We get it, you’re a busy guy, Between your job, family, daily commute and other social obligations, many men just do not have the time in the day to spend a few hours in the gym. Further, gym memberships can be expensive and a lot of people buy a membership then never find a time to go, so they are essentially throwing their money away.
Luckily for you, there are plenty of ways to get a solid work out in the comfort of your own home, without having to pay for expensive gym memberships or equipment. Even better, you don’t need to spend 2 hours a day working out. A simple 20-30 minute spurt of exercise while you’re making dinner or waiting for your laundry is a great way to stay on top of your workouts and get the most out of home workouts.
Today we are going to cover some of the best at-home workouts for men. These workouts will be split into categories based on their difficulty; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The only equipment you need for these exercises is your body, a set of dumbells, and a chair or other flat elevated surface. Without any further ado, let’s get to it.
Consider starting with these simple basic exercises. Thes exercises target the body’s major muscle groups and do not require any higher-than-average skill or strength to perform.
How to do it: Lie down on the floor with your arms about shoulder-width apart and your palms flat on the ground. Keeping your back straight, slowly lower your body until your chest is about an inch from the ground. Hold that position for about 3 seconds, then push yourself up using the explosive motion of your arms. Keep your core tight throughout this process and keep your neck and head level. A single press-up routine should consist of 3 separate sets with at least 20 push-ups in each set. As you get stronger, you can lengthen those sets to go until muscle failure. You can also switch up each set and widen the placement of your arms to get a fuller range of muscle engagement. You can also place your legs on an incline to get a deeper burn in your lower pectoral muscles.
What does it work?: Press-ups mostly target the pectoral muscles but they also engage your shoulders, triceps, and lats. The wider your arms are placed the more the exercise targets your chest and the closer together your arms are the more it works your triceps and shoulders. Press-ups are one of the simplest and most efficient bodyweight exercises you can do.
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How to do it: Begin by holding a dumbbell in each hand over the shoulder with your palms facing out. Keep your elbows in front of the bars and makes sure not to flare them out to the side. Keeping the weights as straight above you as possible, raise your arms up and hold that position for a few seconds. Next, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. A single set should consist of 15-20 reps at moderate weight if you are going for tone, and 6-10 reps at high weight if you are going for mass. As you get stronger, you can modify the exercise by turning your palms outward at the top of your extension to engage your minor deltoids and lats.
What does it work?: The standing dumbbell press is meant to work your deltoids and traps. Like any good exercise, it should also work out your core and back muscles. Shoulder presses are easy to do but you must be careful: improper alignment can put a strain on your shoulder joints and cause a type of inflammation called impingement syndrome. A standing shoulder press tends to be a safer exercise than other behind-the-neck shoulder exercises.
How to do it: Begin with your legs slightly further than shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Keeping your back straight and torso upright as possible, bend your knees and lower your butt towards the ground. Ideally, you want your knees to bend to at least 90 degrees, that way you get the full motion of the exercise. If you are able, you can bring your butt all the way to the ground, though those with knee problems should probably not go that far. Hold the squat for a few seconds, then explode up back to the starting position. Make sure that your legs are doing all of the pushing and that you don’t push with your back. A single set should contain at least 7-12 squats. You can make the exercise more difficult by adding in some dumbbells into the mix.
What does it work?: Squats primarily target the hamstrings, calves, quads, and glutes. Keeping your torso upright during the motion also engages your core and back muscles. As such, squats are a great almost full-body workout and are one of the best leg-targeting workouts. Those with bad knees can still do squats, they may have to modify the exercise slightly to not bend their knees so much.
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How to do it: Begin facing away from a chair or other elevated surface. Put your hand behind you and place your palms flat on the surface. Dips your hips down and bring your butt to the floor, resisting the motion with your arms. Your butt should go to about 6 inches above the ground. Hold this position for about 3 seconds, then push up using your arms back to the starting position. A single set should consist of at least 15 tricep dips and a regular routine consists of 3 sets. You can make the exercise more difficult by placing a weight or dumbbells in your lap for extra resistance. Tricep dips make a great between-set exercise on arm day.
What does it work?: Triceps dips primarily target your triceps, the muscles that run along the backs of your arms. Tricep dips also work your lats and upper back. Since triceps are a bodyweight exercise, you should try to go for as many reps as possible, ideally until muscle failure.
