To start off, I just want to say that it is possible to build muscle at home at home without equipment. However, for the best results I would at least consider investing in a gym membership where you will have access to equipment or at the very least a pair of dumbbells.
There are times however where knowing how to exercise without the use of a gym membership can be of help. For example if you actively travel, and are interested in building muscle, then knowing how to use your bodyweight as resistance is extremely convenient for your situation.
Also if you don’t live close to a gym or cant afford a gym membership, knowing how to give your body a complete workout is always valuable.
In this article I have outlined some of the key body weight exercises you can use to build mass. Keep in mind that I have explained how to do these exercises briefly. If you don’t necessarily know how to do some of these exercises and they are completely new to you, you can find information on them through a simple google search.
The best bodyweight back exercises can be performed with a pullup bar. If you don’t have pullup bar you might need to get a little bit creative. You can try using a pipe on the ceiling, or a door frame. To work more of the inner back you can do pullups with a closer grip. To work on your lats to really develop your width, adopt a wide grip for your pullups. For some added resistance I would recommend using a bookbag filled with pretty much anything that has some weight to it… perhaps books. For the lower back you can do hyper extensions or trunk raises as they are called. Focus on holding your torso up for five seconds at least before coming back down.
Pushups and pushup variations are undoubtable the best exercises for building a defined chest. Love them or hate them, you cant expect to build chest muscle with many other body weight exercises. The key to building muscle mass through pushups however is to do them in a slow and controlled manor. You need to make sure that you are straight as a plank and that your really focus on the resistance of your body as you lower yourself. Once you are at the lowest position you can then hold yourself there for a few seconds for an extra challenge.
Its great if you can do 100 pushups fast but simply tacking on more reps to your sets wont build muscle any time soon but rather just your muscle endurance.To add some variety to your chest routine, try to widen your grip and shorten your grip for different sets. You can also do declined pushup by propping your legs up on a chair.
In addition doing dips with a chair can also be a good exercise. This exercise primarily focuses on the triceps but the chest is also engaged as well.
There is basically no way to target your biceps without props. However it shouldn’t be too hard to get creative. To do bicep curls you will need a bag or a sack filled with some sort of weight that is adequate for your strength level. You can curl this bag or sack just as you would with a dumbbell. The other way you can work your biceps is with a pullup bar or some sort of substitute. Just like the pushups, the trick here is to go up slowly so that you can really feel the contraction, pause at the top and then come down just as slowly. To add some extra resistance you can use wear a backpack on your shoulders with your desired amount of weight as you do your pull ups.
The pushups you do in your chest workout are great for your triceps. However to focus more on your triceps with pushups, you can do close grip pushups. Tuck your elbows to your sides and be sure to go down and up slowly to really focus on the contraction. Close grip pushups focus more on the triceps rather than your chest.
In addition you can also do dips. Pull up a chair or a bench and you can get started right away. To add some extra resistance you can put a backpack on your front side as you do the dips to really strengthen your triceps.
It is extremely challenging to build large leg muscles without the proper equipment. You can choose to do squats with just your body weight or you can try to fill up a backpack and do wquats with whatever heavy objects you can fit in the backpack. You can build some good definition doing so but without some serious weight it will be rather difficult to put on any respectable size. As mentioned before, do what you can to go down slowly, squeeze and then proceed to come up slowly. Try to push yourself until failure but if you find yourself able to do 100 reps in a row, you just need to add some more resistance. You can also do sprints as well to build up leg muscle. Distance running certainly is not going to put on size but if you do interval springing you will be able to pack on some more mass.
As far as shoulders go it can be a bit of a challenge to do exercises that focus primarily on the shoulders. Pushups are great for the shoulders although the primary muscle is the chest. Another way you can focus on working your shoulders is a bit more challenging but it is effective. You need to stand on your hands and place your heels against a wall. Proceed to then lower and push yourself up in the same sort of motion as a military press except upside down. This option is not for everyone as it takes some skill and practice but it is extremely powerful.
Training abs is a phenomenal way to exercise without equipment. In fact, there are few ab exercises that actually do require gym equipment.
There are many ab exercises that target the various parts of your core such as the obliques, the upper abs, and the lower abs. To train the upper abs you can do your basic crunches. If you want to add some more challenge you can also do crunches with your legs in the air. You can even hold a phone book in across your chest for some more resistance.
To work the lower abs you can also do a number of different exercises. You can do flutter kicks, scissor kicks, or leg raises. To do flutter and scissor kicks, lay on your back with your hands under your butt. Lift your legs a few inches off the ground and proceed to kick in a criss cross fashion for the scissor kicks and in an up and down motion for the flutter kicks.
For your obliques your can do bicycle kicks and twists. With your feet up in the air pedal like you are riding a bicycle, and lift your torso off the ground. With your hands cupped on your head twist your body from side to side while you continue to kick your feet.
You can basically train your abs as frequently as you really want. Some people like to work their abs every day while others like to do it just once a week. It really depends on how much you want to develop a chiseled core.
For cardio training its obvious that you don’t need any equipment. However to do cardio without losing any fat and keeping your muscle it is recommended that you don’t do any long distance running. This type of exercise can burn fat but unfortunately it can also burn through muscle just as easily. Instead you can do interval sprinting where you can sprint for about 30 seconds or so, take a break for two minute and then repeat the process. As long as you don’t do this all day, you can chip away at stubborn fat, and gain all the benefits of running without killing your gains. Alternatively you can do jumping jacks, shadow boxing and other forms of cardio. There is certainly nothing wrong with long walks as well!
In terms of your diet, keep it clean. Be sure that you are eating at least one gram of protein for every pound of body weight you have. In terms of carbs, don’t shy away from them. Many people believe that eating carbs will simply make you fat. This is an extreme misunderstanding of carbs and the nutrients they provide. Carbs after all are your primary source of energy. Without them it is difficult to function properly.
For building muscle it is best if you eat six small meals a day. This way you can keep your metabolism firing at a constant rate throughout the day so that it continues to burn calories and grow.