March 04, 2021 4 min read

Whether you’re new or a veteran to weightlifting and build up muscle, it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to both start and stick with such a grueling exercise routine. For that reason, it’d be a shame to let that motivation fade away as we wait out the COVID-19 pandemic when it’s always better to seize opportunities they arrive. Sure, you can’t go to a gym, and even working out outside is difficult, but there are some different ways to build muscle at home.

Starting With Nutrition

Half of building muscle is planning out and following a good diet. In particular, the name of the game is protein. A protein-rich diet will properly fuel your body and the muscles you use so that you perform at your best and your muscles can effectively repair and build upon themselves after the workout. Protein-rich foods include eggs, fish, poultry, lean beef, greek yogurt, and so many more. Your diet doesn’t have to be a slog—just plan to include the foods you like best and supplement your meals with snacks like protein shakes and bars.

Foods that you should avoid include baked goods like bread, bagels, and pretzels. These don’t offer much in the way of muscle-building nutrition and instead will just give you unnecessary carbs. Furthermore, you obviously want to avoid processed and junk foods as they will also provide only empty calories that will not give your body the fuel it needs.

Hydration Is Vital

So, we’ve discussed food, but what about drinks? As you probably expect, water is always king. Keeping yourself hydrated through your workout—and really in general—will keep you healthy and your muscles will perform at their very best. By properly hydrating, your muscles will be better energized and have an easier time moving oxygen to your muscles as you push them to their limits. You’ll also be able to endure more strain while experiencing far less pain than if your muscles were dehydrated and forced to contract. Dehydration in general may result in more injuries if your muscles were to suddenly seize up or cramp in the middle of your workout.

To keep yourself properly hydrated, you should be sipping water at least 30 minutes before you start, every 10-20 minutes during your workout, and continue drinking water for at least 30 minutes after you finish your workout. Lastly, avoid replacing water with things like sports or energy drinks. These are packed with a horrific amount of sugar as a way to give athletes a quick boost of glucose during a game.

Building a Home Gym

In order to build muscle, it’s recommended you consider creating a home gym so that you have access to strength training equipment for the most effective workouts. Places with a bit of room like a garage or basement would be ideal, as equipment like a weight bench and barbell will require some personal space.

If you’re lacking in space, your best bet would be to get equipment like dumbbells. Dumbbells not only have their own exercises but can be used to supplement other exercises for a greater challenge. Dumbbells or resistance bands will be easy to store away afterward.

Exercises With Equipment

Brands like Precor home fitness equipment offer a variety of machinery that you can make use of, but if you’re new you’re likely not sure the best way to make use of or what exercises you can do with them. So, let’s go over a few of the exercises you can do with the use of equipment:

  • Barbell Curls – Barbells are a classic and one of the most common pieces of equipment. Curls are a bicep-focused exercise where you stand upright and lift the barbell from your thighs to your chest, and vice versa, in a controlled manner.
  • Hammer Curls – For those who opted for dumbbells, this is the equivalent of the barbell curl. Keep your arms to your side and lift the dumbbells from your thigh to your chest while keeping your upper arms still.
  • Barbell Squats – Resting the barbell across your shoulders adds extra weight to your squats for a more effective workout. This will work out your lower body and get you some killer glutes in no time.

Exercises Without Equipment

If you decide not to invest in equipment, there are still different ways to build muscle at home—it just requires a change in strategy. Cardio and body-weight exercises are not only great for losing weight, but for building muscle as well. Some of these exercises include:

  • Running or Jogging – Easy and accessible, going for a run is great. This can be a bit dependent on the weather, especially during the winter months. But when things begin to warm up, going for a 30-minute jog around your neighborhood will give your lower body a good workout.
  • Swimming – A fantastic full-body workout without putting too much stress on your joints. This is less accessible, but if you can find a place to swim, it will always be one of the best exercises you can do.
  • Bodyweight Exercises – Activities like push-ups, crunches, or squats make use of your own body weight as resistance by moving it against gravity. The convenience here is that, as you build muscle, you naturally become heavier, and thus you continue to be challenged, but you should ensure you make use of various bodyweight exercises. If you keep doing the same few over and over, your body will adjust and figure out how to do it more effectively. This makes the exercise easier but at the expense of progress.

Taking Rest Days

One of the most overlooked aspects of fitness is taking days off. While exercise is where you put in the hard work, your rest days are when your muscles get the chance to repair and build into bigger muscles. A lot of people will neglect rest days because they’re afraid to ruin the momentum in their routines or that they may lose their motivation if they “give in” and take a day off.

Taking rest days will keep you from injuring yourself via overuse of your muscles or carelessness that comes from exhaustion. Give your body a break to recuperate, and when you get back into your routine, you’ll be refreshed and perform better, while perhaps making your routine less painful and more enjoyable.

Different Ways To Build Muscle at Home

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