How to do it: Begin with a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended and palms facing out. While tightening your core and back, curl your arms and bring the weights to your shoulders. Keep your elbows tucked to your sides as closely as possible. Do not allow your shoulders or elbow to drift forward: all of the force should be from your biceps. Many people do curls incorrectly and find they have to drop weight when they change to the proper technique. Overall, form is more important than the weight. Hold the weights in the up position for a few seconds, then slowly let them down using the resistance of your biceps. When you reach the bottom of the motion, hold still for a few seconds; do not go into the next rep using the momentum of the weight. A single set should be 12-15 reps of moderate weight for tone and 6-10 reps with high weight for mass. You can modify the exercise by focusing on one arm at a time while keeping the other arm held in a curled position.
What does it work?: Bicep curls, as the name implies, target your biceps and the muscles on the lower arm, the brachialis and brachioradialis. Keeping your elbows and shoulders straight forces you to use your biceps to lift the weights and maximizes muscle targeting.
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How to do it: Begin by placing your palms flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart with your legs held together and your black flat. Tuck in your tailbone, engage your core, butt, and quads, and hold that position for 30-40 seconds. Between each rep, take a 10-15 second rest. As you get stronger, increase the time you hold the plank to a minute or longer. You can also modify the exercise by lowering yourself onto your forearms one at a time, holding the position, and returning to the starting position.
What does it work?: Planks work every major muscle group in the body; arms, legs, core, back, and shoulders. Planks are a static exercise and are best for building muscle stamina, not mass. Modifying the exercise by lowering yourself onto your forearms adds in some dynamic motion that trains your balance and stability.
Once you get some experience under your belt, consider switching up your workout routine with these intermediate exercise.
How to do it: Begin in a standing position while holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral side grip. Bend your torso forward until it is nearly parallel to the ground and slightly bend your knees. Keeping your arms and elbows tucked to your sides, pull the dumbbells towards your chest by driving your elbows back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Keep your body as still and flat as possible; do not generate momentum to lift the weights by moving your torso up. Hold the weights in the up position for a few seconds, then slowly let your arms down into the starting position. A single set should consist of 12-15 reps.
What does it work?: This exercise is meant to target your lats and rear deltoids. This exercise is a modification of a seated row to a standing position which is much more friendly for home workouts. Keeping your torso flat also engages your core and lower back. Some people find the exercise easier to perform with a false grip (thumbs not wrapped around the dumbbell handles).
How to do it: Begin lying flat on the ground with your shoulders flat and a small arch in your back. Position the dumbbells so that they are directly over your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and push the weights up, taking care to keep the weights as centered and stable as possible. Hold the weights in the extended position for a few seconds, then slowly let them down back to the starting position. If possible, try to like on a flat elevated surface, that way your elbows can dip below your body and you can get a fuller range of motion. You can also position your body at an incline or decline to target the upper and lower chest muscles, respectively. A single set should consist of 12-15 reps with moderate weight or 6-10 with high weight.
What does it work?: Dumbell presses are meant to work primarily your chest and triceps and also engage your core and lats. Make sure to keep your shoulder blades squeezed together or else you run the risk of supporting the brunt of the weight with your shoulder joints, which can cause tendon injuries. Dumbell presses are similar to bar bench presses, but since you have two separate weights, dumbbell presses make you engage your rotator cuffs and rear delts to keep your balance.
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How to do it: Begin with a weight in each hand and your body in a position for a regular dumbbell curl. Raise one arm and hold the weight suspended so that your forearm is parallel with the floor. While holding this position, perform a set of curls with the other arm. Switch arms when you are completed with the first set. Each arm should go through three separate sets of holding and curls. Like regular curls, make sure to keep your elbows tucked in and shoulder back. Do not use the momentum of the downswing to enter the next rep.
What does it work?: Static arm curls target the biceps and combine a static endurance exercise with a dynamic lifting exercise. The point is to alternate between static and dynamic activation of the muscle which helps with overall strength and endurance. Static arm curls are much more difficult than standard arm curls, so you may find you have to initially drop the weight.
How to do it: Begin sitting on the ground in a relaxed position. Tighten your core and extend your legs so that your back is straight and your legs are slightly off the ground. Place your hands behind your head with your fingers interlocked and twist your body so that your opposite elbow and knee meet. Alternate between each side for at least a minute. After each set, take a 15-second rest and draw your knees towards your stomach. A good cross crunch routine only takes about 5-10 minutes to complete
What does it work?: Cross crunches primarily target the oblique abdominals and lower core/back. Cross crunches are sometimes called “bicycle crunches” since the motion of your legs looks like you are pedaling a bike. Aside from core strength, cross crunches are a good cardio workout and increase your overall balance and stability.
