How to Pack on Muscle at Home

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

We are getting used to our home workout schedule now, and although we have had to make some adjustments to our routine, we are making the most of this new way of life. Being Personal Trainers, we are very lucky in the fact that we already had plenty of equipment, and so our sessions haven't really changed that much from when we were in the gym. However, we know that most people aren't so lucky. Home equipment is hard to come by these days and so most people are making do with bodyweight workouts and household objects to weight movements. If you are in this position, you may be starting to see that you have hugely underestimated how effective bodyweight workouts can be, if done right.

We are providing free live workouts 3 times a week and there is so much more amazing free content floating around on social media. You could do a free workout class every hour of the day if you wanted! however if you would like support in developing effective programmes regardless of the equipment you have access to please get in touch with us, as part of our services we offer online personal training allowing us to work with our clients from a distance even during this time whilst the gyms are closed. “

This being said, many of the live workouts on social media and home based programs often have the aim of just getting people moving. Joe Wicks is a great example of doing just that. For most people, this is great. People who wouldn't normally exercise are getting up and getting it done, and therefore massively improving their health and hopefully creating a healthy routine that will continue after this pandemic.

However, for those of you with body composition or strength goals, the generic home workouts on social media aren't going to cut it. To build muscle (hypertrophy), you must perform progressive overload in some form or another. Despite what many may think, this can be done with bodyweight only. Of course the best way to ensure you are following an effective home program is to hire an Online Personal Trainer who can provide this for you, but if this isn't an option, I have compiled my top tips for packing on the muscle whilst confined to your house with little or no equipment.


Every Personal Trainer is sick of saying this but, DIET IS CRUCIAL! You cannot achieve body composition goals without looking at your diet as well as your workouts. I'm sure you have heard it before, but adequate protein and calories is the only way you can grow. This is specific to each individual so if you're not sure what numbers you should be hitting, get in touch and we can give you advice.

Training Methods

In the gym you probably stuck to a similar structure each time you went. Now is the time to change that structure! Challenge your body in new ways with the following training techniques:

- Unilateral work (pistol squats, single leg RDLs, one handed push ups etc).

- Tempo. 3 second eccentric, 3 second pause and 1 second concentric is a good place to start.

- Isometrics. Planks, squat holds, glute bridges etc are all movements that you can apply this to. Hold for long enough and you will certainly feel the burn!

- Plyometrics. Adding a plyometric element to an exercise can really up the intensity. For example, bodyweight Bulgarians followed immediately by plyometric Bulgarians is a great way to up the intensity.

- Up the reps. If you only have lighter weights, go for 20-30 rep ranges. Don't get stuck in the mindset that 10-12 reps is the only range in which you can build muscle; your body will adapt to progressive overload whether that's by increasing weight, reps, sets or decreasing rest.

- Increase range of motion. Something as simple as raising your feet for glute bridges can be a game changer!

Other Factors

You may not be able to train as often or as hard as you'd like, but this is a great time to get on top of other aspects of your health which can have a surprising effect on your goals. Sleep is vital for hypertrophy, so if you haven't been great at that before, up your sleep game! Hydration is obviously important as is every other part of recovery (see an older blog post on this).

Focus on Your Weaknesses

Spend the extra time you have working on imbalances and weaknesses. One thing that we can all improve on is mobility and flexibility. This may seem pointless or boring, but spend a few months in a regular progressive mobility program and you'll soon see the differences in your lifts. We all neglect this area so make it a priority and I guarantee you'll notice a difference when you get back in the gym!

The other element to this is focusing on muscle groups and individual muscles that often get neglected. Some examples are: calves, hamstrings or rhomboids. If you have weaknesses in certain muscles, get in touch and we can provide some exercises that will help.

Buy a Band

Resistance bands are the cheapest and easiest way to add resistance to bodyweight exercises. For less than £20 you can get a full set of good quality bands at different strengths, and these can be used for almost everything. Get creative or get in touch with us for some ideas!

And don't forget, you don't have to workout at all if you really don't want to. This is a strange and stressful time for everyone, so if you don't feel like hitting the (home) gym, then just make sure you are going on your daily walk and staying healthy; the gym will still be there when this is all over.

For Online Personal Training queries, get in touch via our website, email or Facebook.

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