1st Phorm Athlete Claire Thomas

How To Build Muscle At Home

I understand not everyone has access to, or wants to go to, a traditional gym or fitness facility.

In those cases, you may be under the impression that you cannot build lean muscle with at-home workouts.

However, that's false. You can definitely add lean muscle with the proper home workout plan.

In this article, I will explain some tips to put yourself in the best scenario to build muscles without equipment. These tips apply to a daily workout plan, a weekly layout or even a monthly strategy.

So, let’s dive in and knock out some living room workouts together!

Are you drinking enough water?

What is your Fitness level?

I know that some of us are brand new to working out, while others have been at it for years.

No matter where you're at in your journey, I commend you for starting and/or sticking with it.

If you are new to working out, then the good thing is you have an advantage here.

Simply put, your muscles have not worked like this before, so they most likely haven’t adapted. That means they have more room to grow compared to someone who has worked out for 5, or even 10 years.

When you work out using weights or resistance, you will break down your muscle tissue ... and with proper recovery and nutrition, they will grow back bigger and stronger.

If you are advanced, meaning you have been training for approximately 3-5 years, it may take a little more effort and time. Making notable changes can be a bit more "difficult", because your body has already grown and adapted from the workouts you have been doing.

Regardless, even in a gym, a newcomer typically has the potential to see changes faster.

But something that is often overlooked is that ... no matter what your experience is, you can optimize the results you can earn as you get on the move through at-home workouts.

Can You Build Muscle At Home?

Yes! Building muscle at home is entirely possible with a well-rounded approach.

One way to successfully build muscle is to diversify your exercises to target different muscle groups.

Squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks are some of the basic exercises that give you a range of workouts.

These exercises use your body weight as resistance, providing an effective foundation for strength and muscle development.

To continue making progress, incorporate the principle of progressive overload—gradually increasing the intensity, repetitions, or resistance of your workouts.

This can involve adding resistance through items like resistance bands, dumbbells, or improvised weights.

It’s not just about the exercise, though—there are several other key fitness components.

For example, nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting muscle growth.

Ensure your diet is well-balanced, providing an adequate amount of protein for muscle repair and growth, along with healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.

How you balance your diet may depend on your overall goals, so you can always seek professional advice if you need a personalized meal plan.

It’s also important to prioritize recovery by allowing sufficient time between workouts and getting enough sleep.

Muscles grow during the rest and recovery phase, not during the workout itself.

This means you really won’t hit your goals unless you balance your exercise routine with proper recovery.

Here’s the other big factor: consistency is key to seeing results.

While it may take time to see noticeable results, maintaining a regular and consistent workout schedule is the only way to see those muscle gains.

By staying consistent, you establish a foundation for long-term success and reinforce positive habits for your overall health.

What type of equipment do you have?

While some may have a full gym in their house, there are those of us who have very minimal setups.

If you have a full gym, just keep doing your thing with the workouts and focus on the other aspects of the article.

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Now ... if you’re like me, then you don’t have much at home and wondering, "How can I gain muscle at home without equipment?" Well...

I mainly have the basics, like resistance bands, maybe a select few dumbbells, and a stationary bike.

The good thing is, bands are relatively cheap online or at local sporting goods stores. Dumbbells and Kettlebells are great additions to the arsenal that you can find there as well.

Bodyweight exercises are also an option to build muscles at home, but don’t be afraid to get creative if you have to. Try different weights to change up the reps for each activity - do pushups to build your chest with a kid on your back, or hold them and do squats, if possible!

Make sure you keep your form and position consistent with the exercise to prevent injury - be safe, but try new things!

I have even seen videos of people using old laundry detergent containers filled with water or sand for weight lifting exercises.  Talk about getting creative!

It doesn’t take the fanciest equipment in the world (everyone has a bodyweight and a floor) to get a good workout ... just an able body and a strong mind! Buckle up and get straight to it!

Now, as for how to build muscles at home with the right workouts, there are great resources right here online...

More specifically, the 1st Phorm App has awesome at-home workouts, with AND without equipment.

Training Methods to Maximize Results

Let’s assume you are limited on equipment and don’t have a full gym at home.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Leg Day

From my experience, there are a few things you can do to optimize results without lifting heavy weight.

