This article should help you to understand how to build a bodyweight workout program at home. I will also give you free 10 bodyweight workouts at home with video links to each exercise.
You will find enough exercises from the internet if you search. Idea with this article is not to show you some new fancy exercises. You will learn to understand what are important points when you decide what exercises you will be doing. It is easy to pick some exercises that you know or you see in social media. I am not saying that is a bad thing, actually everything is always better than nothing but if you want to get results faster and workout with a plan that makes little bit sense, I have covered for you in this article.
HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD WORKOUT WHEN STARTING TO WORKOUT?
First of all, before you are starting to workout, ask yourself what is realistic time you have available for working out. Most common question I get from people who are just starting to workout is, how much should I exercise?
Well it depends. Like you understand that the more you workout, the more results you will see. But that is not the point. Instead of trying to reach your goals fast as possible, I recommend always to start slowly. For several reasons. At first, if you haven´t been working out regularly your body is not used to workouts, which can lead to injuries.
Second point is that if you try to do too much in too short a time, you will put yourself under stress and once you can’t do all the workouts you want, you will feel disappointed not hitting your goals.
Your goal should be to build sustainable habits, like working out regularly for the next few years, not just for the next few weeks.
Staying consistent and doing always something is a lot better than working out perfectly for a short time.
If you are starting to workout or had some longer break, do not aim more than 3 workouts per week if you are planning to workout 45 to 60 minutes at once. If your schedule is busy, you can eventually do shorter workouts, more often. You might be tempted to do more as you feel motivated but trust me, having seen this pattern too many times, more is not better in the beginning.
Short story of how I made a mistake a few years ago when I started as a coach and motivated client wanted to start working out and said that she could workout 5 to 6 times in a week. I was excited that she would get fast results like she wanted and was more than excited to program her 6 workouts in a week.. It started well but like you can guess, after two weeks, everything was hurting and motivation was gone. She ended up quitting only after two weeks.
I have learned my lessons the hard way and after being fortunate of working with so many clients and creating life lasting habits I can say with confidence: starting to workout too much, will make you quit. It is not if, it is only a matter of time.
How long and how many times you should workout in a week?
I recommend starting 1 to 2,5 hours of strength training per week. It can be even less if the schedule is busy but to see some kind of results, optimal is somewhere around 1,5 to 2 hours strength training per week. In addition you can do some low intensity cardio like walking, running or something else you really love.
More important than hitting the “perfect” amount of training is to make a plan and stick to it. If you decide to workout 3 times in a week, 30 minutes each time, set yourself workout days and times when you will do your workout.
Once you have been able to follow your plan for the first 4 weeks, you can always do more, if you still feel like it.
Also during the first 4 weeks, even if your plan is to workout 3 times in a week, you can always do more. It is more mental how you are more pleased with yourself when your goal is to get 3 workouts but you can make 4, you are so proud of yourself. If you aim for 4 workouts but can do only 3, which already would be great, you will feel disappointed because you couldn’t hit your goals.
Key points for how to build bodyweight workout program:
- Start slow and aim a little bit less than you feel at the moment.
- You can always do more if you feel like it.
- After 4 weeks you can look back and adjust amounts you want to workout.
- Your first goal should be to be consistent, not doing everything perfectly
Should you do Cardio or Strength exercises?
I hear almost every time when a new client is starting Questions like:
- “How many times a week should I workout?”
- “What type of cardio is best for losing fat?”
- “How much cardio should I do every week? And should I do it before or after I strength train?”
“Should I do Strength Training also? But I don’t want to go to the gym.”
If you Google these questions, you’ll come up with conflicting advice. When it comes to strength training and cardio, it seems everyone has a different opinion about what’s optimal.
No wonder that you might be confused!
The truth is, exactly how much strength training and cardio you should do largely depends on your own goals. I’ll show you what I mean in a moment.
But first, I want to explain why it’s important to include strength training in your exercise program.
Strength training is a form of exercise that challenges your muscles through resistance created by weights, bands, machines, or body weight. It offers important health benefits like:
- Faster metabolism
- Reduced risk of injury
- Reduced lower back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints functions are increased
- Slower age-related weakening in strength, muscle, and bone loss
- Increased bone density
IN SHORT, STRENGTH TRAINING CAN HELP YOUR ENTIRE BODY FUNCTION BETTER equally will help you to have better self-confidence.
Even your goal is not to look like some fitness model ( what will NOT happen until you don’t want to!) strength training positively affects your entire life.
Once you get stronger you’ll be surprised at how your daily tasks gradually become easier and you feel better, both physically and mentally.
What about Cardio then?
CARDIO ALSO HAS SOME SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS. There is no need to say it is important that your heart and lungs are able to provide oxygen to your working muscles. It’s a general marker of heart health.
Despite many associate cardio with fat loss, cardio training offers other benefits like:
- Lower risk of all deaths related to the cardiovascular system
- Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Decreased risk of depression
- Reduced risk of bone disease
- Decreased risk of some cancers
But I don’t want to sound like a doctor. I just wanted to remind you of the benefits of training. It feels like those benefits can be forgotten because social pressure is all about looking good or being accepted. Remembering the other benefits of both strength training and cardio exercise is a good way to remember what matters to you, like having the time and the energy to hang out with your loved ones. Or having energy to have hobbies outside of training. Or living a long and healthy life.
