Build muscle mass like you’re an inmate in a prison cell!
So, you want to build some muscle, but you don’t have any equipment? No problem! We asked Justin Townsend, co-founder of Mobile Trainers, a leading in-home personal training company about exercises he recommends for building muscle without equipment.
Mobile Trainers’ Take on Bodyweight Exercises
A lot of people think you need to go to the gym or buy lots of equipment to build the body you’re after, but that’s simply not true! You don’t need all that fancy equipment, but you will still need to put in the work! In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, bodyweight exercises can be as or even more effective than using machines at the gym.
Years ago, a workout program by Beach Body called P90X gained a lot of popularity through its astonishing before and after transformations, and these workouts were all designed to be performed in a small space using little or no equipment. Success stories like these are great testimonials to inspire you to simply get your body moving to get it in great shape.
Below are some of my favorite bodyweight exercises for a fast track to muscular hypertrophy and strength training. Simply follow these exercises and perform them with the instructions I’ve provided. You can vary the repetition and number of sets, but I like doing a circuit, performing 10-15 reps of each exercise, with little rest in between, for a total of three rounds. Doing this type of routine, you can also time yourself and try to complete the routine faster every time. Beginners may also want to check out this article on how to lose belly fat.
Mobile Trainers’ Favorite Exercises For Strength Building Without Equipment
Let’s start with legs, the largest muscle group, by hitting them with some squat jumps. This compound movement will target the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, and it is sure to send your heart rate through the roof. It is also truly great at building lower-body explosiveness.
As a side note, it’s always best to begin any workout with the most taxing movement, after you’ve completed your warmup.
Begin with feet shoulder width, and lower into the squat position. From there, explode upward, thrusting your hips forward, and propel yourself as high as you can in the air.
When sticking the landing, be sure to return to the squat position, as this will build more muscle and protect your knees from unnecessary strain.
Next, we’ll target back, another large muscle group. Given that you’re transitioning from lower body to upper body, you shouldn’t need to take much rest between your squat jumps and pullups.
The pull-up is a truly classic movement, it has been a longtime exercise staple for good reason. This will help you build strength in your back and build a V-shape torso.
Begin with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Begin by drawing your shoulders toward your waist, and pull your chin to the bar. For improved muscular hypertrophy, lower yourself slowly and avoid using momentum to complete the repetitions.
Bulgarian Split Squats
Moving right back into legs, this time we’ll isolate each leg with the Bulgarian split squat. This isolation will help you fully fatigue each leg individually while developing stability and muscular balance.
Begin by placing your front foot on the ground ahead of you and your back foot on an elevated surface. Then, lower yourself into a deep lunge, keeping your chest up and chin tucked. Return to the starting position by pushing through the heel of your front foot. The back foot should only assist to help you maintain balance.
Next, we’ll target shoulders, triceps, and core with the wall push-up. This move is a little more advanced, so beginners may want to supplement with some standing dumbbell presses. However, if you can master it, this exercise will pay dividends in upper-body strength.
Begin by walking your feet up the wall, and bring your hands within about a foot from the wall. Beginning from the handstand position, keep your elbow in a straight line above your hands, slowly lowering your head to the floor. Once your head has nearly reached the floor, begin pressing yourself back toward the ceiling. Note that you should remove your shoes for this exercise, as you do not want additional friction when traveling along the wall.
The push-up will target your chest and is another classic movement for good reason. This motion is the best way to add strength and mass to your chest.
Begin in a plank position, and slowly lower your chest to the ground, and keeping your elbows at a 45 degree angle with respect to your torso, press to return yourself back to the starting position. Note that you also want to have tension in your back throughout this movement, drawing your shoulders back and down, to get the most out of this exercise.
We’ll finish with some core work, performing sit-ups. Sit-ups are a great way to target your abdominals and build a strong core. A strong core is essential to overall health, wellness, and athleticism.
To perform a sit-up, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then, with your hands behind your head, lower your torso back until you barely make contact with the floor, and return back to the top of the motion.
It is important to note that your hands should not apply any pressure to the back of your head during this movement, and you do not want to “bounce” off the floor. Momentum is the enemy of progress for sit-ups; you want your core to be forced to stabilize and move your upper body at all times.
While these are some bodyweight movements that I really like, there are plenty of other exercises that can be done without equipment that can help you build strength. The key is consistency. Exercise 4-5 days/week, which can include some walking and other cardio as well. The above circuit outlined in this article can actually be completed in less than 10 minutes once you’ve improved your stamina, so no matter how busy you are, you can easily find enough time to get into great shape!