The Ultimate Home Workout Plan

As the Lightning Seeds absolutely did not sing: It’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming, exercise is coming home because of COVID-19. But in what’s certainly been a year of hurt, it is true that exercise has come home, whether you’re a fan of the gym and are looking to replicate your workout fix at home or because you are stuck at home more than normal and need some release to avoid climbing the walls.

While there are plenty of single home workouts floating around (like the one-off no-kit workouts at the bottom of this page), a structured plan can help to save time, keep you exercising regularly and make a bigger difference to your fitness. That’s why we’ve got two home workout plans on this page.

The first is a bodyweight workout plan, which merely requires some space and a sturdy chair or low table. There are three workouts a week, which you can repeat for as many weeks as you like, increasing the difficulty as you get fitter by aiming to trim the amount of rest you take.

The second is a four-week dumbbell training plan also consisting of three workouts a week. We’ve given suggested days for the sessions too, but you can mix up those days to fit your schedule, as long as you try to have a rest day after each workout. If you don’t already have dumbells, take a look at our selection of the best dumbbells to find a set that suits you. There are options for all, whether you’re after the cheapest set you can find – it’s just a weight with a handle, after all – or ready to splash out on some durable cast iron, shiny chrome, or some-kind-of-black-magic adjustable dumbbells that change the weight for you at the click of a button.

One last thing: if you’re just starting a fitness kick we recommend the bodyweight workout plan. The dumbbell workouts are better for those who are already fairly experienced with weights, simply because some of the moves won’t be familiar to newcomers and it’s important to get the technique right to avoid injury.

Bodyweight Home Workout Plan

This plan has been put together by Jared Blunden, personal trainer at Milton Keynes PureGym.

Workout 1

Warm-Up

Complete three rounds of the following without taking a rest.

1 Walkout

Reps 5

From standing, bend down, place your hands on the floor and walk your hands out to a high plank position (hands under your shoulders, arms extended, with your body forming a straight line from your head to heels), then walk your hands back to your feet and stand up.

2 Spider-Man lunge

Reps 5 each side

Start in a high plank position. Bring your right foot forwards and place it outside your right foot, then step back and do the same on your left side.

3 Shoulder tap

Reps 10 each side

In a high plank position, reach up with your left hand and tap your right shoulder, then use your right hand to tap your left shoulder.

Workout

Rest as required during the workout, but aim to keep each break to 10-20 seconds. The first exercise is a superset. Do all the reps of exercise 1A followed by all the reps of exercise 1B. Repeat that sequence for three times in total, then move on.

1A Jump lunge

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side

Step forwards with your right foot and lower until both knees are bent at 90°. Jump up and switch legs so you land in a lunge with your left foot forwards.

1B Burpee

Sets 3 Reps 5

From standing, drop your hands to the floor then jump your feet back so you go into a high plank. Jump your feet forwards again so they’re next to your hands, stand and jump straight up, raising your hands above your head.

2 Step-up

Sets 1 Reps 10 each side

Find a step that’s about knee-high. Step onto it, leading with your right foot. Bring your left foot onto the step as well, then step down, left foot first. Lead with your left foot on the next rep your right as you step down. Keep alternating.

3 Chest-to-floor burpee

Sets 1 Reps 5

From standing, drop your hands to the floor then jump your feet back so you go into a high plank. Lower your chest to the ground, press back up and jump your feet forwards again so they’re next to your hands. Stand and jump straight up, raising your hands above your head.

Workout 2

Warm-Up

Do two rounds of the following without taking a break.

1 Downward-facing dog toe tap

Reps 5 each side

Start on your hands and knees and then push your hips up and back so your knees come off the floor, your arms and legs are straight and you form a triangle with the floor. Tap your right arm with your right toes, then repeat on the other side.

2 Yoga press-up

Reps 5

From your downward-facing dog position, lower your chest towards the floor, then push back up.

3 Scorpion kick

Reps 10 each side

Lie face down on the floor with your arms out to the sides. Bend your left knee to lift your left lower leg, then rotate your torso to bring your left foot over to touch the floor by your right hand. Repeat, alternating sides with each rep.

4 Glute bridge

Reps 10

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so you form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower back to the start.

Workout

Aim to complete up to four rounds of the following without taking any rests.

1 Squat to floor

Reps 45

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at your knees and move your hips back to lower into a deep squat so your hands can touch the floor while keeping your chest up and forwards. Drive back up to standing.

2 Unweighted renegade row

Reps 30 each side

Start in a high plank position. Hold the position while bringing your right elbow up past your back, then repeat on the other side.

3 Butterfly sit-up

Reps 15

Lie with your back on the floor, with your knees bent and out to the sides, and the soles of your feet together. Engage your abs to lift your head and shoulders off the floor, then lower with control.

Workout 3

Warm-Up

Do two rounds of the following without resting.

1 Cat-cow

Reps 10

Start on your hands and knees. Push your spine upwards so your shoulder blades move away from each other. Then roll your shoulder blades together and push your chest towards the floor.

