When you are exercising at home you might have two questions in your mind – should you use weight in your home workout or should you only do bodyweight exercises in your home workout to get fit.
Both bodyweight workouts and workouts using weight have their pros and cons. If you do them correctly, then both can help you improve your body fitness and help you to stay fit.
In this article, you will know whether you should use weight in your home workout or you should workout without weights.
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Should you add weight in your home workout
Doing just bodyweight exercises in your home workout can help you to get toned and build muscle. But you will get the results at a slower pace. But if you add some weight training along with bodyweight exercises then you can see better results in terms of toning and building muscle mass.
Bodyweight exercises are great for building body strength but it can’t compete with weight training when it comes to muscle building or getting a toned body.
Although if you do bodyweight workouts often you will gain muscle and it will also tone your body, but you have to workout 4-5 days for 30-45 minutes in each session.
Where if you incorporate weight training in your home workout then you can get similar or even better results by only exercising for 20-25 minutes.
So should you use weight in your home workout or not?
This will depend on what results you expect from your home workouts. If you want to build your strength, burn some calories and maintain a healthy body weight then bodyweight workouts will be great.
But if you want to get a toned look or want to add some lean muscle mass and grow your bicep size then along with bodyweight training you can do some weight training.
Also, for weight training at home, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can get 2 pairs of dumbbells (one lightweight and one medium weight) and if you want to lift some heavy weights you can get a kettlebell.
For both men and women, having 2 pairs of dumbbells and one kettlebell is more than enough to do weight training at home.
And if you are serious about building muscle at home and want to do most gym exercises at home, then you can additionally purchase one barbell, some free weights and a foldable gym bench. That’s it. Having those equipment means you have a mini gym at your disposal.
Related: Apply these 10 home workout secrets to get a fit body.
Advantages of adding weight in your home workout
The main advantage of adding weight to your home workout is you can spend less time and get a better-shaped body when you do weight training in comparison to just doing bodyweight exercises.
Adding some weight training also challenges your body and you can see better results in terms of getting rid of extra body fat and building lean muscle mass.
Another advantage of incorporating weight in your workout is you will get better muscle volume.
To conclude – if you want to get a lean body and build some muscle mass in less time then add some weight training to your home workout. You can still do bodyweight exercises but when you have a pair of dumbbells at home, you can increase the intensity of your workout if you want to.
For example – squats are known for building strong legs. When you do bodyweight squats for a long time, your body gets used to it. So to further tone your legs and build your leg muscle, you have to do more numbers of bodyweight squats than you used to or you have to switch to advanced bodyweight exercises and do jump squats.
When you add weights to your workout – you can do all three versions of the squat. You can do bodyweight squats to warm up. Then do jump squats and end your leg workout session with squats with a pair of dumbbells.
Thus adding weight can help you get some extra muscle mass and toning when compared to doing just bodyweight workouts.
Related: The benefits of home workouts over gym workouts.
Is it better to workout with or without weight?
When you are exercising at home, it’s best to have a mix of bodyweight training and some light weightlifting exercises on the side.
Home workouts have a bad reputation for not getting proper results or not getting enough muscle-building results as compared to a gym workout.
Of Course, if you do only bodyweight exercises at home and do weight training at the gym then obviously you will get different results.
You have to accept that weight training will outperform bodyweight workouts in terms of muscle building and toning if you workout for the same amount of time.
Or to get similar results from a bodyweight workout you have to train for a longer duration.
So ultimately, it’s up to you. If you are happy with only doing bodyweight workouts then stick with it. Or if you want to save time and build a better-shaped body then along with bodyweight exercises, add some free weights like a pair of dumbbells to do weight training in your home workout.
Does home workout really work without weights?
Home workouts can be equally effective as the gym workout when done correctly. Exercising at home can work without weights if you workout for 4-5 days for 30-45 minutes.
But bodyweight workouts are good for building your strength and stamina. By doing bodyweight exercises you can also build muscle but you will see better results when you workout at home with weights.
So, depending on your workout goals, you have to decide whether you should workout with weights or only do bodyweight training in your home workout.
Related: 10 Daily exercises you should do to stay fit.
Can you build muscle without weights?
Yes, you can build muscle without weights but you won’t get much volume. If you are only doing bodyweight exercises and want to get better muscle volume then you have to change the way you do your bodyweight exercises.
In your bodyweight training, you have to always make your workouts challenging for your body. You can’t do the same amount of repetition every day or you will hit a plateau in terms of building muscle.
