A Simple but Effective Home Gym Workout


Hey guys!

A lot of people have been asking me if they can workout from home and still get awesome results. The answer is obviously YES. In this article I am going to show you my very simple but surprisingly awesome home gym workout routine. Without further ado lets get started!

What you will Need

1. Power Tower or Pull up Bar and Dip Stand

2. Dipping Belt (to add weight to specific exercises)

3. Weighted Plates

The Main Exercises: 

Weighted Dips: 

Above is an old video of me performing weighted bar dips. Bar dips are an incredible exercise for the chest, shoulders and triceps. Most people favour the bench press to dips but I think that dips are much more effective and let me tell you why. Old bodybuilder legend Mike Metzer called Bar Dips the upper body squat and he was damn right. You see like Squats, Dips are a closed chain exercise (squats = feet are fixed, dips = hands are fixed and body moves). Whereas open chain exercises the hands/feet are moving (bench press, leg press, rows….). I have always found closed chain exercises to be easier on the joints and more effective in general. In fact currently I am sticking strictly to closed chain presses (handstand push ups, dips and one arm push ups) because open chain presses have been giving me a lot of shoulder pain).

If you can build up to performing weighted bar dips with 100+ lbs attached I guarantee you that your chest, shoulders and triceps will be looking awesome. My goal is to build up to 200 lbs attached for 5 reps (currently at 150).

Weighted Chin Ups

Chin ups and pull ups are the best exercise for your back and biceps hands down. Like dips, chins are also a closed chain exercise. Pull ups and chins are way better then lat pull down or any row movement.

I favor chin ups to pull ups because most people have better form with chins. When you add weight to pull ups it can be very hard to maintain a full range of motion. In addition chin ups work your lats pretty damn well and give your biceps a killer workout.

Pistol Squats 

Pistol Squats or One Legged Squats are a terrific exercise at building strong and functional legs without adding too much size. In addition pistol squats will develop incredible balance, coordination and flexibility (barbell squats would never do this). If your goal is to build very strong legs then you can work up to doing pistol squats weighted with 50% of your bodyweight. This requires the same leg strength as doing a 2x bodyweight barbell squat.

Example: 200 lbs man: 400 lbs barbell full squat (ass to grass) = 100 lbs weighted pistol squat

I havent don’t a barbell squat in a few years but I have done regular pistol squats and even built up to doing them with 88 lbs weighted. Decided to see how much I could barbell full squat and I hit 350 lbs (2x bodyweight squat – not bad). I’m not a doctor or anything but I don’t think having 300+ lbs on my back can be very good. Thats a lot of compression on the spine. I’ll save my back and stick to pistol squats :)

Thats IT! 

Those 3 movements will develop your body incredibly. Trust me it’s better to stick with a few movements and build them up then to use a bunch of fancy dancy moves and never improve on the lifts. Variety is highly overrated. Simplicity wins every time.

Home Gym Workout: Perform 2-3x per week on non consecutive days

1. Weighted Bar Dips: 3 sets

Work up to 4-6 rep max. rest 3 minutes. Reduce the weight by 10% and perform another set for as many reps without hitting failure. Reduce the weight by 10% and perform a final set for as many reps without hitting failure.

2. Weighted Chin ups: 3 sets

(same as above)

3. Pistol Squats: 3 sets

Perform 3 sets of 5 reps per leg. If you don’t want to add too much size to your legs then just stick with your bodyweight and make sure to stop a few reps before failure.

Strength Standards 


Pistol Squats x 5 reps (bodyweight)

Chin ups x 10 reps (bodyweight)

Dips x 15 reps (bodyweight)


Pistol Squats with 20% bw x 5 reps

Chin ups with 25% bw x 5 reps

Dips with 30% bw x 5 reps


Pistols with 40% bw x 5 reps

Chins with 50% bw x 5 reps

Dips with 60% bw x 5 reps

Physical Bad Ass

Pistols with 60% bw x 5 reps

Chins with 75% bw x 5 reps

Dips with 90% bw x 5 reps

Next Article

In the next article I will be showcasing some awesome bodyweight movements you can add to this routine.

click me
  • DeShawn

    Nice! Imma have to work really hard to even get to decent let alone badass lol.

  • Vince

    Can’t wait for the bodyweight movements to add to this routine!

  • http://www.behindtheworkout.com Tim @ Behind The Workout

    Great post. You don’t need a gym to build muscle. As long as you have a set of bars (for pull ups and dips) you will be just fine. Weighted dips and chins are a staple of my workouts and they are one of the best exercises around for the upper body.

