective diet and why it works.
  • Complete and track your first workout today, no gym required.

You don’t have to head to the gym to do High-Intensity Interval Training. You can do a complete routine right in your own home!

HIIT is just following a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity throughout a shorter run, swim, bike, or row.

Unless you have a giant backyard, running at home might be tough.

But you know what doesn’t require a lot of room?


To complete a burpee:

  • Start standing up, then squat down and kick your legs out.
  • Do a push-up, bring your legs back in, and explode up into a jump.
  • For a HIIT workout, try to do 20 repetitions, then rest for two minutes.
  • Repeat until you hate yourself.

Check out our full guide on How to Start Interval Training for some more ideas on HIIT workouts.

You can also check out our post “The 20-Min HIIT Workout for Home” for another living-room-friendly interval routine!

Home Workout #5: Attack of the Angry Birds

The Angry Birds Workout is designed to be done when you have 5 or 10 minutes to kill.

Sort of playing Angry Birds…

Here’s how The Angry Birds Workout Plan works: it’s deceptively simple – only four major movements.

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups (or inverted rows)
  • Planks

If you don’t have time to run through the whole sequence, no problem!

Depending on how much time you have during the day, you can do your whole workout at once, or break up your training into four different sessions throughout the day (with each session being ONE of the exercises).

Here’s a sample day for your No-Equipment Workout:

  • Wake up, do 40 jumping jacks to warm up, and then do bodyweight squats.
  • At lunch, you grab your suitcase (if you’re at work, milk jug if you’re at home) and do inverted rows.
  • After work, you do another 50 jumping jacks and then do your push-ups.
  • After dinner, you do your planks while watching TV.

You could even split it up over two days if needed, but the goal would be to do it the whole sequence at once.

The main Angry Birds Workout article describes in detail Levels 1-6, but here’s Level 3 for you:

Once you’ve done the complete routine, you have my permission to whip out your phone and play the actual game!

Home Workout #6: Train Batman

We love the Caped Crusader here at Nerd Fitness, so naturally we have The Batman Bodyweight Workout for you to try!

Bonus points if you somehow do this no-equipment workout in a cave, as that’s how Bruce Wayne would roll.[1]

This workout is separated into two days for you:

Batman No-Equipment Workout Day 1:

  • Rolling squat tuck-up jumps: 5 reps
  • Side to side push-ups: 5 reps
  • Modified headstand push-ups: 5 reps
  • Jump pull-up with tuck / Pull-up with Tuck-up: 5 reps
  • Handstands against wall: 8 seconds

Batman No-Equipment Workout Day 2:

  • ‘180 Degree’ jump turns: 5 reps
  • Tuck front lever hold: 8 seconds
  • Tuck back lever hold: 8 seconds
  • Low frog hold: 8 seconds

This is a relatively advanced workout already, but if you want to progress to the next level, check out the main Batman Bodyweight Workout for tips on how to do just that.

Join our free weekly newsletter! It would make Alfred Pennyworth proud.

Home Workout #7: The PLP Progression

The PLP is a progressive program in which you complete one additional rep of three exercises – Pull-Ups, Lunges, and Push-Ups – every day, for two months.

NOTE: This is NOT a beginner program, and should not be attempted unless you have been training consistently and can do multiple repetitions of pull-ups and push-ups with great form.

this perfect push-up:

And this perfect pull-up:

Here’s how the PLP Progression works:

Day 1:

  • Pull-ups: 10 reps
  • Push-ups: 10 reps
  • Lunges: 10 reps (each leg)

Day 2:

  • Pull-ups: 11 reps
  • Push-ups: 11 reps
  • Lunges: 11 reps (each leg)

Day 3:

  • Pull-ups: 12 reps
  • Push-ups: 12 reps
  • Lunges: 12 reps (each leg)

How long do you keep doing this?

As originally envisioned by Chad Waterbury, the PLP Workout lasts 60 days.[3]

Yeah…by the end of it you’ll be doing more than 50 pull-ups.

