Whether your New Year’s motivation has faded or you’re just tired of making the trip to the gym, now’s the perfect time to shake up your training with an at-home workout plan. This four-week strength-building plan will help you feel stronger, get leaner and achieve the level of fitness you want without ever having to leave the house.
Each week, you’ll follow three strength workouts designed to challenge every major muscle in your body. Using bodyweight exercises and equipment you can easily use at home, you’ll develop strength and definition in your arms, shoulders, glutes, legs and core. The workouts get harder as you go to ensure you’ll stay engaged and motivated and keep seeing results throughout the month.
Since you’ll be working different muscles every time, you can do the workouts on any day of the week you choose. That said, it’s best to give yourself a day or two in between to allow your muscles to recover. You can do active recovery on your off days by doing a lighter fitness activity such as yoga or Pilates, or you can get your cardio in by going for a bike ride, jog or hike. If you’re feeling particularly sore — especially if it’s been a while since you’ve lifted — soak in an Epsom salt bath or treat yourself to a massage. Make sure you stay hydrated every day regardless of whether you work out, and eat whole foods and plenty of lean protein to support your strength-building goals.Section divider
This first week is all about the basics and features staple at-home exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, bridges and planks. You’ll test total-body strength in your first workout, then target specific muscles in each workout after that. Each workout should take about 40 minutes from start to finish, including your warm-up and cool-down.Section divider
Week 1 Workouts
Workout 1: Full-Body Strength
For this workout, you’ll need a band and a set of dumbbells, if you have them. Spend a few minutes warming up with light calisthenics, jogging in place or jumping jacks. You can perform each exercise one at a time, resting 30 to 60 seconds between each set, or group exercises together in a circuit with as little rest as possible in between. Once you complete the workout, spend a few minutes cooling down with some light stretching. If your resistance feels too light, double up and perform one side at a time for the same number of reps or slow the tempo down.
|Band Seated Row||4||10-12|
|Crossover Crunch||4||10 (per side)|
*Use a band or dumbbells.
**Drop to your knees if you can’t get to 10.
Workout 2: Glutes and Abs
You don’t need any equipment for this workout, but you will need focus and balance. To properly challenge your glutes and core, you’ll perform single-leg exercises and multiple variations of kicks in a series to increase the time your muscles spend under tension, building strength and stability right where you need it most: hips, glutes and core.
|Single-Leg Step-Back (reverse lunge)||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Side Lunge||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Russian Twist||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Elbow Plank||4||30- to 60-second hold|
*Do 10 back kicks, 10 side kicks and 10 leg extensions per leg. Perform all movements on one leg without rest before repeating on the other side)
Workout 3: Upper-Body Strength
In this workout, you’ll perform exercises that work your chest, back, arms and shoulders using dumbbells and a band to add resistance.
On the band pull-apart, hold the band close together and higher than shoulder height, then sweep your arms down and apart as you pull to target the lats.
For the floor angel, begin face down on the floor in a Superman position with your arms overhead and palms down. Keeping your arms extended, sweep your hands out and down toward your feet, rotating your palms to face up as you stack them on your lower back. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
Warm up your upper body with arm circles, pass-throughs with the band and light calisthenics. Stretch a few minutes when you’re done.
|Standing Band Chest Flye||4||10-12|
*Use a band or dumbbell.
**Drop to your knees if too difficult.Section divider
Building on the exercises you mastered in Week 1, this week adds progressions, half reps and isolation movements to isolate and challenge every muscle in your body. If you can, take a day off in between workouts. This allows your muscles to recover so you can continue to push hard and gain strength each week.Section divider
Week 2 Workouts
Workout 1: Leg and Shoulder Burn
This workout incorporates compound leg movements and challenging isolation exercises to target every muscle in your legs and shoulders. You’ll need a set of dumbbells and a bench, chair or box. For the 1.5-rep squat, begin by lowering your body into a normal squat. Come halfway up, stopping before you’ve fully extended your knees and hips. Lower back down to the bottom of the squat, then stand all the way up. This counts as one. For an extra challenge, hold dumbbells in your hands when you perform squats, lunges and calf raises.
