Can you gain huge amounts of muscle just by working out at home? Here’s an explanation why that is entirely possible and why home workouts sometimes work better than gym workouts.
Get Big With Home Workouts?
“You can’t get big with home workouts” or “you have to train at a gym to get huge” – have you heard those before? I did and do, and it usually comes from people who have a gym membership. My guess is they stick with these lines so because they have to justify to themselves all the money they spend on a gym membership.
The truth is that only one thing dictates if you increase in muscle mass or not: do you coax your muscles into getting bigger by working against enough resistance or not?
Machines Aren’t For Beginners
That resistance can come from your body, free weights or a machine. As a matter of fact, the first two are superior to machine training and require no equipment or just a cheap pair of dumbbells.
When you do flyes on a pec deck, for example, you train your chest muscle and that’s about it, because the machine guides the movement. Train your chest with push-ups or dumbbell presses and you have to stabilize the movement yourself, which recruits a lot more muscle. The dumbbell press trains the chest, the triceps, the front of the shoulders and even the biceps a bit. The push-up then does all that and recruits the ab muscles and quads to keep your body stable.
Yet gyms often discourage people from doing body weight or free weight exercises. They take the easy way out: instead of employing enough personnel, they tell people to use machines, because those offer the least possibility of running into liability law suits and cost them less. For free weights they need to have a qualified instructor around. And how could they justify asking you for a monthly fee when for the first six months you just need to drop to the floor and do push-ups?
You Can Use More Weights At Gyms?
But people do use free weights at gyms. Sometimes big ones. It’s another excuse for why you have to work out at gyms: to safely do barbell squats and bench presses with huge amounts of weight. Yes, trying to do a 200 lbs barbell squat at home, without safety equipment and all by yourself, is a stupid thing to do. Maybe the last thing you will do.
But you can do the vast majority of those exercises safely with just a pair of dumbbells. A normal 14″ one handles up to 110 lbs (50 kg), which means with a pair of them you can do dumbbell presses, squats and many more exercises with up to 220 lbs (100 kg). When those aren’t enough anymore, there are dumbbells 24″ long that handle a whopping 200 lbs (90 kg) – maxing out at 400 lbs should satisfy most people.
It Depends On You
Which puts us back to the beginning: have enough weights around and there are no limits to the amount of muscle you can build at home.
Those saying that home workouts got them nowhere didn’t lack progress because they worked out out at home. Some people simply lack the motivation to work out by themselves. For me, being by myself actually was what made working out work. For others being in a “this means business” environment like a gym is important.
I’ts a question of personality. But blaming failure on working out at home is as silly as if I, back all those years, blamed the gyms for me being unable to train there.