Exercises for Building Muscles Without Equipment

November 12, 2018 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

If you are interested in building muscle mass but you are not keen on gyms, you may be relieved to find out that there are a number of ways of getting around this problem.

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Today, I want to talk to you about bodyweight training:

 

  • What it is
  • The benefits it can bring
  • Examples of three basic bodyweight training exercises and how to execute them

 

What it is

Bodyweight training is a form of exercise that does not involve the use of any equipment and instead uses the individual’s own weight as resistance against gravity.

Because it doesn’t necessitate any weights or machines, it is a very flexible and adaptable way of exercising, and can be done pretty much anywhere – including home. This is particularly useful if you either don’t like gyms or simply don’t have the time to set aside to frequent them.

Bodyweight training can bring all sorts of benefits to individuals who practice it, for a list of 55 exercises you can try you can take a look at the extensive infographic from Protein bee.

 

The Benefits it can Bring

Firstly, it is incredibly efficient. The high energy output involved in a bodyweight training session works incredibly well in terms of making muscle gains. Research shows that high output activity in short periods of time – something that bodyweight training is known for – can yield incredible gains.

It combines key elements of fitness. Through bodyweight training you can combine strength training and cardio by alternating between different exercises. Diversifying your workouts makes your body work harder and gain more over time as it adapts to different challenges.

It improves your balance, flexibility and core strength. By using your body as resistance against gravity, you will indirectly be increasing your balance as well as the flexibility in your limbs. A good bodyweight training session will also engage most of your core muscles and increase their strength over time.

It’s challenging and rewarding. One of the biggest advantages of bodyweight training is that different exercises can be tweaked and altered in different ways in order to increase or reduce their difficulty. In this sense, they can be adapted to a variety of fitness levels and you’ll probably never get bored of them. This makes it worthwhile to keep going at it for long periods of time, as you will see definite improvements.  

It can be done anywhere at any time. The very purpose of bodyweight training is to train without using weights or machines. This makes it a very adaptable and varied type of workout as it can be done in most places at most times, even if your schedule is full.

It’s free. Do I need to go into detail with this one?

 

Examples of Bodyweight Training Exercises

Now, let’s look at three different bodyweight training exercise that you can start doing right now. Remember that you can quite easily make alterations in your exercises depending on how you feel and what you want to achieve. These are just very useful starting points.

Squats. Squats are an incredibly useful form of exercise. Although they are most commonly known as exercises for the legs, they actually benefit the muscle-building of your whole body.

They contribute to your overall balance; they help your body burn more fat; they increase your mobility as you get older; and have even been shown to improve your body’s waste removal processes.

In order to do a squat, just follow these steps:

  1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your hands in front of you.
  2. Start descending by bending your knees and pushing your hips back simultaneously.
  3. Remember to keep your back straight and hold your chest up.
  4. Squat down as low as you can while looking straight ahead.
  5. Come back up to the starting position using your heels to push.

Push-ups. Push-ups are another very effective bodyweight exercise. They work your chest, core, triceps and shoulders; and as mentioned earlier, you can make different alterations in order to adapt them to your level of fitness.

Push-ups call forth all major muscle groups in your body to support your body weight while stabilising your movements.

To execute a proper basic push-up, follow these steps:

  1. Get on the ground facing down and place your hands slightly further apart than shoulder width.
  2. Set up your feet so that they are comfortable, either shoulder width apart or close together.
  3. Make your body as straight as possible, like an arrow.
  4. Look slightly ahead of you, but not all de way down.
  5. From a straight-up position, begin lowering yourself – clench your butt and flex your abs as if someone was about to punch you.
  6. Steadily lower yourself – now, depending on your level of fitness and experience, you can decide how low you want to go.
  7. Once you are at the desired level, push yourself back up until you are back in the starting position.

Crunches. The last exercise I want to talk to you about is crunches. While crunches don’t work as many muscles as push-ups, they are nonetheless very useful when it comes to your core – your abdominal muscles. They are effective at burning calories and improve your posture in the long term.

To do a basic crunch, these are the steps:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and place your feet at a comfortable distance from your butt.
  2. Place your hands behind your head as if they were cradling it.
  3. Tilt your chin slightly forward so that it’s not too far from your chest.
  4. Gently pull your abs inwards.
  5. Curl up forward so that your head, neck and shoulders lift off the floor.
  6. Hold on for a moment at the height of the movement and then gently come back down.

 

In Conclusion

Bodyweight training can yield incredible results if done consistently and progressively. It’s great to have the possibility to gain muscle and become lean without having to resort to machines, weights and gym subscriptions.

Remember, the exercises I mentioned here are just a basic introduction to the things you can do in bodyweight training. The options are endless – I hope this was useful in getting you started.

 

References:

  • https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/jaha.117.007678
  • https://fitness.mercola.com/how-to-do-squats.aspx
  • http://travelstrong.net/build-muscle-without-weights/
  • https://www.wikihow.fitness/Gain-Muscle-Without-Weights
  • https://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/6-exercises-for-building-muscle-without-equipment
  • https://www.livestrong.com/article/313206-how-to-build-lower-back-muscles/
  • https://www.aworkoutroutine.com/workout-at-home-how-to-build-muscle-without-weights/
  • https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/complete-guide-to-building-muscles-without-weights
  • https://www.thehairpin.com/2017/08/the-myths-of-bodyweight-training/
  • http://ashotofadrenaline.net/calisthenics-misconceptions/
  • https://www.arenaathletic.com/Blog/5-bodyweight-exercise-myths-shouldnt-believe/
  • https://www.self.com/story/12-workout-myths-that-just-need-to-die
  • https://www.fix.com/blog/benefits-of-bodyweight-training/
  • https://darebee.com/fitness/bodyweight-training.html
  • https://fitness.mercola.com/how-to-do-squats.aspx

 

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