There are a lot of questions on the web like: “What’s the best way to build muscle without weights or a gym membership?”, “Can you build muscle without equipment?”, “Can I gain muscle mass without lifting weights?” and so on.
So many people are curious and want to know how to build muscle without lifting weights or going to the gym. And you are probably one of them.
The truth is that you don’t need a gym and you absolutely don’t need weights.
Everything you need to build muscle is your own body!
You just need to learn how.
I will show you steps in a moment. But first, see how I got my body from only bodyweight training without weights.
My Long Story Short
The left picture if after months of weight lifting and going to the gym. The right picture is after a few years of training with my body only.
I was lifting weights in the gym, using supplements, and following strict fitness model diets. My results weren’t so impressive after about 6 months of trying.
Then I tried to workout with my body only and eat clean and healthy in general.
After just a few weeks I got fat better results compared to lifting weights, going to the gym, using supplements, etc!
You can be even bigger for a shorter period of time by doing bodyweight training, compared to lifting weights in the gym.
I got far better results from only 2-week challenge where I did 100 pull ups, 100 push ups, 100 dips, 500 reps of abs exercise variations and 5km run every morning on empty stomach, compared to 2 months of going to the gym, lifting weights, using supplements and following fitness model diets!
From my experience, I will show you 3 important steps you need to follow, if you want to build muscles without weights.
But first, let’s see the benefits of training with your body and the best bodyweight exercises.
Benefits Of Bodyweight Training (Calisthenics) Compared To The Gym
Bodyweight training/calisthenics will help you to burn fat, build muscle without weights, and boost confidence fast and easy.
Let’s see some benefits of bodyweight training compared to the gym and weight lifting:
- It’s free;
- You can do it anywhere and anytime with minimal or no equipment;
- Consuming less time – you can do workout instantly at home;
- Easier and less complicated – you have a couple of exercises that hits every muscle;
- Faster to get the aesthetic physique and six-pack, because your strength and muscles will increase with lower body fat – getting leaner will help you to do the more advanced and harder exercise variation, that will give you more strength and muscle, and so on;
- Bodyweight exercises burn more calories;
- More impressive – what is more impressive, ripped guy that doing muscle ups like a piece of cake, or a huge guy with a belly who is easily benching 220lbs/100kg+?
- More confidence – mastering your body will give you more confidence that pushing heavy stuff;
- Smaller chance of injury.
Best Bodyweight Exercises That Will Build Muscle Without Weights
There are 5 fundamental exercises that hit every body part. So let’s see the best exercises for the upper and lower body.
Best exercises for the upper body are:
- Pull ups – Biceps, Back, Forearms
- Push ups – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Forearms
- Dips – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Forearms
And the best exercises for the lower body are:
- Squats – Legs
- Lunges – Legs
Bonus – basic exercises for abs:
- Sit ups
- Leg raises
Each of these exercises has easier and harder variations.
Progress To Harder Variations To Build Muscle Without Weights
If exercises listed above are easy or hard for you, you can always use different variations in your workouts, from total beginner to advanced.
Example: You can go from negative chin ups and knee supported push ups to basic pull ups and push ups. From basic push ups and pull ups to explosive ones. And so on until you achieve muscle ups, one arm pull ups and one arm decline push ups.
So, as you can see, there is a huge place for improvement and progression.
Now you know what are the best bodyweight exercises to build muscle and some benefits from doing them.
So it’s time to see how you can use them to build muscle without weights or going to the gym.
You will not build muscle without weights overnight. So stay persistent!
3 Steps To Build Muscle Without Weights:
Start following these 3 steps, and you will build muscle without weights easily.
1. Proper Form And Full Range Of Motion
This is the first thing you must know.
When you build a house you start from the foundation first. Not roof. Foundation, in this case, are the basics.
Master the basics first, and then move to more advanced stuff.
And to master the basics, you need to learn HOW to properly perform exercises.
