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The Best Muscle-Building Exercises To Do At Home by Sam Barnes

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

Sam Barnes, online personal trainer and YouTube vlogger tells us his five favourite muscle-building exercises you can do at home.

After picking up a copy of a bodybuilding magazine at the age of 13, I began working out and became a fully qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer in 2018. After posting content on YouTube about my transition and fitness journey, I realised how many other Transgender people wanted to get fit and workout,

but weren’t sure how. This is why I decided to start up my own online

coaching business, Sam Barnes Lifestyle, and put a large focus on supporting people within the LGBTQ+ community. I take my personal experience of working out whilst struggling with Gender Dysphoria, Aspergers Syndrome and social anxiety, and use it to help create workout and nutrition

programmes that work for my clients and their lives. Everybody is different

and one plan can’t fit all.

The gym can feel like a daunting place if you’ve never been before. You might

be worried about the type of people at the gym, not knowing how to use the

equipment or you might be worried about using the changing rooms. After a

few sessions you’ll start to feel more relaxed in a gym environment but, for

now, here are my favourite muscle building exercises you can do at home,

with no equipment needed at all.

Push Ups

A push up is one of the best body weight exercises there is. It mainly targets the chest but also incorporates the triceps as well. The push up is also great because you can constantly switch between incline, flat and decline to target different areas of the chest. If you’re thinking of giving incline or decline push ups a go, use a sturdy table or chair. If you’ve never done a push up before and are struggling to do your first one, put your knees down on the floor to begin with to help you.


There are two different types of dips, ones for the chest and ones for the

triceps. If you’re working out at home, the ones you should definitely be able

to do are dips for the triceps (AKA Bench Dips) by using a sturdy table or chair. When people think about trying to grow bigger arms they tend to put all their focus on biceps. However, the triceps actually make up around 75% of the arm so it’s really important to give the triceps plenty to do as well.


Core strength and stability is not only important for building up a strong

looking midsection, it’s going to help improve your posture meaning you’re

less likely to injure your back whilst completing day to day tasks. There are a

ton of plank variations. Start off with the basics like a forearm and side plank

and then build up to a plank with a reach, plank with a leg lift and plank with a


Air Squats

This is where having a strong core will come in handy. The squat is one of the

best moves you can do at home or in the gym. Your main focus when it

comes to doing an air squat should be your form. Keep your back straight,

chest up, keep your knees tracking over the toes and aim for 90 degrees. If you then decide to try out the squat in the gym, you’ll be able to transfer your knowledge into a dumbbell, kettlebell and barbell squat.

Calf Raises

I love training calves, but it hurts (in a good way). This is one muscle group

you can do really high reps for. Your calves carry your body weight around

everyday, so you have to hit them hard in order to see them grow. Try 20 reps

for 5 sets with only a 30 second rest time.

Those are my five favourite muscle-building exercises you can do at home. If

you’re looking to bulk up, try and aim to do 3 sets and 10-15 reps of each

exercise you choose. If you’re looking to lose weight, turn your workouts into

circuits and do 10 reps of all of your chosen exercises, take a 1 minute break

and repeat for another 2 times through.

YouTube: Sam Barnes

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