2 Thread the needle

Reps 5 each side

Still on your hands and knees, take your right arm under your left and out to the side, bringing your right shoulder down to the floor. Then repeat on the other side.

3 Kang squat

Reps 10

From standing, hinge at the hips and bend forwards until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings (as if doing the good morning exercise), then rock back and down into a deep squat. Come back up into the good morning position, then return to standing.

4 Samson lunge

Reps 10 each side

From standing, step forwards into a lunge, then clasp your hands together and stretch them out above your head. Stand back up and then repeat, leading with the other leg.

Workout

This is a 20-minute AMRAP – As Many Rounds As Possible. Complete as many rounds of the following four exercises as you can in 20 minutes.

1 Elevated single-leg glute bridge

Reps 10 each side

Lie on your back and rest your feet on a raised surface like a table or chair. Lift your right foot and then raise your hips so your body is straight from your neck to your left foot. Lower and repeat 10 times, then swap sides.

2 Bulgarian split squat

Reps 10 each side

Stand facing away from a low table or sofa. Rest the top of one foot on the surface behind you. Lower until your back knee almost touches the floor, then push back up. Swap legs after you complete 10 reps.

3 Press-up

Reps 5

From a high plank position, bend at the elbows to lower your chest until it’s just above the floor, then push back up.

4 V-up

Reps 5

Lie on your back with your legs extended and together. Simultaneously raise your shoulders and lift your legs, keeping them as straight as possible, so you form a V shape. If you find this too challenging, start by doing it one leg at a time for five reps each side.

Home Dumbbell Workout Plan

How To Warm Up

One of the advantages of home workouts is that you don’t have to spend any time travelling to and from the gym, which means you definitely have the time to get a thorough warm-up in before you tackle one of the sessions below.

You only need to spend a few minutes warming up before the workout to be firing on all cylinders from the off, rather than creaking your way through the first couple of sets with cold muscles. Warming up also reduces your risk of injury during a workout, and it should help reduce any muscle soreness you experience in the days afterwards.

The key to a good warm-up is to work the muscles you’re intending to use in the workout itself. There’s little point in jogging on the spot or doing jumping jacks if you’re about to do a weights session. Instead try this routine, which involves seven stretches that target muscles all over the body, followed by movements that mirror the workout you’re about to perform. Your best bet is simply to perform the exercises you intend to do in your workout using light weights or no weight at all, which will get your muscles used to the relevant movements before you challenge them with added resistance.

Workout 1: Monday

1 Dumbbell swing

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Send the dumbbell between your legs by hingeing at the hips, then push your glutes forwards powerfully so you use hip drive to raise the dumbbell to shoulder height. Reverse the movement to the start and go straight into the next rep.

2 Overhead squat

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Start with both weights held directly overhead, then simultaneously bend at the hips and knees to lower into a squat, without letting the weights come forwards.

3 Side lunge

Sets 3 Reps 8 each side Rest 60sec

Start with a dumbbell in each hand, then take a big step to one side and bend your leading knee, keeping your foot pointing forwards and your knee in line with your toes. Push off your leading foot to return to the start, then take a big step the other way to repeat the move. Alternate sides with each rep.

4 Press-up renegade row

Sets 3 Reps 8 Rest 60sec

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, perform a press-up then at the top, row one dumbbell up to your side. Lower the weight, then row the other dumbbell up to complete one rep.

5 Leg raise

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Hold a dumbbell between your feet with your heels raised slightly off the ground. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are vertical, then lower slowly under control without letting your heels touch the floor.

Workout 2: Wednesday

Like the first workout of the week, this session focuses on functional movements. And you can’t get more functional than a power snatch, which involves shifting a weight from a low position to above your head in one explosive move. The next move is the jump squat, which is a safe way of improving power just as you start to fatigue in the workout. The two abs moves at the end of the session are among the most effective exercises you can do in your quest to develop a rock-hard six-pack.

1 Power snatch

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Hold a dumbbell in one hand between your legs with your knees bent. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles to raise the weight overhead. Once your body is straight from head to toe, drop into a half squat to “catch” the weight overhead, then stand up straight.

2 Squat press (or thruster)

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Start with the dumbbells at shoulder level and lower into a squat, then stand up and press the weights directly overhead. Lower the weights and return to the start position.

3 Jump squat

Sets 3 Reps 6 Rest 60sec

Start with the dumbbells by your sides and lower into a half squat. Jump straight up off the ground, land softly and go straight into the next rep.

4 Windmill

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

Hold a dumbbell overhead, then bend at the waist by guiding one hand down your leg. Make sure you keep looking at the weight throughout the move.

5 Roll-out

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Kneel with the dumbbells below your shoulders. Roll the weights forwards as far as you can, using your abs to control the movement, then return to the start.

Workout 3: Friday

It’s the final workout of the week – but the moves don’t get any easier. In fact, the first one may be the most challenging you’ve ever attempted. It may not look particularly complex or heavy, but pressing weights directly overhead from a squat position requires impressive levels of mobility and control. The session ends with Turkish get-ups, where you go from lying down to standing up with the weight overhead. It’s so good that it’s almost an entire workout in itself.