There are two versions:

  • If you can do 10 straight pull-ups: Start day 1 with 10 reps of each.
  • If you cannot do 10 straight pull-ups: Start day 1 with 1 rep of each.

Complete your required reps each day in as many sets as you need, whenever you need to. The goal is to do it in as few sets as possible, but enough so that you can complete each rep with proper form.

Want to learn more? Check out my results on the PLP Workout.

Bonus No-Equipment Workout: The Playground Circuit

Do you have a nearby playground? Why not work out there! If you have kids, you can do it together. Or let them ignore you.

I’ll give you a Level One workout, and a Level Two. Check out The 20-Minute Playground Workout for some Level Three exercises.

Level One

  • Alternating step-ups: 20 reps (10 each leg)
  • Elevated push-ups: 10 reps
  • Swing rows: 10 reps
  • Assisted lunges: 8 reps each leg
  • Bent leg reverse crunches: 10 reps

Level Two

  • Bench jumps: 10 reps
  • Lower incline push-ups: 10 reps
  • Body rows: 10 reps
  • Lunges: 8 reps each leg
  • Straight leg reverse crunches: 10 reps

After you’ve gone through a complete set three times, go down the slide!

Working out doesn’t have to suck…we know how to make it fun! Join the Rebellion to become part of our community!

How to Build Your Own At-Home Workout

We just went over 7 workouts you can do at home (plus a workout you can do in a park).

You don’t have to stick to these though! I have two resources to help you design your own no-equipment workout:

  1. The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises: This guide will teach you how to perform the best bodyweight exercises – no equipment required! Check it out if you are unfamiliar with any of the movements referenced in today’s guide.
  2. How To Build Your Own Workout Routine: Once you’re comfortable with a handful of bodyweight exercises, use this guide to pull them all together into a full-body workout!

That should get you going on building a workout you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Want more? Alright, eager beaver, I got you.

We built THREE options for people just you:

1) If you want step-by-step guidance, a custom workout program that levels up as you get stronger, and a coach to keep you accountable, check out our killer 1-on-1 coaching program:

Our coaching program changes lives. Learn how!

2) Exercising at home and need a plan to follow? Have questions you need answered? Join Nerd Fitness Prime!

Nerd Fitness Prime contains at-home exercise routines, live-streamed workouts with NF Coaches, a supportive online community, group challenges, and much more! 

Learn more about Nerd Fitness Prime!

3) Join the Rebellion! We need good people you in our community, the Nerd Fitness Rebellion. 

Sign up in the box below to enlist and get our guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It’ll help you start incorporating these bodyweight moves into your training.

Download our comprehensive guide

  • Everything you need to know about getting strong.
  • Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

Alright, your turn: I’d love to hear how your home training is going!

Which workout above did you try? Did you make one of your own?

Leave a comment below with your results or any questions you have on working out at home.

For the Rebellion!


PS: If you were going to buy one piece of equipment to utilize in your home, a kettlebell would offer you a lot of versatility:


Photo Sources: Scenes from an empty lot in Brooklyn, vol 1, Hotel Room, Speed!, LEGO Angry Birds, The Batman, Vintage House Bicycle,


The Ultimate Home Workout Resource

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

Check back every week for a new free streaming workout. And dig deeper into any program in BodyFit Elite with a free 7-Day Trial.

Hannah Eden's new program on is unique, intense, and seriously fun. Try the first follow-along workout for free right here!

Social media superstar Paige Hathaway takes you through her favorite bodyweight moves to train the whole body.

BodyFit memberships include complete fitness programs with weeks' worth of home workouts. Subscribe for full access.

This two-month workout plan helps you save big by kicking your own booty in the convenience, comfort, and privacy of your home. With fitness star Kym Nonstop as your guide, you'll improve every aspect of your fitness—strength, cardio, lean muscle mass, mobility, and flexibility—in just a few short weeks and with little equipment needed.

Time to head into the garage and grow. This is the plan to get the most the least! If you've got a barbell, a few dumbbells, a bench, and a pull-up bar, you've got all you need to build serious strength and the physique to match. This program will give you everything you need to turn your home gym into a true iron pit!

