So you’ve just purchased a new home gym, are planning to, or have owned one for some time but never really made any progress up to this point?
Here at BestHomeGym.net, we get sent a lot of questions from beginner and intermediate home lifters asking a ton of questions about using their home gym.
One of the most common we receive from our male visitors is: “Can I really build quality mass using just a home gym – don’t I need barbells and dumbbells for that?”
Perceived Limitations of Using a Home Gym vs. Free weights
Among the most common drawbacks home gym users complain about is the lack of true mass building exercises available such as squats, deadlifts, and often military presses (though many of our top picks offer these exercises particularly Bowflex and various plate-loaded lever gyms). Worse, if you choose a really inexpensive model they often lack the capability to upgrade the weight stack as you get bigger and stronger.
It’s true that there are some mass exercises missing in a typical all-in-one style gym, and the resistance offered can seem limited, but they still have plenty of muscle-building exercises to offer. They’re also safer than free weights, eliminating the need for a spotter.
And you don’t need heavy weights to build mass, contrary to what a lot of muscle magazines, YouTube vlogs and other sources may tell you. Nor do you need to do 10 different exercises per body part to build mass.
You can easily build muscle performing a few select exercises with moderate resistance and high repetitions, just as easily as you can when lifting superhuman weights that kill your back, shoulders, elbows and knees!
Adopt the following 5 mass building exercises into your workouts and ditch the barbells (for now at least!):
Note: If you have a home gym that allows for a variety of upper body presses and also allows for squats and leg presses, by all means add them to your mass-building routine – they’re great exercises. However, to accommodate the masses, we’re suggesting the following 5 because even most entry level home gyms offer each of them.
Since you’ll only be working out 3 (max 4) days per week, it’s perfectly fine to do each of these exercises during every workout, mixing in any isolation exercises you prefer or just focusing on these 5 core exercises for building maximum mass.
- Pullups and Lat Pulldowns
Works entire upper body and core. Focusing mostly on back, delts, biceps and forearms.
- 15 – 30 reps / 3 or 4 sets / 3 days per week.
Not all home gyms have a pullup station; considered the king of all upper body exercises. However, all include a lat pulldown station of some sort. Do both if you can, alternating pullups and pulldowns on different workout days. Vary your grip from wide to narrow, and pronated (hands facing away from body) and supinated (hands facing toward) grips for best results.
- Bench Press
Works entire upper body and core. Focusing on chest, delts, triceps.
- 15 – 25 reps / 3 or 4 sets / 3 days per week.
Considered by most as the biggest indicator of testosterone-fueled strength, the bench press works the entire upper body and core muscles most effectively. Vary your hand position from shoulder-width and narrow and, if your home gym is equipped, use a palms-in grip one set of every workout.
- Leg Extensions
Works the quadriceps, core and front calf muscles.
- 30 – 50 reps / 4 or 5 sets / 3 days per week.
The quads thrive on volume for building mass. And although leg extensions are considered more of a definition exercise, you can build a lot of mass if you go with this suggested high rep scheme. Going high rep not only builds more muscle with this exercise, it eliminates the need for a massive 300-pound plus stack like you’ll often see the pros using for extensions. Vary your foot position, pointing them out away from you on one set, then in toward you on the next.
- Low Pulley Lateral Raises
Works all 3 delt muscles, trapezius, triceps, forearms and core.
- 15 – 20 reps / 3 or 4 sets / 3 days per week.
You can use almost any grip attachment you have available to do lat raises on the low pulley attachment of your home gym. This is a super mass builder if you focus on using plenty of angles. Do side, front and bent over raises for maximum effectiveness. Perform one set of each per workout and add an extra set of lat raises if you want to go for a 4th set, as side raises tax the middle delt most, adding width to your frame.
Cap off each workout with a couple of supersets focusing on bicep, triceps and forearm building exercises including: standing cable curls, preacher curls, triceps pushdowns (or seated dips), and kickbacks using the low pulley on your machine.
- 15 – 25 reps / 2 supersets / 3 days per week.
Arms don’t need much work after the other upper body exercises you’ve already performed. A couple of intense supersets to end the workout is all that’s needed. And by default, upper body exercises tax the forearms plenty without the need to focus on movements that specifically isolate them.
Here, you’ll perform two sets back-to-back, each consisting of a bicep and triceps mass building exercise, with no rest in between. Standing cable curls, preacher curls, triceps pushdowns and triceps kickbacks are preferable, but feel free to choose whatever arm exercises your home gym allows.
Ready to Start Building Some Serious Mass at Home?
There’s no need to over-complicate the muscle building process. Using the exercises suggested above, you’ll be well on your way to a bigger, stronger, newer you in just a month or two of beginning this routine.
If it works for you, take a moment to share this post with people you know who own a home gym and are interested in learning more about building mass with their home gym.