Exercise 1: Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The RDL is one of the most popular exercise among powerlifters. It’s also one of the most common exercises used in Olympic weightlifting programs. There are many different variations of the RDL, but they all share some similarities. They involve lowering a barbell from a standing position onto your back using only straight legs and arms while keeping your knees slightly bent at 90 degrees or less.
You then slowly raise up off the floor with your hands touching the top of the bar.
Benefits of RDL:
Improves overall strength and flexibility. Improves spinal stability. Increases range of motion in your shoulders, chest, triceps, bicep curls and forearms. Strengthens your core muscles such as glutes, hamstrings and calves.
Helps strengthen your lower back which will help prevent injuries during heavy lifting activities like squats and deadlifts.
How to perform the RDL:
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your head up, bend at the waist until your upper thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your back flat and keep it tight throughout the movement. At this point, push through your heels and pull yourself up until you feel a stretch in your quadriceps muscle group.
Return to starting position by bending at the hips again and returning to start position. Repeat for prescribed reps.
Exercise 2: Swiss barbell deadlift
The swiss barbell deadlift focuses on your hamstrings and glutes and also involves your lower back to a degree. This is a very effective exercise for strengthening your lower back, which can help prevent injury during heavy lifting activities like squats and deadlifts. It is also a fantastic stretch movement for your hamstrings and glutes.
Benefits of swiss barbell deadlift:
Improves your balance and core strength. Can increase speed, agility and reaction time. Helps improve flexibility in your hips and back flexibility. Can help prevent injury during heavy lifting activities like squats and deadlifts.
How to perform the swiss barbell deadlift:
Place a flat surface about knee height. Place the desired weight on one end of the barbell. Grip both sides of the bar slightly wider than shoulder width apart and lift up. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, while maintaining a slight bend in your knees.
Slowly bend at the waist, until you feel your hamstrings and glutes stretch. At this point push through your heels and return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Exercise 3: Dumbbell deadlift
The dumbbell deadlift is an excellent exercise that can help you develop strength for heavy lifting activities like squats and deadlifts. It focuses on teaching you to lift with your legs rather than your back, which is important for avoiding injury and building overall strength.
Benefits of the Dumbbell Deadlift:
Helps strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. Will help prevent injury during heavy lifting activities like squats and deadlifts.
How to perform the dumbbell deadlift:
Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend at the waist and hold the weights down at your sides. Keep your head up, back flat and knees slightly bent. Slowly bend at the hips and start to lower the weights towards the floor while keeping your back flat.
When you reach the bottom position push through your feet and return to the starting position.
Exercise 4: Half Kneeling Cable Row
The half kneeling cable row is an excellent exercise that focuses on strengthening your upper back and also your biceps to a degree. It also helps improve your posture and core strength.
Benefits of half kneeling cable row:
Helps strengthen upper back, which will help prevent injuries during heavy lifting activities like squats and deadlifts. Can help improve your posture.
How to perform half kneeling cable row:
Place one knee and the side of your groin on a flat bench. Grip a short bar attachment and hold it in front of your body. This will be your starting position. Take the bar behind your body while keeping your elbow close to your sides.
Avoid swinging the bar and twisting your torso. Extend your arms back to the starting position.
How to perform half kneeling cable row:
Place a padded mat on the floor and kneel on it while placing one knee on the ground. Place your other foot forward so that you are in a semi lunge position with your knee resting on the ground. Grasp a resistance band and hold it at both ends with your palms facing each other. Pull your arms back and place tension on the band while in this starting position.
Exercise 5: Kettlebell Swings
The kettlebell swing is an excellent exercise that will help you develop explosive strength in your legs and glutes. This exercise is also great for improving your core strength.
Benefits of kettlebell swings:
Helps improve explosiveness, which is important for jumping higher and running faster. Will help prevent injury to your lower back. Can help improve your grip strength.
How to perform the kettlebell swing:
Grip the kettlebell with both hands and hold it down at your side. Bend slightly at the knees and keep your back flat. Swing the weight back between your legs as you bend further forward at the waist. Use the momentum of your swing to help thrust your body upwards and lift the weight up in front of you while also bringing your arms under it.
Allow your arms to straighten out as the weight goes above your head. Then bend your knees and waist as you swing the weight back between your legs and bring it back to the starting position.
Exercise 6: Dumbbell Power Clean
The dumbbell power clean is an excellent exercise that will help you build explosive strength in your lower body and core while also improving your upper back strength. Extend your arms overhead and thrust your hips forward to finish the motion.
Exercise 6: Dumbbell Step Ups
The dumbbell step up is an excellent exercise that will help you develop lower body strength and improve your balance at the same time. It’s also very easy to learn.
Benefits of dumbbell step ups:
Helps strengthen your calves, thighs and hip muscles. Can help improve your balance and coordination as well. It is an advanced exercise so ensure that you have a thorough understanding of proper technique before attempting this lift.
Benefits of the dumbbell power clean:
Helps develop explosive strength in your legs and core. Will help improve your jumping ability and running speed. Improves posture by strengthening your abs, lower back and glutes.
How to perform the dumbbell power clean:
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
How to perform the dumbbell step up:
Step onto a sturdy bench with one foot and push back with the other. Bring your back leg forward so that you are standing on the bench with both feet. Step back down with your back foot first so that you can slowly lower your body. Repeat by stepping up with your other foot.
