You wanna build muscle?
You wanna get strong?
You wanna do it with short workouts you can do at home? In a sweet, minimalist garage or basement gym? Where you can avoid the expensive public gym memberships and the nonsense that goes along with those hell holes?
Walking into a public gym usually sickens me. I prefer to train in a basement or garage gym any day. So I can relate and I’ve got you covered.
First thing is the set up. What do you really need?
The list is short and sweet. Here’s what I recommend for a great minimalist home gym set up, followed by the exercises you’ll be able to do with each implement:
- Chin ups
- Front levers
- Ab fallouts
- Muscle ups
- Triceps extensions
- Military presses
- Clean and presses
- Bent presses
- Get ups
- Goblet squats
- Sumo deadlifts
- Single leg deadlifts
- Fly/pushup combo
- Chest fly
- Ab fallout
- Mountain climber
- Leg curl
- Ab pull in
- Slide lunge
- Face pulls
- Pull aparts
- Leg curls
- Good mornings
- Pushdowns and extensions
- Mobility drills
- Chops and lifts
- Pallof presses
- Monster walks
Now that you have your gym set up here are some tips that will help you build some serious muscle and strength…
1) Before you walk into your home gym make sure you have your muscle building workouts planned out. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
2) Prepare a few minutes before by visualizing the workout in your head. See yourself going through each of your exercises and dominating the weights.
3) Limit your workouts to 45 minutes, tops. You really don’ t even need that long and could get a great workout in with just 30 minutes to spare. Use a stopwatch or GymBoss Interval Timer to keep yourself in check.
4) Start each workout with a full body dynamic warm up to fire up the CNS, lubricate the joints and activate the muscles.
5) If you have nagging injuries stay covered up and dress warm for your workouts. Compression tights work well. Knee and elbow sleeves can also be a great friend to the older beat up lifter.
6) Begin your workouts with some type of throw, jump or dumbbell Olympic lift for 3-10 sets of 1-5 reps to fire up your CNS.
7) Pick a skill component you want to work on that day. It could be handstands, front levers, hollow body position, planche progressions or whatever. Spend 7-10 minutes on that.
8) Next, pick a strength movement. Handstand pushups, 1 arm dumbbell presses or rows, pistol squats, single leg kettlebell deads are all great choices. Do some moderately heavy sets of 5-8 reps. There’s rarely a reason for most dudes to train with more than 85% of their one rep max on any exercise.
9) With the speed, skill and strength components out of the way you now want to get a pump. Choose an exercise like an inverted row, glute ham raise, split squat or pushup and do a few sets of 8-20 reps. Get a skin splitting pump and you’re good to go.
10) If you want to include some conditioning hit a 5-10 minute finisher. Battling ropes, kettlebell swings, sled drags, heavy bag work and jumping rope all make for great choices. Go hard for 10-30 seconds then rest for 30-60 seconds.
11) Using Fat Gripz helps you get both grip and forearm work in without adding any extra training time. It also helps save your elbows.
12) Use a variety of bodyweight exercises to prevent boredom, stagnation and overuse injuries. Always strive for maximal muscle stimulation with minimal joint stress.
13) Incorporate odd objects and strongman type exercises to build real world, functional strength and stability. If you could only pick one farmers walks would be the best.
14) Be careful to avoid elbow pain. When your elbows get screwed up you will most likely have to deal with it for years.
15) Take the required time to truly learn proper exercise technique. This is way above and beyond most people. There are elite level lifters and gymnasts who still don’t feel satisfied with their technique. You can always get better. Small changes can make a huge difference.
16) If you want traps like the late, great Road Warrior Hawk (and who doesn’t?) do lots of face pulls, shrugs and farmers walks. Some dumbbell Olympic lift variations work well, too.
17) Do high intensity conditioning either immediately after strength training or as a separate workout on the same day, 4-8 hours later. It’s not the best idea to do it in between strength training days since it’s pretty much the exact same type of stressor to the body.
18) Before doing anything in the gym always ask yourself a couple questions. Will it help me? How? If you can’t come up with a good answer don’t do it.
19) Your goals and what you do during workouts should always coincide.
20) Have fun. At the end of the day most people will not continue to do something for the long haul if it’s not fun. That means choose the exercises and methods of training that you enjoy most. Don’t worry about what anyone else says or what everyone else is doing.
So get a training partner or group to come join you in your basement or garage. Then challenge each other, get strong and have fun.
Building muscle isn’t rocket science. It just requires hard work, dedication, persistence and a never-say-die attitude.
If you’re relentless and train with passion on a regular basis changes will happen. It’s not an overnight process so you’ve got to patient. Remember that it’s a sprint and not a marathon.
A lot of people start training with all kinds of hopes and aspirations. Most of them quit a few months into it.
But you’re not most people.
Now go crush your workout.
If you enjoyed this post the slightest bit I’d appreciate you sharing it with others who might like it as well.
Thanks a lot.