If you want to build muscle, barbell exercises are the easiest way. The problem: you need weights. Not everyone can afford expensive gym memberships or buy a home gym. Maybe you don’t feel the need to get huge, but would still like to gain a little muscle and tone what you already have. Fortunately, there are some simple yet effective exercises you can use to sculpt your body.Here’s a muscle building workout you can do without weights:
Your body needs a reason to build muscle. That reason is stress. Exercising will stress your body & force it to build muscle. You don’t have access to weights, so you’ll use body-weight exercises:
- Pull-ups. Build back & arms muscles. Doorway pull-up bars or any surface where you can hang from work. If you can’t do one rep with correct pull-up technique: use momentum, ask someone to help you or use a resistance band to assist you on the way up.
- Push-ups. Build chest, shoulders & arm muscles. Use a full range of motion: arms locked on the way up, nose against the floor on the way down. Put your knees on the floor if you can’t do one push-up. Switch to regular push-ups when this gets easy.
- Squats. Build leg muscles. Put your hands behind your head & bend through your knees. Keep your heels on the floor, push your knees out, look forward & squeeze your glutes on the way up. Stretch your hamstrings 3 times a week if you can’t squat lower than parallel.
SimpleFit.org has a 3 day a week routine based on the above exercises. It takes less than 90mins a week. Easy to mix with your work, business, relationship & hobbies. Click here for the program & the FAQ.
You must get stronger to build muscle. Doing 100 reps of an exercise builds endurance, not strength. Switch to more challenging exercises once you can do more than 20 pull-ups, push-ups or squats.
- Rings. Push-ups & pull-ups using rings are harder: you need to stabilize the rings while doing the exercises.
- One Arm Push-ups. Start with Incline One Arm Push-ups: one hand on a high box. Decrease the height as you get stronger until you can do them on the floor. Then switch to feet elevated One Arm Push-ups: feet on a box, gradually increasing the height.
- One Arm Pull-ups. Pull-ups with one arm. Tricky to master. Check the article on Beast Skills for their technique.
- One Leg Squats. Start with One Leg Box Squats: lower yourself on a box. Start with a high box & gradually decrease the height. Switch to One Leg Squats once you can do them from a very low box.
- External Resistance.You could consider this as weights but I’m adding it anyway. Wear a rucksack filled with water bottles or books while doing the exercises. Wear a weighted vest. Wrap some chains around your upper-body while doing the exercises. Use adjustable ankle/wrist weights. Use a belt, chain, carabiner & weights.
You need solid nutrition to build strength & muscle. Eat at least your body-weight in lbs x 18 kcal. Go for these foods:
- Protein. 1g/lbs daily. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, whey, etc.
- Fat. Balance your omega 3, 6 & 9 intake.
- Veggies. All kinds, especially green fibrous veggies.
- Fruit. Also all kinds. Eat veggies and/or fruits with every meal.
- Water. 1 liter per 1000 calories you expend.
- Whole Grain Carbs. Oats, rice, pasta, breads, Ö.
Mehdi is author of StrongLifts.com, a blog helping you build muscle & lose fat through strength training. Popular articles include the Beginner Strength Training Program and the Anabolic Diet.Image Credit: Sgt. Gooch