Building muscle requires a calorie surplus, resistance training and a progressive overload for the best results. Building muscle without weights is possible though.
The muscle must tear and then repair, the main ways to ensure this is to have resistance and progressive overload. Without weights, I’ll look at alternative ways to ensure this.
Muscle repairs on its own, but for it to grow, it requires the protein that will ensure its growth. Eat 2,2 g of protein per kg or 1 g per lbs of body weight to ensure that your muscles are provided with enough protein.
To make it easier for you to build muscle, it is best to be in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you burn) daily. Your body uses stored energy (glycogen) and then muscle tissue once that fuel is depleted. If you’re in a calorie surplus this reduces the chances of this happening ensuring your muscles are constantly in feeding off of stored energy.
How to Build Muscle Without Weights
Using Only Your Body
The use of bodyweight exercises or using your body for physical fitness. Your body is a weight on its own and can yield results. Get the most out of it by training until failure on each set. A list of exercises you can use to build muscle using only your body:
- Push ups
- Sit Ups and Variations
- Russian Twist
- Superman Holds
- Calf Raises
Using an Outdoor/Park Gym
The outdoor/park gym industry is one which has grown a lot recently, for good reason. Being able to have bars and machines has resulted in convenience in exercise and inexpensive resistance training.
What is nice about the outdoor gym is the feeling of using your body as your weight and there is great resistance that comes with this. The equipment is structured to be able to mimic exercises that you usually do in the gym, e.g. pull ups, tricep dips and leg presses etc.
The outdoor gyms cater these exercises in all that I have seen:
- Pull ups and variations
- Pull up rows and variations
- Incline Push Ups
- Tricep Dips
- Leg Press
- Calf Raises
Mind-muscle connection is where you focus on the contraction of the muscle that is being trained. To make the most out of this process, it is best to squeeze the muscle at its peak contraction and bring it down slowly to maximize tension in the muscle too.
It is specifically important in bodyweight exercises, including resistance bands which you can add for strengthening of soft tissue too for greater performance of the muscle. Some exercises you can do with the resistance band:
- Bicep Curls
- Push Ups
- Band Pull-Apart
- Shoulder Press
- Chest Flyes
- Front Squats
- Lying Hip Abduction
- Glute Bridge
- Lateral Walk
How to Have a Progressive Overload
A progressive overload is where you gradually increase the strain on the musculoskeletal system you use to build strength, muscle and endurance. You can enhance this by increasing the intensity of your workout. When you’re not using weights to increase the intensity, the best way is to increase the reps/sets you do and/or reduce the rest time.
The Pros of Building Muscle Without Weights
The greatest benefit about going this route in building muscle is that it costs less to do it, you could just go to an outdoor/park gym or just do exercises at home.
The Cons of Building Muscle Without Weights
Since you’re not using weights, it will take longer than with weights. You might not even build much muscle and rather lose fat, giving you a leaner look. To combat this you must maintain a calorie surplus, but who doesn’t want to look lean?
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