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Strength Training

The Secret To Sculpting Muscles At Home

Building a ripped body not only looks great, more importantly its beneficial for your health. The right muscle building training at home depends on your goals. If you want to tone your body and reduce fat, you’ll need to train differently to someone who wants to gain a lot of muscle mass. Find out about the most important training principles and the most effective methods here.

What makes muscles grow? 

Your muscles grow when you consistently put them under higher levels of resistance or weight. This is known as muscle hypertrophy. As a result the fibers of the muscles sustain damage or injury with the body repairing damaged fibers by fusing them which increases the mass and size of the muscle.

Here is how the process unfolds after four or five training sessions.

  • Sufficiently intensive training results in tiny tears in the muscle fibres.
  • This attracts satellite cells.
  • These satellite cells produce protein for the repair at the injured area.
  • In doing so, they divide, fuse with the muscle fiber and give it new cell nuclei.
  • These cell nuclei produce proteins and the muscle grows.

Whats the best muscle building training for you?

If you’ve never done any serious training before, not only do your muscles have to get used to the new load, so do your tendons and ligaments. That’s why you should take it easy in the first few weeks and ease into training.

You should start with endurance training (see below). Your big advantage as a beginner is that you have the greatest potential for improvement and muscle development can even be seen with low intensity.

If you’re a more experienced trainer returning to the home gym, the break is important. If you haven’t trained for more than a year, remember, you’re starting all over again. Ease into it and don’t expect to pick up where you left off a year ago. Show some restraint and start with strength endurance training (see below). 

If you’ve have been training for a long time, you can work with a higher intensity. But that doesn’t mean that you should be constantly increase your weight limits. You can only continue to work on building your muscle mass through a systematic change of exercises and the targeted use of exercise variants. More on that a little later.

The right equipment for amazing results 

If you want to do your muscle building training at home, you have several options:

Setting the right intensity levels for muscle building

Building muscle mass depends on creating certain stimulus. If you work with weights that are too light and the muscle wont react. If the weights are too heavy, you risk overloading and in the worst case even injuries. Training on multi-gyms, curl benches and barbells gives you the advantage of knowing the exact weight you’re working with. To calculate your intensity levels, you have to determine your maximum strength regularly every six weeks. The maximum strength is the weight that you can barely manage once. Here’s how you can find out your max strength, ideally with a partner to spot you

 Warm up for a few minutes and then choose the weight for each exercise you think you can only do one repetition.

 If you can manage the weight with the correct movement, wait a few minutes, put a little more weight on it and try again.

 If the weight was too heavy, of course you have to reduce it.

 As a rule, three to four attempts are sufficient to determine your maximum strength.

 Write down the name of the exercise, date and weight.

 If you train regularly, repeat this test every six weeks and then adjust your weight during training.

Max weight with dumbells, kettlebells and fitness bands

When you train with dumbbells, kettlebells and fitness bands, you cant determine the maximum strength as methodically. If you’re working out with this equipment the so-called subjective feeling of strain helps you:

Level 1 light: The load is hardly noticed and does not build muscle.
Level 2 a little difficult: You feel the stress, but still have large reserves.
Level 3 medium difficulty: You finish the series of exercises although you could still do a few more reps.
Level 4 difficult: You can perform the reps until just before exhaustion.
Level 5 very difficult: You are going to the limit of your resilience.

Levels 2 and 3 are ideal for beginners while advanced and professionals should workout in levels 4 and 5.

What else do I have to pay attention to when doing muscle training?

In addition to choosing the right weight or resistance, its also critical to take the right breaks. The muscles grow during the recovery phase, the workout itself only stimulates the growth. Scientific studies have shown that 48 hours are ideal. In  well-trained athletes, this phase is reduced to 36 or even 24 hours.

And here are a few basic rules:

  • At the beginning there is always a 5-10 minute warm-up program.
  • Train the flexors (e.g. the biceps) before the extensors (the triceps).
  • Start with the arm and leg first and then the trunk muscles.
  • Save your favorite exercises for last, train your weaknesses first.
  • Try to breathe as evenly as possible and avoid press breathing.
  • A lot can be achieved with three training sessions per week.
  • If you train more often, you should not train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

What are the best exercises for building muscle?

There are so many muscle building exercises it can all become quite confusing. The good news is, your training should only consist of just a few, but highly effective exercises that address as many areas of the body as possible. Multi-joint and compact exercises are perfect. Five or six exercises are sufficient per training program. The most important are:

  • Chest: bench press on multi-gym, with barbell or dumbbell, flyer on the incline bench, pushups on handles.
  • Back: pullups, rows bent forward and in prone position, back extensions.
  • Legs and lower back: squats with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, hamstrings on the multi-gym, calf raises.
  • Shoulders: Shoulder press and shoulder raises with dumbbells, front and side raises with dumbbells, rows upright.
  • Biceps and triceps: bench dip, triceps extensions with dumbbells and barbell, crook of the curl desk, crooks of the arm with dumbbells.
  • Core and abdominal muscles: Planks in different variations, abdominal crimps straight and sideways on the ball, Russian twist with dumbbells, kettlebells or medicine ball)

How to plan your muscle shredding sessions

The training plan should reflect your personal goals. If you want to tone your muscles and lose fat, endurance training is best . Even beginners should start with this variant first. If you want to get more muscular, muscle building or hypertrophy training is right for you. In detail it looks like this:

Strength endurance training: 3 series per exercise with 15-20 repetitions at 50 to 60% of maximum strength. Take a break of 60-90 seconds in between.

Hypertrophy training: 3 series per exercise with 8 -12 repetitions at 70-85% of maximum strength. In between each 2-3 seconds break.


Here are some examples of effective sessions for both beginners and advanced users, both on a multi-gym and with free weights.

Training examples multi-gym beginner (endurance training) advanced (hypertrophy training) 

  • Bench press
  • Rowing while seated
  • Back pull
  • Leg press or leg curl
  • Calf raises
  • Planks (3 x 20 to 30 seconds)

Training example free weights beginners (endurance training), advanced (hypertrophy training)

  • Squats with a barbell behind your head
  • Bench press with barbell
  • Shoulder presses with dumbbells
  • Row with one arm (right and left)
  • Deadlift with barbell
  • Planks

Mix it up to really smash those muscles

If you’re already hitting your home gym regularly and want to build even more muscle, make your training as variable as possible and choose the exercises that push you to the limit. Start with these:

  • Single leg squats with a barbell behind your head
  • Bench press with barbell on the incline bench
  • Row upright with barbells
  • Row bent forward
  • One arm deadlift with dumbbell
  • Difficult planks

A weekly training plan for home gym junkies

MondaySquats3 x 3 reps with 85% of the maximum strength
 Bench press4 x 5 reps with 70% of the maximum strength
 Pull-downs3 x 10 reps with 65% of the maximum strength
 Dumbbell crooks3 x 12 reps with 55% of the maximum strength
WednesdaySquats3 x 12 reps with 55% of the maximum strength
 Bench press3 x 3 reps with 85% of the maximum strength
 Pull-downs4 x 5 reps with 70% of the maximum strength
 Dumbbell crooks3 x 10 reps with 65% of the maximum strength
FridaySquats4 x 5 reps with 70% of the maximum strength
 Bench press3 x 12 reps with 55% of the maximum strength
 Pull-downs3 x 3 reps with 85% of the maximum strength
 Dumbbell crooks4 x 5 reps with 70% of the maximum strength

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