We have to figure out a way to increase intensity and activation of the muscle fibers. 

One thing is going to be training until failure!

What does that mean? That just means that if you are performing an exercise with resistance, you do it until you cannot do another rep with good form. This way of training works for workouts that use both push and pull movements. When the amount of movements are increased, the muscle has an opportunity to build and grow.

Training until failure isn’t always the answer, especially when lifting heavy. However, when you're at home with minimal weights (such as some at-home dumbbells), it's a great method. It forces you to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible during an exercise.

That leads to more breakdown in as many muscle fibers as possible.

If you don’t have a heavy load (heavy weight) on the muscle, then you have to rely on more sets or repetitions, increasing the volume from repetitions, which is the number of times you perform an exercise during a set. Push-ups with only body weight need more sets to reach a similar effect on your chest than if they were weighted, but it's well worth the time.

You may have heard of “Time Under Tension” before.

As stated above, training until failure will go until you can’t do any more, so that is where the time comes in. Time under tension refers to the total time that your muscle is being used during an exercise.

Post Workout Stack

One more thing I do when I want to add difficulty to my at-home workouts is Tempo Training. I know … I had no idea what this was when I first started, but it’s an easy thing to add!

For example, if I am going to do a bodyweight squat, I can do a 5-1-0 tempo for each rep. This lengthens the time of each set and allows the body to fully complete each movement.

That would be 5 seconds squatting down, 1 second of holding the position or "pause" at the bottom, and standing up quickly (without an intentional delay). This method can also increase that time under tension that I mentioned above.

You will definitely feel a burn if you add those in and train until failure!

At Home Workout Guide: Doing More With Less

Eating for At-Home Results

If you are like me, then you like to eat!
The good thing is, if you are trying to build muscle, you should be eating regularly!
Focusing on nutrition is a crucial part of any fitness goal regardless of where you work out. Just know that even though I said you should be eating regularly, that doesn’t mean you should be a bottomless pit.
Focus on optimal protein intake first (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, certain dairy, and protein shakes). Then, fill the rest with healthy fats (nuts, oil, nut butter, seeds) and carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, starches).
In fact, if your goal is strictly to build muscle, then you need to be in a calorie surplus ... Meaning, you eat more calories than you burn on a daily basis. That said, I'm not giving you permission to stuff your face with whatever is sitting in the pantry.
Side Note: If your main goal is fat loss, you still want to be getting optimal amounts of protein for your body. You just adjust to being in a calorie deficit. That means burning more calories than you eat on a daily basis.
Now, I understand that you may not know exactly what I mean when I say things like "calorie surplus" or "calorie deficit", and I used to be in the same boat. If you want help with making sure you're getting the calories you need, the 1st Phorm App allows you to track your food and workouts while working directly with an Advisor who is there to help you earn the results you're looking for!

Proper Rest

I know I can be guilty of this myself, but proper rest is so important for progress. When you start leveling up your workouts, don't forget that sleep is a key to lift your mental state as well as your physical.

7 Tips For Better Sleep

As I stated earlier in the article, you want to break down the muscle during workouts.

The REST of your progress, fixing the broken down muscles, happens during the days and nights AFTER your workouts.

See, when you focus on getting the necessary rest, your body can build muscle faster.

Besides nutrition, which we talked about above, sleep is a main component of recovery. A good place to start is focusing on getting 7-9 hours of QUALITY sleep every night, if possible. One standard tip is to have a night routine that allows the mind to quiet a little, so you can go straight to sleep.

If you want more info on sleep hygiene, read this blog that covers it in more detail!  7 Tips for Better Sleep.

Best At-Home Exercises to Build Muscle

Ready to create a workout routine that moves the needle from the comfort of your home? Here are some standard exercises to get you started.

Bodyweight Squats: 3–5 sets of 8–12 reps

Bodyweight squats are a foundational lower-body exercise.
With feet shoulder-width apart, lower into a squat, engaging muscles in the legs and glutes.

Push through the heels to return to your original position.
This is key for building strength, and endurance, and promoting proper squat mechanics.

