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I think we’ve all become comfortable with our home workouts the last few months. So much so it kinda feels like we don’t really need another gym membership again.

One recurring theme I’ve seen is that all the home equipment seems to be rarer than pixy gold dust. You’ve done well to get your hands on what you can but once you’ve been using them for a while you should hopefully get to the point when they feel rather light. And when that happens, what do you do next?

Well, you progress them, and here’s 6 ways in which you can continue to progressively overload them so you can continue to build muscle and burn fat.

Add Isometrics

Isometrics are probably the easiest way to progress your workouts and make the 8kg dumbbells feel relatively heavy. You’ll start by doing your rep as normal, until you hit the middle phase of the lift where you’ll hold that position under tension from anywhere between 1-10s.

Doing this will increase the set length, meaning theres more time doing the lift and more demand on the muscles working. If you think about it, if it takes you 20 seconds to complete 10 reps of squats by adding a 3 second isometric at the bottom of the movement, you’ve just increased the amount of time taken to complete the set by perhaps 30 seconds.

Not only that but you’ll notice your form improve massively as you improve the ability to handle the load at the toughest point of the movement which is generally at the end range.

Here’s what I mean…

Following that, let’s move on to variation #1A which is a small tweak on the isometrics above.

1A: Quasi Isometrics

Quasi Iso’s are where pause mid rep to further enhance the time under tension. This is also great at developing strength at different parts of the movement that you might feel weak at. For instance, if you struggle coming out of a squat, holding a 2-second iso at that point will reinforce the patterning and positioning of the movement and get you stronger throughout the whole movement.

If the first one felt tough enough, then stick there for a couple of weeks but if you feel you can manage to progress further, then hit this next one up.

Eccentric Speed

If the first one felt tough enough, then stick there for a couple of weeks but if you feel you can manage to progress further, then hit this next one up.

Essentially, you’ll just slow the speed of the movement down for the eccentric part. That means the part where your muscles stay contracted whilst lengthening. So the downward phase of a push-up, deadlift and squat.

I typically load this eccentric up to around 5 seconds. Any more and your grip will perhaps give way first. The aim is to keep the movement smooth throughout and not pause at each second.

Here’s a breakdown…

Once you can manage this, I’d combine both progressions together, into something like this.

<aside> ⚠️ Note: This is terrible. Like really terrible. The amount of time under tension is insane and it’ll really increase the intensity of your set.


Only do this when you can safely manage both progressions above with great form and tension throughout.

Note: Your grip is going to suffer here a little with exercises that rely on your grip strength like deadlifts so progress slowly so your grip strength improves too.

Concentric Speed

This is where we increase our speed on the way up and accelerate out of the hole. Doing this adds force and makes every rep that much harder than before. If you’re adding speed to the concentric part of the lift you’ll notice after those 8 or 10 reps how much more you’re having to work against your normal reps.

Ready to move on? Sweet.

1.5 Reps

These are going to be brutal because they create more load and tension on the part of the lift where you have the greatest stretch. If you were doing the squat as I show below they’d be at the bottom of the movement. Same for dumbbell bench presses, RDLs and bent over rows. Not only that but it’s taking you way longer to complete 8 reps of 1.5 reps than it is 8 normal reps meaning there’s greater time under tension.

You can even make 1.5 reps harder by pulsing at the bottom for more than a 1/2 rep…

4A: Pulses

Much like the 1.5 reps, you’ll be pulsing at the end range of the exercise to really load and stretch that position that is typically the weakest part. And man, they’re tough. Especially when you’re doing like 8-12 of them with 3 pulses on each rep.


Bands are great for home workouts because they’re fairly accessible and when you’re working out in your living room, they don’t take up any more space.

Bands work by unloading on the way down of a squat, but create more force coming up meaning you’re adding another 3-10kgs on top of your dumbbells on the concentric portion of your lift as they get tighter and tighter.

You can grab a bunch of bands here

Ok, I’m starting to tire now. And that’s not accelerating out of the bottom or doing eccentrics as well…

Can you see how easy it is now to progressively overload your home workouts because I’m getting a beating here…

Staggered, B Stance & Unilateral Reps

Going from bilateral (normal stance) to single or a b stance means there’s more load going through the body part you’re working.

More load on one leg = the more that muscle is working.

And you can work these in the same fashion as the progressions above or work them into a more of a drop set meaning we can do a B stance squat for 8 reps on one side, then the other and then straight into a normal squat. And with that your legs are going to feeeel it. Add iso’s and eccentrics into those and you can continue to improve your strength for months, even with light dumbbells.

Yeah, I’m showing you a squat because that’s a fairly common exercise most people do but you can use these variations for things like deadlifts, any pulling variations, lunges, shoulder presses, lat raises, push-ups – the list goes on and I’m pretty sure by now you know what I’m talking about…

So how do you put this into your home workouts over the next few months?

Let’s say when you brought the weights for the first time, they were pretty heavy to begin with so on something like squats you could only manage 8 reps until you couldn’t do anymore. Of course you’d continue to do 8 reps for a couple of weeks until it became easier and then progressed it to 10 reps, and 12 reps and so forth. Once you’ve done that though, and it’s taken you around 6 weeks to get to 12 reps, here’s how you’d integrate the above into a plan moving forward so those now ‘light’ weights of yours appear heavier and heavier….

WeekProgression #
43 Second Isometrics
55 Second Isometrics
65 Second Isometrics + Quasi-Iso’s
73 Second Isometrics + 3 Second Eccentric
85 Second Isometrics + 3 Second Eccentric
95 Second Isometrics + 5 Second Eccentric
105 Second Isometrics + 5 Second Eccentric + Acceleration
115 Second Isometrics + 5 Second Eccentric + Acceleration
123 Second Eccentric + 1.5 Reps + Acceleration
135 Second Eccentric + 1.5 Reps + Acceleration
143 Second Eccentric + Pulses + Acceleration
155 Second Eccentric + Pulses + Acceleration
163 Second Eccentric + Bands + Acceleration
175 Second Eccentric + Bands + Acceleration
18Staggered Stance + 3 Second Eccentric with Superset
19Staggered Stance + 5 Second Eccentric with Superset
20Staggered Stance + 3 Second Eccentric + 3 Second Isometric with Superset

And here’s the thing, I’m only manipulating the progression here and not the reps. You could, of course, do something slightly different which increases the amount of reps, but keep the progression the same. To get a picture of what that looks like for 6 weeks of progressions, here you go.

183 second isometric
2103 second isometric
3123 second isometric
483 second isometric + 3-second eccentric

And you’d repeat the process again…

So look, if you’re in a position where you don’t have access to a gym for a workout, then these progressions are a great way of getting you stronger in your home workouts, even if you only own a pair of light weights.

Plug and play from today and let me know how it goes…