Body and Free Weight Training Program

Free weight training program

The exercises in your free weight training program that I will list here for you should be separated into upper or lower body strength training exercises. I suggest at an intermediate or advanced level, this is the most effective way to strength train at home!

If you work out two days in a row and take the third day off, then repeat this. Effectively; this gives you four workouts per week, with three days of rest through-out each week.

Building strength with Body weight and weight resistance-based exercises

Always be sure to warm-up well those body parts or areas that you will be training that given day. And always check with your health care provider before you start or embark on any new fitness or strength training lifestyle at home.

One final note on safety with regards to your free weight training program and strength training at home is: I always try to advocate or teach others that use my gym, or if they’re training at home alone  avoid the use of collars on ‘Barbell Bench Presses’ at any angle.

Over the years there have been disastrous consequences from people being caught with collars and bench pressing too much weight by them-selves.

At least if you do get caught you can tip the bar and dump the weight to save yourself. Trust me yours truly has been there. If you train at home alone, Please consider this, before you train… learn to bench press without them if you can.  

Please be sure to read through the entire exercise menu of this page and try to understand and see how the exercises are performed. Closer to the bottom of the page at the end of the exercise menu I will go into, set and rep ranges including intensity and rest intervals aimed at your level of lifting.


Body and free weight training program exercises for upper body


Starting on Monday:

Warm-up Some light Cardio and or core training, Up to 10-12 minutes

Medium grip flat bench barbell presses   

Stimulates: Chest, shoulders, and triceps: or alternate with incline barbell bench press exercise. You may also use dumbbells as a secondary movement in your free weight training program.

Shoulder width grip clean and press:

Stimulates: upper chest, shoulders, triceps and trapezius muscles: this exercise is preformed where you have an overhand slightly wider than shoulder width grip on the barbell.

Lifting the bar and rotating your wrists once you’ve pulled the bar up to your shoulders and then press it skyward; once you’ve achieved this, return the bar back to its starting position from the shoulders to your waist.

Barbell clean and press

Parallel bar dips:

Stimulates: Chest, shoulders, and triceps: if you have one? Lean forward slightly to engage the lower chest muscles and shoulders. Or hold yourself straight up-and-down and lower yourself until you feel the stretch, which will engage the triceps more intensely at this point. This is a very engaging exercise and good upper body strength builder to include in your free weight training program.

Parallel bar dips

Bent over barbell or dumbbell rows:

Stimulates: Upper and lower back, biceps and shoulders: gripping your barbell with an overhand grip at the floor. Have your feet positioned approximately 10 inches apart at this point; bring the bar up straight, to touch your upper abdomen, pulling the shoulders back for a full stretch. This is performed the same with dumbbells.

Bent over barbell rows

squat thrust and press:

Stimulates: Quadriceps, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, chest and triceps:starting with feet facing straight ahead 10 to 12 inches apart, have the bar resting on the front shoulders, as if performing the front squat and as demonstrated below. begin pushing yourself steadily and evenly out of the squatting position to a full standing position, then drive the barbell skyward, just as if you are preforming military pressing then return to starting position.


Squat thrust and press

Standing straight upright rows:

Stimulates: Shoulders, back, biceps and trapezius: in your free weight training program, the barbell should be brought to your neck, an overhand grip 6 to 8 inches apart. You can also use dumbbells as a secondary exercise.

EZ bar upright rows

Body weight-based exercises for upper body:

Push-ups

Stimulates: Chest, shoulders, triceps: with hands out past shoulder width to stress the chest, or bring your hands in closer together to force the shoulders and triceps to work more. You may also be creative and elevate your feet on a chair to increase this intensity. If you feel you need it.

Dumbbell push-ups are shown here only as a variation for you, to provide a deeper stretch and simply to engage more fibril strength.

Dumbbell push-ups

Chair dips with body-weight:

Stimulates: chest, shoulders and triceps: hands resting on a chair or bench press, shoulder width apart, preferably with your feet up on another chair, you can add a dumbbell or plate weight to your thighs for added resistance or intensity as you feel you need.

Note: as you begin to lower yourself, allow the lower back to barely clear the bench.this helps to keep the shoulders and energy aligned properly and keeps the shoulders from overextending and prevents injury. Also only allow the heels to rest on the bench or chair in front of you. The ankles will act as a natural hinge and make the exercise easier to complete.

Weighted bench dips

Over-hand wide grip chins

Stimulates: Shoulders, back, biceps and trapezius: position one hand width past the shoulders bringing your chin to the top of the bar with each repetition. These may be difficult to start with if you’re not used to them. If you’re not, try doing body weight-based chin-ups or pull-ups with hands facing toward you, 8 to 10 inches apart; this should help assist you at getting stronger towards wide grip chinning .

