Best Full-Body Home Workout

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I’ve been a gym-goer since 2012. Using machines and weights to build muscle has always been a fun experience for me—especially when I’m focused. Music is blasting, adrenaline is flowing, and the pump is through the roof. It can feel therapeutic at times.  

However, not every workout happens at the gym. Sometimes I’m busy with work, get stressed, and feel sick. I also experience something called laziness. I’m sure you can relate. 

So what do I do in a situation like this? It’s actually quite simple. I bring the gym to my home! 

*surprised Pikachu face*  

Getting fit at home is easier than you think. The most difficult part is getting off your butt for 30 to 45 minutes. No idea where to start? Check out my step-by-step guide! 

Perform these exercises at your convenience. You could practice an exercise per day, a muscle group, a push/pull routine, full-body—the choice is yours!   

Before I get into the exercises, here’s a list of equipment I use to perform them:

Chest

Push-Up (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

The exercise of all exercises…the push-up!

Push-ups are one of the best upper-body exercises to perform. They strengthen your pectoral muscles, triceps, and shoulders. As a beginner, push-ups can be somewhat difficult to do. But with consistent training, they become easier and more enjoyable. I went from barely doing one repetition to doing 10 in just a few weeks!

man performing a knee pushup
Knee Push-Up
man performing a pushup
Push-Up

Steps:

  1. Put your body into a high plank position.
    1. (Beginners) High plank with knees on the floor.
  2. Place your hands slightly past your shoulders.
    1. Tip: Narrow grip puts more emphasis on triceps while a wide grip increases chest activation.    
  3. Position your elbows close to your torso (about a 10 to 20-degree angle), avoid flaring them out! 
  4. Slowly lower your body until it touches the floor.   
  5. Squeeze your glutes, abs, and PUSH into the floor with your palms. 
  6. Repeat desired repetitions.       

Resistance Band Chest Fly (3 sets, 15 to 20 reps)

Want to REALLY stretch out your chest? Chest flys are one of my favourite exercises to perform. They are excellent for building your upper and lower chest muscles.

And the best part, chest flys are very easy to master and can be done in a variety of ways. I will demonstrate the standard chest fly using a light resistance band.

man performing a chest fly
Resistance Band Chest Fly

Steps:

  1. Find a spot to anchor your resistance band. The height should be between shoulder and head level (I use a closet rod or my door). 
  2. Grasp the resistance band with your hand. The higher the grip, the more difficult the exercise will be.
  3. Place one foot in front of the other, like you’re about to do a lunge.
  4. Bend your arm slightly and align it with your shoulder.
  5. Extend your arm forward until you reach the center of your chest. 
  6. Slowly return to the starting position. 
  7. Repeat desired repetitions. Alternate between arms.             

Dumbbell Floor Press (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

The bench press is another staple for any chest workout. Similar to the push-up, the bench press is a compound exercise that incorporates several muscle groups at once.

However, as you noticed from the heading, I will be showing you the floor press instead due to not owning a proper bench. Nonetheless, the floor press is still exceptional for both chest and tricep development. 

Man performing a dumbbell floor press
Dumbbell Floor Press

Steps: 

  1. Sit flat on the floor. Place your dumbbells on both sides of your body.
  2. In one consistent movement, grasp your dumbbells and put your back and arms flat on the floor. 
  3. Position your elbows at around 20 to 35-degrees.
  4. Decide if you want your legs flat or knees bent for the exercise (I prefer knees bent).
  5. Push the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended. Hold for a second. 
  6. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position. 
  7. Repeat desired repetitions.           

Shoulders

Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

The shoulder press is another popular compound exercise. It works all three heads of the shoulders. These are your anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear) deltoid muscles.

I begin every shoulder day with this exercise because it requires a ton of energy and works several muscles at once. The dumbbell shoulder press can be done while sitting or standing.

Man performing dumbbell shoulder press
Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Steps:   

  1. Stand (or sit) straight with the dumbbells in your hands. 
  2. Using momentum, swing your dumbbells forward with your knuckles facing up. 
  3. Position your elbows slightly ahead of your shoulders.
  4. Push both dumbells up until your arms are fully extended. Hold for a second. 
  5. Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat desired repetitions. 

Front + Lateral Dumbbell Raise (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

Another exercise that works the anterior and lateral delts are dumbbell raises. I enjoy dumbbell raises because they do a good job of isolating the shoulder muscles. You also don’t need a ton of weight to feel a good burn.

