So recently I started working out in the mornings at home. I'm wondering what kind of "gains" I will be able to witness from these types of workouts, if any. and not "witness" as in aesthetic necessarily but "witness" as in functional strength perhaps, aesthetics, health, etc...


Worked out for a couple years prior, 1 year consistently. 5x5 program was most recent where I hit some PRs:

  • Deadlift - 325lb
  • Bench - 225lb
  • Squat 245lb

Went on vacation came back and started a new job that requires additional travel time, which keeps me out of the gym. put about a month in between my "real" workouts and any strength training

I decided to start building up my home gym. Here's what I have:

  • 25lb Dumbbells
  • 2x 45lb Plates
  • Long ez-curl bar (I know some people see the really curved one, this one is not like that it's longer and not as dramatic curves) Total weight with plates = 125lbs
  • Pull-up bar

So a typical workout consists of about 15-20 minutes:

I am doing something like

  • 5 x 10 pushups// superset 5 x 5 pullups as a warmup to get the blood flowing
  • 4 sets of 25 dumbbell curls one side at a time.
  • 4 sets of 10 bent over rows
  • 4 sets of 10 deadlifts
  • 4 sets of 10 floor press
  • 1 set of 12-15 clean and press
  • 3 mile jog/run

I mean Idk.. I generally pick like 3-4 of these aforementioned exercises and break a sweat. keep in mind this is between 5:30am and 6 so my time is limited. I'll work out like this 3 times a week

So my question is:

  • Am I going to see any benefits from this?
  • Specifically with the compound movements will this keep me in good enough shape to go back to the gym and hit my previous PRs?
  • Should I increase the amount of workouts I do per week?
  • Is there any other good exercises I'm not taking advantage of with the equipment I have?

Thanks in advance guys, really appreciate it!

and for all you goal-chasers out there. My main goal would probably be to just drop body fat, lean out, stay lean for the summer, and then get back in the gym or get a power rack and more weights this winter.

  • Short answer: You will not be able to keep your PRs and you will drop muscle (especially when dieting). The maximum you can lift with your equipment is 125lbs with an ez-bar. I don't even wanna imagine the form of that deadlift, but it's at 35% of your 1RM. That's not even a warmup. You should really get a barbell and do a full-body workout with Squats, Deadlifts, Bench/Floor/Overhead Press three times a week. If you don't have the money, sell the rest (not the plates, except if they're 30mm. Get 50mm's).
    – user8119
    May 12, 2014 at 12:11
  • So what if I got two more 25lb plates?
    – Hituptony
    May 12, 2014 at 14:05
  • Generally, 'working sets' start at ~70% of your 1RM. Everything lower than that is considered warm-up or 'feeler' sets, and is not likely to induce a growth response. With two additional plates you'd be at 175lbs which is still only about half of your 1RM Deadlift. It would be ~70% of your squat (so ~88% of your front squat) and ~70% of your bench/floor press. While still not optimal, it would be much better than what is now essentially a warm-up.
    – user8119
    May 12, 2014 at 14:14
  • One way to compensate for low weight in strength training is lifting with a slower cadence. Go 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down, you probably won't even get to 10 reps comfortably :)
    – Luis
    May 12, 2014 at 15:34
  • You might also want to look into bodyweight exercises; those will melt your fat, add muscles to your thighs, chest, arms, and back. Of course, they won't help you reach your weightlifting goals but they'll definitely help you get stronger, look and feel better :). May 13, 2014 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


If I get you right, you can't go to the studio, don't have much time but want to keep as much in form as possible. Also, your equipment is quite sub-optimal. But let's look at the workout first.

To stay in form and keep your strength you need intensity (and consistency) much more than volume. So your lack of time isn't really a concern right now. You would want to do big weigths at low reps, so you're at maximum intensity. You'd probably lose some strength and muscle, especially if losing weight/fat at the same time. But if the overall intensity is still high, you should keep a good level of strength. A simple (and time effective) full body workout I would propose would look like this:

  • (Front) Squats: 3x5 (3 sets of 5 repetitions). Back Squats would be better, but you'd need a rack to load substantial weight.
  • Floor Press/Shoulder Press: 3x5, do either/or and alternate the next time.
  • Deadlift: 1x5

That's the minimum I would do, three times per week (every week, as consistency matters). Those four lifts train your whole body in as short a time as possible. But they will be difficult to do without the right equipment...

The first and most important thing for a home gym (imho) is a barbell (second is a power rack). The barbell enables you to do all of the compound lifts in their regular form, without compensating for dumbbell-wobble or weird wrist angles (looking at you, ez-bar). I'd strongly recommend you to get a barbell as soon as possible and a power rack next, as you'll have a hard time to do any meaningful squat and/or deadlift work without one. If you absolutely have to, sell your other equipment or trade it in, as you'll get a much better 'bang for your buck' from a barbell.

Should you for some reason not be willing/able to get your hands on a barbell, you can try to compensate for the low weights by doing harder variants of the exercises. The Clean and Press is already a good start, the Snatch would probably also work (if you can get the form right). For Squats, you could try one-legged variants, while a wider grip makes the Deadlift harder to perform. If you're able to max out on these exercises with your current equipment you can still raise the repetitions per set to work your muscles harder.

  • I live to serve, and all that :) The workout is more or less stolen from Starting Strength, though.
    – user8119
    May 12, 2014 at 14:39
  • Hey, me too! :) Yea I mean essentially I would just like to increase the weight. But I literally just started purchasing things so one more question: What next? Flat bench or Power rack?
    – Hituptony
    May 12, 2014 at 15:30
  • 1
    If a barbell is out of the question or you're really that happy with the ez-bar, definitely a power rack. How else would you squat (I know how, I did it, I hated it)? Even front squats stop where your power clean does. A floor press is not really inferior to a bench press, though, so a bench is at this point quite optional.
    – user8119
    May 12, 2014 at 15:34

You have an inconsistent program, vague goals, and not enough weights to challenge your old strength levels. So...no, you won't be able to match your old PRs.

Is there any benefit? Sure, any activity is beneficial.

With this gear, I'd focus on clean-and-presses and seeing how much improvement I could make in how many pull-ups I could do in one set. Since you can't really do true non-gymnastic strength work, I'd work out a lot more frequently than 3 times a week.


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