While you may miss the heavy dumbbells, machines, and comradery with your fellow fitness fanatics, not being able to go to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t get a solid workout in.
Even if you have a barbell, some plates, and bands, you can still push yourself to scratch that training itch and make some form of progress. This workout will help you make the most out of your limited options. The only equipment required is a bar and plates (if you have them), bands, and your bodyweight.
Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course
A Few Key Points
You know the benefits of barbell work, but bands aren’t appreciated as much as they should be. When the bands are stretching, the muscles have to work harder to contract. When you return to the starting position, the bands decrease in tension which can be safer for your muscles and joints. They also can be taken anywhere, so you can train with them during times it may not otherwise be convenient.
These workouts are designed to help you train effectively under limited circumstances. If you’re following a sound nutrition plan, then you could see weight loss results as well as an increase in muscular endurance.
If you are looking to build muscle and grow, then these workouts could suffice until you’re able to resume your regular training as long as you’re eating accordingly. They would not make great workouts for strength and power.
It makes sense that if you have a barbell, then you would have plates. If this is the case, then use enough resistance to meet your rep requirements while on this program. If you don’t, then you could either use your bands as resistance or perform the reps with a slower tempo to increase time under tension. A 6 to 10 second rep would be effective here. For a 10 second rep, perform the lifting portion of the rep under a count of four, and then a six-second negative. This would be one rep.
If your bands are strong enough to provide adequate resistance, then follow the plan accordingly. If not, then you could perform reps while holding the contracted portion of the rep anywhere from 3 to 5 seconds each. This would make the set more productive with lighter resistance.
If you’re performing single side movements, step on the middle of the band and use one side for lifting. If you need more resistance, hold both sides in the same hand.
Band and Barbell Workout Exercises
Each workout should take you around 25-30 minutes to perform if you keep the rest periods short. You should rest around 60 seconds between sets. The format of the split is push/pull/legs. You can train all three workouts on consecutive days before taking a day off. If you have extra equipment and you want to throw a couple more movements into the equation, go for it. Just keep in mind that this will add time to your training.
A sample workout week would look like:
- Monday: Push Day
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: Pull Day
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Legs & Abs Day
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Rest
Every barbell and bodyweight exercise is available to view and learn proper form for in the exercise database here on M&S. There will be some guidance for the band movements for those of you that may need it.
Push Day Exercises
Alternating Front and Back Shoulder Barbell Press – You may have seen these before thanks to CT Fletcher. You start with the barbell in front of you, press it up, lower it behind your head, press back up, and return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Band Lateral Raise – Step on the band, grab each end in each hand, and lift to your sides. If you like, you can do these one side at a time. Step on the middle of the band with your left foot, grab the end closest to your right hand, and lift out to the side. Repeat the opposite way for the left arm.
Band Pull-Apart – This is good for the rear delts. Grab each end with your hands, hold the band at arms’ length, and pull them apart, contracting the back of the shoulders. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Band Fly – Wrap the band around your back and grab the ends in each hand. Stretch your arms out. Perform a fly movement touching your hands together and contracting the chest. Spread the hands back out to the starting position. Repeat.
Lying Barbell Tricep Extension – This is your basic skull crusher. Nothing complicated here. Pause at the bottom and squeeze hard at the top.
Band Pushup – Wrap the bar around your back like you did with the flys. Perform pushups with the bands. Take as many sets as you need to, but don’t stop for good until you get to 100 reps.
Related: Band Only Muscle Building Workout
Pull Day Exercises
Barbell Pullover – You can do these lying on the floor or on a bench if you have one. Either way, pause at the bottom to feel that stretch, and focus on using the lats only when pulling the bar over.
Band Bent-Over Row – Stand on the middle of the band. Take an end in each hand. Bend over to around 90 degrees. Pull the elbows back as far as you can to contract the back. Slowly lower the bands to the starting position. You can also do these with one arm by holding both ends in one hand. Stand on the band with the foot corresponding with the working side and place it in front of you for a greater stretch.
Band Pulldown – Stand with the band in both hands at shoulder-width overhead. Spread the band apart and pull your arms down. Slowly return to the starting position.
Barbell Curl – There are two versions here. Start with the closer grip for two sets followed by the wider version for two more.
Single Arm Band Curl – Stand with one foot on the middle of the band. Hold an end of the band in each hand. Perform curls like you would with dumbbells. If you need more resistance. Hold both ends in one hand and perform the sets one arm at a time.
Band Shrug – Stand on the middle of the band with both feet. Hold an end in each hand at your sides. Lean forward slightly and perform shrugs like you would with dumbbells.
Legs and Abs Exercises
Barbell Squat – If you need to clean the bar and weight up, make sure you use light enough weight that you will have enough energy to do so for all your sets.
Pistol Squat – If you need to use a chair or wall for support while doing these, then do so. Otherwise, lower yourself as far as you can or to parallel, pause, and then return to the standing position. Keep the non-working leg in front of you.
Banded Good Morning – Stand on the middle of half of the band. Take the other half and wrap it around your neck. Make sure your band is light enough that you can stand with it without losing control. Bend at the hips and stick your butt out. Lower yourself until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings. Reverse the movement slowly and return to the standing position.
Deficit Stiff-Leg Deadlift – This is the traditional movement, except you will stand on a step or platform a few inches high to get a deeper stretch at the bottom of the exercise. Otherwise, perform it as you normally would.
Walking Lunge – Make sure you have enough space to do this one. If you don’t, use the regular standing version. Go down as low as you safely can, but the knee touching the ground should be the goal.
Standing Calf Raise – You can do these with both feet at the same time or one at a time. Make sure you don’t speed through the reps. Yes, it will burn, but it will be worth it.
Crunches and Lying Leg Raises – There is nothing fancy about these. If you wish to do them as a superset for a challenge or to save time, start with the leg raises. You want the abs to do the work so take your time with these, too.
Day 1: Push Day
|Alternating Front & Back Shoulder Barbell Press||4||10|
|Band Lateral Raise||3||10|
|Lying Barbell Tricep Extension||3||12|
|Band Pushup||5-8||100 total|
Day 2: Pull Day
|Band Bent-Over Row||3||10|
|Close-Grip Barbell Curl||2||10|
|Wide-Grip Barbell Curl||2||10|
|Band Single Arm Curl||3||12|
|Band Shrug||5-8||100 total|
Day 3: Legs & Abs
|A. Banded Good Morning||3||10|
|B. Deficit Stiff-Leg Deadlift||3||10|
|Barbell Walking Lunge||3||12 each leg|
|Standing Calf Raise||5-8||100 total|
|Lying Leg Raise||5||10|
Keep Making Progress
Once you feel that the workout above is no longer a challenge, you can make it tougher in a few different ways. You can take less rest time between sets, perform the reps at a slower speed, or add reps and sets to the program. If you have access to stronger bands and more plates, those methods would work as well.
You may not have the best in a certain situation, but you can still make the best out of your situation. If a gym isn’t accessible or you need to find a way to get the training done at home, then this workout program could benefit you. You don’t have to settle for simply getting it done either. You can make gains and see measurable results if you’re consistent and patient. Track how you’re doing and make sure to give your best every day. It will be worth it when you notice the improvements yourself when you are able to resume your normal training routine again.