Man performing dumbbell front raise
Front Dumbbell Raise

Steps (Front Dumbbell Raise):       

  1. Stand straight with the dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Swing the dumbbell straight in front of you until its parallel to the floor. Hold for a second.
  3. Slowly lower your arm back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat desired repetitions. Alternate between arms.
Man performing dumbbell lateral raise
Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Steps (Lateral Dumbbell Raise):       

  1. Stand straight with the dumbbells in your hands.
  2. Have your elbows slightly bent. This helps with lateral head activation. 
  3. Swing the dumbbells to your sides until they’re parallel to the floor. Hold for a second.
  4. Slowly lower your arm back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. Alternate between arms. 

Reverse Dumbbell/Band Fly (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

Last but certainly not least is the posterior deltoid. With this muscle, I activate them with reverse flys. Either with dumbbells or a resistance band. Both options are really effective at building the rear delts. It’s a matter of personal preference.   

Man performing dumbbell reverse fly
Dumbbell Reverse Fly
Man performing resistance band reverse fly
Resistance Band Reverse Fly

Steps: 

  1. With dumbbell/band in hand, stand up with your hips bent and torse facing the floor.
    1. Resistance Band: Find a low and stable place to anchor your band.   
  2. Have your elbows slightly bent. 
  3. Swing the dumbbell/band to your side until they’re parallel to the floor. Hold for a second.
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell/band back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. Alternate between arms. 

Tricep

Tricep Extension (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

There are several reasons why I love the tricep extension. First, it’s a great isolation exercise. Second, there are many ways to do them. And third, you can alternate between one or two arm variations. I will show you three versions of the tricep extension using dumbbells.   

Man performing dumbbell tricep extension standing up
Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Steps (Standing):

  1. Stand straight with the dumbbells in your hands. 
  2. Bring the dumbells behind your head with your elbows facing up. 
  3. Push your arms up until they’re fully extended. Hold for a second. 
  4. Slowly lower your forearms back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. 
Man performing dumbbell bent-over tricep extension
Bent-Over Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Steps (Bent-Over):

  1. With dumbbells in hand, stand up with your hips bent and torse facing the floor.
  2. Bring your arms to your sides.
  3. Push your forearms back until they’re fully extended. Hold for a second.
  4. Slowly lower your forearms back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. 
Man performing dumbbell tricep extension while laying down
Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Steps (Laying Down): 

  1. Lay down on the floor with your dumbbells beside you.
  2. With dumbbells in hand, raise your arms until your elbows are facing up. 
  3. Push your forearms until they’re fully extended. Hold for a second. 
  4. Slowly lower your forearms back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat desired repetitions.     

Tricep Pushdown (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

Rather than pushing upwards, this next exercise involves working your triceps in a downward motion. Tricep pushdowns were one of the first exercises I learned when I started lifting. They do a really good job of isolating as well as strengthening the tricep muscles. I will demonstrate the tricep pushdown with a resistance band.

Man performing tricep pushdown with a resistance band
Resistance Band Tricep Pushdown

Steps: 

  1. Find an elevated anchor for your resistance band (I use a closet rod or my door). 
  2. Grab the resistance band with one or two hands.
  3. Bend your body forward by about 30-degrees. Avoid slouching your shoulders.
  4. Push down on the resistance band until your arms are fully extended. Hold for a second. 
  5. Slowly return your hands to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat desired repetitions.        

Tricep Dip (3 sets, 4 to 8 reps)

My favourite bodyweight exercise, the dip! Dips are incredible for building your tricep muscles as well as strengthening your core. They can be done just about anywhere at home. I sometimes crank out a set or two in the kitchen while I cook. But to keep it simple, I recommend using a bench, chair, or even a footstool to perform your dips. 

Man performing tricep dip with a chair
Tricep Dip

Steps:

  1. Find a flat surface that’s one to two feet off the floor (I use my computer chair or footstool)
  2. Place your palms on the surface with your shoulders locked back. 
  3. Bring your body away from the surface and form a plank with your legs. 
  4. Slowly lower your body until your arms form a 90-degree angle. 
  5. Return to the starting position by pushing into the surface with your palms.
  6. Repeat desired repetitions.          

Bicep

Bicep Curl (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps per arm) 

You know this had to be the first bicep exercise. Bicep curls are well-known for building everyone’s favourite muscle. Specifically, bicep curls grow both the long (outer) and short (inner) heads of your bicep.

Bicep curls can be performed with dumbbells, resistance bands, barbells, cables, and the list goes on. I’ll be using a dumbbell for this exercise.  

Man performing a bicep curl with a dumbbell
Bicep Curl

Steps:

  1. Stand straight with one or two dumbbells in your hands. 
  2. With a supinated grip (palms up), curl the dumbbell up to shoulder level. Contract the bicep and hold for a second. 
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat desired repetitions. Alternate between arms.  