|Single-Leg Deadlift With Dumbbells||4||10-12 (per side)|
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||4||10-12|
|Walking Lunge||4||10-12 (per side)|
|Standing Calf Raise||4||20-24|
Workout 2: Floor Strength Circuit
This workout is performed almost entirely on the floor, but don’t let that fool you — you’ll be dripping with sweat by the end. For an added challenge, you’ll perform the entire workout in the form of a circuit, giving yourself one minute per exercise to complete as many reps as possible and repeating for four rounds. If kneeling is hard on your knees, replace the squat knee down up with a squat pulse.
You don’t need any added resistance for this workout, but you will need some way to glide your feet for the leg curls. You can do this using a couple of towels if you’re on a hard surface or with coasters or paper plates if you’re on carpet. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on gliders. Lift your hips into a bridge, then glide both feet out and back, keeping your hips up throughout the movement. For the squat knee down up, begin in the bottom of a squat. Drop one knee to the floor, then the other knee. Step your first foot forward again, then the other, ending in the same squat position without ever standing up.
|Squat Knee Down Up||4||1-minute AMRAP|
|Superman Lat Pull||4||1-minute AMRAP|
|Up-Down Plank||4||1-minute AMRAP|
|Crunch Rope Climb||4||1-minute AMRAP|
|Single-Leg Bridge*||4||1-minute AMRAP|
|Side Plank With Hip Touch**||4||1-minute AMRAP|
|Glider Leg Curl||4||1-minute AMRAP|
AMRAP = as many reps as possible
*Switch legs halfway through.
**Switch sides halfway through.
Workout 3: Full-Body Power
This workout uses explosive full-body movements like burpees and kettlebell swings to test your strength and power. For the step-back to front kick, balance on one leg as you step back into a lunge with the other foot, dropping your knee to the floor. In one fluid motion, step forward and drive your back leg up and forward into a front kick. Perform all reps on one side before moving to the other leg. If you don’t have a kettlebell, perform the swing using a dumbbell.
For the reverse plank drag-through, sit with your hands on the floor behind you and your feet on gliders. Lift your hips into a reverse plank, then contract your abs and pull your hips back and through your arms, gliding your feet back. To reset, either glide your feet forward again to extend out to the reverse plank or lift your hands up and set them behind you, moving backward with each pull-through.
|Side Lunge||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Step-Back to Front Kick||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Reverse Plank Drag-Through||4||10-12|
|Half Turkish Get-Up||4||10-12 (per side)|
By now, you’re officially halfway through your four-week strength plan. The exercises will get tougher over the next two weeks, so make sure you give yourself a day off between each workout to recover.Section divider
Week 3 Workouts
Workout 1: Chest, Quads and Core Circuit
Perform this entire sequence with as little rest as possible between exercises. Rest for one minute after the mountain climbers, then repeat the circuit again for four total rounds. You only need a band for this workout, but if you want to add extra resistance to the squat variations, you can hold dumbbells or use a circular band around your thighs.
|Single-Leg Standing Front Kick||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Standing Band Chest Flye||4||10-12|
|Ab Bicycle||4||10-12 (per side)|
Workout 2: Back-of-Body Band Burn
As the name suggests, the only equipment you’ll need for this workout is a band. If you have a lighter band and want to increase the resistance, simply double up the band and perform all the reps with one arm at a time. Use a bench or chair as a depth gauge on your single-leg squats, touching the bench with your hips on each rep. Use that same chair or bench for the feet-elevated glute bridge. Rest 30 to 40 seconds between sets.
|Band Bent-Over Row||4||10-12|
|Single-Leg Squat||4||8-10 (per leg)|
|Band Lateral Raise||4||10-12|
|Band Upright Row||4||10-12|
|Feet-Elevated Glute Bridge||4||10-12|
*Start high and sweep your hands down and out.