    P.S. those pistol squats are pretty badass
    Tim @ Behind The Workout recently posted..Know Your Body Type Part 1 – Different Training and Diet Strategies for Different Body Structures

  • http://www.fitnessbreakout.com Alykhan – Fitness Breakout


    Home workouts are excellent. I haven’t worked out in a gym in years and it saves me a lot of time and money. I have a set of adjustable dumbbells, an adjustable bench, pull up bar, and kettlebells at home. I also like to mix in bodyweight moves with weights. Looking forward to the next post.

    P.S. I really liked your morning abs routine video so I linked to it in my last post.

    Alykhan – Fitness Breakout recently posted..The Best Exercise Equipment for Abs and the Best Exercises for Abs

  • http://www.kinobody.com/261/top-secret/ james

    good article greg just one question what bodyfat percentage is ideal for a more attractive defined face for a man?
    thanks again

    • admin


      10-12% is pretty lean and you will start to get the defined facial features. If you can manage to maintain around 7-9% body fat then thats really as lean as you’d need to be.

  • George

    Hey Greg,

    Im a skinny teen looking to gain some muscle for sports and looks.
    My dad has adjustable dumbbells 1-55 pounds, but he doesn’t let me use them.
    So, would this bodyweight routine be right for me?
    For weighted stuff, I can just take some plates from his adjustable dumbbell
    set and put them in a backpack.

    Anyways thanks for any input you can give

    • admin


      Yes. This routine would be great for you.

  • George

    Hey Greg,

    also if i want to add size, should i change the rep range

  • George

    Also Greg, what is the rest scheme?

    Sorry about all the q’s but im a newbie
    at this so thanks for any response.

    • admin


      Stick to 4-8 reps. If you gain strength overtime you will develop good size.

  • Vince

    Speaking of a defined face, you should do an article about it Greg.

  • http://www.bloomtofit.com Srdjan – Bloom to Fit

    I think you can go even simpler than that. Not everyone has a dip station or plates to load. I wish I had room for those things! For my home workouts, I use kettlebells, pull-up bars, resistance bands, (weighted) skipping ropes and that’s about it. Don’t think that you need expensive equipment to get a good home workout in.
    Srdjan – Bloom to Fit recently posted..How to Strengthen Ankles for Life

  • Jamal

    How long should the workout take and what is the rest scheme

    • admin

      Rest 3 minutes between sets. 2 minutes between warm up sets.

      It should take at-least 30 minutes but no more then 45 minutes.

  • http://www.notyouraveragefitnesstips.com Dave – Not Your Average Fitness Tips

    Nice set of exercises. I like how you explained the open chain vs. closed chain exercises. Never seen it put that like before and makes a lot of sense.
    Dave – Not Your Average Fitness Tips recently posted..Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight: Results from John Berardi

  • Jamal

    So are the warm-up sets in addition to the 3 sets u put in the routine. If they are, how many

    • admin


      yes. So you may do 2 warm up sets and 3 work sets for a total of 5 sets.

  • Eric

    Hey, I’ve been looking for a good bodyweight routine for a while. I have a few questions for you.
    1) is this the correct routine to follow:
    •3 sets of weighted dips (6 reps with 3 minute breaks)
    •3 sets of weighted chinups (6 reps with 3 minute breaks)
    •3 sets of pistol squats (8 reps with 3 minute breaks)

    Assuming there is a 3 minute break between each separate workout, the entire routine would take about 30 minutes.

    2)I am 5’6″ and weigh about 140lbs. I’ve been working out with free weights for some time now so Im starting with a reasonable physique. How long should it take me to reach where you are right now? I’m referencing to the YouTube video of you flexing that I stumbled upon this morning.

    3)do you really think your physique is achievable without the standard bench press and various gym exercises?

    Thank you!

  • Mike Stewart

    I can’t wait to have these workout plan implemented for next year. Thanks for sharing!
    Mike Stewart recently posted..Reason For Failure in Cake Making

  • Andrew

    Just to make sure that I got this. When you say 2-3 times per week on non consecutive days, do you mean that I am doing BOTH dips and chins on M,W,F or chins on M, dips on W, chins on F and then dips on M, chins on W and dips on F? Thank you

    • Greg

      Chins and Dips on mon/wed/fri

  • giorgi94_94

    Hi Greg,will dips and pull ups sufficiently bring up the delts,especially the side(medial) head?I’d like not to waste the time on isolation,if there’s any possibility to do so.

    • Greg

      You’ll need to do overhead presses.