You don’t need an expensive gym membership to build muscle, lose weight, or just get in better shape.
The only reason to buy a commercial gym membership is if it’s more convenient or desirable for you:
- If you don’t have room for even the most basic equipment at home, buy a gym membership.
- If you find it easier to go to the gym on your lunch hour, or while traveling to or home from work, buy a gym membership.
- If you like the social aspect a commercial gym can offer, buy a gym membership.
If none of the above describes you and your needs, you can easily get a professional quality workout at home. You don’t need to spend thousands a year, contrary to what you may have heard. All you need is one or two pieces of basic equipment and the desire to get in shape and you’re all set!
Professional Home Gym Workout for Beginners
The following workout circuit assumes you own a multi-exercise home gym similar to those recommended here on the site. However, you can easily adapt any of the exercises mentioned to use with free weights if that’s all you own.
The routine outlined below is performed as a circuit, which will maximize your time and work your muscles and cardiovascular system to the max in one workout. Perform the first exercise, and then move onto the next suggested exercise without resting. Once you’ve completed a round of the circuit, rest for exactly 1 minute before moving onto another, for a total of 3 rounds.
It’s advisable to perform this circuit at least 4 days a week, if not 5, and to change the order of the exercises and exercises themselves as often as you wish to avoid boredom.
Always perform a basic warmup first.
- Exercise 1: Pullups or Pulldowns
It doesn’t matter which variation you choose. Use the equipment you have available. If you don’t have a pullup bar at home and don’t want to buy one, try one of these ideas. Perform 10 pullups or 10 pulldowns using as much weight as you can handle to squeeze out 10 full reps.
Feel free to strap on a weighted vest or similar if you’re good at pullups to maximize the resistance level.
- Exercise 2: Leg Extensions or Leg Presses
Let the upper body rest for a couple of minutes by performing a set of 10 leg extensions or leg presses. Use a weight that makes your legs start to fail around the 8th rep, with number 10 being difficult to complete. If you have to lower the weight slightly on the next round in order to get 10 reps, that’s perfectly normal.
- Exercise 3: Chest Presses or Flyes
Back to the upper body, you’ll do 10 reps on your gym’s benching or flye station. As with the other exercises, you should start to really struggle on the 8th rep and the 10th should be quite difficult to finish. Alternatively, use your home gyms pushup station or use a deficit pushup bar.
- Exercise 4: Seated Rows or One-Arm Rows with Pulley Attachment
Doing either of these after hitting the front of the upper body with the chest presses or flyes will really torch the upper body. Perform 10 reps of seated machine or cable rows (depending on your equipment) or grab an attachment grip and attach it to a low pulley and perform rows one arm at a time.
- Exercise 5: Hamstring Curls or Lunges
Next hit the lower body with some excruciating hamstring curls or get off the workout station for a minute or two and perform some lunges for a set of 10 reps. For the lunges, don’t be afraid to use a couple of dumbbells or kettlebells if your own bodyweight doesn’t offer enough resistance.
- Exercises 6 & 7: Bicep Curls and Triceps Pushdowns
Perform 10 reps of bicep curls doing standing curls with a low pulley and curl attachment, or your home gym’s preacher curl station. Then, jump right into triceps pushdowns using the high cable and appropriate attachment or use your home gym’s seated dip station.
Alternate between as many variations of bicep curls and triceps pushdowns as you wish from one circuit to the next, as your equipment allows. Also, don’t be afraid to do the triceps exercises first. Your arms will be seriously pumped after performing these final exercises in the circuit!
Add Your Own Variations
You’ll quickly realize after the first time you finish 3 rounds of the above circuit, that you don’t need a pricey commercial gym to get a taxing professional-quality workout. As you become more comfortable performing the circuit, feel free to substitute in other exercises you’d like to include, within the limitations of your equipment.