I am a 24 year old male in decent shape, and I want to include workouts in my weekly schedule as a part of my life. Currently my goal is to gain strength, and I'm not interested in gaining muscle mass or losing fat outside of what comes with strength gains.

The issue is that I work overtime on a regular basis, and going to a gym is not an option because of the extra time it involves beside the actual workout.

I'm interested in getting the best results I can with what I have available, so I'm searching for a workout that I could do at home. I live in an appartment and have adjustable dumbbells, a pull up bar, a quality jump rope, and am willing to buy whatever other equipment would be needed that can fit and be stored in my home, even punching a hook through my ceiling and buying TRX bands if it's suggested.

On my own I've found several commercial workout programs or rom various websites, but I thought I'd see what suggestions I would get from posting here, relative to my objectives, since there is no real way to review such programs without actually truing them.

  • What are your specific goals? Gain strength for self defence? Everyday energy? Capacity to run longer(endurance )? Lift heavier household equipments? Based on your specific goals, we may be able to recommend a specific training plan using specific equipments Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 10:56
  • 1
    Are you sure you have barbells (eight foot long bars), and not dumbells (one held in each hand)? Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 12:15
  • My current goal would be overall strength gains for everyday activities, but if I had to choose a more specific target it would be lifting heavy things.
    – Dirk101
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 12:18
  • perhaps this question, fitness.stackexchange.com/q/14746/3778 can help?
    – FredrikD
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 13:13
  • @stevengubkin You're right, mistyped, edited post
    – Dirk101
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 15:43

2 Answers 2


With your goal of everyday strength, bodyweight exercises are sufficient, provided that you work the right muscles with the right exercises. Here is what i would suggest:

Upper body: Buy a set of resistance tubes, they are very affordable and help you work muscles such as the biceps, triceps. Then of course all variations of the pushup, with and without inclination, use furniture or a bed to achieve the desired inclination. Dips for the triceps.

Core: core musles comprise of all the muscles between your chest and hip. Core muscles are often ignored but are very important for overall strength, if your core is strong, you have more stability and hence reduced risk for injury due to heavy lifting. I would recommend planks, and various ab workouts.

Legs:many people believe that legs cant be workout out without hitting the gym, but there are ways by which you can boost their strength tremendously. Apart from the usual squats and calf raises, Incorporate plyometric exercises, where you jump hard and then jump again as soon as you touch back down... All the variations of the above can give you very satisfactory results.

Stay motivated and enjoy your home workouts!

  • Though I am aware of plyometric exercices, I hadn't actually considered them until now. I will look into it, thanks.
    – Dirk101
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 12:10
  • Welcome! Happy to help! Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 13:04

In order to make appreciable strength gains, you need to add weight incrementally. Without a barbell, or machines (eek!), this is difficult. Your adjustable dumbells will stop generating training adaptations in a very short amount of time.

In my opinion, the best thing you could do is go to a gym. Just make it a priority.

The next best thing would be to buy a barbell and a squat rack, and do a program like Starting Strength.

If you cannot fit a squat rack into your apartment, maybe you could still do an Olympic lifting program, using a light enough weight that you do not have to ever drop the barbell.

Without a barbell it will be very difficult to train your lower body. You can still gain quite a bit of upper body strength just by doing weighted pull ups and dips. These two exercises alone give a fairly complete upper body strength program. I would recommend increasing reps until you can do 3 sets of 8, then increasing the weight by 2.5 pounds and do 3 sets of 5. Work your way back up and repeat the process.

Another option is bodyweight training, where instead of adding weight you put yourself into increasingly mechanically disadvantageous positions. For instance, to train your chest, anterior delts, and triceps you can do pushups. To make pushups harder, you can do psuedo planche pushups, then the planche, then planche pushups. You may also gain considerable satisfaction from the mastery of cool skills like this, in addition to the increase in strength. This still has the problem of not effectively training the low body. I recommend the bodyweight fitness subreddit as a source of information.

  • Agreed with Steven, strength training is all about progressive lifts, if you are lifting the same weight from three weeks ago then this is not strength training. Start out with body weight exercises, then once you can lift your own body weight start doing a programme like starting strength, 5x3x1 or 5x5. Focus on technique rather than compensating for more weight, there is only so much raw power can do before your body risks injury. All the best Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 11:25
  • I was interested in Starting Strength, only I could not find distributors who would ship quality equipment to Romania. Having said that, I'mgoing to try and see what strength gains I can achieve with dumbbell+bodyweight exercises.
    – Dirk101
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 12:08
  • @Dirk101: The most important part of what I wrote above is that to make strength gains (not endurance gains), you need to incrementally increase the load. If you just do more pushups and situps, you will not get stronger: you will just have more muscular endurance. That is why for upper body, in your situation, the easiest way to get stronger is to use weighted dips and chins, which you can add a little weight to each time. A bodyweight routine where you have increasing difficulty of poses is also possible for strength building, but will involve Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 12:34
  • a lot of skill in addition to strength. If you follow the advice of Omar above, you will not get stronger. His recommendation does not even include any exercise for the lats at all! Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 12:36
  • For weighted dips and pullups you will need a dip belt, some plates, and (eventually) a loading pin. The dip belt will also allow you to perform the hip belt squat as well, so these three exercises will give you a totally complete strength work out. It seems simple, but strength is simple. This is not optimal, but it is probably as close to optimal as you will get without the use of a barbell. Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 12:45

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