Resistance training at home is an excellent way to burn some extra calories from the comfort of your house! Unlike other types of training, there’s no need to buy expensive weight sets or other home fitness equipment. Although home gym sets can be a great investment, these free strength training exercises require minimal to no equipment for people who want to get active on a budget.
What Is Resistance Training?
Resistance training is any exercise that forces your muscles to contract against an external force of resistance, like resistance bands. However, you don’t need to use resistance bands to get the benefits of resistance training. You can use dumbbells, your own bodyweight, a stack of books, or anything else you have laying around the house!
Are resistance training and strength training the same thing?
Yes and no! Resistance training and strength training exercises are not the same thing, although they are closely related and are sometimes used interchangeably. Weight training and weight lifting are also sometimes called strength training. Strength training refers to a more general goal of gaining strength via different forms of exercise. Sometimes when people refer to strength training, they’re referring to lifting heavy weights at low repetitions. Resistance training plays a part in someone’s strength training routine, but the goal of resistance training is not only to build strength. Resistance training helps increase your physical fitness as a whole.
Benefits of Resistance Training
The benefits of resistance training and strength training at home are similar to other forms of exercise. According to a 2012 study, the benefits of resistance training may include:
- Increased physical performance
- Increased movement control
- Reduced muscle mass loss
- Increased cognitive abilities
- Improved functional independence
- Improved self-esteem
- May help prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes
- Enhanced cardiovascular health
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced LDL “bad” cholesterol
- Increased HDL “good” cholesterol
- May promote bone development
- May reduce lower back pain
One of the greatest benefits of resistance training and strength training is that it’s easy to start and doesn’t require any special training. Considering muscle mass starts to degrade after the age of 30, resistance training is a great way for adults to retain muscle mass and stay healthy as they age. Without muscle, individuals can be more susceptible to falls and decreased mobility. .
Who Can Start Resistance Training?
Resistance training and strength training are suitable for almost anyone. Resistance training and strength training can be adapted to a variety of fitness levels, so it’s a good choice for people of all ages. If you have any health concerns, you should talk with your health care professional before starting a new exercise regime.
Resistance Training At Home Equipment
Can you do resistance training without weights?
Yes! You can start resistance training and strength training at home without equipment just by using your bodyweight. Many people prefer to buy some sort of home exercise equipment to help enrich their workouts. Resistance training and strength training equipment is generally very affordable. You don’t have to purchase a complete set of weights or cardio equipment to get the most of resistance training or strength training. Even just one set of resistance bands or dumbbells can make a huge difference and allow you to participate in more dynamic workouts at home.
Home resistance band training has grown in popularity over the past few years. Resistance bands are a popular form of exercise aid and they commonly come in circular form, like these ones:
They also come in straight or tubular forms. Resistance bands are so popular because they’re so versatile. You can use a set of resistance bands to workout muscles all over your body to help strengthen your muscles and bones.
Free weights are considered any weight that isn’t attached to an exercise machine. These include: dumbbells, kettlebells,
medicine balls, barbells, ankle weights, sand bags, tires, heavy books...or anything that you can pick up and move freely. If you’re looking for versatile and affordable free weights, you’ll probably want to look into dumbbells and/or kettlebells. What's great about free weights is that you can use them in a variety of different types of exercises including:
- Weight Training / Weight Lifting
- Strength Training
- Circuit Training
Dumbbells are free weights that usually come in pairs. You can hold one dumbbell in each hand or just use one dumbbell at a time. They can be used in a variety of exercises from squats to overhead presses. Dumbbells come in weights ranging from 2kg to 40kg, so you can choose a weight that’s most appropriate for your fitness level. They’re usually made of silicone, polyurethane, or a blend of iron and polyurethane.
Kettlebells get their name from their appearance; they look like a cannonball with a handle. Unlike dumbbells, they’re more commonly made of pure iron or cast-iron instead of polyurethane or silicone. Kettlebells also come in weights from 2kg to approximately 40kg, so beginners and experts alike can use them for resistance training at home.
Basics of Resistance Training
There are a few terms you’ll need to know so you can follow along with the exercise routines.
Reps (Short for “Repetitions”): This is how many times you’ll repeat the exercise move.
Sets: A set is a group of repetitions together. For example, one complete set might have 10 repetitions.
Rest: You’ll often be instructed to “rest” between sets. This means taking a few seconds to grab water, walk around, and catch your breath.
How to Exercise At Home
Below you’ll find a few workout routines that you can use to get started resistance training or strength training at home. Simply follow the tutorials on YouTube and get to work! Before you get started, clear out an area in your bedroom, living room, or outdoor space where you can move around freely.
If you’re new to working out, start by doing one of these workouts 2-3 times per week. If you choose to workout more than 2-3 days per week, just make sure you give your muscles time to repair between workouts.
When you’re doing these workouts at home, be sure to follow the instructor as closely impossible. You want to prioritize getting your form right above all else. If you have to pause the video or go slower until you get your form right, then that’s okay. You might find it useful to workout in front of a mirror until you're sure your form is correct.
If you choose to use free weights to supplement your exercise routine at home, then you might be wondering “How much weight should I use?”
How much weight you should lift depends on your goals. According to Self.com, if your goal is to build strength, then you’ll want to use heavier weights at lower repetitions with long rests between sets (~2 minutes). If your goal is to tone up and build endurance, then you’ll want to use lower weights at higher repetitions with shorter rests between sets (>30 seconds). If your goal is to build more muscle, then you’ll want to increase how many reps and sets you can do while minimizing rest between sets. Keep these goals in mind when buying home exercise equipment online. For example, you probably don't want to buy 2kg dumbbells if your goal is to build strength.
For beginners, any light to moderate weight (2kg - 10 kg) is sufficient to start out with. Once you determine your goals and get more familiar with resistance training, you can expand your free weight collection as needed.
Free Resistance Training Exercises
Before jumping into a new workout program, it’s a good idea to warm up ahead of time. It’s recommended to warm up before starting a workout to get your blood pumping and get your body ready for exercise. A popular at-home workout warm up is to
jump rope for 5-10 minutes. If you don’t have a skipping rope, you can simply walk, job, or do jumping jacks for 5-10 minutes. Make sure to have a water bottle close by before starting your workout.
The following routines are mainly strength training workouts for beginners. If you're an exercise expert, feel free to add your own twist on the workouts below. You can adapt them to your fitness level by adding cardio, heavier weights, more sets, or anything else that will help you have a successful workout.
Workout #1 - Upper Body Workout
No equipment needed.
Workout #2 - Full Body Workout
Free weights are required for this workout.
Workout #3 - Lower Body Workout
Circular or tubular resistance bands are required for this workout.
Don’t forget to cool down after your workout! After a particularly hard workout, you might be tempted to sit down or lay down for a rest. However, it’s important to walk around, stretch, or do some light cardio after your workout. This helps your body adjust to a lower heart rate. Cooling down might also help prevent delayed-onset muscle soreness, but they jury's still out on that one!
At the very least, walk around for a few minutes to allow your body to adjust to a slower pace. You might find it helpful to do some light stretching after your workout as well. Stretching is a gentle way to lower your heart rate and allow your body to relax after exercising. Contrary to the popular belief, stretching after a workout most likely doesn’t help prevent muscle soreness, but it never hurts to work on your flexibility!
You’ll get the best results from resistance training at home if you do it consistently. At home strength training is a great way to supplement your cardio routine, flexibility routine, or martial arts training routine.
If you’re looking for more interesting ways to exercise at home, read our guide on How to Start Martial Arts Training At Home.