Best At-Home Workouts and Tips

Learn how to make the most of what you've got at home. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish with next to no space and equipment!

U.S. prisons could outlaw weight rooms, but they couldn't stop prisoners from finding ways to bulk up. These five exercises form a never-before-published, highly-effective bodyweight training routine that'll show you how to get swole in a “weight-less” environment.

Make your resolution a reality, no matter how crammed your calendar.

At-Home Exercises and Techniques

Build your own home workout routines with BodyFit’s extensive exercise database.

The dumbbell floor press limits the range of motion you would achieve with a regular dumbbell bench press, but still targets the chest, triceps, and anterior delts. This allows you to build strength in the top portion of the lift and work on strengthening the shoulder stabilizers.

The arm circle is a non-weighted exercise targeting the shoulders. It involves extending your arms to the sides and drawing small circles in the air with your hands. It is common in warm-ups for both training and athletics, and is often performed simply until someone feels a burn, rather than for a set amount of reps.

The weight room's newest superhero doesn't wear a cape, or even a stringer tank. It's Meg Squats starring as the powerlifting grandma, who's blowing minds and burying stereotypes one heavy rep at a time!

The so-called king of exercises has a long and fascinating history reaching back into the 1800s, and encompassing some of the biggest names in iron history. Get informed and then get strong!

I want to implement bodyweight exercises into my training program. Do you have a good bodyweight workout?

Strengthen your abdominal and lower-back muscles anywhere with these essential bodyweight moves.

Functional fitness guru Jay Maryniak proves that you don't need a lot of equipment to bust your own butt in the gym. It might even leave you wishing you'd picked the weight room instead.

Got a pair of dumbbells? Then you can do this circuit! Build muscle, gain strength, and get ripped with Andy Speer's ultimate dumbbell circuit workout. Just don't let go until the end!

If you travel frequently, have limited access to a gym, or simply prefer home workouts, bands are an inexpensive way to get a great workout in anywhere, anytime!

You may think you're limited to just a few straightforward moves when you train with resistance bands. You're wrong! Here are 26 moves you can do, along with two workouts to keep in your back pocket!

Grab two kettlebells, a bit of floor space, and a timer. That's all you'll need for this groundbreaking program. In barely an hour of workout time a week, you'll destroy expectations and build a body to be reckoned with!

Instantly fix what's wrong with your kettlebell swing with one simple drill. Then put it to work in a routine that will build strength, burn fat, and boost your athleticism all at once!


The Ultimate 6-Week Home Workout

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

Are you so short on time that commuting 20+ minutes to the gym keeps you from getting your workouts in? Or maybe you’ve got a different reason to want to train at home. Either way, we’ve created a three-days-per-week lifting program that requires, equipment-wise, only the bare necessities – a set of adjustable dumbbells and an adjustable bench.

The first two weeks of the routine will have you focusing on strength, keeping your reps in the 6-8 range. After that, you’ll increase your reps up to 12 by weeks five and six to facilitate maximum hypertrophy. Keep your rest periods between 90 seconds and two minutes in weeks 1 and 2 and to no more than one minute after that.

A few of the exercises in this routine are great substitutes for the ones rarely seen outside the gym. No lat pulldown at home? No problem, straight-arm lat pulls will do the job. Don’t have a seated calf raise machine lying around the living room? We’ve got you covered with the dumbbell version. If we got any more encompassing, you’d have to charge membership to all houseguests!

Monday – Legs and Shoulders

Week 1-2      Week 3-4        Week 5-6


3*X 6-8          3 X 8-10          4 X 10-12

Arnold Press                            

3*X 6-8          3 X 8-10          4 X 10-12


2 X 6-8          3 X 8-10          3 X 10-12

Wide-Grip Upright Row            

2 X 6-8          3 X 8-10          3 X 10-12

Sissy Squat                              

3 X 6-8          3 X 8-10           3 X 10-12

Lateral Raise                            

3 X 6-8          2 X 8-10          3 X 10-12

Romanian Deadlift                  

3*X 6-8          3 X 8-10          4 X 10-12

Bent-Over Lateral Raise          

2 X 6-8          3 X 8-10           3 X 10-12

Seated Calf Raise                    

3 X 10            2 X 20              3 X 20


3 X 10            2 X 20              3 X 20

*Doesn’t include 1-2 warm-up sets

Next Up: Chest & Back >>

Wednesday – Chest and Back                                                

Week 1-2       Week 3-4      Week5-6

Incline Press                                   

2*X 6-8            3 X 8-10       4 X 10-12

Bent-Over Row                              

2*X 6-8            3 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Flat Bench Press                              