Wide grip chins

Pull-ups from the floor

Stimulates: Shoulders back biceps, trapezius: these are performed with an empty barbell or piece of metal pipe or heavy wooden Doweling hooked on or secured to a solid surfaces 3 to 5 feet apart 36 inches off the ground.

You can perform these with an overhand or underhand grip, the (over hand is shown here), depending on if you want to work the back or bicep muscles more intensely.

Lying on your back reaching up from the floor and grabbing the bar that is located at head or neck level above you; you can begin pulling yourself up to your neck or chest level, then lower yourself back in a very controlled manner.

Note: make sure the Bar is located so that your arms are at a full stretch when your lying flat in your free weight training program to receive a full range of motion through-out this exercise.

Pull-ups

Body weight exercises are great way to build real word strength and muscle symmetry, for beginners body weight training or advanced body weight training depending on your athletic level, offers endless verity and great athletic challenges.  


Day Two Of Your Free Weight Training Program

Starting on Tuesday of your strength training at home:

Free Weight-based exercises for lower body;

Again, before you actually begin engaging in the physical effort of strength training at home.

Be sure to warm-up your legs lower back and shoulders well, and try to included some light cardio or core training for 10-12 minutes  before starting!

Arguably one of the best strength training exercises for the bodies over-all muscle structure, but... particularly stresses the lower body; is that of the squat, and is a great strength training at home-based exercise.

Note: as a rule of thumb always try to train the bigger, more powerful muscle groups first. The fronts of the quads are the strongest of the muscle groups in the entire body; baring the calf muscles, so train these first if you can, while your strength curve is fresh.

For more on leg training See (weight training for legs). 

Barbell squat:

Stimulates: the muscles of the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, upper back including the stabilizer muscles of the lower back and spine.

You can perform these in two ways with the barbell have a wider than shoulder width grip. You should have the bar resting on the back of the shoulder muscles against the trapezius and lower yourself in a comfortable manner to the point where the hamstrings/ rear leg biceps are parallel with the floor. You decide how much weight to use in your free weight training program.

Barbell squat

If you're using dumbbells: in your free weight training program; again lower yourself until the leg biceps are parallel to the floor holding the dumbbells, palms facing toward you, head and shoulders should be pulled back to help you maintain balance, focus and clean form for each repetition. Feet should be 10 to 12 inches apart.

Note: some people need to put a small five or 10 pound half inch plate under their heels to perform these properly experiment; to see which is most comfortable for you in terms of balance.

Front barbell squats:

Stimulates front quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, shoulders and lower back with the barbell now sitting across the upper chest and in front of you on your shoulders, some/most people find it most comfortable to cross their arms and hold the bar securely to keep the bar from moving or sliding.

Keep your head/chin up and lower yourself in the same manner as the regular squat, you again; must adjust the weight to what you feel you need towards your intensity.

Dead lifting:

Stimulates: Upper and lower back, biceps the glutes and hamstrings of the upper legs: is most often performed with the barbell, hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart with a reverse grip, meaning: the left-hand has an underhand grip while the right has an overhand grip.

Grip the bar on the floor as mentioned above, feet 10 to 12 inches apart, shoulders pulled back your head should be up looking straight ahead.

Begin pulling the bar and allow the bar to just barely clear past the knees, then begin standing up straight by driving through your heels to a standing position, then re-lower the bar and finish the set in the same manner. This is another great over-all strength training at home exercise.

Dead lifting

Straight or stiff-legged dead-lifting:

Stimulates: Upper and lower back and rear leg biceps of the upper legs: Straight or stiff-legged dead-lifting is performed in the same manner as above; only and you don’t bend your knees you keep them straight to keep the emphasis on the backs of the upper legs.

I always like to perform this exercise in my own gym with the barbell first, but usually graduate towards the dumbbells as I begin to tire. I have shown the barbell here but, the dumbbell version is preformed in much the same way in your free weight training program.

Stiff legged deadlifts

Standing calf raises:

Stimulates: muscles of the calves, rear leg biceps and overall postural strength:

These can be performed with different forms of resistance. If you want you can use a barbell across your shoulders or dumbbells, you can also do both legs at the same time or alternate from one leg to the other when using dumbbells.

Try to have or find a board 2 to 3 inches in height and approx. 2 feet long. This can actually be anything, just as long as it is solid and won’t tip on you when you put your toes out towards the edge of the board.

You don’t have to have a board to perform these in your free weight training program; the board simply allows you to get a deeper degree of stretch, therefore building greater strength and endurance into the calf by stretching further at the bottom of the exercise.

If you’re not used to these practice doing them as your strength training at home without any free weight/resistance first: with your hands resting against the wall or against something solid to keep you steady, until you build coordination and balance into the exercise is fine.

