Sometimes life gets extremely busy and we can't always show up at the gym, perhaps because we just couldn't take that route, or maybe we're traveling - there could be so many justifiable reasons. But there are ways to build muscle without lifting weights. Your bodyweight is enough to help make your stronger and leaner when you miss your lifting sessions.
One of the reasons why you should consider incorporating bodyweight exercises in your workout is that it reduces the risk of overuse injuries and it will stimulate your muscles to grow and adapt to new exercise. In order to build muscle with without weights, you need to progressively overload your muscles in order to stimulate growth.
They key is to do increasingly difficult bodyweight exercises. Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises (CKCE) are the best way to overload your muscles. These exercises require that your limbs (feet, hands) remain in constant contact with the a surface.
They have many benefits, such as engaging multiple joints and muscles at once, improving coordinating abilities and stabilization, as well as promoting a greater muscular and neurological stimulation. They are also easy to perform, because transitioning from one exercise to another is easier. Thus, you'll have shorter rest periods in between exercises and you'll keep your heart rate elevated.
ADVANCED BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES
Before you work out, make sure you master the basic movements of bodyweight training or street workout. Always warm-up before exercising and stretch afterwards. Warming-up is mandatory in order to prepare your body for a better performance and prevent tears and strains.
This is a great posterior-chain exercise that hits your quads, glutes and you'll feel it in your calves too. If you skip your leg day (you shouldn't!), this is a great way to make up for it.
- Stand with your arms extended in front of you and balance on one leg. Extend the other leg in front of you as high as you can.
- Squat down as far as possible and keep your leg elevated at all times.
- Keep a neutral spine and make sure your supporting knee is pointed in the same direction as your supporting foot.
- Raise yourself to starting position by extending your supporting knee and hip.
- Switch sides and repeat!
This compound movement is great for your lats, delts, traps and pects. If you want this exercise to be a little bit more challenging, you can hold a weight in between your ankles to increase the intensity.
- Grasp a bar with an underhand, shoulder width grip.
- Pull your body up until your elbows are to the sides.
- Lower yourself until your arms and shoulders are fully extended.
- Repeat as many times as you can!
This exercise made famous by Bruce Lee, is a great core and ab exercise that recruits most of your muscles and can help improve your posture, because it requires correct form.
- Lay on a bench or flat surface and hold the edges at the side of your head (or behind your head) with both of your hands.
- Extend both of your legs in front of you and focus on contracting your core muscles. Keep them contracted throughout the entire exercise and focus on breathing.
- Try to lift your entire body and hold it for 30 seconds.
- Increase the hold period over time.
Even though these are advanced techniques, some of the movements used in these exercises should already be familiar to you if you’ve been lifting for a while now. Consider challenging your body and use nothing but your own weight to workout. They are a great alternative for when you miss a day at the gym, travel, but they are also great to incorporate in your workout overall.
Bodyweight exercises are cheap, effective, and healthy. Switching to calisthenics from time to time can save you from overuse injury exposure and correct your form. You can start with basic movements, such as push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, dips, and progress to more complex movements. You will see amazing results!
It is also a great way to challenge your body after a long time of weightlifting. If you’ve trained for strength and endurance before, bodyweight exercises are a great test to see how much you’ve achieved and how far you’ve come. Plus, doing this will stimulate more muscle growth, so try it and enjoy the results!