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Weight Training Without Weights

Updated on December 28, 2014

How Do you Weight Train Without Weights?

Weight training is a great thing to do if you want to get into shape and improve your health. You can build muscle, lose body fat, and improve your confidence if you weight train. There are just too many benefits not to take advantage of working out with weights. However, not everybody can or wants to train at a gym (many times, newbies might feel self conscious at a gym or some of us can't afford the monthly fees). If you want to weight train at home, you might mot have the budget or the space for workout equipment. This is where weight training without weights comes into play.

So how do you weight train without weights? It's really quite simple - you use your body weight or use other objects to emulate weights. With just your body weight you can work the major muscle groups like the chest, back, legs. If you want to directly target some of the smaller muscle groups such as the shoulders, biceps, and triceps you can use something that has some weight to it like a bucket filled with sand. Whatever the case, weight training without weights is certainly possible and you can build muscle mass and get rid of unwanted body fat if you do it right.

Buckets, potato bags, light wrist and ankle weights, and many more objects can enable you to get a great workout without using barbells and dumbbells. Think outside the box and you should be able to come up with ways to weight train with no normal weights available.

Training The Chest Without Weights

The chest is certainly one of the most popular muscle groups to work out with weights for many guys. Fortunately, it's also one of the easier muscles to exercise if you are weight training without weights. This is because there is one exercise that will hit your chest that requires no weight - the classic push-up.

Most of us have done a push-up or two at some point. If you learned one exercise in gym class this was it. How many push-ups you can do depends on how much you weigh, how strong you are, and your hand placement. This exercise allows for a lot of variety, as you can place your hands closer together or farther apart to hit the chest differently. You can also mimic incline bench presses by putting your toes on a bench or something else that's high enough off the floor.

Having some type of bench handy for chest exercises can be quite beneficial if you want to weight train without weights. With a bench, you'll be able to do flyes with a couple of objects, or even some light bench presses.

Dips can be an excellent chest exercise that you can do with your body weight. You will need to be to do dips with your hands on some parallel bars to work the pecs.


Being one the largest muscle groups of the body, it's essential to train the back if you work out. You definitely want your back muscles to keep up with your chest. If you're weight training without weights, you'll also need to take advantage of your body weight when you're doing a back workout.

One of the best exercises for the back is the pull-up. This is also one of the best exercises to do with body weight. Of course you'll need a bar or something comparable to do pull-ups on. It can be tough to get a lot of reps on the pull-up if you aren't light enough or strong enough. If you can't do very many reps, you can put your feet on the floor or a chair to do assisted pull-ups.

Rowing exercises are also great for your back muscles. You could try doing one arm rows with a heavy object. You could also put a sturdy bar in doorway so that the ends of it are one one side or the door opening and lean back and pull your self to the bar to mimic rows. Of course you'll want to be sure that the bar and wall around the doorway are strong enough to handle this.

Shoulder Weight Training Without Weights

The shoulders are involved in some way in just about any upper body exercise you do. Those chest and back exercises will certainly get some assistance from them. However, it can be tricky to hit the shoulders directly if you are weight training without weights. It's best to use some weighted objects if you want to target your shoulders.

Performing overhead presses for the shoulders can be tough to do without weights. A couple of weighted objects that you can get a handle on will do the job if you want to mimic dumbbell presses, though you'll want both objects to have the same weight. One thing you can do to work your shoulders if you're really strong and have good balance is to get your body upside down against a wall and use your shoulders to lift your body (put a pillow or cushion under your head if you try this).

Lateral raises to the front, side, or back will work the individual heads of the shoulder muscles. These are easy to do is you have some weighted objects to hold onto.


If you're weight training without weights, it can be tricky to train your biceps and triceps muscles. Fortunately, these muscles get a lot of work from assisting the larger upper body muscles when you train them. With some objects that have some weight to them, you can do some direct work for the bis and tris.

When you perform chest exercises such as the push-up, you'll get some triceps work. Pull-ups and rowing style exercises will give your biceps some work as well. You can make some changes to the way you do these exercises to focus more of your body's resistance on the arm muscles. By simply placing the hands close together when you do push-ups you can emulate close-grip bench presses and target the triceps muscles. If you row in a doorway with a bar you can try an underhand grip with the hands close together to work the biceps.

Some weighted objects, like sand filled buckets, can be used for biceps curls and triceps extensions. You can also do dips with your hands on a bench or a chair to work your triceps.

Leg Workouts Without Weights

If you're weight training without weights, you shouldn't neglect the leg muscles. Working the legs is tough work, and it's easy to not go as hard on leg training as upper body training. If you have strong legs, be prepared to do a lot of reps on your leg exercises when you don't have extra weight.

One of the best leg exercises is the squat, and you can do this exercise without weights at home. Just perform it like you normally would but faster. It may take a lot of reps but your quadriceps will be burning if you keep going. When you squat without weight you can also change your foot placement on different sets.

Lunges are another great leg exercise when you weight train without weights. The walking version of this exercise is particularly excellent for training your leg muscles. Another lunge-like exercise that will hit your legs hard is to go up stairs two steps at a time. You can make this exercise harder by holding a weighty object in each hand.

To train your calves without weight you can do toe raises. If you do them on a stairway step you'll get more out of them since you'll be able to stretch your calf muscles on each rep. You can even hit the calves by jump roping or running.


The abdominal muscles are easy to weight train without weights since you probably wouldn't use weights anyway when training these muscles. High rep sets with a strong contraction on every rep is the best way to train your abs.

You can do crunches and leg raises on a floor, bench, or bed. You can also perform leg raises while sitting on the edge of a bench or bed. If you add a twist to either side on alternating reps you can activate more small muscles. You can also do standing side bends and twists to work your oblique muscles.

Setting Up A Routine

Now that you know what types of exercises you can do while weight training without weights, it's time to go about setting up a routine. Once you set up a routine you need to stick with to get the desired results. The keys to success are to train hard and train enough without overdoing it.

When you start out, you may want to train the entire body during each workout. Begin your workouts by training the major muscles groups of the chest, back, and legs and do direct shoulder, arm, and calf exercises after them (and don't forget about ab training). Only do a few sets and exercises for each muscle and try to rep out until you can't do any more on each set.

If you train the whole body when you weight train you should take a day off every other day or do your weight training one day and do cardio the next. This will allow your body time to recover. As you are able to do more reps on each set you may want to split up your weight training without weights workouts so that your train half the body during each workout. At this point you should follow a two days on, one day off type of routine.

Weight Training With Weights

Once you see results from weight training without weights, you will likely want a new challenge - weight training with weights. Now is the time to finally get a gym membership or buy some equipment to weight train at home.

There is likely to be a gym in your area with reasonably priced membership fees. Many will allow you to pay month to month fees, or you can pay for a yearly membership if you have the money and ultimately pay less per month. A good gym will have all the weight training and cardio equipment you'll ever need.

If you would prefer to buy equipment to weight train at home you can go for an all-in-one machine that will allow you to train your whole body on it or buy some free weights and a bench. You can find many benches that will have cable pulldowns and leg extension / leg curl attachments. Whatever you decide to do depends on how much space you have and how much you want to spend. You should be able to find many great deals on home gym set-ups if you look around.

Favorite Exercises

What is your favorite weight-less weight training exercise?

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