DOES A CHALLENGING workout require weights? Do you need access to a gym’s worth of equipment to be able to build real strength? Are you wasting your time and effort if you’re just performing a few simple movements at home?
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding no. The fact of the matter is, forging real strength and muscle is possible without weights or gym memberships—but you will need the rugged determination found in few places outside of groups with hardline discipline like the military to find success with this type of approach. You’ll also need a training plan like the new Military Muscle at Home program, available for MH MVP Premium members, to direct your efforts.
Those are the principles that program architect Erik Bartell, NASM, used when he created the workout. Bartell is a trainer and former Army officer who takes the deep-instilled discipline and resourcefulness from his service into his fitness practice. The training sessions are simple, but anything from easy. You won’t need gear, but you’ll need grit to get it done to transform your body.

The 3 Key Components of the Military Muscle at Home Program

Bartell created the Military Muscle at Home program based around three key components.

Cardio Capacity Work

These workouts are a whole lot more than reps, rest, and repeat. Instead, two days a week, you’ll run or ruck, building your cardiovascular endurance (and incinerating calories in the process). This will give you a boost once you get to the next section, too—which will help you dig deep to get stronger.

Strength Circuits

One obvious challenge for bodyweight-only workouts? Levelling up the challenge from session to session. Rather than using external loads, Bartell ratchets up the intensity. On strength days, you’ll work through vicious circuits that give your muscles little time to rest.


You aren’t just aimlessly performing exercises in this program. You’ll measure your progress through self-assessments, which will allow you to challenge yourself to perform at your peak. There’s a Week 1 assessment test in every single workout which will give you an instant gauge of your fitness level. And three weeks later, it’ll let you gauge how far you’ve come with this training program, too.

What the Military Muscle at Home Program Looks Like

You’ll use an easy-to-download PDF for this plan, which includes all of the introductory information, exercise descriptions, reference images, and an editable table of the program you can use to track your progress. Just pull up the file on your phone, tablet, or computer (you can print it out if you’re old school, too) and you’ll be ready to take on your workouts.
You’ll perform exercises like pushups, pullups, squats, and lunges alongside running and rucking. There’s not a huge barrier to entry for most of these movements, but make sure to use the diagrams and cues included in the PDF to keep your form on point.

What You Need for the Military Muscle at Home Program

The biggest way this program differs from others you might have taken on is the lack of gear needed. You can do the workouts just about anywhere—but you will need a pullup bar on strength days. When you ruck, you’ll need a pack with about 25 pounds inside, but that can be a backpack filled with books. Other than that, you will need space to run.
You’ll train five days a week on this routine. Two days a week, you’ll run. Two days a week, you’ll focus on building strength with bodyweight exercises. Every Friday, you’ll do a ruck (walking with 25 pounds of weight in a backpack). Rest the remaining two days per week, then get ready to get back in action.
Ready to take on the challenge?