Build muscle mass with your own weight
If you want to build muscle, you cannot work out in the gym with heavy weights. At least that’s what many think. But is it really so? Or can you build muscle with your own weight? I’ll cover this in this article.
Building muscle with your own weight, that is, without heavy weights, is not a viable option for many. I am convinced that muscle building can also be achieved through effective bodyweight training and that under certain circumstances it may even be the best option for you.
Why and under what circumstances this is so, I want to explain to you in this article. But first, let me tell you a little about my personal experience of building muscle without equipment:
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My experience of building muscle without weight
During my studies, I regularly visited the gym. I was there about four times a week to train. I wanted to build muscle and was convinced that there was nothing like a good old music store. The question of a possible alternative did not arise for me.
During my tenure as a management consultant, I was constantly on the go. I was only at home on weekends. Numerous trips and long hours of work made it difficult for me to exercise regularly in the gym. So I had to find ways to do effective strength training on the go and outside of these studios. After a while, I really managed to integrate this workout into my daily life in better shape than ever before.
How did I do it? I looked at the relevant training options and the various options that were available to me to meet them. I had previously unknown teaching methods, exercises and lightweight, portable equipment. I’ll talk about this briefly later. In fact, I later demonstrated in a six month experiment that even at an advanced level it is still possible to build muscle mass.
You can read more about my journey from sports rat to couch and finally a revolutionary approach (one of my first articles) about my transformation.
As a project manager, I am more in one place today and can work out more regularly in the gym or my home gym. However, I still travel regularly and use the techniques and tools I have learned during this time. Why go to the gym for long periods of time when driving time alone is enough for crisp hotel workouts.
But why, despite multiple success stories, are there many hesitant to build muscle from training without weights? There are several legitimate reasons for this.
Weight training – especially useful for beginners?
Especially at the beginning, it is often advised to train with your own weight. Basic exercises in body weight training are easy to learn, functional, coordinate workouts, and you get used to the muscles with little risk of injury. It’s good and useful.
However, as training increases, it becomes more and more difficult to achieve further muscle gain with the same exercises. Premature Conclusion: Effective strength training to build muscle and increase strength is no longer possible. With this statement, however, it is clearly too simple. Often times, the duration of muscle building is simply misjudged and quick initial results in the absence of progress are misinterpreted.
Bodyweight strength training is not suitable for beginners. However, the type of training should change depending on the level of training and your own requirements.
What actually makes strength training effective strength training?
To show you that effective strength training and muscle building is possible even without weights, we first need to determine what is important for such a workout to be truly effective. Based on these factors, we can determine whether this is actually possible.
The three main deciding factors for muscle building are sufficient and appropriate training stimulus that ensures overcompensation (in the form of hypertrophy), adequate regeneration (including healthy sleep!) and the right Diet to build muscle.
Since we have little effect on nutrition and regeneration depending on the type of training, sufficient stimulus is a critical factor that needs to be checked at all stages of training.
Strong enough stimulus – muscle fatigue
What’s really important to effective strength training is that you give him enough stimulus. Simply put, you have to deplete your muscles with exercise. Only then is the effect of overcompensation possible, that is, adaptation of your muscles to this stimulus.
This sufficiently large stimulus should be possible in all types of training related to strength training. In your strength training, you will train in the strength endurance, hypertrophy and maximum strength stages. Hypertrophy training has the greatest impact on muscle growth.
So is it possible to install this amusement ride large enough? To do this, let’s look at the different areas of power.
Bodyweight Endurance Training
In strength endurance training, you train in the 15-30 rep range. Here muscle fatigue is trained for a longer period of time under stress.
Strength endurance training has only a small direct effect on muscle mass and maximum strength in athletes with increased strength. If used too long and often, it can even lead to leaner muscles. This type of exercise should not be ignored by improving blood circulation and therefore transport of nutrients.
Strength endurance training can be done very well with your own weight. Most will not get more than 30 reps even with simple variations of standard exercises if done slowly and cleanly. Pull-ups will be quite difficult for some to do 15 reps, so you’ll have to work with a resistance band as support.
So, we can check the box here.
Hypertrophy – Building Muscle Mass With Your Own Weight
In hypertrophy workout, the workout ranges from 6 to 12 reps. This is a type of workout that aims to achieve classic muscle growth by increasing muscle cells (hypertrophy).
