If you have a rack, bar, and plates, then you have the tools necessary to train. These two full-body programs can help you achieve personal fitness success.

Over the last several years, there has been a movement in the fitness world – training at home. Home gym equipment has been a big hit and many people are starting to cancel gym memberships and clear out space in their houses to work out.

Many recreational athletes start with the basics, a squat rack, and a barbell with plates. It’s a nice start, but don’t you need other items like an adjustable bench, power tower, and dumbbells before you can train effectively? The answer is no.

You can hit every major muscle group in the body with a bar inside of a rack, and you can make significant gains too. Can you hit the rear delts the exact same way as you could with a specific machine built to isolate a certain muscle group? Not really, but you can still fulfill potential, move forward, and make gains by simply picking up a bar and putting it down in a rack or on the floor.

Recommended: Upper Body Alternatives to Your Favorite Gym Machines

Back shot of strong african american female doing heavy deadlifts.

To prove this, we have two workouts here for you to take on. One is made specifically for those with the bare necessities while the other does have exercises for those that are able to score an adjustable bench. These workouts look simple on the surface, but they can and will challenge you, which is important regardless of the type of equipment you use. I’ve trained at home since 2015 and started with a rack, bar, and plates. I share these workouts from experience.

A word of advice for safety. Most, if not all, squat racks have safety arms that can be placed anywhere on the rack. Please use these so you can use them if you get stuck, even if you train with a partner (which you should). If you’re in a position where you don’t have a spotter or way to feel safe with the movement, use a lighter weight so you minimize the risk of injury.

By the way, if you still train in a gym but simply want to simplify your routine, feel free to take this one on too. Just keep in mind that if your gym is busy, you may have some people waiting to use the rack.

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

Squat Rack and Barbell Only

One of the many questions we get when it comes to bench pressing is how to do it without a bench. You can use the floor for flat pressing and still train the chest hard. Just place a towel or blanket on the floor if you want extra comfort. You may not be able to train the upper pecs with an incline position or isolate side delts, but this routine will hit all the major points with some stimulus on those other areas. It beats nothing.

After you warm up, use a moderate weight that you can get for around 12 reps. Rest for 60-90 seconds (about 1 and a half minutes) and add weight so you feel challenged around 10 reps. After that second set, take another 60-90 seconds and add more weight so you hit failure around the eight-rep mark. If you can do two more reps than what is recommended, you need to go heavier next time.

Want a little more fun? Do drop sets or rest-pause on the last set to make the session even more intense.

Strong man doing warm up squats with a barbell in the gym.

Full Body Squat Rack and Barbell Only Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 3 12, 10, 8
Stiff-Legged Deadlift 3 12, 10, 8
Floor Bench Press 3 12, 10, 8
Bent-Over Barbell Row 3 12, 10, 8
Standing Barbell Press 3 12, 10, 8
Wide Grip Upright Row 3 12, 10, 8
Barbell Curl 3 12, 10, 8
Standing Overhead Barbell Extension 3 12, 10, 8

Squat Rack, Barbell, and Adjustable Bench

If your home gym has an adjustable bench, then that will open you up to a lot more variety and potential. An adjustable bench allows you to incorporate incline and seated movements into your programs so you can focus on those upper pecs, front delts, etc. You can also use the bench as a seat for box squats if you’d rather use it for the front squats in this next program.

This could be considered a more advanced routine that some of you may appreciate. If you’re a beginner, you can take extra time to learn how to do these before adding them into your plan or substitute them for choices you feel more comfortable making. Just keep the effort the same.

Full Body Squat Rack, Barbell, and Adjustable Bench Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Good Mornings 3 12, 10, 8
Front Squat 3 12, 10, 8
Incline Barbell Bench Press 3 12, 10, 8
Reverse Grip Bent-Over Row 3 12, 10, 8
Seated Barbell Press 3 12, 10, 8
Behind-The-Back Barbell Shrug 3 12, 10, 8
Reverse Grip Barbell Curl 3 12, 10, 8
Close Grip Bench Press 3 12, 10, 8

What About Abs and Calves?

You may have noticed that there are no abs and calves workouts in this program. You can use your body to train the midsection either before or after this workout. That’s up to you. As for the calves, you can throw one of these exercises into either or both routines to help you train the lower legs. You can either add weight to each set or stick with the same weight for all sets.

Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Calf Raise 3 20
Seated Barbell Calf Raise 3 20

Strong man doing barbell chest press in the gym.


Will this help me get stronger, bigger, and/or leaner?

No one program is going to help you do everything at once. My suggestion would be to prioritize a goal and focus on it. Now, if your diet and supplementation support that goal, then this program will be very effective for you. If the goal is pure strength, lower the rep ranges on all sets to 4-6 and stick with the same weight. 

Can I use dumbbells, pull-up handles, or other equipment if I have them with this program?

Of course, you can. This program is meant for people that are limited with equipment. If you have extra options to work with, go for it. I would suggest maybe two or three extra movements could be added in if you have the equipment, or you can replace an exercise listed with an option based on what you have.

Do I have to follow the exact order?

No, you don’t. The order here targets all the major muscle groups from the floor up. If you want to go the other way, that would work also. If you feel you need improvement in a certain area, then attack that part first with the exercise that focuses on that area.

This particular exercise hurts because of a prior injury. Got any alternatives?

If you’re dealing with an injury or long-term health issue, take this program and talk to your doctor before going all in with it. Your physician knows your specific issues best and can make the best suggestions for you. Once you’ve done that, the M&S Exercises section has plenty of exercises you can swap in grouped by the muscles that are being trained. 


It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a world-class athlete, wanting to lose weight or gain strength. It doesn’t take a gym full of expensive equipment to get in better shape. A basic squat rack, barbell with plates, and perhaps a bench if you can get one would be all you need to train hard, effectively, and have a successful fitness journey. If you take these programs on, let us know how you liked them and what your results were in the comments section below.

Posted on: Sat, 09/02/2023 - 14:21

Hey just a quick question could you do this workout 2-3 times a week? While following a running regimen?

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Posted on: Sun, 09/17/2023 - 09:32

Sure can!