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Sports Scientist Provides The Ultimate Guide to Working Out at Home

working out home
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Working out at home can help save you time, money and, if you are advised correctly, accelerate results if properly performed with integrity.
Sadly, 99% people, who workout at home, are still not abiding by the key principles that cause our body, cells and metabolism to change or adapt.

While they include unique or ‘sexy’ exercises from their favorite Instagram model, most of these WILL NOT stimulate your muscles to adapt or maximize fat loss, strength or muscle toning.

If you really want to maximize your results at home it takes advanced and specific programming so you can still provide sufficient overload and stimulate your body into change.

In this article, I’ll provide all the advanced research-proven tools and methods necessary to take your home workouts to the next level and actually get results that are close to a full gym workout!

Working Out At Home: The Best Options

One of the most common mistakes people make when working out at home is that they feel limited to only a few exercises, such as push-ups, crunches, and planks. While initially, these may be effective, over time your body adapts and these provide very little benefit.

In order to constantly change and move forward (while not getting bored), it is important to have an understanding all of the different workout styles and intensities available to you when working out at home.

1.) HIIT When Working Out At Home

In recent years HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, has exploded as a popular “working out at home”-option. HIIT is one of the most effective training styles on the planet, with research showing it can speed up fat loss, increase muscle tone and even target stubborn belly or leg fat (1-4).

A typical HIIT session consists of high-intensity bouts, ranging from 6-30 second intervals performed at a flat out intensity. This short, sharp interval is then followed by a prolonged rest lasting 30 seconds all the way up to 4 minutes depending on the activity and protocol.

HIIT can be performed in the comfort of your own home with specific bodyweight movements that cause a large spike in oxygen uptake or your metabolism. They can also be performed with any form of cardio equipment including treadmill, bikes, rowers, elliptical or battle ropes.

Here are a few exercises to try:

  • Stair Sprints
  • Running Sprints outside
  • Squat Jumps
  • Burpees

2.) Bodyweight Circuits When Working Out At Home

Bodyweight circuits are beneficial (when using the RIGHT exercises) as they allow you to complete full body workouts in short periods of time.

My advanced bodyweight circuits are an efficient way to increase metabolic stress and EPOC, which has been identified as a driver of muscle growth and fat loss. My advanced bodyweight circuits also help increase calorie expenditure which may aid in increased fat loss (5).

The problem with MOST normal bodyweight workouts is they use ‘isolation’ based exercises that just work 1 muscle group. Further, these often don’t overload the muscle or provide sufficient activation of muscle fibers or motor units. This means that the body doesn’t get a sufficient ‘signal’ to change and adapt.

If you’re doing the silly side kicks or bodyweight kick backs and not seeing results, then it’s time to change and use more advanced bodyweight movements that actually overload the muscle and body.

(Related: Download my 50 Advanced Home Workouts that Boost Your Mitochondria, our cells’ engine, and therefore metabolism, on THIS page:

3.) Using DB/BB/Medicine Ball When Working Out At Home

Common home workout equipment generally consists of some form of dumbbells, barbells and medicine balls.

These have widespread appeal, being relatively cheap, taking up minimal amounts of space and, most importantly, providing sufficient overload for your body and muscles.

Dumbbells and Barbells have been used for so long in the fitness industry that you can immediately add over 100+ exercises to your routine with these two pieces of equipment that can target your whole body. For clients or fans asking the best investment when working out at home, I always tell them: dumbbells and barbells.

Unlike being limited with just your own bodyweight, Dumbbells and Barbells also enable an increase in overall training volume and training load (i.e. weight) over the course of weeks or months.

Adding extra volume or training load to your workouts will help optimize your training adaptations and boost your results significantly (6).

The Best Equipment When Working Out At Home

Working out at home has increased in popularity and therefore multiple products have hit the market. However, just like 90% of supplements are a waste of time, it’s important to buy the RIGHT and research-proven equipment.

So, before you go out and buy a belly wrap or the new ‘Ab Buster” from your late night shopping channel it is important to understand what each piece of equipment actually offers you and how it provides stimulus to your body.

If you don’t understand the basics of exercise science and overload, I’ve done the hard work for you and have provided below a list of the best equipment when working out at home

1.) Resistance Bands When Working Out At Home

Resistance bands provide added resistance throughout the entire range of motion, with specific overload as the band lengths. Adding resistance bands has been shown to increase strength and power adaptations; however, it still needs to be heavy and tough to provide overload. If you can do 50 reps, it’s too light. Pick bands that cause fatigue in less than 20 reps (7).

Resistance bands offer several functions. Firstly, they can provide assistance on exercises where you may regularly fatigue quickly, such as in pullups; by adding a resistance band to this exercise you will be able to complete more reps and more sets.

Lastly, resistance bands can be used just like free weights or cables. While they aren’t as good, they are far cheaper and make an adequate alternative if you haven’t invested in dumbbells or barbells at home.

2.) Pull-up – Push-up Bars When Working Out At Home

Pull-ups are one of the best exercises on the planet, working your back, core and biceps.

When working out at home, pull-up bars can be hung from door frames and are very effective. They can also serve as a push-up station providing you with different grips and allowing an increase in range of motion, while protecting your wrists. Both of these exercises can drastically increase the intensity of your home workouts and also overload the muscles, unlike most common bodyweight exercises.

3.) Bike, Treadmill, Rower, Battle Ropes When Working Out At Home

While traditional steady state cardio may be boring and time consuming, HIIT is highly effective and can be performed in 10-15 minutes per day.