Keep your knees slightly bent and your upper body straight. While keeping the weight of the dumbbells in your heels, explosively bend your knees and stand up, lifting the dumbbells as you do so. When you’re standing straight, thrust your hips forward and pull with your arms to lift the dumbbells as high as possible. Then quickly drop back down into the starting position.
Exercise 7: Barbell Deadlift
The deadlift is an excellent exercise for strengthening your lower back, improving your posture and increasing the size of your thighs. It’s also a very safe exercise since it prevents you from using too much weight and getting hurt.
Benefits of barbell deadlifts:
Helps strengthen your lower back, which can prevent back pain while doing other exercises. Will help develop size in your legs and increase your vertical jump.
How to perform the barbell deadlift:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grasp the barbell using an overhand grip. The bar should hit your legs just below your knees. Keep your back straight and push your hips forward. Keeping the weight on your heels, lift the bar off of the floor and pull it up your legs while keeping it as close to your body as possible.
Will improve your posture by strengthening your core muscles.
How to perform the barbell deadlift:
Bend over and grip the bar with your hands about twice shoulder width apart. Your feet should be shoulder width apart as well. Keep your head up and your back flat (do not round). Keep the weight on the middle of your foot—do not go forward on your toes or go back on your heels.
Push with your legs in an explosive motion and use the strength of your lower back, glutes and hamstrings to finish standing up with the bar. Slowly lower the weight while keeping it close to your body.
Exercise 8: Dumbbell Shrugs
The dumbbell shrug is an excellent exercise for strengthening your traps (the muscles at the top of your shoulders).
Exercise 8: Dumbbell Goblet Squats
The goblet squat is an excellent lower body compound exercise that will help you build strong legs. It can be performed using just your body weight, but holding a dumbbell goblet squat makes the lift harder and more effective for building muscle.
Benefits of dumbbell goblet squats:
Helps strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, as well as your core. It is extremely important to include this exercise in your routine.
Benefits of dumbbell shrugs:
Helps improve posture and add a complete and finished look to your shoulders. Will also help improve your grip strength because of the intense contraction of your traps. Helps improve your posture and prevent injury by strengthening your core. Builds a strong foundation for just about every other exercise you do, as squats are a compound exercise that work many muscles in addition to the legs.
Hold a dumbbell goblet squat sets & reps:
Set the weight on the floor in front of you. While holding the dumbbell in one hand, rest the other hand on top of it as if it’s a weight on a stand.
How to perform dumbbell goblet squats:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells by your sides. Keep your chest up, abs drawn in and head straight. Push your hips back, bend your knees and squat down until your hamstrings touch your calves. Extend your knees and return to the starting position.
This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of exercises that you should be doing. It doesn’t cover every exercise that was mentioned in this article, but should give you a good start on putting together a routine. If you are looking for more ideas for exercises that target your chest, back, legs and arms, take a look at the guides in the ExRx Encyclopedia. Just remember to focus on compound, functional exercises that will help you strengthen your body as a whole.
Exercise 9: Dumbbell Step-Ups
The dumbbell step-up is an excellent exercise for strengthening your legs and improving your overall conditioning. The exercise requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
Exercise 9: Dumbbell Step-Ups
How to perform dumbbell step-ups:
Place your left foot onto a sturdy bench or chair that’s about knee height. Make sure that the bench your foot is on is secure!
Keeping your back straight, core tight and your right foot on the floor, push up through your right heel to lift your left foot up onto the bench.
Step up with your right foot so that you are standing on both feet and then lower yourself back down into the starting position.
Repeat the exercise, this time stepping up with your left foot. Continue alternating for the remainder of the set.
If you want to increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can raise the height of the bench by placing books or something similar under it.
Do not rush through this exercise; make sure that you keep your movements slow and controlled. This will help prevent injury and increase the effectiveness of the exercise. Do not allow your back to round and keep your core tight.
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far then you should now have a good grasp on how to go about designing your own home gym.
Like we mentioned before, there are hundreds of different pieces of fitness equipment out there and we haven’t even covered all of them in this guide. Our goal was to give you some ideas for how to get the most out of your home gym so that you don’t get bored or burned out from your routine.
Also, don’t forget that there are some pieces of exercise equipment that you can do without. If you can’t afford a treadmill, don’t let that stop you from walking or jogging outside. There are a lot of alternatives like yoga or even just doing bodyweight exercises if all else fails.
Fitness should be fun, not a chore. There is no one “right way” of doing things. As long as you’re getting the results that you want then anything goes!
So get out there, get exercising and have fun doing it!
You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your ****in’ khakis. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world
~ Green Day
Sources & references used in this article:
An examination of muscle activation and power characteristics while performing the deadlift exercise with straight and hexagonal barbells by KD Camara, JW Coburn, DD Dunnick… – The Journal of …, 2016 – cdn.journals.lww.com
4 Reasons Why You Need To Work Your Legs by A Lawson – balancemotion.com
5 Training Myths About Youth Strength Training by A RUNNER – speedandstrengthtraining.com
The effects of amino acid supplementation on muscular performance during resistance training overreaching by NA Ratamess, WJ Kraemer, JS Volek… – The Journal of …, 2003 – academia.edu
Barbell deadlift training increases the rate of torque development and vertical jump performance in novices by BJ Thompson, MS Stock, JCE Shields… – The Journal of …, 2015 – cdn.journals.lww.com
The effects of a resistance-training program on strength, body composition and baseline hormones in male athletes training concurrently for rugby union 7’s by BT Crewther, T Heke… – The Journal of sports …, 2013 – research.usc.edu.au