- Exercise & Fitness
The Secrets of How to Build Muscle Without Weights - Useful Exercises
In order to build muscle without weights you have to
work out using other forms of resistance or intensify your aerobic
workouts. The types of workouts that achieve a good level of fitness
without adding various machines or equipment to buy can be intense, but
they are designed to burn fat and work your various muscle groups.
This type of exercise should result in a more natural-looking and
nicely toned physique. The desire to build muscle without weights is
usually a result of your wanting to get into better shape, but not
having the money or space to equip a home gym. Also, you may not have
the time or don't live close enough to a gym or fitness center with the
types of facilities to assist you in your quest. Many fitness coaches
and doctors even recommend against heavy use of weights for building
muscle as the risk of injury is greater for some people.
So, if you are going to build muscle without weights, what do you use? The easiest and most commonly used techniques are exercises that depend on body weight for resistance. You must have some sort of resistance to build muscle, it is how our physiology works. To oversimplify, while working out muscles intensely you are actually causing damage to the muscle fibers on a microscopic level. When the body repairs this damage you end up with stronger muscle and often larger size. Now, the size increase is caused by increased blood flow as well. In fact, body builders often use less weight and more repetitions when working out with weights so they get "pumped up". If you have ever spent any time at a weight machine or doing other specific resistance exercises and taken a look at your body while you are still heated up, you may have noticed that you looked a little bigger. This is usually more prominent in the male physique, but women will experience this as well.
Exercises That Build Muscle Without Weights
Let's look at some techniques and specific exercises that will help you to build muscle without weights, shall we?
Push ups are probably the easiest and most versatile type of exercise for most people to learn and try. They work out a range of muscle groups in your chest, shoulders, arms, and even the back. The basic push up is done by getting on your stomach on the floor with your feet and hands about shoulder width apart and supporting your body weight with your hands and your toes. Proper form dictates that you raise your butt up slightly as well to keep your back straight. You do as many repetitions or "reps" as you can handle. The great thing about push ups is the ability to change them up to target slightly different muscle groups. For instance, if you bring in two blocks or raised platforms roughly a foot high that you can place your hands on for support while doing the push up routine with your feet touching the floor still, you will shift the muscles you are working out slightly. Try placing the palms of your hands side by side rather than shoulder width apart. It makes the push up considerably more difficult. If you're really adventurous, you can try one-armed push ups, but it's not for the faint of heart...or strength.
Another easy exercise is the pull up or chin up. This
body weight exercise is working out muscle groups in your back and
arms. To do this may require a bar or some other thing that you can
hold onto while pulling yourself up with your arms. I have a doorway bar that I use for this, and it can be moved around easily.
Again, as with push ups, by varying the
technique you use or the range of motion you can target different
groups of muscles. You can even work your way up to one-armed pull ups
when you are ready to really intensify your workout.
Dips are a good workout for your arms, shoulders, chest, and back muscles. This simple exercise can be done by pulling two sturdy pieces of furniture together (a workout in itself), and placing your hands one on either side and, with your legs folded to keep from touching the floor, lowering and raising yourself between your two supports. You may also use two chairs, but be aware of the potential danger from some types of chairs if your weight causes them to shift and pull together on you while you are suspended. This could result in a nasty injury, so be careful.
Squats and lunges are good for your lower body workout and mostly target the muscle groups in your legs. To do a squat put your hands behind your head and bend through your knees. Keep your heels flat on the floor, push your knees out, look forward and squeeze your gluteus maximus (glutes for short) also known as your butt on the way up. If you have trouble doing squats lower than your thighs parallel with the floor you should work on stretching out your hamstrings more often. Lunges are done by placing your hands on your hips and stepping forward with one foot while keeping your rear foot in place. You want to lower yourself with the step until your thigh is close to parallel with the floor, and then pull yourself back into standing position. Do several repetitions with each leg, even alternate to keep things interesting.
Other forms of exercises that will help you build muscle without weights are called isometric. This is essentially working the muscle with static resistance. In other words no movement. The easiest form of this type of exercise involves pushing on something immobile like a wall. Your muscles work, but nothing moves. This is still building strength, and can be effective with the right types of exercises targeting specific muscle groups.
Finally, no discussion about building muscle without weights, or any other physical fitness for that matter, is complete without at least mentioning proper diet. Most think that you should simply eat less, and diet as though you were just trying to lose weight. This is only partially true, and if you are working out at a high level multiple times per week or even per day, your diet will be different. You might need to consume more calories to provide the energy you need. Proper diet consists of items that are lower in fat and higher in protein. You also need a proper balance with carbohydrates, since this is what your body converts into energy for your muscles.
Best of luck on your resolution to get yourself into shape, and I'm sure these tips will assist in the goal to burn fat and build muscle.