1 Back of steel

Sets 3 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Start with the dumbbells above your head, then lower into an overhead squat. While still in a squat position, lower the weights to shoulder height, then press them overhead. Continue to repeat the lowering and pressing movement while in a squat.

2 One-leg Romanian deadlift

Sets 2 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec

Stand on one leg with the weights hanging down by your thighs. Hinge at the hips to lower the weights towards the floor, keeping them close to your leg – don’t come too far forwards because that will put strain on your lower back.

3 One-leg squat

Sets 2 Reps 6-8 each side Rest 60sec

Stand on one leg with the dumbbells by your sides. Keeping your chest up, bend at the hips and knees to lower into a single-leg squat. Press back up to the start. Complete all the reps on that leg, then switch to the other leg.

4 Woodchop lunge

Sets 3 Reps 8 each side Rest 60sec

Start with a dumbbell over one shoulder. Lunge forwards with the opposite leg and simultaneously bring the weight down and across your body. Do all the reps on one side, then swap sides.

5 Turkish get-up

Sets 2 Reps 6 each side Rest 60sec

Lie on the floor holding a weight above your face. Bend your knee on that side then come up onto your elbow, then your hand and push your hips off the floor. Bring your straight leg back below your body, then take your hand off the floor and stand up.

No-Kit Home Workouts

10-Minute EMOM Workout

EMOM stands for “every minute on the minute”, so in these workouts you complete a set number of reps in a minute and then rest for the remainder of the minute, going again when the next minute starts. It’s a great way to get a lot out of short workouts, like this 10-minute session where you cycle through three moves every minute, with an optional fourth you can do instead of resting.

  1. Press-up (Reps 5)
  2. Jump squat (Reps 5)
  3. Chest-to-floor burpee (Reps 5)
  4. Beast hold (Optional, for remainder of minute)

See the workout

20-Minute Abs Workout

If you’re prepared to work hard with little rest, it really doesn’t take long to get a top-quality abs workout in, as this tough 20-minute circuit shows. Do three rounds in the time allowed, or add another two or three if you’re more experienced and have more time.

  1. Crunch (Reps 20)
  2. Crunch pulse (Reps 20)
  3. Reverse crunch (Reps 10)
  4. Lying leg raise (Reps 20)
  5. Plank toe tap (Reps 15 each side)
  6. Planks shoulder tap (Reps 15 each side)

See the workout

30-Minute Full-Body Circuit

This session involves four rounds of six exercises, and there’s still time to fit in a proper warm-up and warm-down in the half-hour – now that’s efficient. In the main workout you’ll be working for 30 seconds and resting for 15 seconds, then taking a 90-second rest between complete rounds.

  1. Mountain climber (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
  2. Jump squat (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
  3. Bicycle crunch (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
  4. Reverse lunge (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
  5. Press-up (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
  6. Star jump (Time 30sec Rest 90sec)

See the workout

Fat-Burning Bodyweight Workout

This full-body session consists of two circuits of three exercises. You do three rounds of the first circuit to get your core activated and your heart pumping, then tear through five rounds of the second circuit as fast as you can.

Circuit 1

  1. Dead bug (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
  2. Side plank (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)
  3. Plank jack (Time 30sec Rest 15sec)

Circuit 2

  1. Hand-release press-up (Reps 10)
  2. Reset jump lunge (Reps 6 each side)
  3. Alternating V-sit (Reps 7 each side)

See the workout

Core Workout For Women

Personal trainer and menopause fitness expert Kate Rowe-Ham shared this five-move core workout for women. Aim for three to four rounds, taking up to 90 seconds’ rest between rounds.

  1. Dead bug (Reps 10 each side)
  2. Plank shoulder tap (Reps 10 each side)
  3. Side plank (Time 30sec each side)
  4. Bird-dog (Reps 10 each side)
  5. Mountain climber (30sec)

See the workout

Nine-Move Leg Workout

Work all the major muscles in your legs and glutes with this nine-move bodyweight workout. If you do have weights to hand, it’s easy to incorporate them to increase the difficulty of each exercise.

  1. Squat (Sets 3 Reps 10)
  2. Lunge (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
  3. Pistol squat (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
  4. Good morning (Sets 3 Reps 10)
  5. Donkey kick (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
  6. Side lunge (Sets 3 Reps 10 each side)
  7. Calf raise (Sets 3 Reps 10)
  8. Glute bridge (Sets 3 Reps 10)
  9. Stiff-leg deadlift (Sets 3 Reps 10)

See the workout

Workout To Improve Your Posture

The combination of stretches and strength exercises in this quick workout will help to improve your posture and the state of your back. It’s just what you need if you’re feeling creaky after a few long days spent hunched over a desk.

  1. Cat-cow (Sets 1 Reps 20)
  2. Bird-dog (Sets 1 Reps 10 each side)
  3. Glute bridge (Sets 1 Reps 20)
  4. High plank (Sets 4 20sec)
  5. Superman (Sets 1 Reps 15)
  6. Half cobra (Sets 1 Reps 15)

See the workout

Reference Article

RELATED POST