Push-ups: 3–6 sets of 6–12 reps

Push-ups are a versatile upper-body exercise targeting the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

In a plank position, lower the body by bending the elbows and push back up to complete one rep.

These enhance upper body strength and muscular endurance to give you a well-defined chest and shoulders.

Lunges: 3 sets of 15 reps

Can’t forget about leg day!

Lunges are a classic exercise that helps you work on your lower body for greater strength and stability.

This exercise targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Step forward with one foot, lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and then push back up.

Alternate legs until you meet your rep count (15 reps for each side).

Burpees: 6 per minute for 15 minutes

Burpees are a dynamic, full-body exercise that combines squats, push-ups, and jumps.

They are an efficient calorie burner and contribute to overall muscle development and endurance.

Begin in a standing position and perform a squat.

Then, go into a plank position, do a push-up, and return to the squat position.

Finish with a jump before diving right back in and starting your next rep.

Pull-ups: 3 sets of 2–5 reps

Pull-ups are another great exercise for at-home workouts and are great for targeting the back, biceps, and shoulders.
Hanging from a bar, lift the body by pulling the chin above the bar before returning to your starting position.

Plank: 30-60 seconds

The plank is a core-strengthening exercise—it’s important to have a strong core to prevent back pain and perform other exercises safely.

Maintaining a straight line from head to heels in a plank position engages abdominal muscles.

This static exercise builds core stability, improves posture, and helps you maximize the rest of your routine.

Many people add planks in between other exercises.

For example, you might include a 30-second plank followed by a set of push-ups, lunges, or squats before returning to another plank variation.

Tricep-Dips: 2 sets of 10–12 reps

This exercise isolates and strengthens—you guessed it—the triceps.

Doing these improves your upper arm definition and overall upper body tone, perfect for rounding out your upper-body workout.

For this exercise, you’ll need a chair, bench, or even a staircase.

Hold the chair's edge with hands on either side of the hips.
Lift and hover beyond the chair's edge, extending legs mostly straight.

Finally, lower yourself until your elbows align with your shoulders, then push back up until your arms are straight again.

Step-ups: 3 sets of 15 reps

Here’s another exercise that requires a staircase or a box.
Step-ups are effective for lower body strength and coordination—and they are pretty simple.

Step up onto the box or stair with your right foot, then your left.

Then reverse and step back down with your right foot, then left.

Repeat the exercise and switch which leg you start with each time for 15 reps each.

Calf Raises: 3 sets of 15–20 reps

This exercise targets calf muscles, enhancing lower leg aesthetics and functionality.

Calf raises are performed by standing with feet hip-width apart and lifting your heels off the ground, rising onto your toes.

Hold the raised position briefly, engaging your calf muscles, before lowering your heels back down to the starting position.

The key with this exercise is to use slow, controlled movements to target your calf muscles.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do?

You have been training until failure, even using tempo to add difficulty to the workouts. Your nutrition has been going good, but you want to know what else you can do...

That is where you can look into a Post-Workout Recovery Drink. This is the first place I go if someone wants to build muscle, and is working out with any sort of resistance intensely and purposefully.

Customer Service - 1st Phorm

There are two main things your body does during those workouts:

1) Breaking down muscle 

2) Depleting muscle glycogen (fuel used during resistance training)

Our body's first instinct after a workout is to replenish that fuel, then work on repairing the broken down muscle. So how do we do that?

I would add in a High-Glycemic Dextrose Monohydrate powder that helps restore Glycogen (muscle fuel).

Then, pair that with a Low-Temperature Processed Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate, which will digest more rapidly than a whole food protein source. After workouts, speed is king! These two help refill the "fuel", and start fixing the damage done to your muscles very quickly!

You can find the perfect combo for this in our Post-Workout Stack! Combining Phormula-1 and Ignition after a workout is one of the best things you can do for your recovery and results when it comes to nutrition!

I hope this article gives you some new ideas on how to build muscles at home.

As always, if you have any questions, or need help with your at-home workout routine, simply send an email to CustomerService@1stPhorm.com or pick up the phone and call 1-800-409-9732 to talk to one of our NASM Certified Personal Trainers here at HQ!