Awesome Home Gym Workout Moves for Total Body Destruction

Update on:

Here we have a list of some of the best exercises for home gym workouts. You’ll need some equipment, a barbell, a couple of dumbbells, a bench, some plates and a rack of some sort.

For this article, I looked at the most efficient and minimalist exercises to get the job done. I include these exercises in my own training and I use them with clients. The basics such as squats, overhead presses and pull-ups should always be in your training mix. In fact, you can pretty much just do variations of the below exercises to build and sustain a solid level of strength.

The gym setup here is pretty basic for the list. I have chosen this because it’s the typical setup we see here at Garage Gym Greatness. I’ve also been checking out other social groups on the subject. You can see some great examples of home gym setups in my Home Gym Setups article.

So here’s what’s to come, you can read through the whole list or skip to the body part you’re interested in:

Home Gym Exercises for Legs

Oh, leg day you merciless beast, you come around once or twice a week to kick our asses, and we love you for it! Legs come first on our list for a reason. They include some of the biggest and most used muscles in our body. Your bum, hamstrings, and quads are essential for overall body health. They are ground zero for generating power and strength throughout the whole body. Never, ever, skip leg day, ever!

For your home gym workouts, as long as you’ve got the essentials of a barbell and some plates you’ll be fine. A rack would be nice too if you’re looking to lift heavy. Let’s go.

Quads

Barbell Back Squat: One of the most popular and effective exercises for leg development, the barbell back squat is a great way to bulk up those quads. You can widen your stance to concentrate more on the posterior chain as required. For the classic position;

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell on your upper back.
  • Lower yourself down as far as you can go, keeping your back straight and your chest held high.
  • Push through the heels as you come up out of the squat to complete one rep.

Hamstrings

Romanian Deadlift: This exercise is a great way to target your hamstrings and give them the attention they deserve! You’ll also have some lower back engagement here. Pay attention to good form to avoid injury.

  • Start with feet hip-width apart and the barbell in your hands.
  • With your knees slightly bent, slowly lower the weight by pushing your hips back while keeping your spine straight.
  • Once you reach a comfortable point of tension in your hamstrings, reverse the motion and return to standing.
  • Your glutes should be engaged throughout this exercise as it also targets those muscles.

Romanian deadlifts are essential for overall leg development, so don’t skip this one!

Calfs

Barbell Calf Raises: Don’t forget your calves! This powerful exercise will help you build strength and definition in those lower legs.

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, place the barbell on your shoulder as if you are doing a squat.
  • Slowly rise up onto your toes as high as you can go, and then lower back down to complete one rep.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the exercise, and be sure to engage your core for total body stability.

Barbell calf raises are an effective way to target all three major muscles of the calf—gastrocnemius, soleus, and tibialis posterior—all at once!

Home Gym Exercises for Back

Second on our list of target muscle groups is the back. Training this in a home gym is a sinch with these exercsises below. I’ve broken the back up into its four main parts to be sure you get complete coverage. You’ll need a pull-up bar, some dumbbells and/or a barbell.

Upper and outer lats

Upper and Outer Lats: Wide-grip pull-ups are an excellent way to target your upper and outer lats. As well as your biceps, shoulders, and trapezius.

  • Start by gripping the bar with a wide overhand grip.
  • With legs straight and your core engaged, pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Be sure to squeeze the back together in the middle. We want to use primarily the back, not the biceps.
  • Slowly lower back down for one rep.

Not only will this exercise help build definition in your lats, but it’ll also give you a stronger back overall!

Lower lats

Lower Lats: Ah, the lower lats. This area can often be neglected during a workout. But with the right exercises you can make sure that these muscles don’t go unnoticed. For targeting your lower lats, do wide dumbbell pullovers.

  • Start by lying flat on your back on a bench or mat.
  • Grasp a dumbbell in both hands and keep it directly above your chest.
  • Lower the weight behind your head until you feel a stretch in your lats.
  • Reverse the motion to bring the weight back up and complete one rep.

Middle back

Middle Back: Let’s not forget about the middle back! Single-arm dumbbell rows are an excellent way to target your middle back muscles.

  • Start by standing with one knee on a bench and one hand holding onto a dumbbell. The other foot should be on the floor for balance.
  • Start with the arm extended holding the dumbbell below the body.
  • Keeping your back flat, row the weight up towards your chest as high as you can go.
  • Then lower down for one rep.

Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the exercise for maximum effectiveness.

Lower back

Lower Back: It’s really important to strengthen your lower back. Namely to avoid injury and improve overall athletic performance. One of the best exercises for targeting the lower back muscles is good mornings.

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and a barbell across your upper back.
  • Keeping your core tight and spine neutral, bend forward at the hips as far as you can while keeping your legs straight.
  • Reverse the motion to return to standing and complete one rep.

Remember to keep your glutes engaged throughout this exercise for maximum results!

Home Gym Exercises for Shoulders

What’s a physique without some nicely developed shoulders! But more importantly, strengthening the deltoid and the rotator cuff muscles will improve posture and create a more stable body. Effectively training these muscles will reduce the risk of injury from training overall, and hey, I’ve not forgotten traps either 😉

Deltoids / Rotator cuff

Deltoids: Let’s start with the all-important deltoids. The good news is that there are plenty of exercises you can do in a home gym to target these muscles. Overhead dumbbell presses are a great way to hit your deltoids, as well as your triceps and upper back.