For example – if you do pushups in your home workout, you can do different variations of pushups to build muscle from doing pushups. Along with normal pushups, you have to do diamond pushups, incline pushups, decline pushups and pike pushups if you want to build muscle.
Also, you have to do 3-4 sets of pushups if you want to build muscle and take your fitness level to the next level.
Similarly, for other bodyweight exercises, you have to do their advanced form if you want to build muscle without weight. And change your workout routine every 45 days so that your body always finds it challenging when you do your workouts.
Related: Morning pushup routine.
Can you build muscle with light weights?
Even if you exercise for 4-5 days and just do bodyweight workouts you will build muscle. Adding additional weights can help you to make your workouts more intense than you used to. Thus the amount of weight doesn’t matter much. It’s alright as long as it’s challenging your body.
Of Course, without lifting heavy weights you can build muscle by using light weights in your workout.
Here’s an example of how light weights you can use in your workouts. For women, a pair of dumbbells of 5 pounds (2.26kg) each is considered lightweight. And for men, a pair of dumbbells weighing 10 pounds (4.53kg) is considered lightweight.
By lifting 5-10 pounds you can train your upper body and you will gain muscle mass and it will help you to tone your body.
With the same weights, you can also train your lower body. But for best results, while training your lower body – you have to lift a little heavier. You can lift a 15-20 pounds dumbbell set (6.80 – 9.07 kg) while doing squats or doing a deadlift.
How much weight should you lift in your home workout?
In your home workout, you should lift moderate amounts of weight. For men, it’s best to lift a little heavier weights (10-20 pounds) and for women, it’s best to lift weights around (5-15 pounds). These weights are the weights of one dumbbell so if you add the weights of two dumbbells then the total weight would be double.
So total weight to lift in your home workout as a woman will become 10-30 pounds (4.53 -13.60 kg) and for men 20-40 pounds (9.07 – 18.14 kg)
For both men and women, having two pairs of dumbbells at home is sufficient for training your upper and lower body.
Recommended dumbbell size for women
The recommended dumbbell size for women – for doing home workouts is two sets of dumbbells – one lightweight for doing upper body workouts and one medium weight for doing lower body workouts.
The first dumbbell you want to purchase should weigh 3-5 pounds (1.36 – 2.26 kg) each. Depending on your body strength you can choose accordingly. My recommendation is to go with a 5-pound dumbbell set because within a few days of weight training, you will build enough strength that you can totally workout with a 5-pound dumbbell.
Or if you feel like lifting a little bit heavier dumbbells is not your cup of tea then go with a pair of dumbbells of 3-4 pounds each.
The second dumbbell you want to purchase is for training your lower body or you should use it when doing squats or deadlifts. You should get a pair of dumbbells of 15 pounds each (6.80kg).
Quick tips for purchasing dumbbells: For your first dumbbell (lightweight one) you should get a round-shaped dumbbell with a rubber coating. And for the second dumbbell (heavier one) you should get a hexagonal-shaped dumbbell with a rubber coating.
You should always purchase rubber-coated dumbbells if you want to use them to workout at home.
Recommended dumbbell size for men
For men, it’s recommended to have two pairs of hexagonal dumbbells for your home workouts.
The first dumbbell you want to pick should be of medium weight for training the upper body. You can pick a dumbbell set of 10 pounds (4.53kg) each.
For training your lower body and upper body you can pick another pair that should weigh 15-20 pounds each.
My recommendation is to pick a 20 pounds (9.07kg) dumbbell set. This will help you use it for both upper and lower body training.
What happens if I only do bodyweight exercises?
When you only do bodyweight exercises you will gain less muscle mass and volume. Although you can build muscle through bodyweight exercises but for it, you have to train hard and perform advanced bodyweight exercises.
Advanced bodyweight exercises can be hard to learn if you are just starting to workout at home.
Also, without proper training, it’s harder to maintain proper form while doing advanced bodyweight exercises.
The training method you choose to follow is up to you. The most important factor is that you should train for 4-5 days if you are doing bodyweight exercises and want to get good results.
You should add weight in your home workout if you want to get a lean body or a toned look faster. Weight training along with bodyweight exercises is the perfect combo to have in your home workout.
Many people find they are not gaining good results in terms of muscle building from their home workouts. When you do bodyweight exercises for long – your body gets used to it. Thus, to avoid plateauing and build muscle, you must constantly push your limits and make your workout challenging for your body.
Thus incorporating weights makes your home workouts much more effective and you can get much better results.
Often people get demotivated because they are not getting good results from their workouts. Add some weight training to your workout and within a few weeks, the results will meet your expectations.
Read next: Home workout secrets to level up your fitness game.