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The Best Home Workout Routine for Minimal Equipment

Written by the Boostcamp staff
Jun 5,2024|14 min| 1742
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Make gains with the bare minimum

When it comes to training from home, there are typically some limitations that you will experience. For example, you may not have a full blown squat rack with different barbells and loads of plates for you to be going as heavy as possible and hitting crazy one rep maxes on your bench press and deadlifts. Sometimes, all a home gym will consist of are a few sets of dumbbells and maybe a weighted vest with some resistance bands. To some, the lack of equipment may be discouraging, making it seem as though you can only hit bicep curls and some skull crushers for the triceps. However, this is not the case, and there are plenty of workouts you can do with only a few dumbbells and limited equipment. 

Let’s break down budget home gym equipment that does not take up a lot of space and can be highly effective. 

The Top Pieces of Minimalist Gym Equipment

Now, not everyone has the space or can afford equipment like squat racks or leg presses and cable machines, a full blown home gym is not something that you see in every house. That being said, there are plenty of different things that you can place in your home gym and will still enable you to stick to a solid training routine and make great gains without sacrificing too much space. 

Pull Up Bar

A pull up bar is a very universal piece of equipment, as there are multiple different exercises you can do on it. For example, you can do your standard wide grip pull ups, or maybe you want to place your hands a bit closer. You also can do chin ups, which would hit the biceps a bit more than the back muscles. Not to mention, pull-ups are great for hanging leg raises, a staple abdominal exercise.

Pull up bars are cheap and effective for building muscle and strength.

Dumbbells

These pieces of equipment are truly versatile, as they can be used for all different types of exercises. Whether you are doing a leg day or a chest day, dumbbells can help to provide an effective workout. That being said, when shopping for dumbbells, finding a good pair of adjustable ones is the way to go, as you can go from warmup weight to working weight that will stimulate the muscles and provide a good workout. 

Weighted Vest

A weighted vest or a plate carrier is a great piece of home gym equipment to help with different workouts. Whether you are doing bodyweight exercises like push ups, pull ups, and lunges, or doing some cardio work, a weighted vest or plate carrier adds extra weight. These can be great to use when you are cutting weight, as the added resistance will make it easier to burn calories and drop a few pounds.

Resistance Bands

Now these can be used for all different workouts. Whether you are warming up and just trying to get your blood flowing, or you want to actually get a workout in, resistance bands are good tools to do so. You can choose different amounts of resistance throughout the bands and get a more intense workout in.

Finding a Good Home Workout Routine

Since you now know what pieces of home gym equipment to put in your house without sacrificing too much space, what about a solid routine? Whether your goals consist of powerlifting or maybe bodybuilding, finding a good home workout routine and staying in it can be difficult, especially with limited equipment. Many times for people that workout at home with a more limited range of equipment, they forget to incorporate things like progressive overload.

That being said, finding a good workout routine designed for people with limited equipment can be extremely beneficial. You will want a workout program that incorporates different things like progressive overload and really keeps you moving forward in the gym. 

The Dumbbell PPL

PPL stands for “push, pull, legs” and this is a popular split amongst bodybuilders and strength athletes alike. It divides the body up into three sections and has the lifter working out one of the three sections on each day. It is as follows:

  • Push Day: Chest, shoulders, and triceps

  • Pull Day: Back and biceps, sometimes including the traps and rear delts

  • Legs: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves

Now, the Dumbbell PPL is a program that is designed for beginners. The Dumbbell PPL is primarily a dumbbell routine that only uses dumbbells and a pull up bar. This is a great option if you have limited access to equipment or you are always constantly in small hotel or apartment  gyms. 

Let’s break it down. 

Dumbbell PPL Required Equipment

Dumbbells: You will need adjustable dumbbells or a range of lighter to heavier dumbbells, or you can get a pair of adjustable dumbbells that can go from light to heavy. Dumbbell PPL is not practical if you only have a single pair of dumbbells.

Bench: Ideally you would have an adjustable bench to do incline movements on push days, but it is not a deal breaker if you do not have one. If you only have a flat bench, replace the incline with flat flyes.

Pull-up bar: Every hotel or apartment gym should have a place to do pull-ups, and you can get a pretty cheap pull up bar for your doorframe.

Dumbbell PPL Routine

Push Day

  • Chest Dumbbell Press

  • Incline Flyes

  • Arnold Press

  • Overhead Tricep Extension

  • Hanging Leg Raise

Pull Day

  • Pull-ups

  • Bent-over Barbell Row

  • Reverse Fly

  • Shrug

  • Bicep Curl

  • Hanging Leg Raise


Leg Day

  • Goblet Squat

  • Lunge

  • Single Leg Deadlift

  • Calf Raise

  • Hanging Leg Raise

Dumbbell PPL Progression

As stated above, finding a good home workout routine that incorporates progression is very beneficial. For each set, do no more than 12 reps per set, but you should aim for the 12th rep to be near muscular failure. Rest ~90 seconds between each set to ensure proper recovery.

If you are able to complete all 3 sets for 12 reps of an exercise, then increase to the next available weight next workout. But, if you use the same weight and reps on an exercise for three straight workouts without being able to increase weight, deload the weight for that exercise by two weight increments (~10%) the next workout and work your way back up.

For exercises such as the pull-ups and hanging leg raises, start with just your bodyweight. If those get too easy, add a dumbbell between your feet, or if you have a weighted vest that would work as well. If pull-ups are too hard, try using negative pull-ups or break up the rep targets into more sets.

Boostcamp App

The Dumbbell PPL is free on the Boostcamp App, which is the last lifting app you'll ever need. With this, you'll be able to easily follow Dumbbell PPL workouts with weight tracking, exercise video demos, and training analytics.

If the Dumbbell PPL is not what you want and you are looking for other programs, the Boostcamp App has well over 50 available free programs for you to choose from and start to take your workouts to the next level. You can choose from the popular splits like push pull legs or the upper lower split, or you can follow the workouts of specific athletes like Mike Mentzer or even Bruce Lee.

Wrap Up

Overall, finding some quality gym equipment that you should have in your home gym does not have to be complicated. Things like dumbbells and pull up bars are great pieces of equipment that take up minimal space. The hard part is finding a good workout routine to do from home with limited equipment. However, the Dumbbell PPL is a great option!

Check out the Boostcamp App for some great programs. Also, be sure to follow Boostcamp on Instagram and subscribe on YouTube!