Published By Anthony Brunello in Lifestyle on July 18, 2023, 10 minute read

Easy Weight Training at Home

These days the sheer number of fitness and health influencers competing for your attention (and wallet) are completely off the charts. We are constantly bombarded by people with stunning physiques on social media willing to share their fitness secrets with you… all for a fee, of course.

Instagram screencap of fitness reels

If like me you are someone trying to get into better shape, this can lead to what I’ve come to call “variety seeking” also known as “new shiny syndrome”. This concept applies to many things in life, but is especially prevalent in the Fitness and Nutrition space.

The truth is that any program, no matter how “XTREME” or “backed by science” it may be, simply takes time to work. So, even if you are following Influencer #74’s secret weight training program diligently for a few weeks, the next time you refresh your social media feed you find that Influencer #75 has a NEW, even BETTER, FASTER method! You look in the mirror and still don’t look like these people, so you decide to change it up yet again. This process repeats forever, until you finally realize the only “gains” you’ve achieved are the numbers on your credit card statement.

Marketing specific workouts as “secrets” and “six pack guaranteed” works to the Influencer’s advantage. With so much information out there and so many unhealthy people, clearly there must be some hard to determine secret magic formula that only precious few fitness influencers have discovered, otherwise why wouldn’t more people look like they do?!

As hard as it may be to believe, all the extra stuff the influencers sell you is completely unnecessary. You don’t need to lift weights every day (this is actually not good for you). You don’t need to run for miles, and you don’t need to spend 2+ hours in the gym. You also want to steer clear of anything you hear actors doing. Why? Because they often take extreme measures in order to look a particular way for a very short period of time. This is not healthy or sustainable, and the actors will readily admit it.

Granted, if you are an athlete that, for example, NEEDS to perform at a high level multiple days in a row or NEEDS to be able to reliably run for miles every day, then okay, do that. However, anyone reading this is not in the NFL, or a marathon runner, or in a military outfit that requires peak performance every day.

You aren’t being paid to focus your entire life on being in shape like an actor or athlete is, so your criteria for the best exercise program should be different than theirs. For me, I’ve found the most important criteria in an exercise program to be:

  • Efficient Use of Time
    • I have businesses to run and a family, the gym is not my life
  • Effective Muscle Growth
    • If it doesn’t actually work, why bother?
  • Easy to Stick to Long Term
    • If your program is so extreme that you get hurt or burnt out, you won’t do it.

For MOST PEOPLE, great results can be had by three 45-60 minute weight training sessions per week, and the best part is you can do all of them at home. I’m not a “fitness influencer”, so I’m going to share simple “fitness plan” with you for free. I’m including affiliate links to the actual products I use, so if you find this section helpful and decide to buy these products that helps support my writing, so thanks!

Here are the three key concepts to this weight training strategy:

1. Stick to Compound Movements

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a bodybuilder nor do I plan to become one. Those are the only people that should spend time exercising every single little muscle on their body independently. They also take copious amounts of steroids which allow them to recover from such workouts, and that is yet another thing I do not recommend.

Compound movements exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, a bench press exercises mainly your chest, but also your arms and shoulders. Compare that to something like the pec-deck, which while it targets your chest directly, then requires additional exercises to hit your arms and shoulders, thus requiring more time in the gym and less time doing something you actually want to be doing.

2. Align your Number of Reps with your Goals (and diet)

Everyone has a different idea about how many reps is best. Three sets of 5, three sets of 10, pyramid training, keep going until you actually vomit, etc. What I have discovered over years of trial and error is that they all can be right depending on what you are trying to achieve.

If you are trying to increase strength and the actual size of your muscles (hypertrophy) then you should eat an excess of calories and perform many repetitions of lighter weight. If, on the other hand, you are trying to cut fat and just maintain the muscle you have, eat fewer calories and stick to low repetitions of heavier weight.

While it is possible to mix these up in any number of ways, the results are usually not very good.

For example, when I eat very low calorie in an effort to lose some fat for summer, doing high rep exercises consistently makes me lightheaded. Your body simply does not have the fuel for long duration exercise. This is the time to do heavy weight but just 5-8 repetitions. It’s still plenty hard, but you don’t need an excess of calories stored up in order to complete the reps.

Conversely, if I were to eat excess calories in an effort to gain muscle mass, the heavy workouts simply did not provide enough volume to make use of all that fuel. I’d gain a bit of strength, but the majority of that extra food just got stored as fat.

So, the moral of the story here is that there is no one right way to lift at all times. Determine your goals, then adjust accordingly.

