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Good Home Workout Routine: Exercises To Build Muscle And Lose Fat

Updated on April 3, 2013
Me doing decline push-ups.
Me doing decline push-ups. | Source

Workout Routine

Push ups, planks, pull ups, dumbbell curls, squats and sprinting makes for a good quick workout if your goal is to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. It is a full body workout. As long as you try your best you should be able notice results in a week. That is assuming you look at the fat and muscle instead of just looking at the scales. With this routine you can burn a lot of calories while you are exercising and the extra muscle you gain will cause you to burn more calories throughout the day There is a reason it is a very general routine. People are different.

It is up to individual to figure out how much they can do. However I would recommend a limit of 12 repetitions per set. If the exercises are easy they are not intense enough. They should be challenging and you should fail to complete the exercises some of the time. The number of sets you do should depend on your level of fitness and the amount of time you have. If you have time you should workout until you can't go on any more.


Most exercises have variations. There is not just one way to do a push up. There are lots of different push up variations. You can do push ups, narrow grip, wide grip, incline, decline, one handed, exploding, etc. Simply push yourself up in different positions or change the speed to change the push up. You can also do variations for the other exercises.

If you can't do a push up start with incline push ups. You can do them on a set of stairs If you don't have a pull up bar use a tree branch or the floor. Using a towel and a smooth floor you can pull and push yourself across the floor like you are doing a horizontal push up. If you don't have weights just pick up something that is heavy. For people that don't want to sprint they can jog, walk or jump rope.

Dumbbells | Source
Man doing pull-ups.
Man doing pull-ups. | Source

For Better Results

The routine is a form of circuit training. You quickly go from one exercise to the next with very little rest. Ideally the only rest you get in between the exercises is the time it takes to switch over to the next exercise. Interval training involves going from high to low intensity exercises. It allows a person to recover enough that they can continue. If you feel you can not go on at the current pace before your workout is over then slow down for a minute. For instance if I am too tired and weak to do push ups I will do a set of incline push ups instead of giving up or taking a break.

Muscle fatigue is the reduced ability of a muscle to contract with a significant amount of force. If you do a set of push ups they become more and more difficult until you can no longer push yourself up. Exercise strains the muscles. Overworking them leads to pain and if you keep overworking them it can lead to an injury. By working out different muscles you can do more. If your triceps need time to recover after doing push ups then you can curl dumbbells or do pull ups because they mostly use your biceps. When your upper body muscles can't take any more you can exercise your legs.

Muscle confusion makes your body work harder. You confuse your muscle by not doing the same thing over and over again. Change the order of the exercises and do different variations. Don't just do the same exact workout over and over again. Mixing up your workout will allow you to get more out of it. It can help you gain muscle and lose fat faster. Alter the number of repetitions, the intensity, the speed and the order. In this case you don't want to make it easy for your body to adapt. As you become stronger and increase your endurance increase the intensity of the exercises. You can do more repetitions, more sets and harder variations of the exercises.

Writing down a list of the exercises in this routine helps a lot. You can use the list as a reference or write down a detailed step by step plan. Since I want to keep making changes to the routine I usually just make a simple list with all the exercises. Then I keep track of the exercises I have done my checking them off as I do them or by making quick notes so I can keep track of my exercise performance.

My Routine

  • 12 decline push ups
  • 12 push ups
  • elbow plank for 60 seconds
  • sprint
  • 12 towel pulls
  • 8 dumbbell curls per arm
  • 12 single leg squats
  • alternating side planks, 4 minutes
  • sprint
  • 20 exploding push ups
  • 7 dumbbell curls per arm
  • towel pulls
  • 12 incline push ups
  • jog
  • shoulder shrugs
  • stretching and relaxing

This is just what I did the night before writing this. I keep mixing it up but it gives you a good idea of how I do the routine. The towel pulls are what I call pulling and pushing my body across the floor like I a horizontal pull up. For the alternating side planks I quickly switched arms after around 40 seconds. The incline and decline push ups were done on a set of stairs. While most of the exercises focused on my upper body my leg muscles got a really good workout. I could have forced myself to exercise a little more but I could tell my body was close to giving out. My muscles could not take much more and I used a lot of energy so I relaxed the rest of the night.


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