Getting Buff At Home: From Average to Exceptionally Fit

Key Points

  • Working out to gain strength and muscle is a multi-faceted process that takes time and commitment.

  • Strategic exercise plans and proper nutrition are foundational for better health and fitness.

  • Regardless of your current fitness level, getting buff at home and achieving your dream physique is possible.

Fat, skinny, flabby, scrawny – nobody wants to hear these words used to describe them. All right, so you have some work to do on your frame; who doesn’t? A recent survey of Americans revealed that almost 80 percent don’t like at least one aspect of their physical bodies.

For many people, there seems to be a disconnect between their reality and goals. How do you get buff at home and go from flabby to firm? If the formula were that simple, you would have cracked it by now.

Getting buff at home and sculpting a beautiful, muscular frame is easier than you might think. Physical fitness is more important than ever in this increasingly sedentary world ripe with unhealthy foods and other temptations. Choose strategic exercise combinations, proper nutrition, and other self-care strategies to take your physique from drab to fab.

Building muscle not only helps improve physical strength and appearance but also promotes better health and well-being. If you want to build more muscle at home, there’s no time like the present to start changing your lifestyle and sculpting your dream physique.

Why Build Muscle?

Prioritize strength training as the go-to activity to improve your health. Strength training involves engaging one or more muscle groups to perform specific exercises, such as bicep curls and squats. There is abundant research supporting the advantage of strength training and its role in high-quality workout protocols.

Combine strength training with proper nutrition and supplementation to yield impressive, head-turning gains that inspire envy and desire.

Workout out at home

Strength Training 101

Strength training goes by several names: weights, resistance, and muscle training. All refer to physical movements that use your body weight or other weighted equipment to build muscle mass, endurance, and strength. Primary types of strength training include:

Muscular Hypertrophy

Known as muscle building, this particular type of strength training uses moderate to heavy weights and equipment to stimulate muscle growth.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance refers to a muscle's ability to engage in energetic movements for an extended time. Training to increase your endurance involves many repetitions, or reps, with light weights or your own body weight.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is complete body conditioning, where you cycle through several exercises with little to no rest period between reps. 

Max Muscle Strength Training

Max muscle strength training involves low reps and heavy weights to improve strength and endurance. Do not attempt this type of exercise unless you have experience with training and proper form.

Explosive Power

Explosive power training uses speed and power to improve your power output. This extreme workout is a favorite of professional athletes to improve their speed, strength, and agility when performing explosive movements in their sport. 

Depending on the unique combination of strength training you choose for building muscle, there are several types of equipment to choose from:

  • Your own body weight

  • Free weights

  • Resistance bands or loops

  • Weight machines

  • Suspension equipment

All these exercises and equipment aim to put your muscles under enough tension to allow for neuromuscular adaptations and stimulate muscle growth and strength. Watch your strength improve with consistency and regular practice.

Benefits of Strength Training and Building Muscle

Many surprising benefits come with strength training and building muscle. The positive impacts of training on your mind and body improve all aspects of your life.

Greater Strength

Improving strength and muscle composition are the primary benefits of strength training. Performing daily tasks like carrying groceries and keeping up with energetic children is suddenly much easier.

Strength training has advantages for athletes who engage in sports requiring speed, strength, and power. Endurance athletes maintain lean muscle mass with regular strength sessions using resistance bands and bodyweight exercises.

The lean muscle mass that results from strength training protects against bone loss and osteoarthritis as you age, making committing to a regular training schedule even more important.

Girl on floor with exercise equipment

Use Calories More Efficiently

Strength training allows your body to use calories more efficiently. Muscle is more metabolically efficient than fat; your body quickly breaks down carbs, fats, and proteins to use as energy.

The end result is more efficient, sustained energy for daily activities.

Leaner Physique

You achieve a more defined, toned physique by increasing your muscle mass and reducing body fat. Muscle is denser than fat, so even though it weighs the same, it takes up less space on your body. As you build more muscle, the circumference of your waist decreases, regardless of whether or not you see a reduction in your overall body weight.

As you lose body fat and increase muscle size and strength, your muscles become more visible and defined. This contributes to a more athletic, lean physique.

Lowered Risk of Injury

Incorporating strength training into your fitness regimen lowers your risk of sustaining an injury. Training enhances the strength, flexibility, and mobility of your muscles and other tissues in the body. This, in turn, strengthens major joints like hips, knees, and ankles, providing added protection against injury.

Strength training also corrects muscle imbalances, which decreases your risk of injury. Reduce the strain on your lower back during lifting activities by strengthening muscles such as your core, hamstrings, and glutes. One review of over 7,500 athletes revealed that strength training programs reduced the risk of injury by 33 percent.

Improves Heart Health

Incorporating regular strength training exercises into your fitness routine decreases blood pressure, reduces total and bad cholesterol, and improves blood circulation. These effects are due to the strengthening of the heart and blood vessels. 

Muscle building helps you achieve and maintain healthy body weight and regulate your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels are a significant risk factor for developing heart disease.

