In Home Gym Workout Routines: Building a Plan to Meet YOUR Goals!

Your in home gym workout routines are the backbone of a successful home fitness experience. After all, how do you know what that first step should be if you don't know where you want to end up?

When choosing an exercise plan make sure to write out exactly what muscles you would like to target. You may be more interested in keeping weight off than bulking up. In that case you want to do fast pace exercises that target large muscle groups ... more on this a little later.

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Start with your goal in mind. You won't get there over night but this will help you plan the steps you will need to take beforehand. There are two major categories to start from when planning your in home gym workout routines:

  • Muscle & Strength Building
  • Muscle Toning & Fat Loss

It is extremely important to pick one and stick with it. Why? ... Because you really will get somewhere if you stay focused and consistent. Your body will react positively to your workouts if you have a clear cut goal and something to consistently build on. Plus, generally speaking, it is impossible to gain weight and lose weight at the same time ... so figure out where you want to end up before you start!

Muscle & Strength Building

You need to always keep three things in mind when working towards your muscle and strength building program:

  1. Intensity: This goes without saying. You really can't build muscle unless you put your all into it. With each movement, push your body to the limit so you can achieve maximum gains.
  2. Rest: Your muscles actually develop and grow when you are resting after a good workout, not when you are over exerting yourself! The lifting supplies the necessary stimulus but the rest supplies the actual growth. Also remember to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night.
  3. Change: You need to switch up your workouts (and add more weight) every once in a while in order to continue to grow. Your body will get used to the same movements over time so switching it up will keep things fresh.


During the planning stage of your in home gym workout routines, section your workout into 3 or 4 days a week. Don't forget to allow your muscles rest in order to grow and develop. For instance, never workout your triceps two days in a row. Instead, allow at least 3 days after you target a muscle for it to recover before you work it again.

Let's say for example Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are good days that fit into your schedule. You can do:

  • Triceps and chest on Monday
  • Legs and abs on Tuesday
  • Biceps and back on Thursday
  • Shoulders on Saturday

You can also combine Triceps & Biceps for one day and Back & Chest for the other upper body day if you prefer.

Your biggest upper body days are Monday and Thursday which is enough time for your body to recover. You can also choose to do abs again on Saturday after your shoulder workout because it will be 3 days since you last worked them.

Overall you want to make sure that you are allowing enough rest between days for your muscles to recover and grow. If you feel like this schedule does not allow enough time for rest, than you definitely should consider working out 3 times a week.

Don't do any lifting however more than two days in a row. More often than not this means you are over exerting yourself. This will hinder your goal to build muscle

Warming up

When you start your in home gym workout routines, warm up with a couple sets of lighter weight to get the initial pump you will need to build on. Let's say you are starting out with a tricep exercise. Do about 2 sets of half the weight before getting into heavier lifting. This will pump your triceps so that they react positively to the heavier weight when you are ready to start the routine.

Rest periods between sets & Supersets

Supersets are very important to your in home gym workout routines when working towards muscle gain. The idea here is to do a set immediately after another set in your routine. For example, if you start with 10 reps of preacher curls for biceps you can immediately do a set of 8 reps of hammer curls to maximize intensity.

You can plan your sets this way throughout your workout so that you are doing two back to back sets with a break before your next set. This will push your muscles to their limit and give them a reason to grow.

Generally your break between sets should only be about 1-2 minutes. Any more time in between and you will risk losing your pump and rhythm.

Pyramids & Reverse Pyramids

This is also a good structure to use when developing your in home gym workout routines. Say for example you are doing bench presses. You can do about 2 sets of warm up push ups and then follow a routine similar to this:

  1. 10 reps of 140 lbs
  2. 8 reps of 155 lbs
  3. 6 reps of 170 lbs
  4. 4 reps of 185 lbs
  5. 2 reps of 200 lbs

Notice the weight increases as you go up the pyramid but the reps decrease. I guess I don't have to explain what reverse pyramids are, huh? ... you get the idea. These can be a great structure to build your in home gym workout routines around.

Pyramids also help with maxing out if your goal is to be the guy who can bench press the most!

Complimentary Muscles

Some muscles naturally work together when you lift weights. A good example is triceps and chest. Both are pushing motions. Your chest will help your triceps and your triceps will help your chest during your workout. Here is a list of complimentary muscles you can work together while forming your in home gym workout routines:

  • Triceps & Chest
  • Biceps & Back
  • Biceps & Forearms
  • Legs & Abs

Another approach to pairing muscles is to workout your arms together and your back and chest together on a different day.

Muscle Toning & Fat Loss

If your main goal is fat loss and toning you need to do your workouts at a fast pace. When you are just getting started with your in home gym workout routines you can get a decent workout in only 15-20 minutes time.

Don't get me wrong though ... this is going to be a very tough 15-20 minutes. For this process you need to do a lot of exercises and take minimal to no rest in between sets. This will keep your heart rate going giving you an aerobic workout at the same time.

The great thing about incorporating lifting weights into your in home gym workout routines is that it will allow you to keep muscle toned and fit while losing fat, not muscle.

Think of muscle and fat as arch enemies ... as long as you are building muscle, you are building a fat burning furnace in your body and increasing the strength of your metabolism. Pretty cool, huh? For this reason, increasing muscle definition and losing weight go hand in hand.

What muscles should you focus on?

Generally speaking, you will want to target large muscle groups and work your muscles together while training for fat loss. These bigger muscles in your body help fuel the furnace for fat loss:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Lats
  • Midsection
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluts (your butt)

You will end up working your arm muscles (triceps, biceps and forearms) but the purpose isn't to target these muscles. As you shed fat with your in home gym workout routines your whole body will look ripped and your arms will look good anyway.

You may not look like Pop Eye but you will be in great shape!

How often should you workout?

Since you do want to gain a little muscle with this program, you should allow some rest in between workouts. I would recommend picking about 3 days to workout ... 4 if you're feeling really ambitious.

Separate the days so they aren't back to back ... at least not right away. If you consider yourself to be very in shape, you can get away with 2 days in a row but don't go for 3 days in a row.

A good schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Planning the routine

The good thing about fat loss in home gym workout routines is that you really only need to worry about coming up with one to do about 3 times a week. Since you won't be necessarily targeting more glamorous muscles (like biceps) or work in a "bodybuilding" style schedule, you can afford to rack your brain only once to come up with a good routine.

Here is a list of exercises that you can do during your routine along with the muscles targeted:

  • Shoulders - Shoulder press, lateral raise
  • Chest - push ups, chest flys
  • Lats - Lat pull down, dips
  • Midsection - Crunches, weighted crunches
  • Quadriceps - Squats
  • Hamstrings / Gluts - Lunges

Remember to work your midsection and legs quite a bit as these are the areas that tend to carry the most fat. Also, notice that these are all major muscles in your body that tend to house a lot of fat cells. Your in home gym workout routines should target all of your major muscles, but make sure you pay attention to your weak points

Add some cardio

During your workout, you will also want to keep your heart rate going by incorporating aerobic exercises such as jumping jacks, jump rope, treadmill running etc. Do these within your workout 3-4 times.

This will dramatically intensify the workout and make sure you are burning the most fat possible!

So there you have it ... the two major categories that you, me and every other male fall into on the planet ... those who want to beef up and those who want to tone down.

Wherever you want your in home gym workout routines to lead you, remember to keep at it. In the long run this is about you and how you want your body to look.

Happy Lifting.

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