It sounds counterintuitive: how to build muscle without weights? For many men, and even women, the concept of building muscle without weights is a foreign concept, but it’s quickly becoming the preferred method for fitness training.
You may not realize it, but you can gain muscle without weights, and it’s great if you want to build lean muscle, because you’re not going to tend to get as bulky, although you can still create mass and definition.
The Benefits of Building Muscle Without Weights
If you decide to build muscle without weights, it’s likely because of all the benefits that come from this type of training, including
Improved muscle tone and strength
Better joint health
Increased functionality and overall mobility
Freedom from bulky equipment or the necessity of working out at a gym or fitness center (you can workout anywhere when you build muscle without weights)
More range of motion while working out, which helps build muscle more effectively
Many bodyweight exercises pull double duty—they often have great cardiovascular benefits, along with muscle-building components
In fact, people that rely on bodyweight training often report that they have a higher level of motivation, and better results than people who use weights, because they can work out anytime, anywhere. There’s no inhibitions because of scheduling, or any other excuses to get in the way of working to gain muscle without weights.
What to Remember When You Build Muscle Without Weights
There are some things to keep in mind when you begin any weight training program, but particularly one that relies primarily on bodyweight exercises.
You can make yourself stronger by also becoming longer. What this means is that if you lengthen your body when building muscle without weights, it’s going to make you stronger because your body is working harder.
Move as much as you can during each bodyweight rep. By increasing your range of motion, you’re forcing your body to work harder, and build more muscle.
Add explosive movements to all of your exercises when possible. For example, if you’re just doing a basic push-up, jump off the floor and into the air between each one. When you incorporate explosive movements, you’re going to maximize your muscle building.
Incorporate movements that challenge your balance, and you’ll work more muscles. For example, do push-ups with one foot lifted off the floor. This is great for building muscles all over your body, and is also a prime way to build and improve core strength.
How to Gain Muscle Without Weights
When you first decide to gain muscle without weights, it’s tricky, because simply doing more reps isn’t going to add the muscle you likely want to achieve.
Building Muscle After 40 without weight
Instead, effectively building muscle without weights relies on the concept of progression.
What does this mean?
When you use bodyweight exercises, you should progressively overload your muscles, for the optimal effect. This sounds complicated, but you’re simply increasing the demands on your body, as you progress in your routine.
Ultimately, the best way to utilize progressive overload is to simply choose more and more challenging bodyweight exercises over time.
The Best Exercises to Build Muscle Without Weights
The options for exercises that allow you to build muscle without weights are nearly limitless, but there are some basic moves that are considered among the best:
Squats are a good exercise to help in building muscle without weights.
The squat: Doesn’t get much more basic than the squat, right? Squats should be done with the majority of your weight in your heels. Squats are pretty simple, but you can also do things to make them harder, as you get further along in your fitness routine. One way you can increase the difficulty of a squat is by adding a jump as you come up from the squatting position.
Pull-ups and Chin-Ups: This is a great way to work your upper body in much the same way a squat works your lower body. They’re a great exercise not just for the arms, but also for the back, and the back is a major muscle group that allows you to burn fat more effectively.
Push-ups: There’s a reason push-ups are one of the go-to bodyweight training exercises. Push-ups work nearly every part of your body, including arms, chest, back and core. As mentioned, to make them more challenging, do them using only one leg, or do push-up jacks.
Lunges: Lunges are a powerful lower body move, and to add an extra punch to this move, consider doing jump squats, which adds explosive movement for the maximum amount of muscle gain.
How Long Do You Need to Work Out to Gain Muscle Without Weights?
Another great benefit of building muscle without weights is that it significantly reduces the amount of time you spend working out.
If you choose movements that target several parts of your body at one time, and add explosiveness to these moves, you can get a full-body, extremely effective workout in about thirty minutes a day, as compared to spending hours on weight machines in the gym.
This makes it a great workout option for people who have limited time to dedicate to working out, yet still want to see significant results.
How to Eat to Gain Muscle Without Weights
As with any muscle-building routine, when you’re using bodyweight exercises, it’s important to follow a good diet.
You’re still pushing your body to its peak performance level, and this requires a diet full of healthy protein and fats, as well as carbohydrates, particularly before a workout.
In fact, if you’re doing it correctly, building muscle without weights may be more strenuous than a traditional gym workout, and you should follow muscle-building diet plans if you want to achieve your goals.
If your primary goal is to build muscle, you may need to take in more calories than you would otherwise, as long as the calories come from healthy sources.
Many people find it’s best to follow a carefully designed fitness routine to build muscle without weights, because it gives them guidance and helps them learn the safest and best ways to perform exercises, in order to gain muscle, make the most of their workout, and push their body.