How to build strength on a tight budget

IMGP2737aiIn today’s austere times where we’re constantly trying to save money, it can be hard to justify spending money on a gym membership. One of the benefits of gym membership, however, is having access to weights equipment for the purpose of developing muscle size and strength as well as avoiding turning your living room into a gym!

The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of how you can train and develop your strength in the comfort of your own home without having to buy lots of specialist equipment or find somewhere to locate such equipment.

I will primarily be discussing various bodyweight exercises you can do – exercises for which you use the weight of your own body to provide enough resistance to be a challenge. For each exercise, along with a description, I will suggest ways of modifying things to make it easier for beginners and harder for the more experienced.

The exercises

Ideally, you need to do 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. If you can do 15 then you will have to make things more difficult or you will not progress. Each exercise must be practiced twice a week with 2-3 days of rest between to allow your body to recover.


This exercise works the glutes, the thighs and the abs. Remember that you will have to hold a heavy load so perhaps hug a sports holdall stuffed with clothing. If this is too easy, then replace the clothing with hardback books!

If you find it too easy with weights, then try lunges hugging the full sports holdall!

Push ups

This exercise works the pectorals and triceps as well as the core. If you cannot manage proper push ups with your toes then pivot on the knees. If you find it too easy then put your feet on a chair. At some point you may find this easy so will have to try one hand push ups (knees first then toes).

Bent-over rows

This is a great exercise for working the lats, rear delts and your core. If it’s a struggle, you’ll involuntarily activate your core making it stronger.

Shoulder press

This works the shoulders as well as the core (for you to hold up a heavy weight, your core will have to lock to keep you upright).



  • Always make sure the exercise you’re performing is sufficiently difficult and a challenge; if you can do over 15 repetitions per set then it’s probably too easy and you will need to move up to the next level to make things more difficult
  • The slower you move, the harder it will become – try counting 2 seconds as you apply force and 4 seconds as you return to the starting position
  • The body only develops when you challenge it – if you do not continually aim for increasing the difficulty, you will stagnate.


As you can see, it is possible to get a good strength workout without the need for an expensive gym membership so you have no excuse to get strong, burn fat and change your physique!