Hammer Curl (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps per arm) 

The hammer curl is another excellent bicep exercise. It puts emphasis on the long head of the bicep as well as the brachialis (muscle between long head and tricep) and the brachioradialis (muscle in the forearm).

The difference between a bicep curl and a hammer curl is palm positioning. Bicep curls have your palms facing up while hammer curls have your palms to the side. Like you’re using a hammer!

Man performing a hammer curl with a dumbbell
Hammer Curl

Steps:

  1. Stand straight with one or two dumbbells in your hands. 
  2. With a neutral grip (hammer grip), curl the dumbbell up to shoulder level. Contract the bicep and hold for a second. 
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat desired repetitions.

Concentration Curl (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps per arm) 

The third bicep exercise I will demonstrate is the concentration curl. The concentration curl is similar to the standard bicep curl. Except, it fully isolates the bicep muscle.

This exercise restricts any unnecessary movement that occurs with the shoulders and elbows. It’s just YOU and your bicep muscles doing the work!      

Man performing dumbbell concentration curl while sitting in a chair
Concentration Curl

Steps:

  1. Sit on a chair or stand with your knees bent and torso facing the floor.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in your hand and position your upper-arm on your thigh. 
  3. With a supinated grip (palms up), curl the dumbbell towards your shoulder. Contract the bicep and hold for a second. 
  4. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. Alternate between arms.  

Back

Dumbbell Shrug (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps) 

Let’s begin with the upper back. Shrugs are great for activating the trapezius (traps) muscles as well as improving your stability when lifting heavier weights.

In addition, research has shown that dumbbell shrugs can also reduce neck and shoulder pain when done consistently. I often perform shrugs during and after extensive gaming sessions. 

Man performing a shrug using dumbbells
Dumbbell Shrug

Steps: 

  1. Stand straight with dumbbells in both of your hands.
  2. Retract your shoulder blades and raise them in one simultaneous movement. Hold for a second. 
  3. Slowly return your shoulders to the starting position.
  4. Repeat desired repetitions. 

Seated Resistance Band Row (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

I love doing cable rows at the gym so adding this to the guide was a no-brainer. Seated rows are excellent for working your entire back. Specifically, the lats (latissimus dorsi), trapezius, and rhomboid (inner-back) muscles. 

Man performing a seated row using a resistance band
Seated Resistance Band Row

Steps: 

  1. Find a low and secure object to anchor your resistance band to (I use a nightstand or my feet).
  2. With the band in hand, position your body at a 90-degree angle. 
  3. Pull the band towards you until it touches your belly button. Hold for a second.
  4. Slowly return the band to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. You can also alternate between each hand if you choose.         

Superman (3 sets, 6 to 12 reps)

I’m more of a Spidey fan, but Superman inspired one of the most beneficial exercises for the back. Supermans are fantastic for building your lower back, glutes, and even your abs. I perform supermans with both arms and legs, though they can also be done using one arm and leg at a time.

Man performing the superman exercise
Superman

Steps:  

  1. Lay face down on the floor with your arms in front of you. 
  2. Raise your arms and legs as high as you can off the ground. 
  3. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds.
  4. Lower your arms and legs back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat desired repetitions.    

Legs

Squat (3 sets, 6 to 8 reps)

I avoided squats for the longest time due to my flat feet. However, thanks to my orthotic insoles, I perform squats comfortably every leg workout. Squats are notable for building your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus muscles.

They are normally done with a barbell, but other variations work just as well. I will demonstrate the bodyweight squat and two versions of the dumbbell squat.

Man performing a bodyweight squat
Bodyweight Squat

Steps (Bodyweight Squat): 

  1. Stand up straight.
  2. Bring your hands up to your chest, cross them together, place them behind your head, or extend them away from your body. 
  3. Position your legs shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed out. 
  4. Bring your hips back and begin to lower your body. 
  5. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second.
  6. Push through your heels and the balls of your feet to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat desired repetitions. 
Man performing a squat using a dumbbell
Single Dumbbell Squat

Steps (Dumbbell or Kettlebell): 

  1. Stand up straight with the weight in your hand.
  2. Bring the weight up to your chest. 
  3. Position your legs shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed out. 
  4. Bring your hips back and begin to lower your body. 
  5. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second.
  6. Push through your heels and the balls of your feet to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat desired repetitions.    
Man performing a squat using two dumbbells
Double Dumbbell Squat

Steps: (Two Dumbbells):

  1. Stand up straight with the dumbbells in your hands. 
  2. Bring the dumbbells up above your shoulders. 
  3. Position your legs shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed out. 
  4. Bring your hips back and begin to lower your body. 
  5. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second.
  6. Push through your heels and the balls of your feet to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat desired repetitions.  

