So you want to build muscle at home rather than joining a regular gym?

No problem. There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t execute an effective muscle building workout from home without ever setting foot in a commercial gym.

Personally, I think working out from home is great. My first 2 years of training (where I made a massive “skinny to muscular” transformation, I might add)were done in my basement with nothing more than a few basic pieces of equipment.

Your reasons for wanting to build muscle at home could be any number of things…

Maybe you’re tight on cash right now and want to save the gym membership cost.

Maybe you have a busy schedule and want to save time by working out at home.

Maybe you’re a complete beginner and feel uncomfortable training in a regular gym setting at the moment. (Side note: As long as you’re working hard, nobody in the gym could care less what you’re doing and there’s no reason to be embarrassed. That said, if you really do feel uncomfortable due to your inexperience, that’s fine too, and I know the feeling myself.)

Whatever your reason is, don’t worry.

Training from home can be equally effective and affords you several advantages…

You don’t have to worry about travel time to and from the gym. You can simply slip downstairs (or wherever your gym setup is) whenever you feel like it and know that all of your training equipment is right there waiting.

You can listen to any kind of music you want, as loud as you want, and not have to worry about bothering anyone around you.

You can grunt, yelp or scream through your sets if you’re in the mood (hey, deadlifting to failure is not easy) without the gym attendant tapping you on the shoulder.

And when your workout is over you can sprawl out on the floor in exhaustion knowing that your couch, kitchen, TV and whatever else is just a few steps away.

All that said, if you really want to build muscle at home and make some serious gains, you’re going to need to invest in the proper setup.

Body weight exercises without any equipment at all can have their place in the beginning but are not a solution to long term muscle size and strength gains.

A pair of 10 pound dumbbells and some rubber tubing is also not going to cut it. Nor will any fancy workout gizmos or home gyms you might have seen on the 3am infomercials.

What we’re talking about here is a legit home gym setup for maximizing muscle growth and strength gains. The good news is that it’s actually pretty straightforward and doesn’t require the use of anything fancy or overly expensive.

If you want to build muscle at home as effectively as possible, here is the equipment you’re going to need…

How To Build Muscle At Home: Equipment Needed

1) Barbell and freeweight plates.

This one piece of equipment alone will allow you to perform an almost endless number of highly effective muscle building exercises.

Rather than settling for cheap plastic weights, go with a high quality cast iron set that will last you over the long run.

You also need to make sure that you purchase enough weight so that you can continually progress from week to week. The entire basis of achieving continual muscle growth is progressive overload, and if you “outgrow” your weight set your muscle gains will be stuck in limbo.

2) Adjustable Dumbbells.

This includes 2 individual dumbbell handles, weight plates and locks so that you can manually set the dumbbell weight on your own. This is far more efficient and cost-effective than buying an entire set of static dumbbells.

Try to find a complete weight set that includes the barbell, dumbbell handles and weight plates all together in a single package.

3) A bench with incline adjustments.

A sturdy, high quality bench is a must-have for performing your bench presses, overhead dumbbell presses and other seated movements. Go with a bench that has an incline adjustment and that also has safety catches if you’re planning to train alone.

4) A chin-up bar.

A simple 15-25 dollar chin-up bar that attaches to your doorframe will work just fine and is important for performing vertical pulling movements, such as overhand and underhand chins.

5) A squat rack.

This will be the trickiest piece of equipment to get a hold of, as a full squat rack can be pricey. However, if you’re training at home without machines and want to achieve the best leg development possible, basic freeweight squats are an irreplaceable movement.

If you don’t have the money or available space for a squat rack then you’ll have to be creative. The bottom line is that you need some sort of setup that allows you to safely unrack a loaded bar, perform a set of squats, and then either re-rack the bar or drop it onto a safety catch or the floor.

You should never, ever perform squats unless you have a safe place to drop the bar in case your strength gives out. Certain types of squat racks also have a chin-up bar built in, so you can kill 2 birds with 1 stone if you do buy one.

If you really have no way of performing barbell squats at home (or if you’re simply not concerned with absolutely maximizing your leg gains) then you can still get by with other movements like barbell hack squats, zercher squats, dumbbell squats, dumbbell lunges and dumbbell step-ups.

So there you have it; the 5 simple pieces of equipment you need to setup an effective gym and build muscle at home.

As long as you invest in these basic tools you can execute an equally effective workout without ever joining a regular gym.

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