Best Bodyweight Workout To Gain Muscle
Gaining muscle doesn’t always require fancy gym equipment or heavy weights. In fact, you can build an impressive physique by utilizing your own bodyweight. Bodyweight workouts are not only convenient, but they can also be highly effective in developing strength, endurance, and muscle mass.
In this article, we will explore the best bodyweight exercises that target all major muscle groups, combined to create a challenging and efficient workout routine for gaining muscle.
Push-ups are a classic bodyweight exercise that primarily target the chest, shoulders, and triceps. They can be modified to suit all fitness levels. To make push-ups more challenging and effective for muscle growth, you can try variations such as decline push-ups, diamond push-ups, or one-arm push-ups.
Pull-ups are an excellent exercise for developing a strong back, biceps, and forearms. They also engage the muscles in your shoulders, chest, and core. If you don’t have access to a pull-up bar, you can use a sturdy table or door frame for performing inverted rows as a substitute.
Squats are a compound exercise that targets the muscles in your lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. They are highly effective for building leg strength and muscle mass. To increase the difficulty, you can perform pistol squats or jump squats.
Lunges are another great lower body exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. They also improve balance and stability. To make lunges more challenging, you can try forward lunges, reverse lunges, or walking lunges.
Dips primarily target the muscles in your triceps, chest, and shoulders. They can be performed using parallel bars, a dip station, or even using the edge of a sturdy table or bench. By leaning forward during dips, you can emphasize more on your chest muscles.
The plank is a versatile exercise that engages your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, obliques, and lower back. It also activates your glutes and shoulders. You can perform side planks or elevated planks to add variety and increase the difficulty.
Burpees are a challenging full-body exercise that incorporates push-ups, squats, and jumps. They target multiple muscle groups, including the chest, shoulders, arms, core, and legs. Burpees are known for their ability to increase cardiovascular fitness and burn calories.
8. Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a dynamic exercise that engages your core, shoulders, chest, and legs. They also improve cardiovascular endurance. To perform mountain climbers, start in a push-up position and bring your knees towards your chest in a running motion.
9. Handstand Push-Ups
Handstand push-ups are an advanced variation of push-ups that primarily target the shoulders, triceps, and upper chest. They require a good amount of upper body strength and balance. If you’re not ready for handstand push-ups, you can try pike push-ups or wall-assisted handstand push-ups.
10. Jumping Lunges
Jumping lunges are a plyometric exercise that combines the benefits of lunges and jumps. They work your lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Jumping lunges also improve explosiveness and power.
Step-ups target the muscles in your lower body, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They can be done using a step platform, bench, or stairs. To increase the difficulty, you can hold dumbbells or add knee lifts at the top of each step-up.
12. Pike Push-Ups
Pike push-ups are a variation of push-ups that primarily target the shoulders, upper chest, and triceps. They are performed by assuming a pike position with your hips in the air and your body forming an inverted V shape. Pike push-ups are highly effective for strengthening your shoulders.
13. Calf Raises
Calf raises focus on your calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus). They can be performed on flat ground or on an elevated surface such as a step. To increase the intensity, you can do single-leg calf raises or add weights.
14. Glute Bridges
Glute bridges primarily target your glute muscles (gluteus maximus and medius), as well as your hamstrings and lower back. They are performed by lying on your back with your knees bent and lifting your hips off the ground. You can make glute bridges more challenging by doing single-leg glute bridges or adding a resistance band.
15. Russian Twists
Russian twists are a core exercise that targets your obliques, rectus abdominis, and lower back. They can be done using a mat or sitting on the edge of a bench. To increase the difficulty, you can hold a weight or a medicine ball while performing the twists.
16. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are an effective exercise for targeting your abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominis and obliques. They are performed by lying on your back, bringing your knees towards your chest, and pedaling your legs in a bicycle motion while twisting your core.
