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How to Bulk Up at Home

author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
How to Bulk Up at Home
A slice of bread with peanut butter on it sits on a wooden table. Photo Credit PatrikSlezak/iStock/Getty Images

Lifting weights at home doesn’t mean that you can’t bulk up, you’ve just got to be creative with your training. A workout that’s designed to build muscle size features numerous exercises for each muscle group you’re targeting, with each exercise being completed for multiple sets. This type of workout is effective for overloading your muscles and stimulating their growth. Therefore, when working out at home, you’ve still got to have access to an array of weights.

Protein Consumption and Bulking Schedule

When you’re working out at home -- because you don’t have easy access to an array of equipment -- it’s likely to take you slightly longer to get your workouts finished. Because of this, and the fact that you need to complete multiple exercises per muscle group to overload the tissues, split your lower and upper body muscles into separate workouts. Focus on your upper body two days per week such as Mondays and Thursdays, and your lower body on another two days, like Tuesdays and Fridays. To properly fuel the muscle-building process, take in 0.65 to 0.80 g of protein for every pound that you weigh. In addition, have a small meal of protein and carbohydrates, such as a piece of toast with peanut butter, within 30 minutes of completing each workout. Eating right after you strength train increases protein synthesis.

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Sets and Reps for Size

The goal of each workout is to thoroughly exhaust your muscles. Select six to eight exercises to include in each upper and lower body workouts. Complete three to five sets of each exercise, resting just 30 to 90 seconds in between each set to facilitate reaching fatigue. Each set should consist of eight to 20 reps. You want to hit failure during each set, which means you keep going until you’re unable to successfully complete another rep. Select a weight that allows you to reach failure before you get to rep 20.

Hitting the Upper Body

To ensure you can find an appropriate amount of weight to reach failure during each set, you’ll need either a pair of adjustable dumbbells or a collection of dumbbells at different weights. A barbell set that comes with several weighted plates is also a quality option. In place of a bench, you can acquire an exercise ball to use. A pull-up bar that attaches to a doorframe allows you to incorporate more exercises into your workouts. The major muscles in your upper body include your back, shoulders, chest, biceps and triceps. With dumbbells or a barbell and a pull-up bar, you can work these muscles with chest press, chest fly, pushups, shoulder press, lateral raise, bent-over row, pull-ups, chin-ups, biceps curl and lying triceps extension.

Building the Hips and Legs

Dumbbells or a weighted barbell are necessary to build size in your legs as well. The major muscles in your lower body include your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Incorporate exercises such as back squat, front squat, front lunge, walking lunge, deadlift and calf raise to work your lower body muscles. While each of these exercises requires you to lift your own bodyweight, you’ll soon need to increase the load you’re lifting with dumbbells or a barbell in order to reach failure within 20 reps.

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