Stronger Bones

Strength training plays a vital role in bone strength and development. Weight-bearing exercises exert temporary stress on your bones, signaling those bone-building cells to initiate repair and build bones back up. 

Strong bones lower the risk of fractures, falls, and osteoporosis as you age. Even one muscle-building session a week benefits your bones, regardless of your age.

Improved Brain Function

Those focusing on strength training and muscle building enjoy more efficient brain function and protection against cognitive decline. Older adults experience improvements in cognitive function with memory, processing speed, and executive function as a result of participation in training. 

Muscle building has several neuroprotective effects, including reduced inflammation, improved blood flow, and an increased expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein associated with learning and memory.

Better Quality of Life

Strength training and muscle toning positively affect the quality of your life as you age. Recent studies established a clear link between strength training and increased health-related quality of life.

Experience improved mental health and physical well-being with a commitment to regular strength training.

How Muscle Develops

Now that you've seen the benefits of strength training to build muscle, you need also to understand the basic physiology of muscles — how they work, how they grow, and what factors contribute to their health. In doing so, you realize the importance of proper training and self-care to develop the muscle you want.

When you train your muscles through resistance exercise, you stress the muscle fibers, causing tiny tears. This process, known as muscle damage or trauma, initiates the body's healing response. Muscle fibers repair themselves during rest, becoming thicker and stronger. The end result is muscle growth and hypertrophy.

Factors Contributing to Growth

Several factors come into play when training for growth, and the rate at which an individual sees gains varies from person to person, depending on age, gender, and genetics.

Man with dumbbell weight

Progressive Overload

Progressive overload involves gradually increasing your weight or resistance during training sessions. As muscle fibers adapt to increased resistance and challenges presented by workouts, they become stronger and larger.

Protein Synthesis

The process of muscle growth is reliant on protein synthesis. The body uses amino acids and proteins to repair and rebuild damaged muscle fibers.

Consuming enough protein through diet or supplementation is critical to muscle growth.


Hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor play an important role in muscle growth. Testosterone, in particular, increases protein synthesis and promotes muscle growth. 

Rest and Recovery

You need adequate rest and recovery for proper muscle growth. When you rest, your body repairs and rebuilds damaged muscle fibers, increasing size and strength.


You need proper nutrition, including sufficient caloric intake, macronutrient balance, and adequate hydration for muscle growth. Consuming enough carbs, proteins, and healthy fats provides the necessary energy and nutrients needed for muscle growth.


Your genes play a role in muscle growth and development as well. Some individuals naturally build muscle more easily than others. 

Choose the Right Equipment for Your Muscle-Building Journey

Whether working out at home or in the gym, choosing the right equipment and exercises is crucial to getting the desired results. Consider these essential pieces when working out to make serious gains.

Free Weights

Free weights are an easy and inexpensive option for strength training that you customize to fit your workouts. Your body must work to stabilize the free weight, which activates many smaller muscles not typically targeted by machine exercises. This offers you a more functionally complete workout.

Free weights give you a greater range of motion than machines and help you better target specific muscle groups. This is especially important for squats and deadlifts, which are the most effective exercises for building strength and mass.

Free weights work well for various exercises that target whole-body toning. Functional training benefits athletes and individuals looking for more energy in their daily lives.

Girl using free weights at home


Working with kettlebells involves compound movements, using many muscle groups simultaneously. This yields greater muscle activation and growth compared to exercises that isolate one specific group of muscles. 

Kettlebells also provide cardiovascular conditioning, which improves overall fitness and helps burn both calories and fat. The unique shape and grip of the kettlebell help improve grip strength, enhancing all other aspects of strength training.

Kettlebell movements involve a wide range of motion, which increases flexibility and joint mobility. They are a fantastic tool for building both strength and muscle mass.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are a different type of muscle-building tool that offers unique benefits compared to kettlebells and free weights. They provide variable resistance throughout the entire range of motion of an exercise. Resistance continues to increase as you stretch a band, which activates muscles in a way that free weights and kettlebells cannot.

Versatility and ease of use allow you to use resistance bands for a wide variety of exercises, including upper and lower body movements. They are also lightweight and easy to carry, making them an excellent tool for strength training on the go or at home.

Weight Benches

Weight benches work in combination with the above tools to enhance and provide additional stability to your workouts. Like free weights and other resistance training tools, a weight bench allows progressive overload, gradually increasing muscle resistance and challenge.

Weight benches allow you to achieve a greater range of motion for exercises like the bench press, chest fly, and incline press, which target specific muscle groups more effectively.

The stability of a weight bench reduces your risk of injury and gives you greater control and precision during movement.

Power Racks

Power racks — or squat racks, as some may call them — are more substantial pieces of training equipment that improve your muscle-building results. Providing a safer environment for heavy lifting exercises, the power rack has safety catches to support your weight if you fail to complete reps. 

