Steroids (for Your Creativity)
Fun, functional, and effective bodyweight strength training at home comes down to one thing: creativity.
Even if you don’t have a dumbbell, with creative smarts you can get super strong using whatever you have at home, your own body weight, and maybe a buddy’s body, too.
Here’s a quick dose of mental steroids to jack up that brain of yours. These exercise examples can help you flex your creativity muscles so you can build stronger physical ones working out at home.
In This Guide to Strength Training at Home
Let’s look at a variety of ways to spice up an at-home bodyweight strength training workout:
Before You Start
No matter how stir crazy you are, don’t go loco and jump into doing all of these home strength training exercises without rhyme or reason.
Preselect a handful of exercises, plan a structure (order of exercises, number of repetitions), and warm-up well.
Our beginner’s guide to natural workouts will help you do so. I’ll warn you that the guide is geared towards outdoor training, so it might worsen your cabin fever if you’re cooped up inside, but the tips we share apply exactly the same for strength training at home.
Unless you’re a minimalist to the max, you’ve got tons of heavy crap in your home you can move around to enhance your at-home strength training. (And maybe you can get some interior redecorating done in the process!)
One-Legged Luggage Deadlifts
Move On Things
If you can’t move it, move on it.
One-Armed Table Dips
Handstand Push-Up Progressions
Pistols to Seated
Have Buddies Weigh You Down (or Help You Up)
Doing strength training at home with a friend enhances your relationship, motivation, and repertoire of possible exercises.
On the latter point, having someone else can either:
- Make bodyweight exercises significantly harder by adding their body weight on top of yours, or
- Make bodyweight exercises easier by helping you do movements you’re not yet strong enough to do on your own.
PS: See our post on 7 Partner Exercises for a Fun but Intense Full-Body Workout for more ideas.
Use Resistance Bands
We love elastic resistance bands. They’re an inexpensive, portable, and lightweight to make any bodyweight strength training exercise harder or easier.
Band-Supported Shrimp Squats
Banded Hamstring Hammers
If going slow is too easy, make it explosive for extra difficulty.
But please be careful. You should only attempt these bouncing-style exercises (known formally as plyometrics) when you have high levels of fitness and fully warmed up.
Explosive Squat Jumps from Standstill
Do These Ab Exercises Instead of Planks
You don’t have to do abs to have abs. Most of the at-home strength training exercises we’ve gone through will work your core plenty enough.
But if you insist on doing ab exercises, do me a favor and please don’t do planks. Please! People’s insistence on doing planks is a huge pet peeve of mine. Here are a few harder-core ways to get a harder core:
If You Have a Backyard, Use It
We’ve rambled on about the wonders of working out outside in on our post on ditching the gym to work out outside. In short, it’s physically and mentally marvelous. So use whatever outdoor space you may have at home to your advantage.
See our pool circuit workout post for more on this.
One Last Warning for Strength Training at Home
Don’t get too carried away.
Your body may be designed to benefit from strength training, but your home and its furniture are not. And if these are new, unusual movements to you, start slow and easy until you’re comfortable with them. You don’t want a concerned neighbor to come over and find you lying alongside a splintered chair and moaning in pain.