Master the basics
Every exercise that you do, you must do it correctly! That means, no swinging, no bad form, and no half reps.
If you don’t perform exercises with proper form, full range of motion, and control, you will slow down your progress!
80% of people are doing exercises incorrectly.
Most people do push ups with totally incorrect form. They also do half rep pull ups all the time. And they don’t know that they are slowing down their progress with those bad habits!
If you are one of them stop doing that if you want to progress consistently.
Start focusing on performing exercises with PROPER FORM, FULL RANGE OF MOTION, SLOW and CONTROLLED. Go all the way up, and then all the way down, slowly.
Get the most out of every repetition
Focus on both concentric and negative part of the exercise.
Don’t just do reps for numbers. Do them with MIND-MUSCLE connection, and you will get far better results!
One last tip: Do eccentric or negative part of the exercise slowly for 3 seconds, and then explode up (Push ups example: Lower yourself for 3 seconds with proper form all the way down to the flow, and then explode up with a full range of motion). This trick will improve your gains a lot!
Tips to remember:
- Proper form (slow and controlled movement)
- Full range of motion
- Mind-muscle connection
- Slow eccentric and explosive concentric movements
Try it and see for yourself.
Everybody says that consistency is the key. And I can tell you that is 100% true.
It’s better to do 10 push ups on a daily basis than 10 workouts of 100 push ups a year!
There is no point in training hard workout once in a while.
Start slow and easy
Don’t go to failure for now. If you are a beginner you need to focus on basics first. It’s better to later push yourself.
Set your priority to train every, or every other day slow and easy. Instead of pushing yourself to train hard. That will only lead you to heavy muscle soreness, and you will not be able to move from your bed or to do anything at all.
It’s far better to workout every day for 20 minutes, in comparison to 3 hard workouts a week for 1-2 hours.
Train daily with light to moderate effort and develop the habit of regular training. It will be easier to stay consistent!
Set your goals long-term, not short.
Enjoy the process and you will achieve results effortlessly and a lot faster!
3. Progressive Overload
And now, last but not least step is progressive overload!
Progressive overload is nothing more than doing harder and different things every time. This means that you need to increase the difficulty of your workouts on a regular basis.
In other words, every or every other week you need to increase the difficulty of your workouts somehow.
Example: increase reps, increase sets, do the same workout for a shorter time, decrease rest periods, replace exercises for harder variations, etc. You got the point.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
If you want to do 100 push ups a day for the next 10 years, you will not make any progress. You will just maintain your current condition!
Basically, 90% of the people are not following this rule. And this is so important!
So, the best advice is to increase difficulty somehow every week.
Whatever you doing, your body will adapt. If you want to build muscle you MUST increase difficulty regularly!
Bonus Step – Workout Routine To Build Muscle Without Weights
The workout routine is an absolute must for anyone!
It does not matter if you are a total beginner or more advanced, you need a structured workout program that will help you to progress on a regular basis.
A good workout routine has all these important steps.
If you don’t know what to do and where to start, start with simple splits. Try them all, test them, and find what works best for you!
The best workout splits:
- Full Body Split
- Push / Pull / Legs Split (My favorite)
- Upper / Lower Body Split
- Body Part Split (Chest/Back/Shoulders/Legs/Arms)
Just pick one and start!
And don’t forget to stick to one routine long enough to see the results.
Conclusion To Build Muscle Without Weights
Start to follow the steps listed above, and you will build muscle without weights easily.
Start implementing these important habits in your training and you will see results!
Step by step, you will go from 30 pull ups and 60 push ups per workout to hundreds, and so on. You will also be able to do some pretty advanced stuff like muscle ups, one arm pull ups, one arm push ups, pistol squads and similar.
And you will build your ideal body without lifting weights, going to the gym or equipment at all!
Everything you need to do is to do your repetitions correctly, train consistently, and increase difficulty every week.