3. Keep it Simple: Set Yourself Up for Success

Martin Berkhan famously coined the term Fuckarounditis for the workout phenomenon of doing all kinds of weird shit at the gym. The thinking is that something new and different is more fun and appealing than the same boring old stuff that’s been around forever. The thing is, that boring stuff has been around forever because it works.

While I invested in a home gym a few years back, I’ve found I can do nearly every exercise I need without it. I’ll run down what I believe to be the four crucial pieces of equipment that will allow you to do a complete workout in the comfort of your own home. That means you don’t have to drive anywhere or even get dressed before exercise. The easier you can make strength training, the more likely you are to stick to it.

The Four Things You Need to Workout At Home

1. Bench

While people have tried to get by with a couch, table, or the floor, a weight bench is essential for the most effective exercises. I’d recommend a weight bench from Rogue Fitness as they are of good quality and many are Made in the USA.

I started with a bare bones Rogue Flat Utility Bench which was perfectly fine, but once I decided to switch to incline bench press I upgraded to the Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0. You can’t go wrong with anything they sell, and they stand behind their products.

2. Loadable Dumbbells

The biggest adjustment I had to make when I started working out from home was with dumbbells. At the gym, there are two dumbbells in every weight you could possibly want, from 2.5 lbs up to 100 lbs+. I didn’t have space to store something like that, not to mention buying all those dumbbells would be very expensive.

Enter the Loadable dumbbell!

A Loadable Dumbbell is simply a dumbbell you can load up with standard olympic weights. This allows you to have just one dumbbell but as many weight combinations as you have plates. This takes up less space and is less expensive than buying individual dumbbells in every single size you might need.

Don’t forget to grab collars for these if you don’t have some!

3. Olympic Weights

The loadable dumbbells are 15 lbs by themselves, but you are going to need more weight than that. I recommend purchasing plates in the following weights for dumbbell work:

  • 4 x 2.5lb
  • 4 x 5 lb
  • 4 x 10 lb
  • 4 x 25 lb

This will allow you to “build” up to two 100lb dumbbells with many increments in between. If you need more than that, well you probably don’t need to be reading this article.

Again, Rogue has lots of options. The York Iron plates are perfectly acceptable and affordable, where as the 6-Shooter Plates are easier to handle and have a polyurethane coating to prevent rust. Any olympic standard sized weights will do, and there are often deals to be found on Craigslist or at Garage Sales.

4. Olympic Bar/Kettlebell

For the leg exercises, we’re going to need some heavier weight. If you have the space, an olympic barbell combined with the olympic weights recommended above would allow you to stack on up to 215 lbs for Dead Lifts or Squats. That really isn’t that much in the world of Dead Lifts and Squats, but if you were to order an additional 2 45 lb Olympic Plates that would take it up to 305 lbs.

Otherwise, kettlebells can be the next best thing. Pick them up from the floor to simulate a dead lift motion, or rest them on your chest to emulate a front squat.

Enough already, what is the program?

The program is very simple and consists of just 3 workout days per week. I like to make these Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as it keeps the weekend free for doing something else.

The secret to the efficiency of this program is the Super Set. You’ll often hear fitness trainers stress how important it is to rest between sets. While they are correct, it is more accurate to say you need to rest the muscle you just exercised between sets. This means if I exercise my chest first, it can rest while I exercise my back. This effectively cuts your workout time in half.


  1. 3 Sets of Dumbbell Incline Bench Press + Single Arm Dumbbell Row (Super Set)
  2. Dips or Bench Dips + Dumbbell Bicep Curls (Super Set)


  1. 3 Sets of Dead Lifts, traditional or Kettlebell
  2. 3 Sets of Squats, traditional or Kettlebell
  3. 3 Sets of 3 Different Weighted Ab Routines


  1. 3 Sets of Dumbbell Incline Bench Press + Single Arm Dumbbell Row (Super Set)
  2. Dips or Bench Dips + Dumbbell Bicep Curls (Super Set)

For this exercise program, there is no rest between exercises in the super set, and then 2 minutes of rest between sets.

A typical pattern would be:

  • Dumbbell Bench
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row
  • Rest 2 Minutes
  • Dumbbell Bench
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row
  • Rest 2 Minutes

…and so on.

The exception is on the leg days, as the leg movements are very taxing on the body and nervous system so super setting them is not recommended. Also, for the Weighted Ab Routine, just 1 minute of rest between exercises is sufficient.

Perform these exercises to failure if you are trying to add muscle or 6 to 8 reps if you are in a caloric deficit burning fat.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and thanks for reading!