Dumbbell calf raises

 Lunges:

Stimulates: quadriceps, rear leg biceps, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and lower back

You can perform lunges either with the barbell across the back of your neck as you would in the squat, or can also be preformed with dumbbells or kettle bells. From a standing position, step out with your right leg in a generous step and begin to lower yourself until you feel the stretch in the quads, hamstrings and glutes…

Then return to the starting position; you can perform each set one leg at a time or finish all 8 to 10 reps on one leg before moving to the other.

Note: in regards to your free weight training program, if you’re not conditioned to lunges, you should realize these are a highly stimulating exercise…

Their great for building strength, shape, even quality muscle but in areas of the muscles that don’t normally get used a lot in everyday life. The soreness from the last day’s efforts can be uncomfortable, if you over-do it.

Barbell lunges
Dumbbell lunges

Body weight-based exercises for the legs:

You can use body weight-based exercises for the legs. But, this will not last long as the legs are extremely powerful muscles; they’re used to packing your own body weight each and every day.    

Having and using a free weight training program to build strength into them is almost essential. If you possibly can; add resistance as much as you can comfortably handle to build strength and endurance into all areas of your legs.

Hands on hips, walking lunges

The only body weight-based exercises I personally perform for legs in my own gym are: walking lunges with my hands on my hips, or using dumbbells.

I actually perform giant lunges between heavy sets of squats or leg presses. Simply meaning: I make each stride slightly longer to make sure I can really feel the stretch at the bottom of each lunge…

This really stimulates the strength and endurance of the upper legs, including hypertrophy of the quadriceps/hamstring and glutes. I personally demand a lot from the legs, simply because as I said, they are naturally the most powerful muscles we have.

Sets And Rep Ranges For Strength Training?

I have no way of knowing what your strength training at home goals are or what your physical age, gender or conditioning level is: but...

if you are a beginner to early intermediate you can focus on 8 to 10 reps of each exercise until close to failure, you adjust the weight as you feel you need, to reach this point of stimulus.

With regards to how many sets you should be performing this is not bodybuilding so volume training is not as important. If you’re just starting out, as a beginner, I would probably pick 2 exercises each training day and perform approximately 3 sets of each...

this is just to see how your muscles and you react to strength training at home.  

If your conditioning level is more advanced, I would recommend choosing three exercises from your free weight training program and perform, three sets of each and aim for 6 to 8 reps, and be seriously challenging yourself with each repetition of each exercise, you choose. See (weight lifting reps).

Note: Low rep training is for building strength, higher rep ranges will more specifically activate endurance-based muscle fiber.

Group barbell press

It isn’t about how many sets you perform; it’s what you’re doing within each set. To be dynamic in your strength training efforts means…

Bringing a lot of creative and energetic even forceful, intensity into your strength training at home each training day. See (weight training sets)

You can also alternate this set and rep intensity intermittently. E.g., choose a week when you’re feeling strong, every couple of weeks/once or twice a month, and add to the overall intensity, by adding another couple of sets.

You can also add to your intensity in your free weight training program by lowering your rep range to somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 to 5 reps, getting closer to your one rep max and cycle this type of training to avoid injuries, and allow the muscles to recuperate But…

These should only be performed in this rep range as you become more conditioned to strength training at home, this will really challenge you and increase your strength immensely.

Rest duration between sets:

This of course will vary in your present conditioning and intensity levels. You should be somewhere in or around the two-minute rest range interval, if you find you can return to the next set…

In one minute or less, the intensity probably is not there as it should be; huffing and puffing after each set in any free weight training program, is normal here guys. Regardless; be sure that your body has made a full recovery aerobically before taking on the next set; this is about building strength.

Concluding:

I would personally like to extend to you, my level of excitement for you, toward your free weight training program: If that’s the decision you decide to make, I support you 100%, and I back up what I say by simply saying this:

Dynamic weight training and I, would love it if you would send a decent photo of your gym, and short two or three paragraph story of how you went about it.

And of course add a photo if you wish, of you in it. I will show it here, on the website as the dynamic efforts and enthusiasm you express towards your own home gym, including the body you wish to create from it.

Believe it or not, you have no idea the power of your words and how encouraging this will be to others, who wish to start or are already advanced with regards to strength training at home.

I Hope the body and free weight training program has helped to get you started or even motivated to train at home, or anywhere for that matter. Use and reuse the ideas, information and free weight training program I have set up for you. And don’t be afraid to experiment and be creative with your strength training exercises, including your diet and enjoy this new life style.

Go for your strength and conditioning goals and don’t let others tell you can’t do this… because you can! Follow your hearts hopes and dreams of building a better body because... they’re going to take you there!  DWT

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