3 X 6-8            3 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Straight-Arm Lat Pull                      

2 X 6-8            3 X 8-10       4 X 10-12

Straight-Arm Pullover                    

3 X 6-8            2 X 8-10       3 X 10-12


2 X 6-8            3 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Decline Flye                                    

3 X 6-8            2 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Double Crunch                              

2 X 12              3 X 15           4 X 15

*Doesn’t include 1-2 warm-up sets

Next Up: Arms >>

Friday – Arms                                               

Week 1-2       Week 3-4      Week5-6

Standing Biceps Curl                       

2*X 6-8            3 X 8-10       4 X 10-12

Overhead Triceps Extension            

2*X 6-8            3 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Incline Curl                                      

2 X 6-8            2 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Weighted Bench Dip                        

2 X 6-8            3 X 8-10       4 X 10-12

One-Arm Incline Preacher Curl                

2 X 6-8            3 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Lying Triceps Kickback                  

2 X 6-8            3 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Reverse Curl                                   

3 X 6-8            2 X 8-10       3 X 10-12

Weighted Crunch                            

3 X 12              3 X 15          4 X 15

*Doesn’t include 1-2 warm-up sets

See How To Perform The Moves >>

Straight-Arm Lat Pull

START: Grasp a dumbbell in a pronated (overhand) position. Bend at your waist, keeping your knees bent, back flat and your working arm hanging straight toward the floor. Rest your non-working hand on your thigh to further support your torso.

ACTION: Keeping your arm as straight as possible, flex your lats and pull the dumbbell straight back and up as high as possible. Hold for a brief count, then slowly lower the dumbbell along the same path to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Seated Calf Raise

START: Sit at the end of the bench with your knees bent and the balls of your feet on one side of a short, stable platform, allowing your heels to descend and elevate freely.  Grasp two dumbbells and place them on your lower quads, maintaining a tight grip on the dumbbells at all times. 

ACTION: Slowly lower your heels toward the floor until you feel a good stretch in your calves, then press through the balls of your feet to push the dumbbells upward toward the ceiling. Squeeze your calves and hold the peak contraction momentarily before lowering.  

Sissy Squat

START: Raise an incline bench to nearly the highest setting. Stand next to the bench with your feet hip with apart.

Carefully place a dumbbell against your chest and hold it steady with the hand furthest away from the bench, grasping the bench with the other hand for balance.

Rise onto your toes and arch your back as you create a “shelf” with your chest for the dumbbell to rest, keeping your hand on the dumbbell throughout the set. 

ACTION: While up on your toes, bend only at the knees, lowering yourself straight down toward the floor and keeping your chest up at all times. When your legs approach 90-degree angles, pause and extend your legs to raise your body back to the starting position. Remain on your toes as you squeeze your legs hard at the top. 

One-Arm Incline Preacher Curl

START: Set the bench to 45 degrees or higher. With a dumbbell in hand, place your arm on the bench, with your armpit securely on the top edge of it and your upper arm pressed against the pad. Keep a slight bend in your arm at the start.

ACTION: Flex your biceps to bring the dumbbell as high as possible without allowing your elbow to flare out or rise off the bench. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top before slowly returning the dumbbell to the starting position. Stop just short of full-arm extension. 

More Exercise Descriptions >>

Lying Triceps Kickback

START: Lie facedown on a flat bench with just your head off the end of it. Grasp two dumbbells and press your elbows into your sides with the dumbbells hanging straight down toward the floor forming 90-degree angles with your arms.