  • Start by standing with feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand above your head.
  • Lower the weights down until they’re just above your shoulders.
  • Then press them back up for one rep.

Make sure to keep a slight bend in the elbows throughout the exercise for maximum shoulder engagement throughout.

Rotator Cuff: Now let’s work on the rotator cuff muscles. One of the best exercises for this area is the external shoulder rotation.

  • Start by standing with feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in one hand at your side, elbow bent to 90 degrees.
  • Rotate your arm outwards until you feel the resistance (don’t force this too much, you’ll get a better range of motion in time).
  • Reverse the motion to return to starting position and complete one rep.

Traps

Traps: Ready to get traps like Brock Lesnar! Incorporate dumbbell shrugs into your workout routine! This exercise is a great way to target your upper trapezius muscles, as well as other muscles in the upper back and neck.

  • Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand by your side.
  • Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears while keeping your arms straight.
  • Hold for a moment before slowly lowering back down.

Not only will this exercise help you build definition in your traps, but it’ll also give you improved posture and stronger neck muscles overall!

Home Gym Exercises for Chest

A good solid chest will help to improve posture, and stabilize your shoulder joint (remember I said this was important above). It’ll help support deeper breathing and of course help with everyday activities that involve pushing things. As always having a strong solid foundation will reduce the risk of injury in the day-to-day.

Chest: Incorporating dumbbell bench press into your workout routine is just about the best way to work this muscle group.

  • Start by lying down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. You want to start with the weights at nipple level.
  • Press the weights straight up towards the ceiling, then lower them back down until they’re just above chest level.
  • Reverse the motion to complete one rep.

Remember to keep your core engaged throughout this exercise for maximum force output. As with pretty much all exercises, ever!

Not only will this exercise help you build strength and definition in your chest muscles, but it’ll also give you improved posture and stronger arms overall!

Home Gym Exercises for Arms

Not just for filling out t-shirt sleeves! A good set of arms are really important as they are usually a secondary muscle used in just about any upper body movement. If you’re doing any pulling exercises, you’re likely engaging your biceps. Things such as pull-ups and rows. Pushing exercises, such as overhead presses, bench presses, and push-ups, will be hitting your triceps. Having good arm strength will improve your overall lifting force and increase stability in your lifts. But yes also, look good too!.

Biceps

Biceps: Nice and easy here, let’s bust out some bicep curls. This exercise is a great way to target both the short and long heads of the bicep.

  • Start by standing with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended straight down at your sides.
  • Keeping your elbows close to your body, curl the weights up towards your shoulders.
  • Hold for a moment before slowly lowering back down.

Triceps

Triceps: For targeting your triceps muscles, you can incorporate skull crushers into your workout.

  • Start by lying on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Extended above the head palms facing each other.
  • Keeping your arms straight and close to the body, bend at the elbows to lower the weights down towards either side of your head.
  • Pause for a moment before pushing them back up to complete one rep.

These exercises help you build definition in your arms, but also give you improved grip strength and better arm endurance overall!

Head-to-Toe

That’s just about the whole body covered from head to toe, with the above basics you’ll be able to craft a pretty good home gym workout. For beginners, I recommend starting with the basic 3 sets of 8-10 reps per exercise. You can do them all in one routine, two or three times a week. These will supplement any sport-specific training you might be doing and make a great addition to cardio work.

If you’re still unsure about the proper form and technique, I highly recommend going and seeing a personal trainer. Even for just a few sessions, these guys can drill you on the basics of the movements and set you up for lightning success! Have fun.

FAQ’s

What are the home gym workouts essentials?

That will depend on what type of training you want to complete, but for a traditional routine such as the one above, you’ll need the following:

1) Barbell
2) Some weight plates for your barbell
3) Couple of dumbbells
4) Weight bench
5) Power rack, preferably with pull-up bar included.

With the above, there isn’t much you cannot do, from bodybuilding to CrossFit.

Can I build a well-rounded physique with just home gym workouts?

Yes, and I have done so with clients for years. If you have a good base set of equipment and a solid periodized programme you can build a very well-rounded physique. Other HUGE factors on results include diet, which is 80% of the puzzle, sleep, of which you need between 7-9 hours for the average person and genetics. Hit the gym with a solid and complete programme (including all the above) and you stand the best chance of achieving your goals.

How often should I work out each muscle group for the best results, and should I do full-body workouts or split routines?

The answer to this question is all of the above, but not at the same time. A good training cycle will focus on between 6-12 weeks of one type of training. Then for your next cycle, you can do another split. There is evidence to support that if you are a newbie full body routines work well and the more experienced lifter will work better with more specific splits, for example back and biceps, chest and triceps. For more information on this talk to a personal trainer or you can consult some remarkable resources online such as bodybuilding.com (my favourite for many years).

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Andy is the founder of Garage Gym Greatness. He’s a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist and has worked with clients of all ages, from young professionals to those in their twilight years. Reviewing everything home fitness related is a pleasure, never a chore. His favourite cheese if comté.