Ask The Trainer #147 – Home Gym Training Split

Ask The Trainer #147 - Home Gym Training Split


I was wondering if you could offer some advice. I’ve been meaning to get back into shape, but unfortunately, a gym membership just isn’t in my budget right now. A coworker just gave me a barbell, a bench, and a pile of weight plates that he wanted to get rid of. I am familiar with a lot of different exercises, as I used to work out with weights regularly for a number of years, but I’m having a tough time figuring out a whole body weight training split that I can do with just a barbell, a bench, and weight plates? So far I figured out I can do bench, incline bench, barbell curls, shoulder press, and barbell rows. I don’t have a squat rack, so squats would be hard to do. Can you think of other exercises I can do with a barbell to make a complete training split? Especially when it comes to legs! Thanks in advance for your help.



Hi Mike. I have a few ideas I think will help get you on your way. God bless that co-worker of yours for giving you that weight equipment! The most basic equipment seems to run at a relatively high price these days. Even on Craig’s List, I’ve seen people asking a dollar or more per pound for old, rusty, off-brand weight plates and dumbbells.

Anyway, there is A LOT you can do with a barbell, a bench, and some weight plates! A full body training split? Absolutely! Some of the exercises I suggest, you’ll probably slap yourself in the head for not thinking of them right away. But, that’s understandable considering you’ve been out of the gym scene for a while.

It’s easy to forget the most familiar gym exercises. That’s okay though because I’m going to remind you of them again. I also have a few new ideas for you so you can broaden your exercise arsenal even further!

In no particular order, here are the exercises for all of your major muscle groups:


Barbell curls, barbell drag curls, and reverse barbell curls (for the brachialis and forearms).


Close grip bench press, barbell skull crushers, and French presses.


Barbell rows, T-bar rows, 1 arm barbell rows, barbell pullovers, and conventional deadlifts.


Bench press, inclined bench press, floor presses, and neck presses (don’t do neck presses without safety stands or a spotter!)


Sitting or standing barbell shoulder press, upright rows, high pulls, front barbell raises, inclined barbell front raises, and barbell rear delt raises (barbell rear delt raises are like drag curls, but only the bar is traveling up the back of your body instead of the front).


Barbell hack squats, barbell landmine squats, barbell lunges, sumo deadlifts, barbell hip thrusts, and for calves you can find a step and do single leg, calf raises with your body weight. If you need more resistance, you can hold a weight plate in 1 hand while you use the other to grab hold of something to balance your body. You could also perform seated calf raises by sitting in a chair with a barbell across the middle of your thighs.  Place the balls of your feet on a 2-3 inch thick board. Next, simply allow your heals to drop to the floor. At the bottom use your calf muscles to lift your heals as high possible as you point your toes forward.

That’s a fairly versatile selection of exercises to build a great full body workout. Experiment with various exercises to find which ones work for your body.

I thought about describing the ideal form for all of these exercises. But, it makes more sense to pick out the exercises you want to use and watch them on YouTube. If there are any that you can’t find let me know. I’ll see if I can help you make sense of them.

Suggested Weekly Training Split:

Monday- Biceps, Triceps, and Shoulders. Wednesday- Legs. Friday- Back & Chest.

If your goal is to promote more fat loss, I suggest performing 20 minutes of high intensity interval (HIIT) cardio training on non-lifting days. You can also include some abdominal training on one of those days.

I hope this information will help you establish the type of workout routine that you were hoping for. I wish you all the best of success with your health and training endeavors!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

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