ACTION: Keeping your elbows fixed at your sides, press the dumbbells up and back to full arm extension, squeezing your triceps hard at the top. Hold for a brief count, then lower the dumbbells down to the starting position.

Wide-Grip Upright Row

START: Stand upright holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides slightly in front of you with a wide, pronated (palms forward) grip. Keep your chest up, shoulders back and head straight.

ACTION: Keeping the dumbbells wide, raise them up to shoulder level, bringing your elbows high. Hold the peak contraction for a brief count, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Decline Dumbbell Flye

START: Set the bench to a decline position. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie back on the bench with your lower legs secured at the top of it. Using a neutral (palms-in) grip, raise the dumbbells straight up in front of your face, keeping a slight bend in your arms.

ACTION: Maintaining the slight bend in your arms, lower the dumbbells out and down to your sides, feeling a good stretch in your pecs.  Stop when your upper arms are in line with your shoulders. Hold for 1-2 seconds, squeezing your chest and maintaining the slight bend in the arms, then bring the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Double Crunch

START: Lie face-up on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, keeping your feet together. Grasp the ends of a dumbbell behind your head with both hands, your elbows out to your sides. Lift your legs off the ground about six inches.

ACTION: Holding the dumbbell overhead, curl your upper body off the floor. Simultaneously bend your legs and bring your knees toward your chest. Hold the peak-contracted position momentarily while squeezing your abs. Slowly return to the start position, stopping just short of the dumbbell and your feet touching the floor.


The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

The fitness industry can sometimes seem a bewildering blur of new ideas, with novel diets, workout classes and equipment cropping up constantly, surrounded by hype that claims they’re the best possible way to get fit. If that sort of thing leaves you cold, it should be reassuring to know that it can all be ignored in favour of a far more traditional route to fitness – a set of dumbbells and a few well-planned home workouts.

There’s a good chance you already have the dumbbells, sitting around somewhere gathering dust, but if you don’t then take a look at our selection of the best dumbbells to find a set that suits you.

There are options for all comers, whether you’re after the cheapest set you can find – it’s just a weight with a handle, after all – or ready to splash out on some durable cast iron, shiny chrome, or some-kind-of-black-magic adjustable dumbbells that change the weight for you at the click of a button.

Once you’ve got your weights, you need the well-planned home workouts. You’ll find those right here. This four-week training plan consists of three workouts a week, with all the set, rep and rest counts detailed below.

We’ve marked them as Monday, Wednesday and Friday sessions, so you can enjoy the weekend without needing to make time for a workout, but you can mix up those days to fit your schedule. Just make sure you have a day’s rest in between the workouts.

If you invested in a set with multiple weights you can increase the weight involved as the weeks go on, which will keep you motivated as a tangible measure of your progress.

One last thing to say: this workout plan is best done by someone who is already fairly experienced with weights, simply because some of the moves are unly to be familiar to newcomers and it’s important to get the technique right to avoid risking injury.

More Home Workouts

You’ll find the challenging one-month dumbbell training plan below, which hits the whole body across three workouts a week, but in case you’ve not got any free weights at home we’ve compiled a list of 12 no-kit workouts to try.

And if none of those takes your fancy, keep browsing our archive of home workouts. We have home workouts suitable for every level of exerciser and to help you hit every kind of fitness goal, whether you’re an experienced lifter trying to bulk up at home with dumbbells, a newcomer using just bodyweight moves to get into shape, or anything in between.

How To Warm Up

One of the advantages of home workouts is that you don’t have to spend any time travelling to and from the gym, which means you definitely have the time to get a thorough warm-up in before you tackle one of the sessions below.

You only need to spend a few minutes warming up before the workout to be firing on all cylinders from the off, rather than creaking your way through the first couple of sets with cold muscles. Warming up also reduces your risk of injury during a workout, and it should help reduce any muscle soreness you experience in the days afterwards.

The key to a good warm-up is to work the muscles you’re intending to use in the workout itself. There’s little point in jogging on the spot or doing jumping jacks if you’re about to do a weights session.

Instead try this routine, which involves seven stretches that target muscles all over the body, followed by movements that mirror the workout you’re about to perform.