Many bodybuilding enthusiasts have been training only on this principle for many years. After all, it’s no surprise that this type of training has the most direct impact on muscle growth. However, it is much more difficult to achieve without using weights than strength endurance training.
However, it is possible to exchange simple exercise options for more demanding ones. For example, you can choose one-armed push-ups or Archer push-ups instead of regular push-ups. You should also be able to train longer in the hypertrophy area. You can get even more exercise options by using a few simple tools such as getting a sling instructor to help.
My free training plan package also gives you a beginner’s plan and a plan with heavier, more advanced exercise options for no-load resistance training on the go or at home:
With the exercises in the extended training plan, you shouldn’t have a problem with the effectiveness of hypertrophy training for some time. If you are doing 12 reps, even though they are slow and clean, you should consider using the techniques and tools that I will introduce to you in the chapter on maximizing strength training.
We find there are good options for effective hypertrophy training without weights. Since this type of workout is critical to building muscle mass, we can make a big tick here.
Bodyweight Maximum Strength Training
In the case of training with maximum strength, the maximum strength that can be achieved is theoretically trained with one rep. In practice, most people work up to five repetitions to reduce the risk of injury if the muscles are acting within the absolute limit.
Training in the maximum strength range primarily trains intermuscular and intramuscular coordination and thereby increases the development of maximum strength. Thus, this type of training has a large effect on strength, but only slightly on muscle growth.
It’s not easy to run enough stimulus for your muscles with a maximum of five reps. Here, you can quickly reach your limits with challenging exercise alternatives. But there are also solutions for this situation.
What can you use to do exercises for home and on the go quickly and easily? Multiple Thera or resistance bands are a good option here. Until now, I have always been able to push my muscles to the limit. The load is a bit unusual, but it is possible. Here you come to my short article on training with Thera bands.
In addition, there is also the possibility of using different methods of increasing the intensity to get the muscles out of their limits faster. Pre-fatigue, supersets, or an increase in TuT (time under tension = duration of continuous muscle tension) are also very possible with no weight training.
With the right use of intensity tools and techniques, you can also train your maximum strength. However, since it is really difficult (especially in the long run) and requires some tools, I will at least make a small check here.
Progress During Bodyweight Strength Training
Strength and bodybuilding often speaks of progressive growth. The gradual increase should be aimed at optimal strength development and muscle gain. This means that from session to session you should try to increase the intensity of all or at least some of the exercises.
It is relatively easy when resistance training. Next time, move a little more weight with the same number of reps or with the same weight for more reps and train gradually.
There is definitely a weakness in training without weights. The perception of intensity is relatively subjective because it is impossible to understand all the influencing factors precisely during the next workout.
Here you can also work with a few tricks to measure at least an approximate progress:
- Number of repetitions. Do one more repetition than last time
- Pace – make your reps a little slower than last time
- Grip shorter – mark the grip points on your teraband and next time make it a little shorter to have more stretch and therefore more resistance than last time
Remember that if you are doing the mass phase to build muscle, your bodyweight exercises automatically get a little harder as you get heavier.
Admittedly, this takes a little more thought than just putting half a pound more on the bar with each workout, but it can be done.
Conclusion on building muscle with your own body weight
Overall, 3.5 out of 4 checkpoints have been removed. I think that this is more than enough to give at least a chance to give strength training with your own body weight. With little impact and a good muscle training plan, you can also build muscle without weight.
So, the next time you are asked if effective strength training and muscle building are possible with your own weight, that is, without equipment and weight, you now know: yes, it is.
Is it as effective for building muscle as resistance training? If both are indeed done consistently and optimally, then they are probably incomplete.
Is it worse because of this? In no case. Free training definitely has its advantages and, above all, is often a much better option, depending on the situation. Sometimes this is the only option. So I’m glad this tool is available to me!
Then why is efficiency so often called into question? Perhaps this possibility is still too little known, and prejudice is always difficult to eradicate. Therefore, if you like it, help me with the bias that effective strength training with your own body weight is impossible, and share this article with your friends and acquaintances.
Tips for reading muscle and building muscle
If you don’t want to waste time building muscle, I would recommend my book The Basics of Building Muscle. It summarizes the most important things you need to know and take into account to build muscle. This is the first true “No bullshit” guide for effective muscle building.
If you want to do more bodyweight workouts, I recommend Patrick Bauer’s book. I don’t know anyone who knows more about this in German-speaking countries and can explain it in an understandable way.
Good luck with your workouts, with or without weights.
And don’t forget: your health is your health.