WHAT EXERCISES SHOULD YOU DO AND HOW TO BUILD BODYWEIGHT WORKOUT PROGRAM AT HOME?
The key to sustainability and results is finding your “correct” amount. In other words, the amount of exercise that’s ideal for you, based on your body, goals, schedule and situation in life.
It should be possible to follow with your time, energy, stress levels, a diet you enjoy and can stick with, and other lifestyle factors. You should always be able to:
- Feel good and energized (even after workout!).
- Participate in other important things like your work, social life and time with your family.
Able to recover so you are ready to workout when it is time
Through my experience, I have created examples that are adaptable for almost any goal — whether it’s losing body fat, gaining strength or removing pain.
It looks like this:
- Two to four days a week of moderate-to-heavy strength training
- A mix of high-intensity and moderate-intensity cardio
- Daily movement whenever possible — because it doesn’t all happen in the gym!
Here my practical tips for how to build bodyweight workout program for at home
|Total exercise||1-2 hours/ Week||3-4 hours / week||5-6 Hours / week|
|Beginner||2 resistance training sessions (30-40 min each)||3 resistance training sessions (30-40 min each)||3 resistance training sessions (30-40 min each)|
|1 MIC session (20-40 min)||1 MIC session (20-40 min)||1 MIC session (20-40 min)|
|Intermediate||2 resistance training sessions (30-50 min each)||3 resistance training sessions (30-50 min each)||4 resistance training sessions (30-50 min each)|
|1 HIIT session (15-20 min)||1-2 HIIT sessions (15-20 min each)||1-2 HIIT sessions (15-20 min each)|
|1 MIC session (20-40 min)||2 MIC sessions (20-40 min)||2+ MIC session (20-40 min)|
|Advanced||2 resistance training sessions (30-50 min each)||3 resistance training sessions (30-50 min each)||4 resistance training sessions (30-50 min each)|
|1 HIIT session (15-20 min)||2 HIIT sessions (15-20 min each)||2-3 HIIT sessions (15-20 min each)|
|1 MIC session (20-40 min)||2 MIC sessions (20-40 min)||2+ MIC sessions (20-40 min)|
What you need to know:
Strength Training tips how to build bodyweight workout program:
When it comes to building a well-balanced strength training program, include movements that fall into each of the six basic movement patterns for the upper and lower body. Depending on your plan, you might do each of these in a single workout, or you might incorporate a couple of exercises from each category across all your workouts for the week.
Exercises should include:
- Push (vertical push like an overhead press; horizontal push like a bench press or push up)
- Pull (vertical pull like a pull-up; horizontal pull like a seated row)
- Squat (with weights or bands)
- Glutes / Hips (e.g. deadlifts or hip thrusts)
- Carrying weights (You can do this also shopping 🙂
Additionally, incorporate stabilizing exercises for the core that focus on resisting movement like planks.
Also add core exercises that focus on movement like crunches or back raises.
There are tons of variations of each exercise. Remember when choosing exercises that basic exercises are the best in the beginning and be a master of those before choosing more challenging ones.
Depending on how much time you have available to train each week, I recommend you either follow a full-body program or an upper-body/lower-body split program.
If you plan on strength training two or three times a week, a full-body program will likely be the best option for you.
This all might sound complicated and you have many questions about how to build a bodyweight workout program for home.
If you’ve never done a training program — or even if you have and still feel you may need more guidance when it comes to technique and programming — working with a coach is a smart idea, at least in the beginning. It helps you to keep motivated and get your results faster.
If you want to read more about strenght training program design, my friend Jordan Syatt wrote a great article about it.
If you are woman over 50 years, I wrote an article: Best way to build muscles for women over 50 years
If you want to workout at the gym, my friend Jodie Walker wrote an exellent article: How to write your own workout plan for the gym
My Cardio recommendations:
I will explain shortly what terms I am using:
HIIT Training your effort is 70-100% of your maximum effort .Here link to my another article: What is High Intensity Training
MIC (Moderate Intensity Cardio) is 50-70% of your maximum effort
In my experience, an optimal combination is to perform both HIIT and MIC one to two days a week.
In addition to this, I recommend including as many low-intensity movements like walking as your passion and schedule allows. You know you are doing low-intensity movements when you are able to talk all the time.
Remember that it can be just smarter choices like:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walking or cycling to go to work
- Choose to park a little farther and walk
SOME THINGS I WANT YOU TO THINK WHEN IT COMES TO CARDIO…
Remember that you should never do cardio as “punishment” because you were eating too much or making space that you can eat more or go out later.
Cardio can be really helpful but instead of thinking that more is better, think realistically what you enjoy and how much you are able to do in the long term.
You should enjoy the exercise that you do, and fit it into your life. If you don’t enjoy whatever you are doing, it is only a matter of time before you quit.
After staying consistent with your workouts you will learn a surprising fact: you can actually reach your goals by doing less, not more.
10 FREE BODYWEIGHT WORKOUTS AT HOME
I want to help you with your first workout programs and have created 10 free bodyweight workouts without any equipment. Programs are short from 10 to 30 minutes per workout with video instructions for each exercise.
Please leave your email below and I will send them to you completely free!
Click here to get your 10 FREE Bodyweight Workouts
Thank you for reading this article how to build bodyweight workout program for at home.