3 Hard Workouts At Home That You Can Do With Minimal Equipment

Hard Workouts At Home

Are you running out of workout ideas especially with no gym or minimal equipment? Well, you’ve come to the right place if so. We understand that there’s only so much you can do with limited tools and even a tight budget. But that doesn’t mean you should just throw in the towel and shrivel up to nothing because you think you’ve reached your capacity.

Because where there’s a will, there’s a way. And it’s our job right now to show you the way and prove that you can still do hard workouts at home. Hopefully, this situation has made many of us realize that convenience and luxury can be taken away from us at any point. And these times are definitely a true test of character. 

Many will give up but those who can find the will-power to keep going are going to come out better because of this. Now let’s break down the workouts and the basic items you’ll need that won’t cost you much. 

If you don’t have the following items, we have plenty of great articles on our site that you can do using your own body weight and basic objects around the house…

Items needed for this workout: 

  • Strong resistance band
  • Durable bag/pack w/handle (e.g backpack, duffel bag w/strap)
  • Pull-up bar and sturdy door

The workouts

We’ve put together three challenging workouts that’ll work every muscle and improve your strength. You’ll need to be able to do pull-ups and possibly add more weight for additional overload. One workout is circuit-style for those who want to burn additional calories for the purpose of weight/fat loss. 

You should have some training experience before attempting these workouts as they are not suitable for beginner exercisers. 

Workout 1: 3-4x per week full-body workout

Make sure to do a few warm-up sets before doing the working sets. You can do this workout every other day or every two-three days which we recommend due to the lower overall volume. See if you can stick with this routine for at least 30 days, adding a little more weight or doing more reps each week than the week before. 

Feel free to add in cardio or core work as needed. If you’re going to throw in an arm day on its own, we recommend doing one low volume session per week in addition to this workout. 

Weighted single-leg door jamb assisted squats

Squats are a superior leg exercise that works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core muscles. So we chose the single-leg version because it’s much more challenging than the basic squat. But then to make the exercise even more challenging, you’ll add additional weight by wearing a pack or bag.

Add some weight to the pack or bag that’ll allow you to still comfortably do several reps but that won’t allow you to.

To do it: 

  1. Stand in the center of a doorway and hold onto the sides of the door jamb with both hands for balance.
  2. Place your foot slightly in front of your body so that you’ll be able to squat through your heel. 
  3. Squat down to parallel or slightly below and then drive through your heel to stand back up.
  4. Complete your reps and then switch sides.

Avoid pulling yourself back up as you should only use your hands for balance. You can also hold onto a sturdy object with one hand if you think you can balance with additional weight on your back. 

  • Do 4 sets to failure

Weighted pull-ups

Pull-ups are the best home back exercise but it also works the biceps by default. Now, there’s a large population of exercisers who can’t do a pull-up. This variation isn’t for those people as you not only need to do a pull-up but we really want to overload the back muscles here for mass and strength purposes. 

Again, add some extra weight that’ll allow you to reach failure earlier than if you were doing a bodyweight-only set. 

To do it: 

  1. Grab the bar using an overhand grip so your hands are at or slightly wider than shoulder-width. Make sure the bar is deep in your palms. 
  2. Retract your shoulder blades and lift your chest.
  3. Pull yourself up to the bar keeping your legs straight and slightly in front of you. 
  4. Slowly lower yourself down but don’t allow your head to sink down into your shoulders. Maintain a strong posture. 
  • Do 4 sets to failure

Weighted or banded push-ups

Time to throw on the pack or bring the bands out for push-ups for the chest, triceps, and shoulders. If you can’t wear the pack or bag on your back then you can use the resistance band to provide more of a challenge. 

Now, a common issue when using bands with push-ups is that rolls up and doesn’t stay in place on your back. It also depends on the bands. But a simple fix is to cross the bands to form a figure-8 or wear a nylon/cloth belt around the top of your ribcage and secure the band on your back. That way, it won’t move and you won’t get hit in the head. 

To do it: 

  1. Get into a push-up position with your hands directly under your lower chest, shoulder-width, while holding the ends of the bands to the floor. 
  2. Tighten your core, retract your shoulder blades, and tilt your pelvis back. 
  3. Lower yourself until your chest reaches within an inch or two from the floor. 
  4. Press back up keeping your torso neutral and try to squeeze your chest muscles together. 

Perform each rep at a moderate pace.

  • Do 4 sets to failure 

Seated resistance band shoulder presses

For shoulders, we’ll do the basic overhead which will hit the front and lateral delts. 

To do it

You can either stand in the middle of the band to do these or secure the bands under the end of your bed leg or something similar. 

