You don’t need to spend money on a gym membership to get on board with a new fitness plan. Here’s how to create your own personalized workout regimen right at home!
You don’t need to buy that new expensive piece of equipment for your home gym, either. There are plenty of ways to work out using your own bodyweight, and as you progress, you can challenge yourself through increased intensity.
When it comes to building your own fitness plan, there are a few essential things that you need to know. We’ll cover the best exercises for home workouts, how to stretch to minimize recovery time, and easy ways to combine exercises to reach your fitness goals. We’ve even got a sample routine you can use as an easy starting point for your workouts. Trust us, you’ll be a pro in no time.
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Exercises for Strength vs. Cardio
Strength training is all about toning and building your muscles, while cardio exercises get your heart rate up and strengthen your cardiovascular system. Here are some great examples of both, and which parts of the body they work.
- Squats (quads and glutes)
- Lunges (quads and glutes)
- Single Leg Deadlifts (hamstrings, glutes, and core)
- Bridge (core and glutes)
- Pushups (chest, shoulders, triceps, and biceps)
- Tricep Dips (triceps and shoulders)
- Superman Lifts (back, shoulders, and glutes)
- Plank (abs, shoulders and chest)
- Side Planks (core and obliques)
- High Knees (core)
- Marching Twists (obliques and abs)
- Arm Crossover with Butt Kick (shoulders, arms, and legs)
- Side Skaters (quads, glutes, adductors, and abductors)
- Burpee Step-back (total body)
- Lunge Taps (quads, glutes, and core)
- Mountain Climbers (abs, hip flexors, chest, and shoulders)
Stretches for Energizing, Relaxing, and Recovery
Sometimes you’ll need to build up energy, and other days, your focus should be on caring for sore muscles. Here are some great stretches that can be done every day, regardless of experience level.
Do first thing in the morning, or as a warm-up to your workout.
- Seated Side Bends
- Seated Spinal Twists
- Downward Facing Dog
- Standing Backbend
- Wide-Legged Forward Fold
- Baby Cobra
Do at the end of each workout.
- Standing Quad Stretch
- Standing Figure 4
- Side Lunge
- Wall Chest Stretch
- Cow Face Arms
- Bound Forward Fold
Do after your recovery stretches, and in the evening before bedtime. If you want to get extra comfy, use a bolster or large pillow for support.
- Child’s Pose
- Seated Forward Fold
- Around the World
- Supine Twist
- Legs Up the Wall
How Often Do I Work Each Muscle?
Each muscle can be worked up to twice per week. The important thing to remember is that if a muscle is sore, allow it to recover. You should still stretch every day.
When you’re doing bodyweight exercises, here are a few good ways to divide up your exercises by muscle groups.
- Day 1: upper body exercises = chest + back + biceps + triceps + shoulders + core
Day 2: lower body exercises = glutes + quads + hamstrings + calves
- Day 1: front of the body exercises = quads + chest + biceps + abs
Day 2: back of the body exercises = hamstrings and glutes + calves + back + triceps + core
- Day 1: pushing muscles = quads, glutes, chest, triceps
Day 2: pulling muscles = hamstrings, back, biceps, abs
How To Create Exercise Sets
There are different types of exercise sets or combinations you can perform, which determine the intensity and complexity of your workout. The set types listed below go in order from simple to advanced, so if you are new to working out, start with single sets so that you can focus on refining your form.
- Single Sets: Performing one exercise at a time. Great for beginners. Alternate one strength exercise with one cardio exercise.
- Super Sets: Performing two exercises back-to-back, then taking a rest break. Great for beginner and intermediate level. Choose one strength and one cardio exercise per set.
- Tri-Sets: Performing three exercises back-to-back, then taking a rest break. Great for intermediate and advanced level. Choose two strength and one cardio exercise per set.
- Circuit: Performing four+ exercises back-to-back, then taking a rest break. Great for intermediate and advanced level. Choose one cardio exercise per two strength exercises.
Ready to start your home workout? Use our easy guide below as a starting point, then feel free to tailor it to your own health and fitness goals as you go.
(Your Next Workout: 21-Day Easy Bodyweight Challenge. Tone and Strengthen)