Used with a wide variety of exercises, the power rack lets you move from the upper body to the lower body and back again, leading you through classic strength training exercises like the bench press, squat, and bicep curls. A power rack allows you to target specific muscle groups with precision.

While you have the option of using power racks and lifting equipment in a gym, serious fitness enthusiasts might consider purchasing this piece of equipment for a home gym. The convenience and high-quality workout efficiency that a power rack yields often pays for itself with dramatic results.

Cardio Equipment

Bringing cardio equipment into your workout significantly benefits those serious about muscle-building gains. Cardio equipment like treadmills, stationary bikes, and ellipticals improve strength training and muscle building in several ways. 

Cardiovascular exercises increase endurance and stamina, allowing you to train longer and more intensely during strength training. Sweaty cardio sessions also improve recovery time between muscle mass sessions by increasing blood flow and reducing muscle soreness.

Incorporating cardio equipment and routines into your workout regimen provides variety and prevents the boredom and burnout that comes with focusing only on muscle gain.

Starting From Scratch

Even with nothing to work with, taking steps toward that muscular physique with the right bodyweight exercises is still possible. Men and women alike see gains when they implement these strategic exercises that develop balance and coordination, all while building muscle.

Press-Ups: Whole Body, Upper Body

Extend your whole body into a plank position where your hands are directly beneath extended arms and shoulders. Gradually lower your body until your chest is about an inch from the ground, then push your body upward by straightening your arms.

Overhead Crunches

Lie on the ground with your knees bent and arms extended straight over your head along the floor. Engage your abdominal muscles to raise your shoulders off the floor while raising your arms straight toward the ceiling.

Pistol Squat

Begin by standing with your arms outstretched in front of your body, parallel to the floor. Lift your right leg off the floor and keep it extended at a 90-degree angle in front of you. Shift your hips back and slowly lower your body as far as possible. Hold this position for a moment, then return to the starting point by pushing your body back to standing. Repeat on the other side.

Step Up With Knee Raise

Step onto a box or bench in front of you with one foot. With your foot firmly planted on the bench, use your other foot to propel your knee upward as high as possible. Lower your knee back down and stabilize your foot on the floor, preparing to switch to the other side.

Tricep Dips

From a sitting position on a firm chair, place your hands behind you and walk your hips out until your arms support you. Lower your body toward the floor by bending your elbows and keeping them close to your body. Push yourself back up to the starting position by straightening your arms.

Exercising in living room

Workouts With Weights and Gym Workouts

If you have access to the gym and some home fitness equipment, weight training is a simple process. All you need to do is follow strategic exercise protocols to build muscle and allow for rest, which is where the real magic happens. During your rest days, muscles rebuild and repair, giving you more to work with for the next round. 

The following strength training example is perfect for use with home fitness equipment or gym machines; choose your preferred training method and go for the gusto.

Day 1: Legs and Abs

  • Leg press

  • Dumbbell step up

  • Reverse lunge (with or without weights)

  • Calf raises

  • Side planks

  • Abdominal crunches

Day 2: Chest

  • Bench press or chest press with free weights

  • Decline push-ups

  • Chest flys

  • Plyometric or traditional push-ups

Day 3: Back

  • Chin-ups or pull-downs with resistance bands

  • Dumbbell bent over row

  • Lawnmower row

  • Dumbbell incline row

  • Superman

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Shoulders

  • Standing shoulder press

  • Front raises

  • Shoulder flys

  • Resistance band pull-aparts

Day 6: Arms

  • Bicep or barbell curls

  • Dumbbell overhead triceps extension

  • Preacher curls

  • Dumbbell kickbacks

Day 7: Rest or Optional Cardio

Incorporating cardio into your routine is an excellent jumping-off point for diving into the world of lifting and fitness. This foundational exercise protocol is crucial to gaining muscle and sculpting a killer physique.

Doing ab exercise at home

Nutrition: The Final Piece of the Puzzle

Don’t think for a moment that your dream physique is within reach if you continue to fuel your body with chips, sodas, and processed foods. Your body is a marvelous temple and a treasure. It needs wholesome, fresh foods and proper nutrition to facilitate the healing and growth that sculpts your body. 

Pay attention: Restricting calories does not make you svelte and sleek. To build muscle, you must eat to fuel your body. This may mean ingesting more calories than you're initially comfortable with consuming. Commit to following a proper fitness diet to see a significant difference in the way you look and feel. Men should aim to include 250 extra calories per day, and women should include an additional 125 calories per day (sorry, ladies).

Combine the right mix of good proteins, quality whole grains, carbs, and healthy fats to optimize recovery and growth and give you the energy needed to fuel your high-powered workouts.

Don't Give Up!

Toning up and gaining muscle takes time, dedication, and consistency. By incorporating a healthy diet, following a quality exercise and training plan, and adhering to a healthy lifestyle, the body you desire begins to take shape.

Challenge yourself, vary your workouts, and listen to your body's needs. With patience, determination, and a positive mindset, the transformation you seek is just around the corner.

Find more information on fitness and quality equipment at FitnessCorner.

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