Lunge (3 sets, 6 to 8 reps)

Another excellent leg exercise is the lunge. Like the squat, lunges also work the quads, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus muscles. Additionally, lunges can help improve your stability and correct any muscle imbalances you might be experiencing.

This is a great alternative exercise if you’re having trouble with your squat technique. 

Man performing a lunge using dumbbells
Dumbbell Lunge

Steps:      

  1. Stand up straight with your hands (or dumbbells) to your sides. 
  2. Take a large step forward with one of your legs. 
  3. Lower your body until your frontal thigh is parallel with the floor. Let your back knee touch the floor. 
    1. Tip: Make sure your front knee stays behind your toe.
  4. Press down on your frontal foot to return to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. Alternate between legs. 

Calf Raise (3 sets, 8 to 12 reps) 

Finished with squats/lunges? Let’s give your calf muscles some undivided attention. The calf raise is a widely used exercise that can be done pretty much anywhere at home. They can be performed with your body weight or with some weights.

You also have the option of using a flat or elevated surface to increase calf engagement. 

Man performing a calf raise using dumbbells
Calf Raise

Steps (Flat Surface):

  1. Stand straight with (or without) your weights.
  2. Press down on the balls of your feet and raise your heels off the floor. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds.
  3. Lower your heels back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat desired repetitions. 
Man performing an elevated calf raise using a step
Elevated Calf Raise

Steps (Elevated Surface): 

  1. Find an elevated surface (stairs are good).
  2. Stand on the elevated surface with (or without) your weights.
  3. Allow your heels to hang off the edge of the surface. 
  4. Press down on the balls of your feet and raise your heels off the floor. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds.
  5. Lower your heels back to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat desired repetitions.       

Abs + Obliques 

Crunch (3 sets, 4 to 8 reps)

While good nutrition is what reveals your six-pack, abdominal training is still very important for developing your core. I always start my ab routine with crunches. Crunches engage your upper abs as well as your oblique muscles. I will show you a bodyweight crunch and a weighted version using a dumbbell.   

Man performing a crunch
Crunch
Man performing a crunch with a dumbbell
Dumbbell Crunch

Steps:

  1. Lay on the floor with your knees bent or raised up. 
  2. Fully extend your arms towards the ceiling.
    1. Dumbbell: Hold a dumbbell with both hands towards the ceiling.
  3. Extend your upper body until your shoulder blades are off the floor. Contract your abs and hold for a second. 
  4. Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat desired repetitions.    

Reverse Crunch (3 sets, 4 to 6 reps)

For your lower abs, the reverse crunch is the best exercise to perform. The key to this exercise is to bring your pelvis off the floor and to contract your abs at the top of the movement. I recommend the bent-knee reverse crunch for beginners and the straight-leg version for advanced lifters.

Man performing a bent-knee reverse crunch
Bent-Knee Reverse Crunch
Man performing a reverse crunch with legs fully extended
Straight-Leg Reverse Crunch

Steps:     

  1. Lay on the floor with your knees raised or legs fully extended off the floor. 
  2. Form a 90-degree angle with your legs.
  3. Push your arms into the floor and raise your pelvis. Hold for a second. 
    1. Tip: Contracting your glutes can make the movement easier. 
  4. Slowly return to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat desired repetitions. 

Russian Twist (3 sets, 10 to 12 reps)

This last exercise works your oblique muscles and hip flexors. Russian twists are perfect for finishing off your ab routine. Depending on leg positioning and weight, Russian twists can be both very easy or difficult to perform. I will demonstrate an easy, medium, and hard version of the Russian twist using a dumbbell

Man performing a russian twist
Russian Twist (Easy)

Steps (Easy):

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent. 
  2. Lower your back and bring your hands to your chest. 
  3. Rotate your arms and chest to one side, hold for a second. 
  4. Switch to the other side using the same movement. 
  5. Repeat desired repetitions.  
Man performing a russian twist with a dumbbell
Russian Twist (Medium)
Man performing a russian twist with a dumbbell and feet off the floor
Russian Twist (Hard)

Steps (Medium/Hard):

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent. 
  2. Lower your back.
    1. Hard: Keep your feet off the floor during the exercise. 
  3. While holding a dumbbell, bring your hands to your chest. 
  4. Rotate your arms and chest to one side, hold for a second. 
  5. Switch to the other side using the same movement. 
  6. Repeat desired repetitions.

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