  1. Grip the bands with both hands so that it’s on the same side as your palms rather than your knuckles. This makes it a lot more comfortable to do the presses. 
  2. Hold the bands at shoulder height with your elbows flared out. This ensures you’ll hit more of the medial head of the shoulder along with the anterior head. 
  3. Press the bands as high as you can and slowly lower them back down to shoulder level. 

Make sure there’s enough resistance in the band throughout the entire range of the movement. 

  • Do 4 sets to failure

Workout 2: Bands and pack/bag full-body workout

For this workout, you need your bands and something to anchor it around plus your pack/bag. Bands are a great tool for providing constant resistance. And the convenient thing about bands is that you can adjust the level of resistance by either shortening the tension or letting up. 

It’s also a very portable training tool and the options are endless. Then having a pack or bag is a great way to add resistance to certain exercises that you otherwise couldn’t. 

This workout is focused on the major muscle groups. But keep in mind, the assisting muscles are also highly involved in each exercise. You can do core work on your own time and feel free to add in an arm training session when you can. 

Bulgarian split squat w/band

The Bulgarian split squat is one exercise that we always recommend you have in your arsenal. It’s a good bodyweight-only exercise but you can use a band to make it just perfect for building muscle. Now, you can either use a band with handles or a loop band (you can place the loop band around your neck or hold it). Just make sure there’s enough resistance through the entire range of the exercise. 

To do it: 

  1. Stand the optimal distance away from the bench and then place the band under your lead foot. 
  2. Place the top of the other, non-working foot on the bench behind you, and hold the bands in front of you at about chest level. 
  3. Lower down until your upper leg is parallel or slightly below and then drive through your heel back up into the standing position. Repeat for reps and then switch sides. 
  • Do 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Single-leg Romanian deadlift w/ backpack

Time to load up the backpack as much as you can without it ripping apart. You can place sand inside of several bags and then place them inside of your pack or bag. Or you can load it with weights or anything that’ll allow you to really challenge yourself. You can also either hold the weight in your hand or weight it on your back or front. 

You’ll also need to balance a little for this one but it’s a great posterior chain (backside of the body exercise) for building the glutes and hamstrings. 

To do it: 

  1. While standing upright, tighten your core, and keep your shoulders back. 
  2. Bend your knees just slightly and then hinge forward at the hips until your torso is about parallel to the floor. Drive through the heel to maximize ham and glute involvement. 
  • Do 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Standing one arm high row w/ resistance band

This is one of those exercises that really makes us love the versatility of resistance bands. This is a movement that works the upper back and even rear shoulder which is very beneficial for posture as well. All you have to do is secure the bands around a high object (this is where that pull-up bar comes in handy).

A tree, bars, or anything sturdy will do. Just make sure the band is secure and won’t slide off because that won’t be fun. 

To do it: 

  1. Grip the handle/s with one hand and walk back to create a good amount of tension in the bands with your arms extended. You also want to be facing the band whether you place your feet shoulder-width next to each other or use a staggered or split stance.
  2. Pull the band back keeping your elbow down so that your arm moves back behind your body.
  3. Continue for the desired reps and then switch sides for one set. 
  • Do 3 sets x 10-15 reps 

Pack/bag bent-over row

The bent-over row and its variations are a superior method for working the entire back symmetrically, especially when compared to most other back exercises. (1)

Once again, you’ll need to load up with a decent amount of weight to really get the benefit from this movement. 

To do it: 

  1. Hold the pack or bag by the ends in front of you.
  2. Hinge forward at the hips while bending your knees until your back is parallel to the floor or slightly above.
  3. Retract your shoulder blades and keep your chest up.
  4. Pull towards your lower or mid-back and squeeze your shoulders blades then slowly lower the weight back down until your arms are extended and repeat. 
  • Do 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Standing one-arm chest fly w/ bands 

Flyes are a great muscle-builder contrary to what many may believe and we highly recommend it. It allows for a great chest stretch and is more optimal for arm adduction which creates a better chest contraction. This then results in better development of the pecs. 

To do it: 

  1. Wrap one end of the band around a sturdy object such as a tree, or something similar. 
  2. Grip the other end of the band in one hand even if you have to hold two handles in one hand. 
  3. Stand sideways to where the band is anchored and walk out until there’s tension in the band. 
  4. Bend your elbow slightly and then pull the band as far as you can toward the opposite shoulder while contracting your chest muscles.
  5. Slowly reverse the motion and complete the desired reps then switch arms and work the other side.

