Sure, bodyweight exercises—and even entire bodyweight routines—can be great. If fact, we have a ton of them right here on MensFitness.com. But what many guys don't realize is that working out in the comfort of your own home doesn't have to mean limiting yourself to bodyweight moves alone. The truth is that to continue to see muscle gains, you need to vary your training and that includes switching up the ways you attack your muscles. Of course, you can play with volume and speed when it comes to bodyweight moves, but equipment allows you to also manipulate the load. And that's important.
The good news is that you don't need fancy machines or even several pieces of not-so-fancy equipment to do just that.
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"Depending on how much you want to spend, you can get a great workout for less than $100-200 investment," says NSCA trainer Nick Clayton. "Kettlebells and dumbbells are a great investment but can be expensive if you're buying different sizes," says Clayton, "I recommend picking up a stability ball, resistance bands (2-3 of varying resistance), a suspension trainer (TRX) and a pullup bar that goes in a doorway. You can also pickup some sandbags at your local hardware store (30-50 lbs) and fill a couple of milk jugs with water or heavier materials—you'll have everything you need!" Clayton designed the following 3-day routine that uses bodyweight and those pieces of equipment. Note that in some places, we've noted you could also use dumbbells or kettlebells—if you like and if you have them on hand.
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Though it's divided in to three days, each workout in this muscle-buidling plan will hit most major muscle groups and build strength, yet also target your cardiovascular system with quick bursts of plyometric moves like tuck jumps or tabata intervals of moves like pushups. Plus, in each routine there's a heavy focus on core work so you'll sculpt your abs every day of the week to boot. You can work these workouts in to your routine in any of these three ways, per Clayton:
1. Do each workout once per week, ideally with a day of rest between each.
2. Do the 3 workouts consecutively, then repeat the 1st workout on Friday of week 1, the 2nd workout on Friday of week 2, and so on.
3. Do a workout followed by cardio or other activity the next day, repeat throughout the week.