You may think you need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to build muscle and train effectively, but results are possible simply by using your body weight. With that in mind, here are six exercises that will help you build muscle without weight training equipment!
1 – Running or walking
No need for an expensive treadmill or elliptical machine, just your two legs and a good pair of running shoes. If you focus 80% of your energy on cardio, you will see your body transform.
Look at runners and cyclists; they don’t do spot training, they only do cardio. Here’s a tip when you do cardio, pull your abs in. Even when you are walking or running, don’t just focus on cardio, think about your abs and work them. You’ll get more strength from them.
Do: To start, try walking with a brisk run or slow jog for 15 to 30 minutes. Add 5 to 10 minutes per week.
2 – Squat exercises
Squats are one of the best exercises you can do. It’s easy to move on to more difficult exercises as you go; and in the meantime, perfect your form for the best results. You can also use a barbell without weights to work on your squat exercises and build muscle effectively.
Do: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms in front of or behind your head. Start by pushing your hips and buttocks back and bending your knees. Look straight ahead and keep your chest up and your back flat. Your back should remain in this neutral position throughout the movement. Squat down as low as you can, then come back up through your heels to the starting position. The weight should remain on your heels throughout the exercise. (The image above is a variation, the jump squat).
3 – Push-ups
The push-up exercise is the benchmark workout for building upper body strength without equipment. Push-ups work the chest, shoulders, triceps and core for a complete bodybuilding exercise. They are important, so don’t neglect them.
Do: Place your hands on the floor slightly more than shoulder-width apart and lower yourself until your chest almost touches the floor. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs as you lower and raise your body. Keep your elbows close to your sides to protect your shoulders.
If you can’t do push-ups, it’s easy to modify the same movement by bending your knees slightly and staying on the floor, or start doing push-ups by starting with an incline. Use the same technique up against a wall. Place your hands on a wall just past shoulder width, tighten the core and do push-ups up and down to the floor.
4 – Abs Exercises
These help strengthen your abs and can tone your abdomen. They should be a small part of your complete strength training program.
To do: Lie down on a mat or comfortable surface for comfort. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Cross your arms in front of your chest. Lift your shoulders toward the ceiling using your abdominal muscles and pause at the point of greatest movement. Do not lift your entire back off the floor, as this can cause back strain. Exhale and contract your abs on the way up. Inhale and slowly lower back down until your shoulders are flat on the floor. Don’t just pull back, control the movement. Do two or three sets of 10 crunches to start.
5 – Lunges
Lunges are ideal for strengthening thigh muscles.
To do: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, take a giant step forward with your knee bent at 90 degrees. Keep your knees above your ankles and your shoulders above your hips. Take another step and repeat until you are tired. Do three sets of 10 with each leg. Also consider doing some cardio, like hiking or walking up and down stairs at home to combine leg work with cardio.
6 – Triceps Exercises
The triceps and back of the arms is an area that can be difficult to work without strength training equipment. It is therefore essential to build muscle in this area while doing a cardio program at the same time.
To do: You don’t need to use any weight training equipment or weights.
Do: You don’t need to use weight training equipment or weights, but rather use your own body weight. Sitting at the edge of a chair, place your hands on the edge of the seat, keeping your knuckles pointed forward. With your legs in front of you, bent at 90 degrees and feet pointing forward, shoulders down and elbows close to your side, slowly bend your elbows to 90 degrees, lowering your buttocks to the floor. Pause and return to a seated position, maintaining pressure on the heels of your hands. Try two sets of 10 or until the triceps tire.