If too much resistance, turn facing away from the bands and do a regular chest fly by gripping the handles with both hands. It’ll be less resistance overall but depending on the strength of your hands. You should still be able to stimulate the chest decently. 

  • Do 3 sets x 8-10 reps

Decline push-ups w/band

To emphasize the upper pecs, the decline push-up is an excellent exercise. It involves elevating your feet or knees up onto an object that’s a few feet off the ground. This shifts the difficulty toward the very top of the torso and other than working your chest, it really challenges the triceps and shoulders too. 

You might be strong but this exercise is difficult for most people regardless. 

To do it: 

  1. Set up the band to do push-ups exactly the same as how we explained in the first workout. 
  2. Elevate your feet up onto a relatively high platform at least three feet off the floor. 
  3. Position your hands about shoulder-width and directly under your mid-chest. 
  4. Keep your shoulder blades back and down and maintain a neutral torso. 
  5. Lower down as far as you can and push up until your arms are fully extended. 

Do this at a moderate pace.

  • Do 3 sets to failure

Seated resistance band shoulder presses

This is the same exercise from the first workout. It’s a great shoulder press variation that is going to be challenging for most people. Shorten the length of the band/s to make it even more challenging. 

  • Do 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Single-arm pack/bag shrugs

We need something to really hit the traps hard and heavy. And using a heavy pack or bag to do unilateral (affecting one side) shrugs is one of the best exercises we can think of when you have limited equipment. 

To do it: 

  1. Pick up the pack/bag while keeping your core tight and shoulders level.
  2. As you shrug the weight up, lift your elbow up at the same time to get a more pronounced stretch in the traps.
  3. Lower back down until you feel a stretch in the muscle/s and repeat. 

Try to go relatively heavy with this exercise by adding a good amount of weight.

  • Do 3 sets x 15-20 reps

Workout 3: Minimalist circuit-style HIIT workout

For the last workout, you’ll need all three items (resistance band, pull-up bar, and pack/bag). It’s going to be more fast-paced for the purpose of burning more calories and improving your cardiovascular fitness. Although you should already have decent cardio fitness before doing this workout.

You’ll move from one exercise to the other doing one set of each for three rounds. 

You should do a 5-minute minimum warm-up to get your heart rate up so that it doesn’t increase too fast during the workout, leading to nausea and dizziness. Plus, you want to warm up your joints which will also make you feel the target muscle/s working much better. 

For example, take a light jog, do some jump rope, burpees, etc.

Pack/bag thrusters

Thrusters work the lower body (legs), core, and upper body pushing muscles. It’s basically a squat into an overhead press so nothing too complex. It’s also a great conditioning exercise for improved endurance.

Use a challenging weight for this exercise. 

To do it: 

  1. Hold the pack/bag near your chest in the goblet position. Your feet should be just slightly wider than hip-width and turned slightly outward. 
  2. Keep your core tight, chest up, and shoulders back. 
  3. Squat down to below parallel and as you return to the standing position, press the weight overhead. 
  • Do 1 set x 15 reps

Rest 20 seconds and then move onto the next exercise.

Standing resistance band high row w/ rotation (fast-paced)

You’ll do the same exercise from the second workout, but instead of doing it at a normal pace, you’ll do it at a fast pace for a certain number of seconds on each side. Make sure to hold yourself accountable for the effort you put forth. 

The movement should also be more exaggerated with a rotation of the torso toward the side you’re pulling toward. 

  • Do 20 seconds on one side, rest, and then do 20 seconds on the other side. 

Rest 30 seconds and then move onto the next exercise.

Lateral plyo push-ups

So rather than doing regular old plyo push-ups, we’ve added a twist with a variation called lateral plyo push-ups. Rather than remaining in one spot, you’ll jump your upper body from side to side while doing a push-up in between. It’s simple but definitely not easy.

  • Do 1 set x 15-20 reps or to failure

Rest 30 seconds and then move onto the last exercise.

Mountain climbers

A must-have exercise when fat loss is the goal. Mountain climbers also work the core muscles and are very challenging especially when you do them at a quick pace for several seconds. 

To do it: 

  1. Get into a high position on your hands and feet.
  2. Tighten your core then move your knees to your chest as fast as you can and in an alternating fashion.

Don’t slow down until your time is up!

  • Do this for 30 seconds

And that’s your circuit workout! Catch your breath (about a minute rest) and do two more rounds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Wrapping Up

We hope that these workouts will totally kick your butt… but at the same time, we want you to reap maximum benefits and see big results. Easy doesn’t get the job done when it comes to building your physique and we know this. Therefore, we ask that you give your absolute best and push through any perceived limitations.

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