17. Superman Holds
Superman holds engage your lower back muscles, as well as your glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders. They are performed by lying on your stomach, extending your arms and legs off the ground, and holding the position for a certain duration. Superman holds improve posture and strengthen your back muscles.
18. Commando Plank
The commando plank is a challenging variation of the traditional plank that targets your shoulders, triceps, and core. It involves continuously moving from a forearm plank to a high plank by pushing up with one arm at a time. Commando planks improve stability and upper body strength.
19. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are a variation of push-ups that primarily target your triceps. They are performed by forming a diamond shape with your hands, placing them directly underneath your chest, and keeping your elbows close to your body throughout the movement. Diamond push-ups are effective for developing strong and defined triceps.
20. Horizontal Pull-Ups
Horizontal pull-ups, also known as body rows, are a great exercise for targeting your back muscles, biceps, and core. They can be done using a sturdy table, bar, or suspension trainer. Horizontal pull-ups are a suitable option if you’re unable to perform traditional pull-ups.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you gain muscle with bodyweight exercises?
Yes, you can definitely gain muscle with bodyweight exercises. By progressively increasing the difficulty of the exercises and implementing proper training principles (such as progressive overload and consistency), you can stimulate muscle growth and build strength.
2. How often should I do bodyweight workouts to gain muscle?
It is recommended to perform bodyweight workouts at least 3-4 times a week to effectively gain muscle. Allow your muscles to rest and recover between workout sessions to avoid overtraining.
3. Can I build a muscular physique without using weights?
Absolutely! Bodyweight exercises can be just as effective as weightlifting for building a muscular physique. As long as you challenge your muscles with progressive resistance and provide proper nutrition, you can achieve significant muscle growth.
4. Do bodyweight exercises burn fat?
Yes, bodyweight exercises can help burn fat and contribute to weight loss. These exercises increase your heart rate, boost metabolism, and stimulate muscle growth, which in turn leads to increased calorie burn even at rest.
5. Can bodyweight exercises replace weightlifting?
While bodyweight exercises can be highly effective in building muscle and strength, they may not completely replace weightlifting for certain individuals. Incorporating a combination of bodyweight exercises and weightlifting can provide optimal results for muscle growth and overall fitness.
6. Can I gain muscle without using a gym?
Absolutely! Bodyweight exercises can be performed anywhere, making them a convenient option for those who don’t have access to a gym or equipment. With proper programming and progression, you can effectively gain muscle at home or outdoors.
7. How long does it take to see results from bodyweight workouts?
The time it takes to see results from bodyweight workouts depends on various factors, including your starting fitness level, consistency, nutrition, and overall lifestyle. With dedication and proper training, you can begin to notice improvements in strength and muscle tone within a few weeks.
8. Should I follow a specific diet to gain muscle with bodyweight workouts?
A proper diet is essential for muscle growth, regardless of the type of workout you’re doing. Ensure you’re consuming enough calories, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support muscle repair and growth. Consider consulting a nutritionist or dietitian for personalized advice.
9. Should I warm up before bodyweight workouts?
Yes, it’s important to warm up before any workout, including bodyweight exercises. A warm-up routine helps increase blood flow, raise body temperature, and prepare your muscles and joints for the upcoming activity. Dynamic stretches, light cardio, and mobility exercises are ideal for a bodyweight workout warm-up.
10. Can I mix bodyweight exercises with other types of workouts?
Absolutely! Bodyweight exercises can be easily incorporated into other workout routines, such as HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training), circuit training, or even weightlifting. Mixing different types of workouts can add variety, prevent boredom, and provide well-rounded fitness benefits.
Bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to build muscle, improve strength, and enhance overall fitness without the need for gym equipment. The exercises mentioned in this article target all major muscle groups and can be easily modified to suit different fitness levels.
Remember to start with proper form and gradually increase the difficulty of the exercises as your strength improves. Combine these exercises with a well-balanced diet and adequate rest to maximize muscle growth and achieve your fitness goals.