How to do it: Begin in a standing upright position with a dumbbell in each hand. Starting on your right side, extend your leg forward and drop your hips into the lunge position. Keep your arms straight and by your side while keeping your torso and back as straight as possible. Hold the lunge for 5-10 seconds, then return to the starting position and engage the other leg. If you want, you can add in a small set of curls while you are holding the lunge position.
What does it work?: Weighted lunges target the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves. Lunges can be done without any weight but holding dumbbells makes the motion more difficult. You can simply bring your extended leg back to the starting position and remain stationary or you can bring your other leg up to the extended leg and turn it into a walking motion,
How to do it: Begin with a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your torso. Angle your torso slightly forward while keeping your back straight and a slight bend in your knees. You should be in a similar body position as you are for bent-over rows. Keep your upper arms tucked into your torso and your forearms parallel to the floor. While keeping your upper arms stationary, squeeze your shoulder blades together and extend your lower arms back into a straight position. Pause briefly at the top of the contraction then slowly lower your arms back into the starting position, taking care to keep your upper arms tucked into your body. A single set should contain 12-15 reps.
What does it work?: Tricep kickbacks work your triceps and, to a lesser extent, your lats and core. Tricep kickbacks can be hard to get the hang of at first and you may have to start with a much lighter weight than you are used to. You can make the exercise more dynamic by rotating your palms inward or outward during the extension phase.
How to do it: Begin in a pushup position with your palms on the ground and legs straight, Drop down so your chest comes about 1 inch to the floor. Now, instead of pushing straight up like a regular push up, push back using your shoulders so you end up in a crouched position like a diver perched on the diving board. From this crouched position slowly return to the upright starting position. A single set should consist of 20-25 reps. You can make the exercise more difficult by placing your legs on an incline.
What does it work?: Push back push-ups are a modification of regular push-ups that target the shoulders and rear deltoids. The motion of a push back push up is similar to the overhead press of a shoulder press, just performed while horizontal to the ground. Push back push-ups make an excellent between set exercise for shoulder or arm day.
These advanced at-home workouts for men combine the motions of several exercises to engage multiple muscle groups and focus on dynamic motion.
How to do it: Begin in a standing position with a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows and curl the weights up towards your shoulders. From this curl position, press the weights overhead using your shoulders while turning your palms out. Hold the press for a few seconds, then lower the weights back to the curl position and back to your sides.
What does it work?: The deep swimmer press combines the motion of a curl and a shoulder press to make a single dynamic free weight exercise that targets basically every major upper body muscle group. Fair warning, these are rather difficult to get the hang of so you will probably have to start on lighter weight than you are used to.
How to do it: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your butt into a normal squat position and hold for a few seconds. Next, jump up using the explosive power of your legs and land with your lower body back in the squat position. If you want, you can try to get some horizontal distance on your jumps. Each set of squat jumps should have 10-15 reps. As you get stronger, you can add some dumbbells to the mix to make things harder.
What does it work? Squat jumps work the legs, calves, glutes, and back and the explosive jumping technique helps increase your explosive strength. Squat jumps also help with your stability and balance.
How to do it: Begin by lying on your back in the position for a standard dumbbell chest press. Extend your arms up in the same technique as you would for a regular chest press, however, go through the entire motion extremely slowly. Hold at the height of the extension then slowly lower your arms back into the starting position, Overall, the entire motion should take at least 20 seconds; the longer the better.
What does it work?: The delayed dumbbell press works the same muscles as a regular dumbbell press, although the delayed motion makes the exercise much harder and focuses on muscle endurance over raw strength. At first, you may only be able to get 3 or 4 solid reps out though as you get stronger shoot for 6-8. The key thing here is to draw out the extending and contraction motion as long as possible so you get the benefits of both a static and dynamic motion exercise.
You don’t have to have fancy gym equipment or an expensive gym membership to get in shape. With these exercises, all you need is a set of dumbells, a chair, your own body, and just 20-30 minutes a day. These exercises form the perfect home-workout routine and most can be modified to suit your own exercise needs.