Home Workouts 201: Building a Body Weight Workout

In your quest to achieve a home workout environment that breeds success, not frustration, the next step is to have a plan on what to do.

Body weight exercises are a great place to start. Whether you are new to exercise or not and whether you are in great conditioning or not, there is a good fit for you with body weight choices.

A successful single workout, can and should be thought of as one singular day within a broader program that is designed to achieve a specific goal.

So, that means you should settle on a primary goal before launching headfirst into your home workout space. Goals can be as simple as exercising twice a week for 8-weeks in a row. Or improving shoulder ROM. Or filling in the days between trips to the gym with targeted injury prevention exercises.

Once you’ve got your goal, the next step is to settle on some sort of a basic structure or template for the session(s). A lot of this has to do with the goal of your training and will also be dictated by the space you are training in.

Here are a couple examples of two different, and scalable training templates:

Beginner Strength Template:

A1 Breathing Drill Variation

A2 Mobilization

Our home workout space, shown as a complete mess in this photo. Did you read  part 1 ? I know from experience!

Our home workout space, shown as a complete mess in this photo. Did you read part 1? I know from experience!

B1 Unilateral Lower Body

B2 Core Bracing

C1 Upper Body Push

C2 Mobilization

D1 Bilateral Lower Body

D2 Crawl Variation

Advanced Conditioning Template:

A1 Jump/Plyo Variation

A2 Upper Body Push

A3 Crawl Variation

B1 Bilateral Lower Body

B2 Core Bracing 

B3 Carry Variation

C1 Jump/Plyo Variation

C2 Unilateral Lower Body

C3 Upper Body Push

You’ll notice both of those examples are total body focused. When equipment is limited, it is best to stick with total body workouts. Both days provide a balanced approach to training the whole body, but can be worked endless ways to fit your needs.

Once you have the template set, you can feel free to plug-and-play with exercise selection. I like to stick with exercises for several weeks and will generally progress volume and intensity before changing exercises, but if you really like variety, feel free to rely on the template to ultimately control quality for the program. This way you can change it up, but still know you are getting a balanced program that’s working towards your goals.

Example Exercises:

Bilateral Lower Body

Squat (with tempo alterations)

Landmine Press.PNG

Staggered Stance Squat

1.5 Rep Squat

Squat into Lunge Variation (Lateral, Forward, Stepback)

Unilateral Lower Body

Split Squat (with tempo alterations)

Bowler Squat

1-Leg RDL

Lateral Squat

Lateral Lunge

Upper Body Push

Push-up Variations (ex alt 1-leg push-up)

Push-up with tempo alterations

Crawl Variations (ex lateral bear crawl)

Crawl to Push-up

Breathing Drills

90/90 Breathing

Prone Belly Breathing

Bear Plank Breathing


Pogo Jumps

Box Pattern Hops

Lunge Jumps

Cycled Lunge Jumps

Broad Jump

Carry Variation

After you’ve plugged in your exercises to your template, go ahead and make some decisions about sets and reps. For people new to exercise, I recommend most exercises stay in the 2-3 x 5-8 range. This repetition range will start to make positive changes, but not make a new exercisers insanely sore.

If you are more experienced, anything is up for grabs when it comes to set/rep schemes. This is pretty serious business in my book and goes far beyond the scope of this post. So, my recommendation is to make decisions based on what you want to accomplish. Set/rep schemes can vary from 1-12 x 1-25 (or even more!). 

Hey! You did it! You are ready for your first home workout! Make sure everything is written down and if you are trying new exercises, have a device that can play video nearby with the exercise videos either already loaded or easy to load and watch during your session.

Don’t forget to turn on some music and allot enough time to enjoy your first, successful, training session at home.

In part 3, we’ll explore home gyms that have more equipment and some of the options that opens up.

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