There’s this common misconception out there that the “only way” to gain muscle is to go to the gym and lift weights. Yea well, that’s simply not true.
Of course, if we had the choice between working out at home or going to the gym and utilizing the equipment there, I think our decision would be quite obvious. But let’s just say for whatever reason you aren’t able to make it to the gym.
Whether it’s because of your busy work schedule, taking care of family, being on vacation, or the gym being closed, does this mean that there are no other alternatives and that your gains have reached a complete halt? Does this mean doomsday for your muscle building progress??
Well I’ve got good news for you, there’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel and I am going to lead you towards that light here in this article.
I’m going to give you 4 simple but effective guide lines on how to build muscle at home with no weights needed that you can start right now!
Bodyweight Exercises – Back to the Basics.
One of many forms to building muscle without weights is doing bodyweight exercises. But you might be saying to yourself, ” Well that’s obvious”. And in fact it is and you have every right to say so.
But let’s dig down a little deeper on what this actually is and what it can achieve for you because there is some fundamental truth that you should understand.
The human body has 7 primal movement patterns: Pull, push, squat, lunge, hinge, rotation and gait (walk, jog, run, sprint). We have been inherently gifted by these movements and have been using these since birth.
Our muscles work symmetrically to meet life’s physical demands whether its picking up something from the floor, reaching for the protein powder on the shelf, or helping a friend move their furniture.
Caveman had to rely on these movements for their own survival. They did things like Climb trees, hunt, run from predators, walk, squat to make fires – you get the point.
Now in modern times we don’t really have to rely on such measures for our own survival. We could just make a quick trip to Costco and our problem is solved.
But these bodyweight primal movements have been compromised in today’s life and mastering them would make us better functional and enhance our physical capabilities in a safe and effective way.
These are some benefits to doing bodyweight exercises:
- Accessibility to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
- Increase in strength and mobility
- More flexible range of motion
- Less strain on your joints
- Opportunity for your joints to heal from using heavy weights
- Cost effective
Progressive Overload – Step your game up.
While doing bodyweight exercises is great, adding progressive overload can take things to the next level. Literally.
So what’s progressive overload? It’s the gradual increase of stress and tension placed on your muscles. You can think of this process as breaking down the muscle fibers and that’s when the muscle growth magic happens – with consistency.
In the gym, this type of principle is pretty straight forward. If you’re using a barbell for example, you could just add more weight as you start to get stronger. But if your gymless, your going to have to take a different approach.
You can do this simply by increasing the workout volume and frequency. Add more reps, sets, and the muscles time under tension.
What’s worked for me is trying to beat my previous workout session by doing more. This vital concept is a great way to increase strength and muscle hypertrophy.
Biomechanics – Don’t be one dimensional.
There is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to fitness. Doesn’t matter if you’re at the gym or not. There is an abundance of methods and principles that you can use including biomechanics and movement variations.
You can increase the difficulty level of your workout simply by manipulating the biomechanics and changing the weight distribution.
Let’s take the classic push-up for example. The closer the grip, the more you engage in your triceps and the wider the grip, the more you engage in your shoulders. Both variations ultimately work the chest.
You can also take it a step further and use leverage. Try doing decline push-ups and you’ll be building stronger upper chest muscles and shoulders.
You can use the same principle with pretty much any exercise. The point is to make it more challenging for yourself and less monotonous. Use these type of movement patterns to your advantage and center them around your fitness goals.
Eat Enough Calories.
Aside from the actual workouts, your caloric intake plays an important role if you want to see an increase in gains. Getting on a caloric surplus, consuming more calories than you burn, will inevitably lead to an increase in muscle mass.
Now, just because its in increase in calories doesn’t mean to binge and eat a bunch of junk although, you will consume more calories that way and at a faster rate.
But a “dirty bulk” lacks more of the nutritional aspect than would a “clean bulk”. Also, with a clean bulk there is less potential fat gain.
So when being on a surplus (the clean way) you want to be consuming your carbs, lean protein, and unsaturated fats. I have a whole article that talks more about these macronutrients that I would recommended you check out if you want to learn more, https://hyperfitlifestyle.com/the-macronutrients-what-they-are-and-how-they-affect-you/.
And unless you are training for a physique competition, you don’t really have to count every macro you consume but if you do choose to go that route, there are plenty of apps that you can download that can help you calculate your daily food and calorie intake including “My fitness Pal”.
So I wanted to lay out some pretty basic but effective principles here that will help you sustain your muscle gain progress because we can easily feel a little discouraged when we don’t have any access to weights or a gym.
Let’s face the fact that life happens and change is forever constant. But the question is, how will we adapt to those changes and how will we adapt when that time comes?
Bodyweight exercises, progressive overload, manipulating biomechanics, and consuming enough calories. Following these 4 simple guidelines will help to keep you on the right track.
But the first step and most important step is to take ACTION. When it comes to fitness, there literally is no excuses. If you are hungry enough, you will make time for it.
Here is a bodyweight exercise chart that you can download so you can give it a go bodyweight-exercises-chart.
I hope I was able to give you some clarity and insight because that was my intent here in this article. Feel free to leave any questions or comments down below!