A Home Gym On A Budget Plus A Full-Body Workout

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If you don’t have the funds or the space to invest in a full home gym set-up, don’t worry. Sure, it would be nice to have a big room full of shiny new workout gear, but if that’s not an option, you can still exercise at home on a budget and get the body you want. 
The essential kit you need to burn fat and build muscle is a set of dumbbells, a gym ball and a pull-up bar. These versatile bits of equipment let you target every single part of your body and – unlike some of the fancy pricier options – they won’t do any of the hard work for you. “Machines, and to a lesser extent barbells, let you get away with being weak on one side,” says MF’s muscle expert Jason Anderson. “Dumbbells mimic human movement, which helps give you better muscle symmetry. A gym ball is a good replacement for a bench because the instability increases muscle activation.”
Finally, no gym would be complete without a pull-up bar. “Classic exercises such as pull-ups are a true reflection of your strength,” says Anderson. “You’re not in contact with the ground, so there’s a greater potential range of motion, which activates more muscles and aids muscle growth.”

All these products are available at Argos. Opti 75cm gym ball £12, Opti pull-up bar £16, Opti Vinyl 20kg dumbbell set £50, Total: £78

You can use your budget ensemble for almost any exercise, but if it’s a whole-body blast you’re after, below is Jason Anderson's eight-move workout. 

1. Pull-up

Sets 3  Reps 8-12

Target lats, biceps

Use an overhand grip just wider than shoulder-width apart and let your body hang straight down – don’t swing. Squeeze your lats as you pull up, and keep going until your chin is over the bar. Lower slowly without swinging. 

Make it tougher 

Do a rock-climber’s pull-up with one palm facing towards you and one facing away from you. This will show if you’re relying too much on one arm.

2. Press-up jackknife

Sets 3  Reps 10

Target chest, abdominals

Rest the tops of your feet on the ball and keep a straight line from head to feet, with your hands beneath your shoulders. Perform a press-up, then roll your feet over the ball as you draw your knees into your chest.

Make it tougher

Instead of keeping the ball on the top of your feet, try going up onto your toes.

3. Gym ball leg curl

Sets 3  Reps 10

Target hamstrings, glutes

Lie on your back with your feet together on top of the ball and your body in a straight line from shoulders to heels. Raise your hips and draw the ball towards your backside with your heels. Pause for a moment at the top of the move then return slowly to the start.

Make it tougher 

Take your hands off the floor or try the move one-legged.

4. Hanging knee raise

Sets 3  Reps 10-12

Target abdominals, obliques

Hang from a pull up bar using an overhand grip. Hold your feet together off the floor and don’t swing. Use your abdominals to draw your knees up towards your chest. Hold for a second at the top of the move then lower slowly without letting your body swing. 

Make it tougher 

Wrap a towel around the bar to test your grip, or try keeping your legs straight throughout the move.

5. Gym ball Bulgarian split squat

Sets 2  Reps 15-20 each leg

Target quads

Rest the instep of your back foot on the ball. Sink down into a squat, going as far as you can while still maintaining control of the ball. 

Make it tougher 

Hold a single, heavier dumbbell in both hands and add a twist to the movement of the exercise. 

6. Prone reverse flye on ball

Sets 2  Reps 15

Target shoulders, back, core

Use a light weight and keep your navel on the centre of the ball. Keep your arms in the ten-to-two position and your thumbs pointing towards the ceiling to activate your stabilising muscles. Hold for a second at the top of the movement. If you need more support, you can put your feet against a wall.  

Make it tougher

Increase the weight or alternate the arm you raise.

7. Split squat with overhead triceps extension

Split squat with overhead triceps extension

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Sets 2  Reps 8-12 each leg

Target quads, triceps

Start with 70 per cent of your weight resting on your front leg.

Lower until your back knee is just off the ground. Keep your elbow pointing towards the ceiling as you perform the triceps extension.

Make it tougher 

Work on increasing your range of motion, and build up to doing the move as a lunge.

8. Dumbbell curl to uppercut


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Target biceps, front shoulders

Sets 2  Reps 12 each side

Keep your shoulders retracted and your elbows by your sides as you do a standard biceps curl. Then drive off the ground with one foot, so your heel comes up as you perform an uppercut to one side.

Make it tougher Do four or five biceps curls between each uppercut, so that your shoulders and biceps get equally tired.

Coach Staff

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