Workout 3 – TUT Strength
Time under tension, or TUT, describes the amount of time a muscle spends under tension or strain. Increasing TUT increases the workload of the muscles, which in turn increases strength and endurance. You’ll need a band and a set of dumbbells for this workout. Each exercise is designed to increase the time your muscles spend under tension. For example, the 1.5 walking lunge is similar to the 1.5-rep squat in that you’ll add a half rep for each step, lowering all the way down, coming halfway up, lowering down, then standing up to step forward for the next rep.
The front kick/back kick/kick deadlift combo is a single-leg sequence that will test your balance and core strength. Stand on one leg and perform 10 to 12 front kicks, then swing that same leg back for 10 to 12 back kicks. Still balancing on the same foot, hinge forward for 10 to 12 single-leg deadlifts without setting your kicking leg down. Repeat on the other side.
For the dumbbell curl/shoulder press/triceps extension combo, you can use two small dumbbells or hold one bigger dumbbell by the ends between your hands. Start with 10 to 12 reps of a biceps curl, then go immediately into 10 to 12 reps of a shoulder press and from there right into 10 to 12 reps of a behind-the-head triceps extension. For the shoulder tap to push-up, tap each shoulder with the opposite hand, then perform a push-up. This counts as one rep.
|Band Overhead Squat||4||10-12|
|1.5 Walking Lunge||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Front Kick/Back Kick/Kick Deadlift Combo||4||10-12 (per exercise, per leg)|
|Walking Side Lunge||4||10-12 (per leg)|
|Dumbbell Curl/Shoulder Press/Triceps Extension Combo||4||10-12 (per exercise)|
|Shoulder Tap to Push-Up||4||10-12|
It’s the final week of your four-week plan. Each workout is similar to the workouts from the first week, just with more intense variations of each exercise to test the strength you’ve built so far.Section divider
Week 4 Workouts
Workout 1: Band and Dumbbell Full-Body Strength
For this workout, you’re combining bands and dumbbells to increase the resistance and really challenge your improved strength. To do this, simply loop the ends of the band over the dumbbells and stand on the center of the band to anchor it. The band will stretch and add resistance as you lift the dumbbells for the deadlift and bent-over row.
To add band resistance to the push-up, loop the band behind your shoulder blades and anchor each end with your hands.
As before, you can use a dumbbell instead of a kettlebell for the swings.
|Dumbbell Shoulder Press||4||10-12|
|Banded Dumbbell Deadlift||4||10-12|
|Banded Dumbbell Bent-Over Row||4||10-12|
|Crossover Crunch||4||10-12 (per side)|
Workout 2: Glutes and Abs
You’ll notice an increase in the number of repetitions on this workout, as well as a couple of new exercises to challenge your glutes and core. Once you finish this four-week plan, you can go back and start over at Week 1 using the same sets and reps and heavier weights or the same weights and more reps.
For the step-back with twist, hold the bottom of the lunge position and twist your upper body toward the side of your front leg. Twist back to center before standing back up.
|Single-Leg Step-Back With Twist||4||12-15 (per leg)|
|Side Squat||4||12-15 (per side)|
|Front Kick/Back Kick/Kick Deadlift Combo||4||10-12|
|Russian Twist||4||12-15 (per side)|
|Feet-Elevated Glute Bridge||4||12-15|
Workout 3: Upper-Body Strength
As with the first workout this week, today’s final strength workout is very similar to the upper-body workout of Week 1 but doubles up on the resistance by combining a band with dumbbells. To thoroughly test the strength you’ve built over the past four weeks, the reps are also higher. This is the final workout of your four-week strength-building plan, so push yourself and your strength.
|Dumbbell Shoulder Press||4||12-15|
|Standing Band Chest Flye||4||12-15|
|Banded Dumbbell Single-Arm Row||4||12-15 (per arm)|
|Banded Dumbbell Biceps Curl||4||12-15|
|Banded Triceps Push-Up*||4||10-12|
*Drop to your knees if too difficult.Section divider
About the Trainer
Heather Eastman is an NSCA and NASM certified personal trainer, Level 1 CrossFit coach and ACE group exercise instructor with more than 15 years of training and teaching experience. She trains at Verdant CrossFit in Boise, Idaho.