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Best At Home Workout Routine To Gain Muscle. A Muscle Building Exercise Plan

Updated on January 8, 2013

It is the best home workout routine for building muscle that I could come up with based on the exercises I have tried. I have used them to build muscle.

Me training so I can do handstand push-ups.
Me training so I can do handstand push-ups. | Source

Pushing And Pulling

The main muscles on your arm are your triceps and biceps. Push away to work the triceps. Pull towards yourself to work the biceps. So push ups work your triceps and pull ups work the biceps. Do both and you can work most of your upper and middle body muscles. Strengthen and increase the size of your shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, back and abdominal muscles.

When you do a push up you can lift a little or a lot of your body weight. You can also change the position of your arms so you are using your muscles in a different way. Since the goal is to build muscle you should do difficult push ups. If you can do a large number of repetitions then the push ups are too easy. The best push ups for building muscle are the ones you have trouble doing. I can easily do push ups so I include more difficult variations like sliding push ups with a towel and handstand push ups. Well I attempt to do free style handstand push ups 6 or 7 times. I can't do them yet.

Pull ups and chin ups are difficult enough for most people. You should be able to get large bicep muscles doing them. When you do a pull up you are lifting your body weight. If you really want to increase the difficulty you can do muscle ups or the human flag. However a lot of people can't do pull ups because they are not strong enough or because they don't have a pull up bar. The lying lat pull is a good alternative. You only need a towel and a smooth floor. To do a lying lat pull with a towel you lay on the towel and pull and push yourself so you are sliding forwards and backwards on the floor. Increase the friction to make the exercise more difficult. The towel and floor I use makes them as difficult as pull ups. I also recommend dumbbell or barbell curls.

The pushing and pulling exercises work your arms but the focus is on different muscles. You can go from one exercise to the other without taking a break. The lat pull is the exception. It uses the triceps and biceps.


Holding A Pose

The laying leg lift is a very simple exercise. You lay down on your back with your legs straight. Then you lift them slightly off the floor without bending your knees. Lift slowly and pay attention to your abs. The exercise puts more strain on your abs when your feet are a few inches off the ground.

You can easily make the exercise more difficult by holding something between your feet or the lower part of your legs. Anything you can safely lift would work. For instance a ball, a small dumbbell or a weight from a dumbbell. Squeezing also adds to the workout. I recommend doing leg lifts with a heavy ball and squeezing it with your legs. Exercise balls work well for this. So far the most difficult exercise I have done with my big exercise ball is legs lifts. They were much harder for me than doing push ups with my feet on the exercise ball.

Me doing a side plank.
Me doing a side plank. | Source

Elbow planks are another good ab exercise that involves holding a pose. You get into the push up position and lower yourself onto your elbows. At first it may not seem very hard but the longer you hold it the more difficult it becomes. However eventually your abs will become strong and the exercise will become easier. The only way to make it more difficult is to increase the amount of time or increase the weight. While holding the pose maintaining your focus and concentration can be as hard as using your muscles to hold the pose but it can improve your ability to stay focused.

If you want strong abs a minute should be long enough. For really strong abs you may need to do it for 2 or 3 minutes or increase the weight. To increase the weight you can wear heavy clothes or a backpack with some weight in it.

Side planks and elbow side planks focus on your obliques. The side muscles in your mid section. You get into the push up or elbow plank position and then raise one arm into the air while twisting so your on side is facing the floor and the other is facing the ceiling. The side plank is much more difficult than the elbow side plank because you are holding yourself up with one arm. It gives your tricep muscles a good workout. If you have dumbbells I also recommend dumbbell side bends.


Running and jumping are both good exercises for building large hard calf muscles. I recommend jumping rope like a boxer. It is a great exercise for your calf muscles. Running on the spot works okay but running on an elliptical trainer or treadmill works much better. If you are going to do it without any equipment I would recommend sprinting on the spot and then jumping repeatedly. When you jump you should be on your toes and when you land you should land on your toes. While you can build leg muscle by exercising inside the best way in my opinion is to get outside and go for a bike ride. If you run, jump rope or bike you can develop strong hard bulging leg muscles. You just need to work the muscles hard. These cardio exercises also give your heart a good workout.

Man running on a treadmill.
Man running on a treadmill. | Source

Indoor Routine

  • Push Ups
  • Pull Ups & Chin Ups Or Lying Lat Pulls
  • Leg Lifts With Weight
  • Elbow Planks
  • Side Planks
  • Running
  • Jumping

Keep modifying the routine and competing with yourself. Change the number of repetitions or duration, the order you do the exercises and the number of sets. You should also try to increase the intensity when possible. With these exercises it should be possible to improve on a daily basis or every few days until you are really good at them. At least that is what happened when I did them. Pay close attention to how your muscle feel. If any of your muscle need more time to recover then give them more time to recover.

You can do dumbbell or barbell curls instead of pull ups but I recommend doing pull ups at least some of the time. You could also replace running with biking if you have a good exercise bike.


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