You can likely work out ways to introduce mechanical drop sets at home for your other body parts working around the weights you have. There are all manner of things you can do to make your exercises that little bit easier or harder and simply descending through these with no break will be enough to punish the muscle HARD.
For biceps as mentioned, you can go from curls, to hammer curls, to isometric holds, to pull ups. For lats you could progress from weighted pull ups, to pull ups, to assisted pull ups…
But what if you want to train the legs? Things get a little more difficult here, so let’s take a look at some ways around this challenging aspect of working out from home…
Using Body Weight
Using body weight, there are a few things you can do to train your legs. You of course have the regular squats, lunges and calf raises. However, these are likely not to be enough on their own to stimulate real growth.
In order to do this, you need to make sure you’re involving the fast twitch muscle fibers. But your legs carry your body all day, so how do you make this harder?
One answer is just to get explosive. You see, your body doesn’t see any difference between weight and acceleration. As far as your body is concerned, the exact same process is involved in moving something quickly as is involved in moving something heavy.
So instead of lifting a heavy weight with a squat, you can instead jump up onto a box. This will require activation of the fast twitch muscle fiber in just the same way to explode you upward. If you don’t have a box to perform box jumps, then try jumping squats – these simply involve squatting and then adding a short jump at the top of the movement – it’s perfect for building a little more power.
Another option is jump lunges – where you switch lunge in mid air before landing. The calf jump is one of my favorites: here you jump by using only your tip-toes and not by bending your leg. This is also a great practice for building better jump height.
Alternatively, you can increase the challenge with bodyweight by increasing the relative force that you are exerting on each leg. The obvious way to do this? Stand on one leg! That way you can perform one legged squats and calf raises!
The easier way to do this though is to simply add weight using dumbbells and kettle-bells. This way, you can mimic many of the big ‘compound’ lifts from the comfort of your home and with no need to invest in a barbell or a squat rack.
So one example of this would be to perform dumbbell clean and presses. Simply place a dumbbell by either side of you on the floor. Then squat down to the weights to pick them up, stand up with them, curl them up to your upper chest/shoulder and then press them up over your head.
Likewise, you can perform lunges which holding dumbbells in either arm. Or to make it more of a challenging whole body workout, try holding the dumbbells over your head, extended with fully straight arms.
Using a kettle-bell meanwhile, you can start training in a manner very similar to training with a barbell. A kettle-bell is a large round weight with a single handle protruding from the top. You can grab this handle with one or both hands and then pull it or swing it into position. You can also hold the kettle-bell by the base with both hands in a bear-hug like manner. This can allow you to perform what is known as the ‘goblet squat’, where you squat with the weight resting across your upper chest. This move slightly moves the pressure compared with a regular squat – you’re now working the quads slightly more than usual and the hamstrings slightly less than usual.
One of the best moves by far for leg training at home though is the kettle-bell swing. Here, you grab the kettle-bell in both hands and stand with your legs slightly apart and the weight hanging directly down in front of you between them. The object is now to swing the weight behind and through your legs and then up in front of you with straight arms. But you’re not going to do this using your arms. Instead, you’re going to do it by squatting down and then standing up and thrusting your hips slightly forward. The momentum alone causes the weight to swing up and then you squat back down as the weight comes down from the force of gravity. You don’t break the momentum, you simply allow the weight to swing through your legs behind you and then thrust back upwards. Check out videos online to see how this works.
As you can see then, there are plenty of great ways you can train legs at home, so you don’t need to spend a fortune on a squat rack!