Your best bet is simply to perform the exercises you intend to do in your workout using light weights or no weight at all, which will get your muscles used to the relevant movements before you challenge them with added resistance.

1 Dumbbell swing

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Send the dumbbell between your legs by hingeing at the hips, then push your glutes forwards powerfully so you use hip drive to raise the dumbbell to shoulder height. Reverse the movement to the start and go straight into the next rep.

2 Overhead squat

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Start with both weights held directly overhead, then simultaneously bend at the hips and knees to lower into a squat, without letting the weights come forwards.

3 Side lunge

Sets 3 Reps 8 each side Rest 60sec

Start with a dumbbell in each hand, then take a big step to one side and bend your leading knee, keeping your foot pointing forwards and your knee in line with your toes. Push off your leading foot to return to the start, then take a big step the other way to repeat the move. Alternate sides with each rep.

4 Press-up renegade row

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 60sec

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, perform a press-up then at the top, row one dumbbell up to your side. Lower the weight, then row the other dumbbell up to complete one rep.

5 Leg raise

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Hold a dumbbell between your feet with your heels raised slightly off the ground. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are vertical, then lower slowly under control without letting your heels touch the floor.

Workout 2: Wednesday

the first work the week, this session focuses on functional movements. And you can’t get more functional than a power snatch, which involves shifting a weight from a low position to above your head in one explosive move.

The next move is the jump squat, which is a safe way of improving power just as you start to fatigue in the workout.

The two abs moves at the end of the session are among the most effective exercises you can do in your quest to develop a rock-hard six-pack.

1 Power snatch

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Hold a dumbbell in one hand between your legs with your knees bent. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles to raise the weight overhead. Once your body is straight from head to toe, drop into a half squat to “catch” the weight overhead, then stand up straight.

2 Squat press (or thruster)

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Start with the dumbbells at shoulder level and lower into a squat, then stand up and press the weights directly overhead. Lower the weights and return to the start position.

3 Jump squat

Sets 3 Reps 6 Rest 60sec

Start with the dumbbells by your sides and lower into a half squat. Jump straight up off the ground, land softly and go straight into the next rep.

4 Windmill

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

Hold a dumbbell overhead, then bend at the waist by guiding one hand down your leg. Make sure you keep looking at the weight throughout the move.

5 Roll-out

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Kneel with the dumbbells below your shoulders. Roll the weights forwards as far as you can, using your abs to control the movement, then return to the start.

Workout 3: Friday

It’s the final work the week – but the moves don’t get any easier. In fact, the first one may be the most challenging you’ve ever attempted.

It may not look particularly complex or heavy, but pressing weights directly overhead from a squat position requires impressive levels of mobility and control.

The session ends with Turkish get-ups, where you go from lying down to standing up with the weight overhead. It’s so good that it’s almost an entire workout in itself.

1 Back of steel

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Start with the dumbbells above your head, then lower into an overhead squat. While still in a squat position, lower the weights to shoulder height, then press them overhead. Continue to repeat the lowering and pressing movement while in a squat.

2 One-leg Romanian deadlift

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

Stand on one leg with the weights hanging down by your thighs. Hinge at the hips to lower the weights towards the floor, keeping them close to your leg – don’t come too far forwards because that will put strain on your lower back.

3 One-leg squat

Sets 2 Reps 6-8 each side Rest 60sec

Stand on one leg with the dumbbells by your sides. Keeping your chest up, bend at the hips and knees to lower into a single-leg squat. Press back up to the start. Complete all the reps on that leg, then switch to the other leg.

4 Woodchop lunge

Sets 3 Reps 8 each side Rest 60sec

Start with a dumbbell over one shoulder. Lunge forwards with the opposite leg and simultaneously bring the weight down and across your body. Do all the reps on one side, then swap sides.

5 Turkish get-up

Sets 2 Reps 6 each side Rest 60sec

Lie on the floor holding a weight above your face. Bend your knee on that side then come up onto your elbow, then your hand and push your hips off the floor. Bring your straight leg back below your body, then take your hand off the floor and stand up.