If you still love slow or steady state cardio, try doing 10+ HIIT intervals first followed by 10-30 minutes of steady state cardio. HIIT can also be used after or before other home workouts, helping to burn more calories, improve fitness and boosting your metabolism.

(Related: Get my 30 Day HOME HIIT Kick Start plan HERE)

4.) Kettle Bells For Working Out At Home

Kettle Bells provide you with the opportunity to add explosive, calorie-burning movements to your home workouts (8).

Because they are added load, they can also function like a dumbbell to provide sufficient overload for other exercises such as lunges, squats, bent over rows, overhead press etc.

Kettlebell swings are also a staple exercise, working the core, back and bum/glutes and hamstrings. They are also a great exercise for your joint and biomechanical health, strengthening the lower back and posterior chain muscles which are often weak in most athletes and the general population.

Finally, because Kettlebells require multiple large muscle groups, they can boost your metabolism and burn A LOT of calories in a short period of time. You can get my Kettlebell workouts here: www.rudymawer.com/home-kettlebell-workout

5.) Barbells, Dumbbells, Medicine balls

As mentioned, barbells, dumbbells and medicine balls are the best bits of equipment when working out at home. They give you the ability to drastically add more volume, intensity and variation to your routine – all key factors in long-term success and in achieving your ultimate physique.

In my famous 50 Home Workout Series I provide multiple advanced DB, BB and Medicine Ball workouts that provide gym-like results from your own HOME in 30 minutes or less!

Here’s an example workout from the Mitochondria Home Workout Program

Get the other 49 full workouts now with this 60% discount coupon below, click today to activate:

working out home

Biggest Mistakes When Working Out At Home

The most common home workout mistake is that the workout intensities are too low! Let’s face it – you’re not going to see any changes by doing 50 step-ups on a box or 30 rep side kicks or glute kick backs!

In order to see change, you have to train the right metabolic systems and this requires training at high intensities!

Believe it or not, this can be done at home through proper body weight circuits, HIIT variations and by utilizing dumbbells and kettle bells that we’ve discussed throughout!

Another issue with home workouts is repeating the SAME routines over and over again. Research has shown that after just 4-6 weeks our body adapts, at which point, further exercise will not provide sufficient overload or stimulus and no further change will occur.

This is why we provide over 50 HOME WORKOUTS, giving you 3 years or more of advanced, research proven home workouts!

If you are training at home, ensure you switch your program and exercises up every 4-6 weeks and continually add more load or weight to keep your body adapting!

How to Optimize Your Home Workouts!

In order to optimize your at-home-workouts it’s important to follow some basic training principles.

1.) Provide sufficient overload – Overload is the key driver for all your adaptations. Overload can be added to your home workout by increasing the intensity of your sessions, adding extra sets and varying your exercises.

2.) Exercise variation – By introducing more exercises to your home routine you’ll stay motivated and will likely increase your adherence to a program. Exercise variation also targets different portions of each muscle group and provides great growth and boosts in your metabolism.

3.) Train the varying rep ranges – Training with varying rep ranges results in favorable muscular adaptations and reduces boredom.

4.) Push the intensity – Don’t be afraid to get sweaty. High intensity metabolic training will help boost fat loss and optimize results.

5.) Monitor your volume – Research has shown there is a dose response between training volume and muscular growth and strength. Therefore, to get the most out of your workouts, make sure you’re training with sufficient volumes!

6.) Switch Up Your Routines – As mentioned, ensure you are changing your routine every 4-6 weeks to keep your body adapting.


There you have it, your ultimate guide to working out at home.

Next, make sure you have the right equipment to support your training goals and use the right exercises that actually overload your muscles. As a rule of thumb, if you can do more than 20 reps you are just burning energy and not providing sufficient overload to get that lean, strong or toned physique.

Once you have these in order, make sure you’re training at high intensities and training 4 times or more per week.
If you want to download my 50 Home Workout Mitochondria Matrix program you can get it here: www.rudymawer.com/50-home-workouts-download


1.) Shiraev, T., & Barclay, G. (2012). Evidence based exercise: Clinical benefits of high intensity interval training. Australian family physician, 41(12), 960.

2.) Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J. A., & Bouchard, C. (1994). Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism, 43(7), 814-818.

3.) E. G. Trapp, D. J. Chisholm, J. Freund, and S. H. Boutcher, “The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women,” International Journal of Obesity, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 684–691, 2008.

4.) Naimo, M. A., De Souza, E. O., Wilson, J. M., Carpenter, A. L., Gilchrist, P., Lowery, R. P., … & Joy, J. (2015). High-intensity interval training has positive effects on performance in ice hockey players. International journal of sports medicine, 36(01), 61-66.

5.) Schoenfeld, B. J. (2010). The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research24(10), 2857-2872.

6.)  Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 1-10.

7.) Joy, J. M., Lowery, R. P., de Souza, E. O., & Wilson, J. M. (2016). Elastic bands as a component of periodized resistance training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research30(8), 2100-2106.

8.) Harrison, J. S., Schoenfeld, B., & Schoenfeld, M. L. (2011). Applications of kettlebells in exercise program design. Strength & Conditioning Journal33(6), 86-89.

About the author


Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN

Rudy has a 1st class BSc in Exercise, Nutrition & Health and a Masters in Exercise & Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa. Rudy currently works as a Human Performance Researcher, Sports Nutritionist and Physique Coach. Over 7 years he has helped over 500 people around the world achieve long last physique transformations.

He now works closely with a variety of professional athletes and teams, including the NBA, USA Athletics, World Triathlon Gold Medalists, Hollywood Celebrities and IFBB Pro Bodybuilders. If you would like to get in contact or work with Rudy please contact him on social media.

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